August 10, 2022
Sigma FP Review |  Gadgets 360

Sigma, which is popular for its lenses, recently launched a brand new mirrorless camera called the Sigma fp, which is now available in India. Sigma’s camera lineup may not be as famous as its lenses here, but the new FP is said to be the world’s smallest full-frame mirrorless camera, which is what makes it special. He is not everything; It’s designed with professional videographers in mind and boasts cinema-grade features like in-camera RAW video recording, timecode, and lots more.

Like most full-frame cameras, it comes at a steep sticker price of Rs. 2,15,000 just for the body. It’s time to see what this professional-level camera wants to use on a day-to-day basis, and whether it makes sense for you to choose the more mainstream options on the market.

Sigma FP Design

The design of the sigma fp is something we immediately liked. The body is deceptively small for a full-frame camera and looks like a small block of metal and rubber. With the battery and SD card inserted, the weight is still around 422 grams, which is pretty light. The compact body is also somewhat pocketable (without the lens attached at all).

Its body is made of aluminum, which makes it very strong. The entire structure is claimed to be dust-proof and splash-proof. The Sigma fp is designed to be adaptable and flexible, which is why you also don’t get any built-in flash or electronic viewfinder. The camera comes with the HU-11 hot-shoe flash unit, in case you need to use an external one. Even the clips on the sides for a camera strap are both removable; Held in place with standard tripod mount.

sigma fp top sigmaThe Sigma FP features a dedicated switch for changing between shooting stills and video

Another unique and distinctive addition is a heatsink, with the notched edges appearing right around the edges of the rear display. Sigma says this should help control the temperature when shooting for long periods of time, especially in 4K Raw. Speaking of buttons and ports, we have a USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen1) port, HDMI (Type-D); A 6-pin terminal, and a dedicated microphone port on the left. These are all covered by a rubber flap, but the camera for HDMI port isn’t connected, so it can be easy to get it wrong. There’s no built-in headphone socket to monitor audio, which means you’ll have to use an accessory.

You get a decent selection of buttons on the top and back of the camera, as well as some dedicated buttons for tweaking tone and color. There’s a switch to switch between still and cine modes, which we found very handy. You also get a dedicated record button, two dials, and shortcuts for quick settings (QS button) and AEL (exposure lock).

sigma fp screen sigmaPerformance is sharp on the Sigma fp and provides good visibility even outside

The Sigma fp has a 3.1-inch touchscreen with 2.1 million dot resolution. The screen is stable and doesn’t bend or flip in any way, but considering that the camera is designed to be used with an external monitor, this shouldn’t be a big dealbreaker. The battery compartment and SD card slot (supported up to UHD-second speed) are on the bottom of the camera. You can also record footage directly to the portable SSD via the Type-C port.

Overall, the build quality and finish of the Sigma FP are impressive. The matte black material doesn’t pick up smudges or dirt easily, it’s incredibly compact, and we love the modular nature of the design. However, if you’re going to use this camera without a rig, it might not be great.

For example, the fp doesn’t have a handgrip, as the front is completely flat. It didn’t give us the best of confidence when shooting with one hand. We also found the rear dial to be a bit crooked, as it has a bit of play and can be rotated easily even with a casual touch. However, the quality and feedback of the rest of the buttons and switches is very good.

Sigma FP Specifications and Features

The Sigma fp has a 24.6-megapixel, full-frame Bayer CMOS sensor. Sigma has only used an electronic shutter here, enabling this camera to achieve 18fps burst shooting. fp uses the L-mount, which makes it compatible with lenses from Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma, along with Sigma’s own DSLR and Cine lenses using adapters, which you’ll need to purchase separately. An optional MC-21 mount adapter lets you use Canon EF lenses as well.

As for stills, the fp is capable of shooting 14-bit RAW (DNG) images. It has an ISO range of 100-25,600 (expandable to 6-1,02,400) and a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 of a second. The Sigma fp has 49 selectable autofocus points and relies on contrast detection autofocus. There’s no on-sensor phase detection autofocus here, which is why continuous autofocus is a bit slow.

sigma fp cover sigmaThe sigma fp is easy to handle, thanks to its compactness

When it comes to video, the Sigma fp can record in 12-bit CinemaDNG (8-bit for in-camera recoding) or MOV format using H.264, if you need something that’s easy to share and edit. be easy You can shoot 4K at up to 30fps, with other framerates like 24p and 25p also available. Videos with full-HD resolution can be shot at up to 120fps. FP can also capture metadata such as timecodes for use in film production. It supports features such as the ability to adjust the shutter angle, a frame guide for various cinema-grade aspect ratios, and it has something called a ‘director’s viewfinder’, which it describes on cinema cameras like the Red Mostro 8K. What will the frame look like?

Sigma sent us a 45mm f/2.8 DG DN lens with fp for review. It is part of Sigma’s ‘contemporary’ series and has a focus ring and an aperture rang. This prime lens has no stabilization of its own, which means you’ll have to rely on the camera’s electronic stabilization.

