The Sigma SD14 is a fast and responsive digital SLR camera with a rugged build and intuitive uncluttered control layout.

Acclaimed third-party lens and accessory manufacturer Sigma has bravely – but hitherto not totally successfully – attempted to cut out the middleman and launch its own series of digital SLRs, boasting a unique Foveon sensor with a three-layered pixel configuration – one layer each for red, green and blue light.

Sigma claims that while conventional CCD or CMOS sensors are good at detecting the intensity of light, they miss a lot of colour information.

The Sigma SD14 - Sigma's third attempt at a digital SLR - now comes with a Foveon X3 chip and according to Sigma delivers results equivalent to a 14Mp model.

Image quality is, of course, about more than pixels. The Sigma SD14 then has other features including a removable dust protector, light sensitivity ranging from ISO100 to ISO1600 and the ability to shoot common Jpeg as well as best-quality RAW files.

However, unlike Sigma's cheaper and often acclaimed lenses for the likes of Canon and Nikon, the Sigma SD14 is actually more expensive than comparable cameras from both. So Sigma has a difficult sell from the outset, and various delays haven't helped allay suspicion that the SD14 may be a lame duck.

Turn the Sigma SD14 on and you're up and shooting in a flash. However, the writing of images to memory is surprisingly sluggish.

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