Product pictures by Dan Bracaglia

The Sigma fp L is a high-resolution improvement of the corporate’s compact full-frame interchangeable lens digital camera. It beneficial properties a 61MP BSI CMOS sensor, offering a extra stills-focused platform than the unique fp 24MP L-mount mirrorless digital camera.

Slightly than current classes of cameras, Sigma says it is aimed to make a user-oriented digital camera that is designed to be versatile, adaptable and enjoyable to make use of. The fp L actually is not readily corresponding to different current fashions, however it’s the smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens digital camera available on the market.



Alongside the fp L (actually and figuratively) Sigma has crafted an add-on viewfinder. The EVF-11 connects to the digital camera’s USB and HDMI ports and gives a big, tilting 3.69M dot show. Extra on this, later.

Key Specs:

  • 61MP BSI-CMOS full-frame sensor
  • On-sensor section detection
  • Eye-detect autofocus
  • Compact physique with twin management dials
  • Devoted Stills/Cine swap
  • Full-time silent digital shutter
  • 8-bit UHD 4K/30p video in MOV or CinemaDNG
  • 4K output as as much as 12-bit CinemaDNG to SSD, or Uncooked to exterior recorder

The Sigma fp L will probably be out there in mid-April with an inventory value of $2499. A equipment together with the EVF-11 viewfinder will retail for round $2999.


What’s new…

Section detection autofocus

The fp L additionally beneficial properties on-sensor section detection autofocus, which the fp lacked. As with all section detection methods, this permits the digital camera to calculate how out-of-focus it’s, and therefore how far it must drive the main target. This know-how underpins a few of the quickest and most dependable AF methods we have encountered from different producers, however is not a assure of both of this stuff. The Sigma fp L we’re utilizing just isn’t but remaining, however focus actually appears improved over the unique fp mannequin, exhibiting barely quicker and extra decisive focusing, particularly with smaller AF factors (although there’s nonetheless slightly wobble/searching at instances).

The fp L is the primary Sigma digital camera to supply eye-detection AF
Panasonic Lumix 85mm F1.8 | F2.2 | 1/100 sec | ISO 800
Processed in ACR: WB warmed, publicity, highlights and blacks decreased
Photograph: Erin Carey

The fp L additionally provides eye-detection autofocus, to assist obtain excellent focus when taking pictures portraits and social images. Our preliminary impressions are constructive, with the Sigma detecting eyes even after they’re small within the body.

The fp L additionally has a topic monitoring AF system, which works inside a 7×7 rectangular grid of focus factors. We have not tried it for something critical but, however from our restricted use up to now, it appears to work.

Crop zoom

One of many major methods the fp L makes use of its excessive pixel rely sensor is with its crop zoom mode. This gives a collection of crops from the sensor to supply a tighter angle of view (successfully digital zoom, for those who then view on the identical measurement).

You possibly can set the utmost and minimal area of the sensor the digital camera will use, from full-frame all the way in which all the way down to a ‘Full HD’ (1920 horizontal pixel) crop. These are indicated as 1.Zero to five.0x crops, which take you (for instance) from a 24mm discipline of view as much as round a 153mm equal, when you’ve got a 24mm lens connected.

Naturally, as you crop in, you utilize progressively smaller components of the sensor and, if blown as much as the identical measurement, you will pay an rising value by way of noise for doing so, in addition to decreased decision. Our calculations recommend that the utmost 5.0x zoom will probably be utilizing a sensor area across the measurement of a standard compact digital camera with 2.4MP decision, so it is value contemplating the place to set your limits, and whether or not you’d choose to crop in publish.

New shade modes

Sigma has added two additional shade modes to the fp L: Duotone and Energy Blue. Duotone imposes one in every of ten contrasting shade gradients on the picture, whereas Energy Blue provides a cool, pale tint to the photographs.

These further modes imply there at the moment are 15 shade profiles. Sadly there’s nonetheless no in-camera Uncooked conversion possibility, so you’ll be able to’t change your thoughts about which shade mode you need on your JPEGs, after the very fact.

Composite Low ISO Growth

Maybe fittingly for a digital camera that is prone to lend itself nicely to panorama taking pictures, the fp L has a collection of composite Low ISO settings. These take a collection of exposures and mix them to provide the impact of longer, decrease ISO taking pictures. There is not any movement correction between frames, so you will want a gradual tripod, nevertheless it opens up the choice of utilizing exposures all the way in which all the way down to the equal of ISO 6.

Film seize

On the film facet of issues, the fp L is well-equipped. It could seize 8-bit MOV or 8-bit CinemaDNG recordsdata internally, with resolutions extending as much as UHD 4K at as much as 30p. It is one of many few cameras to shoot true 24p video, in addition to having a 23.97p possibility.

The quantity of care and a spotlight that Sigma has given to video within the fp L is spectacular. Alongside focus peaking and zebras, which have turn out to be fairly normal, the fp L additionally has a waveform show, to assist assess publicity. Moreover, it provides the power to regulate publicity by way of shutter angle, fairly than simply shutter velocity.

