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Sigma sd Quattro H Review - Verdict

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Sigma Sd Quattro H (6)

Value For Money

The Sigma sd Quattro H is available for £1129 body only, which is quite good value for money. Certainly much better value for money than the SD1 Merrill which was around £1600. Alternative high resolution mirrorless cameras available, include the 42.4 megapixel Sony Alpha A7R II (£2899), and the following models, which offer high resolution modes, with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II (£743) offering a 40mp mode, and the Olympus PEN-F (£899) and OM-D E-M1 Mark II (£1899), offering a 50mp mode:

Have a look at more cameras in our Top 13 Best Premium CSC Cameras 2016, and Top 10 Best APS-C Digital SLRs 2016. You'll also need to buy an SD memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.


Sigma sd Quattro H Verdict

The Sigma sd Quattro H, along with other Sigma cameras, is a unique camera that lets you use the Foveon sensor with any Sigma lens, and does away with the optical viewfinder and traditional Digital SLR styling. The Sigma sd Quattro H is a mirrorless camera, whilst still being a similar size to a Digital SLR, and for anyone who likes the size and weight of a Digital SLR, the sd Quattro H is likely to be a reassuring size.

For those that want impressive levels of detail in every shot, then the Sigma sd Quattro (and dp Quattro) series is an interesting choice, thanks to the unique Foveon sensor. However, you'll also need to be prepared to use Sigma's Photo Pro software, which is noticeably slow, when compared to every other photo editing package. The software also crashes randomly, is buggy, and frustrating to use. This can seriously slow you down, depending on how many images you want to edit, particularly as you will most likely want to continue editing the image in another software package such as Adobe Photoshop. It's therefore recommended that you invest in a fast computer. The camera also offers the ability to shoot DNG raw files as well, however this creates a huge 142MB DNG raw file. When we were reviewing the original sd Quattro, we encountered less crashes, so it's possible the larger file size for images has caused the software to be unstable.  

Disappointingly, the camera is best at ISO100, and using any higher ISO setting results in visible noise. There is also noise visible in images taken at ISO100, for example, if you need to recover any of the detail in the shadows, then this too will show signs of noise. Something you don't expect to see when shooting at the lowest ISO setting available on a camera. Focus speeds can be slow meaning the camera is best suited to static subjects or scenes, and it would be good to see this improved in future with firmware updates if possible.

With the camera having the same flange distance as the Sigma DSLR, this means the camera is a similar size to a Digital SLR, and doesn't really benefit from the size advantages possible with most mirrorless cameras. The introduction of the secondary display is a nice touch, along with the good controls and solid feel of the camera.

Sigma has been producing a number of high-quality lenses, and with the right processing, the camera can give some extremely pleasing results. If you don't mind the awkwardness of the photo processing software, and shooting raw, then the sd Quattro H is likely to reward you with some extremely sharp images, but it is definitely designed for those with the patience of a saint.


Sigma sd Quattro H Pros

  • Foveon sensor with excellent pixel level detail
  • Solid and well-built camera body
  • Sub display screen
  • Large electronic viewfinder
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to access controls
  • DNG raw (although files are large)

Sigma sd Quattro H Cons

  • Raw processing required to correct for CA
  • Sigma Photo Pro is slow, buggy, and crashes
  • Slow refresh in EVF / Screen 
  • Lacks video recording
  • No Wi-Fi built-in (but Eye-Fi compatible)
  • Super Fine Detail slow and memory intensive
  • Slow focus speeds
  • Beware of flare

Overall Verdict

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Niknut Plus
9 2.2k 77 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 15.2k 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 6 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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