The menu system of sigma fp is quite simple and easy to use. It is divided into three main categories – Shoot, Play and System. The shoot menu has several tabs that let you configure things like auto ISO, drive mode, bracketing, HDR, crop mode, and stabilization. The shoot menu changes depending on whether you’re in Still or Cine mode. Some of the additional features promised for future software updates include HDR for video recording; Cinemagraph, which lets you create animated GIFs from short video clips; the ability to play and review RAW footage on the camera itself; and the ability to record video using the director’s viewfinder option.

sigma fp performance and battery life

We start with the video performance of the Sigma fp, as that is its primary purpose. The small size made it very convenient to shoot videos on the go as well as capture candid moments. This camera is also handy for street shooting as it does not attract much attention. We’ve primarily used the fp handheld, but professionals would ideally like to use it in a gimbal or camera rig, where its true potential lies.

Still, for casual shooting using the MOV format, we were very impressed with the video quality that the Sigma fp managed to capture. Colors were accurate, sharpness was excellent, and the prime lens we used produced some pretty decent bokeh. Video quality was equally impressive with low light, good detail, sharpness and colors. The fp tends to focus a bit higher than usual in low light, especially when trying to focus on distant objects.

One of the best features of FP is the ability to play with different tone and color settings via dedicated buttons during recording. There are a variety of preset color options or filters to choose from, and the strength of each filter can be adjusted based on your shooting style. The ‘Tone’ button lets you manipulate shadows and highlights on the fly, which we found extremely helpful.

Talking about other features of the camera, it has face and eye detection, which works well as soon as you point at a human subject. Continuous autofocus isn’t very fast due to the contrast detection AF system, but if you tap a different area in the viewfinder and press the shutter halfway, focus jumps quickly. There’s also tracking autofocus, but it’s not available in Cine mode. We tried electronic stabilization, and found it did a decent job of stabilizing video. While shooting, the Sigma fp warmed up but never got too hot.

Switching to photo mode, the Sigma fp is quite capable in this area as well. The stills we captured had an excellent amount of detail. The edges around objects had good sharpness, and colors were represented very accurately. Burst mode works very well, and thanks to the electronic shutter, it’s almost silent. Stills captured in low light had good dynamic range and detail. Noise was dealt with very well and colors were well represented.

Close-up shot with Sigma fp: ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/500, 45mm (resized for web, tap to see larger image)

Portrait taken with Sigma fp: ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/100, 45mm (resized for web, tap to see larger image)

Shot using ‘Cinema’ color profile: ISO 160, f/2.8, 1/500, 45mm (resized for web, tap to view larger image)

Low-light shot using Sigma fp: ISO 6,400, f/2.8, 1/50, 45mm (resized for web, tap to see larger image)

With a UHS-II class SD card in the camera, we didn’t have to wait long before burst images were saved. We wish the touchscreen had a little more functionality, because other than using it to shift focus and zoom in on an image in playback mode, it can’t be used to interact with the quick settings or the main menu . We still managed to get by quickly using the two dials, but it would have been nice if there had been an option to use the touchscreen.

HDR is handy for portraits when you need more dynamic range, but HDR photos of people aren’t always great. The skin tone looked a little red, but for the landscape, it wasn’t too bad.

We put the Sigma fp through our ISO test to test how useful the higher ISO levels really are. The camera provided excellent sharpness up to ISO 3,200, at which point, we began to see slight noise and a drop in sharpness. There wasn’t much difference after that until ISO 12,800, where details dropped much.

ISO test (tap to see full size image)

However, the noise level was still pretty much under control. At a maximum native ISO of 25,600 details and textures looked noticeably smooth and sharpness was reduced significantly. Going through the extended ISO range, we noticed that image quality was still salvageable up to ISO 51,200, but going beyond that, it took a huge hit.

Battery life was not the best. When shooting stills only, we were able to get around 220-250 shots per charge, and if we recorded a few 4K video clips in between, that number dropped to around 175 shots. You’ll probably want to have a spare battery handy when shooting. You can also record video when this camera is plugged into an external power source. The bundled USB Type-C charger can fully charge the battery in less than two hours. You can also charge it with a power bank if needed.

Decision

The Sigma fp may sound like a mainstream mirrorless camera, but it is anything but. It is designed to compete with professional-grade cameras such as Blackmagic’s Cinema Pocket series, rather than offerings from Sony or Nikon. FP’s biggest advantage is its size and flexible nature, which makes it easy to fit into any rig or professional setup. Plus, its compatibility with a wide range of lenses is an added bonus. Build quality is excellent, video quality is great, high-ISO performance is solid, and pictures are good too.

Focusing speed and battery life could be better, and if you’re looking for something for more casual use, cameras like the Sony A7 III or Nikon Z6 would be a better choice. However, if you’re looking for a compact camera with cinema-level features for filmmaking, you might find the Sigma fp more appealing.

Price (MRP)

  • Sigma FP – Rs. 2,15,000
  • Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Lens – Rs. 47,500

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