The fp L additionally provides its Crop Zoom perform in video mode, letting you shoot 4K in any of 19 crops from the complete width of the sensor all the way in which all the way down to a local 3840 x 2160 area (round a 2.5x crop).

Just like the fp, the place the fp L actually comes into its personal by way of video is if you connect exterior gadgets to it. When you join an exterior SSD you’ll be able to output 10 or 12-bit CinemaDNG Uncooked video. Alternatively, you’ll be able to output a Uncooked video stream over HDMI that may be encoded as both ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Uncooked, relying on the exterior recorder you join (although this seems to be much less detailed than the CinemaDNG footage). Even for those who do not wish to go down the Uncooked video taking pictures route, HDMI output additionally unlocks the choice to output DCI 4K video (the broader, 4096 x 2160 format).

The fp L additionally expands the variety of facet ratios out there within the ‘Director’s Viewfinder’ mode, used to simulate the protection that numerous digital camera methods and their modes will give, had been you to make use of the identical lens on these cameras. This enables using the fp L as a way of previewing framing for administrators utilizing the Sigma alongside professional cinema cameras from Arri, Pink or Sony.

Non-compulsory EVF-11 viewfinder

The EVF-11 (to not be confused with the LVF-11 loupe-style magnifier for the LCD display) is an digital viewfinder that screws into the facet of the fp L’s physique. It requires you to take away the HDMI port cowl and maintain the USB port door open, then plugs into each ports as you screw it on.

It gives a 3.69M-dot OLED finder with a big, snug eyepiece cushion, and it tilts upward at as much as 90 levels. On the facet of the finder is a big LCD/EVF swap, which does precisely what you would possibly count on (there is not any sensor to auto-switch as you convey the digital camera to your eye).

Just under this swap is a 1/4-20 (tripod-style) mounting level, which can be utilized to connect a digital camera strap and beneath this are a headphone socket and USB-C passthrough meaning you’ll be able to proceed to output knowledge to an exterior SSD. Nevertheless, there is not any HDMI pass-through. The microphone enter stays out there because the EVF doesn’t block it.

The rear display of the digital camera continues to function as an AF touchpad if you’re utilizing the finder. It makes use of absolute, fairly than relative, positioning so you will must faucet within the prime left nook of the display to place the AF level on the prime left (fairly than swiping, relative to the purpose’s present place).

The viewfinder will value $699 if bought by itself, however solely provides $500 to the price of the digital camera when purchased as a equipment.

Battery

The fp L makes use of the identical BP-51 battery as the unique fp. It is a 8.7Wh unit that Sigma charges as being good for 240 pictures per cost. This is not so much, particularly for those who’re taking pictures video, however fortunately, the fp L might be operated and charged utilizing energy over its USB-C connector. This enables use for prolonged durations for those who use an exterior energy supply, whether or not that is for taking pictures video or utilizing it as a webcam.

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The way it compares…

The fp L is slightly tough to check to the rest. With no mechanical shutter its excessive decision however sluggish readout sensor finally ends up being slightly limiting by way of what you’ll be able to shoot with it (synthetic lighting dangers banding and any vital motion will probably be distorted by the rolling shutter impact). These identical elements additionally rely in opposition to it by way of its video, even relative to its 24MP sibling.

That stated, it is comfortably the smallest, lightest full-frame digital camera available on the market, and priced decrease than different cameras with such excessive decision output. In conditions the place that is priceless, there’s nothing prefer it.

Sigma fp L Sony a7R IV Sigma fp Sony a7C
MSRP at launch $2499
($2999 w/ EVF)
$3499 $1899 $1799
Pixel rely 61MP 61MP 24MP 24MP
Auto focus Hybrid Hybrid Distinction-detection Hybrid
Shutter kind
  • Mechanical
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
Picture Stabilization Lens solely Sure Lens solely Sure
Viewfinder Non-compulsory
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x magazine.
5.76M-dot OLED fastened
0.78x magazine.
Non-compulsory
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x magazine.
2.36M-dot OLED fastened
0.59x
3.2″ 2.1M dot fastened 3″ 1.44M-dot tilting 3.2″ 2.1M dot fastened 3″ 1.44M-dot tilting
Video inside UHD 4K/30p
FF to 1:1 in 19 steps. 8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35
8-bit gamma encoded
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35.
8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/24p
FF, 30p with 1.2x crop
8-bit gamma encoded
Video exterior DCI 4K/24p
As much as 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Uncooked out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/30p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
DCI 4K/24p
As much as 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Uncooked out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/24p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
Battery score
LCD/EVF
240/- pictures 670/530 pictures 280/- pictures 740 / 680 pictures
Dimensions

113 x 70 x 45 mm

129 x 96 x 78 mm 113 x 70 x 45 mm 124 x 71 x 59 mm
(with finder) 157 x 92 x 56 mm 157 x 92 x 56 mm
Weight 427g (15.1oz) 665g (23.5oz) 422g (14.9oz) 509g (18.0oz)

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Physique and dealing with

The fp L has the identical diminutive physique as its sister mannequin. It is a pretty easy box-shaped design onto which you’ll connect completely different equipment, relying on what you are making an attempt to realize. The brand new viewfinder module considerably will increase the out there choices.

