Utah Trip—Camera Notes | Jim Kofron Photography | Jim Kofron

Utah Trip—Camera Notes

So, one of my goals on this trip was to get to know my new Sigma sd Quattro camera. I had taken it out to the beach last summer and had gotten some nice shots, but I didn’t do any hardcore landscape work (I preferred to float on the water). Starting out this trip, I was shooting mainly handheld, and using ‘normal’ exposure techniques. I was manually focusing most of the lenses without the magnification aid. By the end of the trip many of the shots were on a tripod, I was using the SFD mode of the camera—which takes seven consecutive exposures bracketed by a stop of exposure, and I was making good use of the focus magnification to focus the lenses.

Speaking of lenses, I brought the following:

10-20 mm (older version, f4-f5.6)

30 mm DC EX (older version… pretty crappy)

50 mm f2.8 Macro (focus drive broken)

85 mm f1.4 EX (older version, great lens)

70-200 mm f2.8 EX zoom (older version, no OS)

So as you can see, I don’t have any lens that is in the current Sigma lineup. The 10-20 mm is soft on the left side (maybe decentered, maybe a curvature in the focal plane). The 30 has always been on the soft side for me and prone to CA. I thought about stocking up on lenses, but figured it would be better to get back out and shoot, and then see what I wish I had. Rick had brought a 18-35 and a 50 f1.4 that I tried out, and Kendall lent me a new version of the 30 mm ART (the kit lens for the sd Quattro, which sadly wasn’t available last summer when I ordered the camera). I’m going to update this page with notes as I go along and process the images.

The camera: sd Quattro (‘C’ version vs ‘H’). This camera has turned out to be my favorite Sigma camera by far. I loved my SD10, but the battery thing was a PITA. The SD14 was great, but a struggle to white-balance at times, and the shutter error bit my camera twice. The SD15 was a super-solid camera; fast, easier on batteries, big buffer—but the unrecoverable overexposure thing in high dynamic range situations used to drive me nuts. The sd Q is much nicer. The electronic viewfinder is very solid for focusing (manually), and I’ve gotten a much higher hit rate out of it. It autofocuses reasonably well. It’s overexposure latitude is better. The controls are super nice, my only current request would be to add SFD mode to the QS menu. Battery life is reasonable; I brought five but could have done with just two for all day shooting (approximately 150-200 shots/charge). The files have the best color (IMO) of any Sigma camera yet. The Quattro sensor is different than the previous generations of sensors, and there’s much moaning on the inter webs about it not being as crisp, having too much ‘sandy’ noise, etc. It’s different, but I’m liking it. And from what I’ve seen, you can crank 6 x 9 prints from it relatively easily. And that’s 6 foot by 9 foot…  I have a 17” wide printer—I’m not going to be challenged, and I’ll have plenty of pixels to crop.

Only issue that I’ve had is that on turning the camera on, the viewfinder is saturated white, and will not adjust to the scene. A quick off-on with the switch seems to rectify this situation, and it’s pretty rare. I haven’t figured out what’s causing it yet.

Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.