Sigma sd Quattro H Review - Performance

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Sigma sd Quattro H Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.1secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 1.0secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo  3.7secs*
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.0secs*
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
4.5fps (8 shots) 
Continuous Shooting - RAW 4.5fps (12 shots) (50secs)

Shutter response is quick, however focus is quite slow, and it would be good if this could be improved with a future firmware update. We tested using the central focus point, and used the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG Art lens. *Switched to manual focus. It took 50 seconds to write raw files to the memory card after shooting.


Sigma sd Quattro H Sample Photos

Sample Photos - For best results, processing the raw file is recommended, particularly if you want to control how the image looks, however, the camera does an okay job with JPEG output (as long as you're not pixel peeping). Raw files are between 64 and 77MB in file size, JPEG images are between 10 and 18MB, and DNG files are a massive 142MB! Exposure is reasonably reliable, however it was confused at times, and recovering the image from the raw file was quite straightforward. There are options to adjust the colour, with specific control over contrast, sharpness and saturation. There are a number of presets as well. 


Sigma sd Quattro H Lens test images

Lens Performance - The main reason why processing the raw files is recommended is due to chromatic aberration which isn't automatically corrected in camera. A lens hood is provided with the lens, which helps avoid flare, and you need to be particularly careful when shooting towards a bright light source, as flare can show up as large green blobs. 

The level of detail captured is very good, with resolution and detail captured equalling cameras with higher resolution sensors, such as the Sony A7R II with 42 megapixels. However, images also show quite a high level of noise in shadow areas, and further noise reduction is recommended in software. 

The "Super Fine Detail" mode creates a 400MB+ X3I raw file, that can only be opened in Sigma Photo Pro. Processing these images is slow and time-consuming. However, the image definitely shows much less noise than standard shots, a little more detail, and better dynamic range.

The JPEG images produce chroma noise, as well as random green dots or spots of colour, as well as chromatic aberration, so conversion of raw files it essential to get the best image quality from the camera. Unfortunately, the software is a) slow, b) crashes (itself), c) crashes your whole computer, d) buggy (black screens your whole PC), and generally slow and painful to use, even with a fast computer with plenty of memory and an SSD drive. 


Sigma sd Quattro H ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO shots taken at ISO100 and ISO200 show the lowest levels of noise, however when trying to recover shadow detail, noise is more visible, and we wouldn't recommend using ISO400 or above, unless you plan on further processing of images. In fact, we'd say that it's necessary to put the raw files through Sigma Photo Pro software to get usable results at ISO400. As shown above, when you view the full-size images, you can see that the software is much better at reducing chroma noise, compared to the camera itself. 

The higher ISO settings might be useful in a situation where you need to take the shot and don't have any other option, and in these situations, you would be best shooting in black and white, or resizing and converting the images to black and white. 


Sigma sd Quattro H White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten light. The Tungsten preset gives a more accurate result, but for the best results, manual white balance or raw processing is recommended. The AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, and the fluorescent preset gives a slight colour cast. Again, for best results manual white balance or raw processing is recommended. The camera can struggle to produce good auto white balance results, and therefore shooting in raw becomes important. 


Sigma sd Quattro H Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of colour profiles available. You can develop raw files in camera, and this lets you adjust exposure compensation, white balance, image quality and size, aspect ratio, colour mode, colour space, and tone control. There is no video mode. There is no panoramic mode. 

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Niknut Plus
9 2.4k 81 United Kingdom
27 Jan 2017 4:14PM
Want one !!!!!!!! the overall design & ergonomics, & a reasonable weight too !

The image quality is amazing, though that gritty noise above 400iso isn't pleasant ??....but there again I rarely use higher than 200iso !

So, kit of the body with say the 12-24 wide zoom lens, plus the 24-70 zoom amounts to just under 3000, & about 2.5kg,s in weight ????????????

Ah well........a landscapers dream outfit ?.....but I couldn't justify the figures !.......Mmmmm, might have a blast on the Lottery ????.WinkGrinGrin

Bet my computer would slow down handling the massive file sizes in RAW mode.......more expense ??Sad

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altitude50 15 16.9k United Kingdom
28 Jan 2017 11:43AM
I also would like one. I have a Sigma SD15 which I use for infrared photography with the filter behind the lens mount removed. I also like the rendering of certain subjects with the Foveon sensor in colour mode.

Thus I have three SA mount lenses, a 24mm a short zoom and a telephoto zoom, obviously these would make an excellent combination with the SD Quattro H, but unless i win the lottery I am not going to get one.


josa 7 25 Czech Republic
28 Jan 2017 3:07PM
I'll wait for a new, normally shaped Quattro...
Scottelly 7 35 United States
28 Jan 2017 5:05PM
I'm planning to get one in the next few weeks, when they become more available and I have the money saved. The big expense will be the lenses, but fortunately I will be able to sue the lenses on a Sony A6500, which I can use for shooting fast-moving subjects and video (even 4K video), which I plan to get in a few months, when the prices drop a bit. Of course I'll need the adapter to use those Art lenses on the Sony, which I will buy from Sigma.

I am surprised that this review states that the SPP software is necessary, which it obviously isn't. The whole reason this new camera has a DNG mode is so people can process their "raw" files in other software, like Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and RawTherapee.

One more comment I have is that SPP 6.5.0 works great on a 1 year old Mac Mini that I've been using, which has a 2.8 GHz dual-core i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM - hardly a high-powered computer, and my experience is that the software is extremely reliable (never once has it crashed or caused anything on that computer to crash), and it seems to work just as fast as Sony Image Data Converter and Nikon ViewNX 2. The new GPU acceleration mode works well too, almost doubling the speed of processing batches of raw files from Sigma DP Quattro and SD Quattro cameras.
Roc889 1
8 Mar 2018 4:27PM
Very interesting review, excellent Verdict. But poor choice of images. The Sigma does NOT correct for chromatic aberrations in-camera. It must be done in post via their Sigma PhotoPro raw processor. It is a real shame that you did NOT post the [RAW] X3F files for download. You did so on your review of the earlier Sigma Quattro and although the Sigma PhotoPro raw processor (v5.6.6 is a free download) is very slow (even on a Mac BookPro with 16GB RAM) usually taking about 10 seconds to process each change in settings, it was worth it. The files are AMAZING. Much higher quality than those of the full-frame Sony a7II or the M4/3 Olympus E-M-1, especially the color. The drawback of this camera seems to be the handling. Even the EVF is not great for manual focusing (from other reviews on YouTube). I owned both a DP1 and DP2 about ten years ago and the files look great. The handling on those cameras was, as the British say, “Rubbish.” And the edge image quality on this Sigma 35mm is poor until f/4. As the other poster said, DNGs look great and can be edited in Adobe Bridge CS6, which is another way of dealing with the noise of ISO 400.

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