The design makes a variety of use of a big command dial that encircles the shutter button, a second dial on the rear of the digital camera and the QS, AEL and Menu buttons above and beneath it.

The QS menu is a user-customizable fast menu that is navigated by urgent the cardinal factors of the rear dial/four-way controller, with settings being modified by turning both dial.

The menus are a fairly Canon-style affair with pages organized in horizontal tabs. Navigating them additionally makes use of Canon logic: major dial jumps between tabs and the rear dial scrolls up and down. This begins to interrupt down slightly as a number of menu possibility have their very own sub-menus which are very visually much like the top-level menu (they nonetheless present your place in the principle menu construction though you are off in a sub-menu that you want to hit ‘Menu’ to again out of).

However, as soon as you have overcome the sometimes fiddly button/dial interactions (when doubtful, attempt hitting AEL to see if there are extra choices), the fp L is stuffed with well-thought-out little touches. For example, video mode not solely provides a (tiny) waveform show, it additionally permits you to specify publicity by way of shutter angle. Equally there is a good Auto ISO implementation with an ‘auto’ shutter velocity threshold that takes focal size under consideration and might be adjusted to make use of quicker or slower multiples of focal size.

No producer that allows you to pause stay view to regulate the spotlight and shadow response of the tone curve in one in every of its cameras might be accused of missing consideration to element. However slightly extra considered tips on how to get to all these choices would assist. For example, you’ll be able to’t assign Auto ISO shutter velocity threshold to a button, with the outcome that it takes between six and eleven button presses to entry that perform.

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Preliminary impressions

The Sigma fp L actually does not match into any apparent product class. It isn’t a wannabe DSLR for panorama shooters however, with its 61MP sensor, neither is it clearly the video/nonetheless module that the 24MP fp might be.

You possibly can’t fault the fp L for its stage of element seize.
Panasonic Lumix 85mm F1.8 | F8 | 1/160 sec | ISO 100
Picture processed in ACR: straightened and cropped, highlights lifted, shadows decreased.
Photograph: Richard Butler

That the 61MP sensor is not as nicely suited to video as the prevailing 24MP chip simply attracts consideration to the digital camera’s lack of mechanical shutter. The sensor reads out very slowly (round 1/10th of a second in stills mode), which suggests the outcomes are very vulnerable to rolling shutter. This finally ends up having an impression on a variety of what you would possibly wish to do with the digital camera and is prone to find yourself limiting the methods by which the fp L can be utilized (you will see a LOT of banding at quick shutter speeds underneath any synthetic mild).

The viewfinder module provides so much to the fp L’s utility, making it way more useable in brilliant mild, particularly given the fastened rear display. The addition of a headphone socket makes it much more usable, and it is good to see the USB pass-through port meaning you’ll be able to nonetheless report CinemaDNG video to an exterior SSD.

Including the EVF-11 viewfinder offers the digital camera a headphone socket, however takes up the HDMI port and stops you charging the digital camera over USB.

Nevertheless, this USB passthrough does not work for charging or powering the digital camera, because the one on the digital camera’s physique does. Given the digital camera’s fairly restricted battery life, this may very well be an issue. Additionally irritating, the EVF-11 fills the HDMI port, which suggests you’ll be able to’t use an exterior recorder for those who choose ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Uncooked output however nonetheless wish to monitor audio utilizing the headphone socket the EVF-11 gives.

It is good to see that the digital camera’s rear display nonetheless works as a touchpad if you’re trying by means of the viewfinder, nevertheless it was an actual shock to acknowledge how a lot I’ve turn out to be accustomed to eye sensors to activate the viewfinder. Capturing with the fp L left me feeling like I used to be spending half of my time manually switching backwards and forwards between EVF and LCD. Just like the menu system, I am hoping that is one thing I am going to adapt to as soon as I’ve spent extra time with the digital camera.

Do not get your hopes up about that ‘HDMI’ port door. It is simply the storage recess for the port door from the digital camera physique: there’s nothing behind it.

General, the Sigma fp L is an interesting digital camera, filled with intelligent concepts, however I am unable to truthfully say I do know who or what it is for, but. I am hoping it will turn out to be clearer as we spend extra time taking pictures with it, however for now, I am unsure such a sluggish sensor is smart on this digital camera.

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Please don’t reproduce any of those pictures with out prior permission (see our copyright web page). We make the originals out there for personal customers to obtain to their very own machines for private examination or printing (along with this evaluation).

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