Search and Hit Enter

Why I choose Sigma…

Original article at

I was talking to Bengt Werner today, a former Nikon user who switched to Sigma for his landscape photography. And we tried to put our finger on why we love the way Sigma images look and what it is that makes them different. It’s always been debated and I often stayed outside those discussions as it’s not been “my thing”. But today I will give you a list the top reasons why I love the way Sigma / Foveon images look and why you should be interested in the new Sigma SD1. ūüôā

1. Nuances! With a three layer sensor you get even the tiniest shifts of colors.

2. Density! And this is what some people refere to as “3D”. Everything feels more massive, more dense, more slide photo. Often seen in images shot at very low ISO often at 50-100. This is also why Bokeh is rendered so beautifully with a foveon sensor!

3. Micro contrast! Due to the design of the sensor you capture everything. That includes dust and scratches which makes the picture seam more real and true. Sometimes annoying as you don’t really want that in some situations (beauty photography or jewelry photography).

4. True sharpness! This is one of the biggest reasons to go Sigma for many – and the trueness of it is seen when resized big, with only 4.6MP’s to go it’s a bit strange that images looks so good at larger sizes – it still looks crisp and clear and never really brakes. It resized in a similar manner as film.. (if you use a really good scanner that is). Jaggies can sometimes be a problem but not often.

5. Dynamic Range! Bengt has often; received; the question if he uses HDR for his photography РHe never does but the amount of useful range between black and white in Sigma raw feels very wide. I never; measured; in comparisons to others, but I often felt let down by other sensors in this regard.

The Sigma SD15 has slightly less dynamic range (or at least highlights) than SD14. Same with DP1; compared; to DP1x. SD15 and DP1x on the other hand has cleaner colors.

(6). Very little post production needed! Often it’s just open in SPP and then publish.

And now, some images from TODAY! All shot using the Sigma 50-500 OS. A bit crazy but it’s;¬†actually;¬†really useful and the glass quality is amazing! Such clarity!

Kingfisher Nol, Sweden - only one in reality.Cropped shot at 500mm hand held. OS is a gift from GOD! (or Ohsone)
Above images of the kingfisher was shot with the same lens on approximately the same distance. The second one being zoomed in at the maximum 500mm the first at 167mm.

Nuances and dense air from fire..

Horse in the sun..

Northern sunlight

Monochrom white balance

300% crop from the above shot. (without interpolation)
300% crop from the above shot. (without interpolation)

Developed using Sigma Photo Pro and post processed using LR3 and PS in some cases. There is only one bird not two. The single bird is; heavily; cropped.

All images;¬†available;¬†at it’s maximum size over at my spring 2011 set.


  1. I agree in part.

    Using the DP2/SD9 and SD15 since a long time I must say that they are really good cameras and they CAN deliver stunning images. They also have an adequate price tag and excellent cost/performace ratio. Images are crisp, gorgeous and this is all I want.

    I tested several Sigma lenses in Canon EF, Pentax K and other manual focus mounts, and ***sometimes*** I found some very good lenses, like the fantastic 70/2.8 EX DC Macro. Sometimes I found really horrible glass like the 17-50/2.8 EX DC Macro. Ok, nothing is perfect. Acceptable.

    But there are two things that bothers me quite a lot:

    1) Sigma PhotoPro. Using my cameras with Silkypix Pro gives me far better results. No kidding, just try and see. Sigma Photo Pro 5 needs a HUGE revision.

    2) The SD1 price. Yes, again. Yes one more complain. Why should I spend $6K in a camera that have just 2 or 3 really spectacular lenses ? I compared all SD1 sample imeges that I could find with an entry level Mamyia MF camera end, sorry to say, but… Not comparable.

    3) The lack of a BIG optical viewfinder and a top level manual focusing screen is unforgivable.

    So, based on this, I decided to not buy the SD1. I may but a M9, at least Leica lenses are top notch and tehy have a really serious customer support.

    But back to the main subject:

    – Choose the DP series or the SD15 if you want photos with something different, with a very nice look and feel.

    – Do a LOT of research before buying Sigma lenses, You may find some fantastic glass. On the other side, you can buy a dog…

    – Sigma SDs are awesome. For me the best compacts ever.

    – Do yourself a favour if you have any of the SD-series camera. BUY A GOOD M42 adapter and try some EBC Fujinons and Tomiokas. Believe me. Don’t forget to order a good quality manual focusing screen.

    All the remaining things are just fun. You can be very happy with Sigma if you know what’s good and bad.

  2. A five years update:

    At this time Sigma has some REALLY good lenses in SD mount. After buying the 18-35 F.18 ‘Art” lens and the 17-70 “C” I finally decided to buy the SD1 from the Sigma’s outlet store for $899.

    It’s a solid performer and the images from it are superb with the mentioned lenses. Still slow like a snail but I can live with this.

    But again, some very annoying things:

    – Sometimes I get a green to magenta gradient cast when using some manual focus wide angle lenses, There’s something strange with the internal image processing in this camera. The same lenses produces normal images with the SD-14 and SD-15. Sometimes just a magenta only or green only color cast.

    – SPP is now on version 6. To be fair, it’s way better than version 5 but still very slow even running in a quad core i7, and still not offers a basic curves adjustment tool.

    – Iridient Developer is MUCH faster and does a better job with SD1’s X3F files.

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.