First Thoughts on Sigma Quattro SD

After a 3 month wait a Sigma Quattro SD Kit, with 30mm f1.4 Art lens arrived today.  I’ve only played with it a few hours and will have a more in-depth review in the next month. I shoot a wide range of mechanical rangefinder, DSLR, SLR, medium format film, and mirror less cameras, with a bent toward Pentax and Nikon primes. I am used to both slow operating manual cameras and fast, IQ-smart modern mirror-less cameras such as Oly Pens and OMD.

I have never used anything like this Quattro SD and it is my first venture into the world of Foveon sensor. I am an amateur who logs less than 1000 shots per week and my intention is not to get detailed about image quality and pixel-peeping. Here are my initial thoughts on the camera:

  1. Build quality is superb.  Nice heft. Feels solid. There is nothing plasticky about this camera, although it is clearly made out a combination of durable polymer and metal materials.
  2. Camera is weight forward with the 30mm f1.4. It’s unbalanced and I feels like I am using muscle groups I’ve never utilized before.  The ergonomics are not comfortable and I compensate by holding lens with my left hand. The handgrip is textured and feels tacky. It reminds me of an older Nikon F series, which had far superior tactility.
  3. Layout of buttons is weird, but I took to finding everything instinctively. I like the review button on the lower left corner. I still don’t know what this lock slider on top is for, but I will get around to reading the manual.  There’s a QS (Quick Start?) button on top reminiscent of Fuji X line Q button that yields fast menu.  The On/Off slider on  the lens mount takes a while to get used to. I like the split screen rear-panel view display, which is fine and better than the EVF.
  4. I am left-eye dominant and really appreciate having my right eye available to look at surroundings. The right shifted viewfinder is nice touch for me.  The EVF is the worst I have seen for any modern (last 5 years) camera.  The image quality is terrible (fuzzy) and basically a window for composing a shot.  There is a “focus peaking” feature that is nice for manually dialing in to details.
  5. Autofocus is SLOW and write speed is comparable to the original Olympus Pen EP-1 mirrorless camera (circa 2009). I shot wide open in daylight and there was definite delay. I am using 64gig SanDisk Extreme Plus 95 MB/s speed card. Don’t think about shooting hummingbirds with this camera. I opened it up in burst mode, firing 5 or 6 shots and it took 20 seconds to buffer.
  6. The 30mm f1.4 Art lens is really nice and I am tempted to buy one for my Nikon F5.
  7. I’ll post one image SOOC full-size peg. I need to play with this thing some more before I make further judgement.

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