Eric L. Woods

A day out and a stop by the camera shop with the SIGMA sd Quattro.

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I mentioned in a recent post that the SIGMA sd Quattro proved to be a surprisingly good tool for night time black and white photography.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4 Art

In all honesty given the amount of flack this camera gets for it’s poor low light performance I was surprised. I will be the first to admit that this camera is a poor performer with color using ISOs above 800 or in low light, but I find it to be fantastic for black and white in general…

Sigma dp2 Quattro

…and I have now found that it excels with black and white in low light as well. I would even say that it performs better so far than any black and white mode on any digital camera or black and white film I have used in low light… <pump the brakes> But I digress. That is not the point of this post. But it is related.

This camera is more flexible than I thought it would be.

Mainly because I had been viewing it through the lens of my modern digital camera expectations. But I regularly shoot film while out and about. Most often I will use 400 speed film. Not suitable for all environments, but that does not stop me from shooting it in every environment. That is the fun part for me.

Nikon FG
Nikon FGLomography 400
Nikon FG
Nikon FGLomography 400
Contax T2 - RPX 400 - Cinestill Df96 Monobath
Contax T2Rollei RPX 400
Contax T2 - RPX 400 - Cinestill Df96 Monobath
Contax T2Rollei RPX 400

Film would be my preference on any given day all things being equal. But the backlog of film rolls requiring developing and scanning I would create if I only shot film would be tremendous. So while digital is usually my choice when I just want to get the shot film is what I would prefer.

Have read summaries comparing the Foveon sensor’s layered design to film’s use of emulsion layers. From the wikipedia corner of the internets:

In color films, each emulsion layer has a different color dye forming coupler: in the blue sensitive layer, the coupler forms a yellow dye; in the green sensitive layer the coupler forms a magenta dye, and in the red sensitive layer the coupler forms a cyan dye. 

That sounds a heck of a lot like what SIGMA is looking to achieve with the Foveon sensor on the left below.

So taking this in to consideration what I have on my hands is not a less capable digital camera but a more capable film-ish camera… Whoah, whoah, whoah… There I go again…. I will be cutting and pasting this part into another post. Task at hand.

What was I prattling on about? Oh yeah. That day out.

Easier to show than tell. Went to my local camera shop (The Cheers to my Norm. In my head anyway. They may believe differently.) yesterday for a bit of show and tell. All photos from the visit below taken with the SIGMA sd Quattro – 30mm f/1.4 Art kit (by myself and others) with shooting experience thoughts afterward.

Went to show the most recent addition to my little SIGMA family. But Manu beat me to the punch by showing me a Plaubel Makina 67 that was in for an appraisal. I regret that I have no photos of it, but I have to admit as soon as he unwrapped it and I realized what it was I was hesitant to stay too close. I feared being dragged into it’s wallet draining gravitational pull. A beautiful bit of kit. A very clean example and felt wonderful in hand. May soon be available for sale there if you are interested.

During the visit Graham also wheeled out his own impressive contribution to show and tell. A SUPER73.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

An impressive bike. Would be more tempted, but the roads by me are not at all suited for this. Would end up a hood ornament on somebody’s pickup. Before strutting out his bike Graham took the sd Quattro for a short spin with these three shots.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
Alex.
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
Wilson.

The one and only Karen showed me her infrared photography modified camera and some physical prints of her latest mixed media artwork that was wonderful as per usual.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

Alex’s contribution to show and tell was this wonderful little Fuji two lens half frame camera. Alex explained that it was a rare half frame in that it shot in landscape, contrary my his and my own Olympus PEN half frame cameras, by loading the film from bottom to top instead of side to side. This is on display in the third shot below.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
Shot be Alex.
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
Alex as Vanna.
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
Vertical film loading orientation on display.

Below Wilson and Graham have a chat.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

Automated film developing care and feeding.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

Went a bit ham capturing images of the camera shop interior.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

Next up some outro shots after leaving the shop. These two shots with two edits with the dp2 Quattro.

SIGMA dp2 Quattro
SIGMA dp2 Quattro
SIGMA dp2 Quattro
SIGMA dp2 Quattro

And back to the sd.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4
SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

So that was a wrap for this day photography wise.

Closing thoughts.

I really like this camera. Still assessing the whys, but I believe this comes down to it being a combination of favorite elements with other very different cameras.

  • A chunky, sturdy and non latest and greatest feel of DSLRs.
  • IQ look and limited functional elements of film cameras.
  • Mirrorless features like exposure preview in viewfinder.

Summed up in a sentence it offers a pleasing combination of my favorite, but disparate cameras in one package.

Nice.

Well done SIGMA.

SIGMA sd Quattro - 30mm f/1.4

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