My first 'proper' digital camera was a Sigma SD10. Sigma is largely unknown as camera manufacturer, particularly back then in 2004 when I took the plunge. At the time the choice was a between the new Canon EOS 300D and the Sigma. The Canon is something of a legend of digital photography, becoming a hugely popular camera.
But I took the path less travelled. Why? I think there are principally two reasons:
- I have a habit of not going the way of the crowd, choosing an unusual or unheard of brand, because in my eyes it offers something different or better;
- I can't remember what magazine I read, but it reviewed both cameras in the same edition. The Sigma lost out in almost all categories in terms of functions, battery life, higher iso photographs (which back then probably meant around iso 400!) But what attracted me, and this for me is a significant part of what photography is all about was the image quality. Printed in the magazine were images from both, some 100% crops, and there was no doubt in my mind which was giving the better results.
I thoroughly enjoyed recharging countless batteries for the SD10, getting as much life out of the beast as I could. I learnt a lot from that experience, and whilst I'm not sure there are many (any?) photographs from that era I would proudly hang on my wall today, it certainly wasn't the camera's fault. [As an aside; I thought I would revisit some of the photographs taken with that camera back then. They are all backed up on DVD-roms. Alas, I now realise I have no CD/DVD drive in the house to access them on! Oh how times have changed!]
My time with Sigma developed. I was fortunate to upgrade to the SD14, long after it came out, and had a slowly growing range of SA-mount lenses; mostly bought second-hand off eBay.
Then, I had a dalliance with Nikon. It was fun; the potential for higher iso photography in poor lighting without too much noise was a great help on occasions. The faster, more accurate auto-focus system was very much better for fast-moving subjects. But most of what I wanted to photograph was still subjects, landscapes and the like, and there is something about the unique Foveon sensor that Sigma uses that produce images that are just beautiful.
A sort of homecoming...
Most things in life have their pros and cons. I can't afford to run two camera systems, this is only a hobby after all! I sold most of my Sigma gear to buy in to Nikon. Now I am reversing that decision.
Once again I have bought a Sigma camera. This time the Sigma sd Quattro. So far all I've done is open the box! I haven't had chance to charge the battery or begin to put the camera through its paces to get a handle on it. Picking it up, it feels like a solid, quality piece of kit. I am looking forward to getting out there and making photographs with it. My skill and technique, both at the image taking and digital processing fronts have improved significantly since those early SD10 days. Images for the wall is the end destination I am hoping for.