Vacation is a time to get away from it all - unless you're a geek or a photo hobbyist. For us vacation is when you actually have time to play a bit with the technology that is an important part of your life. Our first thought was to vacation with the Nikon D300, but it's such a sought after camera around the world there was concern it might be a magnet for theft. Since the destination was the laid-back Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten (St. Martin) there also wouldn't be much opportunity to exploit the 8FPS speed that is one of the superb features of the D300. After all, there are only so many Jet Ski freeze shots anyone should have to endure.




After our Sigma SD14: Quick Look at a Quirky Wonder review, it seemed like an interesting idea to try to spend a vacation with this unique camera. It's a fact that almost no one would recognize the Sigma brand, and the new ultra-low pricing made the thought of losing the camera or having it stolen not such a big deal.

Would the limited low-noise ISO drive us crazy? Would the leisurely write times fit "island time" or drive us to the brink of "camera-cide"? Would we find the Foveon sensor capabilities interesting enough to try to take advantage of its "slide-film-like" color? These are all questions we set out to answer.

The SD14 Travel Kit
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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    Most of the images are straight out of Auto mode in RAW processing with Sigma Photo Pro. I did sometimes push sharpness or exposure a notch or tow but nothing drastic.

    I did a lot more Post Processing with the ISO 800 images, since my goal with the ISO 800 shots was to be creative with noise and color shifts.

    I'm also a fan of Olympus color. I find the color accuracy of the E3 to be remarkable.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    Is that adapter supposed to be a high-speed one? When I bought one a few years ago I got a Jobo brand one from B&H, as they actually advertise a high transfer speed as opposed to the options on Ebay. Works fine (and quickly) with SD cards, no SDHC though. Recently bought another Jobo one that claimed SDHC support, however that did not work with Sandisk Extreme III SDHC cards in either my camera bodies or card readers.

    I recently visited England, Ireland, and Italy with friends and brought a 40D and Sigma 18-200 OS and 10-20EX lenses. The 18-200 does work out nicely when photography is not the main point of the trip.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    The adapter is high speed in the limited testing I have done with it. I did not see an obvious write slowdown or increased format times compared to a similar high-speed CF on a Nikon D300 or Olympus E3. It also converts an SDHC that can then be easily read in a CF slot even if the reader does not support SDHC. I also have the older SD converter that you mention, but it doesn't support SDHC at all. Reply
  • neilvan - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    I have a Jobo CF - SDHC adapter that I bought from B&H Photo a couple of months ago and it works great with my Patriot 16GB SDHC in my SD14.

    It saves me a bundle, SDHC cards are so inexpensive!

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/462559-REG/J...">http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4...ure_Digi...
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    Yeah, that's the one I tried (though the photo shows the old version I own, not the newer one I ordered this time). I only had Sandisk Extreme III cards to try with it (3 4GB, 1 8GB, took advantage of the rebates and was bringing adapter and some cards to friends in England) and it did not work at all with the SDHC cards, was fine with normal SD. Didn't have time to try and make it work, so I returned it.

    Wesley, thanks for the link.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    What brand is it and/or where did you get it from? I now have an 8GB SDHC card that doesn't do me much good without a functional SDHC adapter. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    Here is a source for the same item in Hong Kong on eBay at http://cgi.ebay.com/SDHC-SD-MMC-to-Compact-Flash-C...">http://cgi.ebay.com/SDHC-SD-MMC-to-Comp...6QQssPag.... I have bought from this seller before and they were fast and reliable. There are also several new converters showing on an eBay search for SDHC to CF converter, but I don't have any personal experience with the other brands. Reply
  • mmntech - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    I loved St Martin when I was there back in 2001. You didn't take the camera to Orient Beach did you? lol. (There's a well known "clothing optional" beach in the area)

    Sigma has always made good lenses. It's too bad the camera was a let down. I'm still in the photography stone age with my Pentax KM 35mm SLR. I have a quite a few good pics I took in St Martin with it.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    I have been to St. Maarten several times and I keep going back because it is one of my favorites. Orient Beach is a normal stop on the Island, but I rarely take photos there. We stay in Philipsburg on the Dutch side and normally dine in Grand Case on the French side. Orient Beach is about halfway between the two.

    The SD14 was not really a complete letdown - you just have to work within its limitations, which are many. After returning I captured equipment images for this article with a Nikon D300. It was a stark reminder of why the SD14 competes better at around $600 than it did at the $1699 Sigma was asking when it was first introduced.

    It is still an interesting sensor for those who have the time to "play" or "create" depending on your perspective.
    Reply
  • pervisanathema - Thursday, June 19, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the article, now I definitely know which camera to not buy. Reply

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