THE LOW-DOWN: This is the newest Sigma camera using the 29mp Foveon sensor. (See foveon.com for details) The sensor is APS-C size so the 30mm f2.8 fixed focal length lens is a film equivalent 45mm. The 75mm 920k dot does not swivel. The camera body is long and thin, resembling the Sony NEX bodies but with a reversed hand grip which makes the Sigma easier to hold than the Sony. There are few external controls, but accessing the P/S/A/M exposure modes is easy. There is a rocker selector for auto or manual focus and there is image enlargement to assist manual focus.
LIKE: The image quality is unlike any conventional digital camera. The best analogy is to think of Ektachrome, if you remember that. It had colours with an extra pop to them. The Sigma is like that. And there is well resolved fine detail even in jpegs.
DISLIKE: Here’s what you don’t get. High ISO is out of the question; there is no video mode; the LCD is fixed; the lens can’t be changed; the LCD is not brilliant in sunlight. The RAW files can only be converted in Sigma PhotoPro6 which is so flakey that we gave up trying to use it. Can someone tell us what Error 42 is?
VERDICT: Sigma’s Foveon customer base is minuscule but desperately loyal. Devoted owners love the texture and colours that are unique to this camera system. We think we get it, but it is an acquired taste, and like acquiring a taste for truffles and caviar it is expensive. At the CP+ show in Yokohama in February the line of devotees wanting to get their hands on the Quattro demonstration models was so long that we didn’t bother joining in. We wondered if we were missing something. We’re still wondering.