First look at the Sigma FP pocket camera
Granted, it’s not much of a pocket camera once you stick one of those L mount Art series lenses on it, but the Sigma FP is still a pretty tiny camera. It represents Sigma’s first L mount camera in the Sigma/Leica/Panasonic alliance announced at Photokina 2018. It’s not quite the full-frame Foveon beast we hoped for, but it still looks pretty good.
We caught up with Sigma at PhotoPlus 2019 to find out more about the Sigma FP and what it can do.
The Sigma FP is the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. To get that small size, it lacks one or two of the common features we’d expect to see in a digital camera, like a viewfinder, but it’s still quite a powerful little camera.
It houses a 24.6-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor with a Bayer filter array, rather than the Foveon sensor that many were expecting, but this choice of sensor offers speed benefits that Foveon traditionally hasn’t been able to offer. Benefits such as 18 frames per second continuous shooting, 4K video and 1080p HD video up to 120 frames per second.
One thing that Sigma has done with the FP, which is rare for camera companies, is that they’ve released the 3D models for the camera body so that other manufacturers can develop 3rd party products that fit around it. Things like cages, grips and other accessories. This is primarily for the video shooters, rather than stills photographers, and when it comes to video, the Sigma FP is actually capable of shooting 12-Bit Cinema DNG RAW to an external SSD.
A pretty cool feature of the Sigma FP is that it features multiple 1/4-20″ threaded sockets. There’s the usual one underneath for mounting your tripod, but there’s one on each side of the camera, too, which you can use to add a larger grip, for those who prefer the feel of a larger camera, or a hotshoe accessory. Or, you can just attach your camera strap using them, too.
Another somewhat unique feature of the Sigma FP is that it can also act as a webcam for live streaming. You just need to plug in a Type-C USB cable and your computer sees it like any other video capture device, negating the need for capture devices like the Elgato Cam Link or the new Blackmagic Atem Mini.
The Sigma FP also negates the need to use ND filters, to a degree. When you’re shooting video, you often have to add ND over the lens in order to bring the exposure down so that you can shoot wide apertures in bright light when you’re limited by your shutter speed. For stills, we add ND in order to get those really long exposures to capture motion in our scene.
The Sigma FP ISO goes all the way down to 6. Yes, SIX. That’s five whole stops below ISO200 and seven stops below the usual video standard of ISO800. If you’re shooting at f/1.4 in Texas at noon, then you might still need one or two stops of ND, but for most uses, you can probably ditch those ND filters completely.
It’s a very interesting little camera, and I hope I get the chance to have a good play with one at some point. I’m curious to see Sigma’s take on a Bayer sensor camera, and just how good the quality is on that Cinema DNG video.
The Sigma FP is available to buy now for $1,899 and is already shipping.
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John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.