Andy Westlake tests Sigma’s unconventional SA-mount mirrorless camera, the sd Quattro

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sigma sd Quattro

Features:7/10
Build/Handling:8/10
Metering:8/10
Autofocus:6/10
AWB Colour:8/10
Dynamic Range:7/10
Image quality:8/10
LCD viewfinder:8/10

Pros:

  • Excellent image quality 
at low ISO
  • Clear and easy-to-use interface
  • Good level of 
customisability

Cons:

  • Poor high ISO performance
  • Slow autofocus
  • Low-resolution viewfinder feed

Product:

Sigma sd Quattro review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£799.00 (body only)

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Sigma sd Quattro review: Super Fine Detail Mode

One potentially useful new feature on the sd Quattro is its SFD mode. This takes seven bracketed exposures in 1-stop steps from a single press of the shutter, covering an overall range of ±3EV. These are then combined into a single X3I raw file – essentially seven concatenated X3Fs – and saved together. The idea is that by bracketing so widely, the camera should record a full range of detail from bright highlights to deep shadows, which can then be brought out in post-processing without excessive noise appearing. In essence, this makes up for the sensor’s relatively limited dynamic range.

Sigma sd Quattro review sample image

Sigma sd Quattro review sample image

Here SFD mode (bottom) has recorded a much greater range of tones than the JPEG (top) in both the highlights and shadows

As with other multi-shot modes, you have to lock the camera down on a tripod to ensure it doesn’t move between exposures – anything moving in the scene could cause problems. Sigma automatically sets the ISO to 100, and it makes sense to use the 2sec self-timer to avoid vibrations. The resultant X3I files are vast – almost 370MB – and can’t be processed in-camera, only using Sigma Photo Pro. This turns out 
to be the biggest problem, as developing them takes forever. 
By default, files are output in a minimally processed state with 
low contrast, saturation and sharpening, presumably on the basis you’ll work them up further.

However, in favourable situations SFD mode can bring clear benefits; in the example above I used it to record detail in a bright sky and dark foreground that the sensor simply couldn’t capture in 
a single exposure. But like other multi-shot modes, it’s not very convenient to shoot or process.

  1. 1. Sigma sd Quattro review: Introduction
  2. 2. Sigma sd Quattro review: Features
  3. 3. Sigma sd Quattro review: Build and handling
  4. 4. Sigma sd Quattro review: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Sigma sd Quattro review: Autofocus
  6. 6. Sigma sd Quattro review: Performance
  7. 7. Sigma sd Quattro review: Dynamic range, noise and resolution
  8. 8. Sigma sd Quattro review: Super Fine Detail Mode
  9. 9. Sigma sd Quattro review: Verdict
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