The Sigma SD15 has been announced. Actually it was first announced at Photokina 2008, but has just been â€œre-announcedâ€ with some additional detail.
SIGMA SD15 PHOTO above taken from DPreview.com news release which has camera specs and Sigmaâ€™s official press release linked
Of particular noteworthiness to me in Sigmaâ€™s Press Release is:
â€œâ€"â€¦ a 21 shot raw buffer at 3fps and 5 frame auto bracketing for HDR-enthusiasts.â€œâ€"
The SD14 [which I shoot with weekly] maxes out at a buffer of only 6 shots and for bracketing it can do 3 AEB +/-3.0EV (which Sigma has been able to do since 2002 with the SD9). The Sigma SD15 now sports an auto-bracketing mode of 5 shots and Iâ€™m assuming Sigma left the default EV jumps intact which are adjustable in steps of .3EV from .3 to 3.0EV steps. If so, that 5 AEB at +/-3.0EV is massive!!!
In fact, that makes the SD15 the leading DSLR in terms of capturing a huge dynamic range. For HDR capture it means there is â€œalmostâ€ no scene it wouldnâ€™t be able to tackle. However, pushing a capture to a full 3.0 EV between steps can be problematic for certain scenes. What is most encouraging about the 5 AEB to me is that one can now come down off the 3.0EV and comfortably fire off lets sayâ€¦ 5 AEB with steps between shots of 1 and 1/3rd EV jumps. This will result in a wider bracket than you can achieve with probably 90% of DSLRs.
For example, shooting a 5 AEB +/-1.3EV will get you a tighter bracket for a higher quality HDR capture than you could get with a 3AEB +/-2.7EV. A 5 AEB +/-1.3EV will yield the following exposures: [ -2.7, -1.3, 0, +1.3, +2.7 ] The tighter steps will help with both hue/color shifts as well as sharp/hard edges where light tends to spill around and cause issues in tonemapping when the EV jumps are too large.
Also if you limit your steps for the SD15 to just 2.0EV jumps instead of 3.0 between frames you can actually get a bracket that is the same width as a D3x D3s D3 D700s D700 D300s D300 (although not as tight as the 9AEB with 1.0EV jumps). The Sigma SD15â€™s 5AEB is going to be amazing for auto-bracketing for HDR.
I had uploaded a very, very quick and sloppy imprompu video to YouTube last year that shows how I conceptually use the dials on the SD14 to get a 6 frame capture for HDR use. The dials are the same on the SD15 so this video is helpful if you wanted to see how quickly you can make adjustments without digging into an LCD menu system like some DSLRs on the market. The YouTube link is
SD14 Auto Bracketing Video
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Location: Destin, Florida (North West Florida)