SD Quattro: Sigma Creates The Surprise And Announces Two Cameras!

Renowned for its optics, the Japanese automaker already had compact cameras and SLRs. It is on the technical basis of these that Sigma has designed its Quattro sd, since they are compatible with the SA mount.

You may know Sigma for its photo objectives,¬†since the Japanese manufacturer is, with Tamron, one of the greatest name of “compatible” with Canon, Nikon, Sony DSLR optics, etc (read our review of the Sigma 35 mm ART). But the brand also produces cameras exotic, they are compact, like the DP Merrill or DP Quattro, or SLR.

The margin of the ‘ manufacturers ‘ boxes, Sigma has developed an ecosystem based on a sensor to original and unique technology called Foveon. And it is on this type of sensor that Sigma launches today two¬†hybrid boxes, sd Quattro and Quattro: sd.

Two definitions = two sensor formats

Only the letter ‘H’ of the second allows to distinguish it from the first. The reason is simple: between the two boxes, only the sensor size is different, everything is the same. Two hybrids are equipped with a system of double screen to the rear – the first for the preview of the image, the second, vertical, displays the settings – and (finally!) to an electronic viewfinder of 2.36 Mpix placed in a strange way, IE in the middle of the unit (to keep reflex filiation?).

Quattro classic sd benefits of an APS-C classic, the Quattro 19 Mpix Foveon sensor (Finally, 19 Mpix final, but the sensor has more photosites, we will see later) that’s already found in compact RFP Quattro. More original, the sd Quattro H is equipped with a slightly larger sensor in the APS – H format.

Sensor APS – H for lovers of grand-angles

Smaller that a sensor full frame, APS-H is an exotic standard which has been very little used by the manufacturers-Canon it has including deployed to fire some of its devices “1 d”, professional boxes for photojournalists.

The difference between APS-C and APS-H is the multiplier to apply to Optics: on a sensor APS – C, a 24 mm becomes a 36 mm (coefficient x 1, 5) when on an APS-H (coefficient x 1, 3) the same 24 mm is equivalent to a 31.2 mm. What give a little more wide angle to the existing optics.

Hybrid AF

With its compact dp, Sigma worked in contrast detection autofocus when used his SLR, logically, phase detection. These sd Quattro are the first products of the brand to have a hybrid AF, combining the two technologies: contrast detection is performed by the processor plus phase integrated in the sensor detection.

Invented by Sony, the recipe managed to many players in the industry and could enable Sigma to correct the rather slow AF of its boxes, one of his heel of Achilles.

The power of the Foveon

The peculiarity of all Sigma cameras, this is what they call a unique sensor in the industry: the Foveon, we are talking about you since the launch of the first compact dp1 launched in 2008 until the last DP 0 Quattro last year tested. This sensor that has been through many changes is the only one which each pixel registers the three colors of the spectrum, when pixels of sensors of the competition – of all the competition! -recover only a color channel (red, green or blue) and perform an average of colourful information from adjacent pixels to restore the original color.

With 19 Mpix for sd Quattro and Mpix 25.5 for the Quattro H sd, these two sensors should produce images the final approaches of average cases size of 39 Mpix for the first to Mpix 51 for the second. That’s what says Sigma, and for testing of many Sigma boxes over the years, this assertion is far from frivolous.

All-terrain boxes

The sd Quattro seem to be among the few hybrids have been thought of as SLRs in terms of soundness: magnesium alloy chassis design is added to many seals giving them a design known as tropical, and more original, a filter of removable glass in front of the sensor, preventing the introduction of dust into the housing.

System improvements

Optician above all, Sigma fishing often in the electronics – rise in ISO limited, slow AF, not of software processing in retrospect, absent or anemic bursts, etc. This new generation says to correct certain defects: in addition to the presence of an electronic viewfinder, we note the focus peaking to facilitate the manual focus, the arrival of a predictive AF, a continuous shooting with AF continuous (up to 3.8 FPS within the limit of 10 images, not very fast or very tough, but it’s better than in the past). Each iteration, Sigma is progressing, but it is still far from the canons of the competition.

Meet existing users

Sigma has not developed a new mount, but relied on its existing standard, the SA mount. Less widespread and wide as mounts Canon, Nikon and others, this range is still with more than 40 compatible optics in SA-mount, which allows the Quattro sd to enjoy a result Park right out.

The other side of the coin, is that these lenses are designed for SLR optical draw distance is greater than that of hybrids developed from scratch. Thus, if the design of these boxes is the same as hybrid (electronic viewfinder), their size is equivalent to that of a DSLR, as if realizing on the illustration above generated through the website of comparison of dimensions of photo boxes Camera size – the Quattro sd is right! Which reminds us of the Pentax K-01, a hybrid case natively compatible with all the optics of the K-Mount. We wish a better destiny to the Quattro sd…

If these devices interest no doubt a few new users looking for truly exceptional rendering of the Foveon sensor, the Japanese brand target also and especially its users of SLR-SD14, SD15, SD1-a that she offers a more modern and has a more powerful sensor housing.

Original design

The Foveon sensor being what it is, the video is still not available on these hybrid boxes. And this is not the only oddity. The good things include glass filter that prevents dust from sticking to its surface, the rest thumb to the rear of the case, too often absent at the hybrid competition or dual screen system.

In the category of questionable choices, in addition to the strange forms – tastes, colors…-we wondered about the kind of cutting under the case seems to make it unstable when placed on a table as well as on the positioning of the viewfinder in the middle of the unit-we imagined rather on the side of the unit such as a Panasonic GX8.

Sigma Japan has so far provided no date of availability or prices for its new boxes. And as the mark is customary ads well upstream, we will keep any other assertion that ‘probably available in 2016’!