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DSLR advice - Sigma SD15

Discussion in 'Non-Bikes' at netrider.net.au started by jd, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. I've been thinking of buying a DSLR for a while now but since I've been doing a bit of external consultancy of late the next few months is definately the right time to buy (definitely need to make a few tax-deductible purchases if I don't want the Government keeping all my money).

    Now firstly, I'm different to most people in that whatever I buy will in fact be spending most of its time bolted onto the side of a Zeiss Epityp 2 microscope. However I am also interested in something which can replace my old Fuji S5500 for when I'm in the mood for trying to take some good "arty" photos (also have a Fuji J15 for day-to-day point and click photos).

    I've been interested in the Sigma SD14 for a while now for 2 reasons, firstly the fact that the IR cut filter is readily removeable, and secondly that it claims to offer far better performance in situations where only a single colour may be present (as is often found with microscopy). Only thing I didn't like about the SD14 was the apparent lack of remote view/capture, although some stuff I've found on the internet seems to suggest that this was corrected with a later firmware update (though other sites claim this is false).

    Just wondering if anyone out there has had a chance to play with the newer SD15 model and could give me a clear answer as to whether it can be operated remotely via a PC or not (again there seems to conflicting evidence as to whether this is possible or not). I'd also be interested in any opinions as to how this camera works for "normal" photography (ie not through a microscope) and whether there's any other DLSR options I could/should be looking at. Keep in mind though that for me a high degree of IR sensitivity is essential, since I'm currenly working on something which requires transmitted IR microscopy (using a B+W security camera at the moment, but definitely need greater resolution).

    Oh and also interested in what sort of lenses I should look at buying. I'm interested in something that would be good solely for macro work, as well as something that would be good for both landscapes and specific objects in front of a landscape (ie photographing my car or bike in picturesque locations). My preference would be to stick with Sigma lenses, but I would consider anything else that fits.
  2. www.dpreview.com

    All your questions answered. Look in the forums section - there should a Sigma one in there.

    And as to purchasing, I would personally try to buy it from an Aust-based store (can be online) if it's no more than 10% more expensive than a HK online stores.

    From my experience, if that particular camera model is a big mover (eg. my Samsung PL150), the Aust retail stores will sell it as cheap if not cheaper than the HK online stores. If it's not a big mover, then it will be terribly expensive in the retail stores.

    I recall Olympus in their old days (OM system) had a great microscopic accessories range - not sure where they are now with the Four-Thirds system, but worth investigating.

    If either Canon or Nikon can offer IR capabilities, I would suggest it's more flexible long term (much better support re parts and accessories etc) by going with them instead of Sigma.
  3. Certainly seems to be plenty there for me to read through. Thanks.

    Haven't yet found an Australian store which stocks Sigma cameras so buying from O/S online may be my only option. Also quite likely to be passing through Bangkok and/or KL later in the year which might be my best chance of getting a good deal.

    From what I can find Canon did have an IR sensitive model in the past (the 20Da), but have never made a replacement. The only other possible option I've found is the Fuji S3 UV-IR, but I'm not sure if they sell those outside of the USA and the very restrictive EULA may make ordering from overseas difficult (I've certainly not found any online sellers offering it).

    Did discover the other day that Sigma has a new DLSR coming out which should be much better than the SD15 - but haven't yet found details on whether it is suitable for IR, or the estimated price. Might have to wait and see about that one though, would hate to find out I could have had something much better for only a small extra cost.
  4. personally would buy the body from aus if possable ,as for lenses look at the states have used PMI Digital highly recommended arrived in under a week!!!

    As for Fuji have used Fujis when I worked for a school tog company there ok but nothing to write home about quite regularly broke down. we had s2 and 3`s

    Agree I always check dp review prior to buying just about anything photographic prior to buying
  5. Call up CR Kennedy, the Sigma distributors and ask where to find a retailer if need be. Or you can try out their grey-import price matching. They have a policy that they'll attempt to price match grey prices where possible and I managed to get over $300 off the retail price of a Sigma 70-200mm lens recently.
  6. I have a Fuji IS-Pro which I bought about 18 months back. Have you heard about this one? It would be a better proposition than the S3.

    Let me know if you are and I will send you the details of where you can still get them new (in the States). I got mine from overseas as it was the only place that I could. Service was good and it came bundled with the Hyperspectral software which allows remote capture. It also has a mirror-lockup which can be used remotely or via the back screen. Really handy for IR purposes.

  7. Agreed, but it is a little out of my price range unfortunately - especially since I have a couple of overseas trips to pay for this year.

    I may have the chance to chase up some funding later this year though, so if I do get people throwing money at me again I'll let you know. The IS-Pro does look to be exactly what I need, though I'm now also waiting to see what the new Sigma SD1 will be like (also considering just buying a cheap EOS or something now, and worrying about IR work later).
  8. Cool, no issues there.

    You can also mod any camera to take IR by removing the internal hot filter, only a few work with ok results though. There is a mob that do the mods in the US, at around $600 (from memory) - it is hardly worth it though when options like the Fuji or Sigma exist.

    I appreciate it can be an expensive step though, the body , then decent lenses (esp for UV), then filters ($$)... ouch.
  9. Yeah I've already pulled the IR filter from a cheap webcam and replaced it with some exposed camera film for something to play with. Not that confident though at trying to tackle a similar mod with an SLR.

    And if you think camera prices are bad, you should see what they charge for specialist microscope parts :shock:.