There have been a lot of new camera announcements and releases over the past year, but perhaps none more interesting than Sigma's brand new mirrorless FP. It offers some of the most unique and innovative features we've seen in a long time, including 12-bit raw features – an important reason why I took the plunge and pre-ordered one myself.
As soon as the camera actually arrives – probably in the next 1 to 2 weeks – I will publish some of my test shots along with a written review. At the moment, however, I want to share some of my buying decisions with those of you who may be considering it.
For some time now I have been looking for a camera that could fill a gap in my kit. At the top I have mine Arri Alexa Plus 4: 3 This is great for larger productions, but too big and too heavy for smaller run-and-gun shots. For medium-sized narrative and commercial productions, I mainly shot on Blackmagic URSA minis that are fantastic, but too big (physically) for some of my much smaller productions.
Therefore, I needed a tool for these small projects like spontaneous short films, recordings, website content or anything else that I might have to do myself.
Until recently, my favorite camera for this kind of thing was the Fuji X-T2 (which I love), but it was sold a few months ago to improve the X-T3.
Before I actually bought an X-T3, the Sigma FP landed on my radar and was hard to ignore. Like the X-T3, it offers excellent image quality and a small footprint – but some of the FP's extra bells and whistles were too tempting to do without.
The safest bet would have been to stay with Fuji, but in the spirit of experimenting with something new and unique, I pulled the trigger when I pre-ordered.
I will definitely miss these beautiful Fuji colors (and maybe return to Fuji someday), but now I am looking forward to seeing what the FP is really capable of … Especially with these specifications / highlights –
- Full screen sensor
- Extremely small height
- Directors seeker mode
- Raw internal (4K / 8bit HD / 12bit) and external 12bit
- Still / movie modes
- Up to 120 fps at 1080p
- Extended ISO up to 102400
- L Assemble
For many filmmakers, the FP's full-frame sensor will be a big selling point. Although there are already some popular mirrorless FF cameras (like the Sony A7R IV), this market segment is still relatively underserved. The FP will certainly be a welcome addition and a great alternative for many filmmakers and hybrid shooters.
Personally, full frame has never been a big selling point for me, so this was not a real variable in my decision-making process. I am sure that I will benefit from the additional DOF control and low light sensitivity, but if the camera had a Super 35mm sensor or ever an MFT, I would still be interested.
The biggest advantages for me were the form factor and the raw data. My ideal camera is small, light and portable with a professional picture quality that can compete with a real cinema camera. It is a big task, but I hope that the FP at least comes close … On paper, this is certainly the case.
The camera can output 12-bit 4K-CinemaDNG-Raw on an external drive or record 4K-CinemaDNG-Raw internally on SD cards in 8-bit. Set to Full HD (1080p), the FP can also capture 12 bits internally.
Just a few years ago, it was difficult to imagine such specifications for a small mirrorless body. But Sigma did it, with a clear goal for professional filmmakers.
If anything tells us who Sigma's target customer for this camera is, it's the director's viewfinder. In this way, filmmakers can use the camera (with a magnifying glass) as a professional viewfinder on the set to facilitate the selection of images and lenses. It has presets for many different professional cinema cameras (like the Arri Alexa) and automatically replicates the field of view of these cameras for you.
This versatility makes the FP child's play even for large productions … Not only for the viewfinder function, but also for taking photos, taking photos behind the scenes or even for use as a B-Cam.
Another thing I love about the camera is its minimalist design and ease of use. A single button on the top of the camera toggles the FP between still and cinema modes, making the transition from capturing videos to photos easier.
There is a lot of power under the hood, most of which can be accessed via the touchscreen. The body itself is just a box that is designed for minimalism and of which I am a fan.
The less intrusive a camera is, the better. Especially in this case, where the goal is to benefit from the small form factor and to remain inconspicuous.
Sigma opted for an L-mount for this camera, which was a wise decision. Because the flange distance is so short, lenses from virtually any other mount (including EF and PL) can be easily adapted to the camera. I'll pick up some adapters soon, but I'll also use the native 45mm L-mount lens that comes with the camera.
Price at $ 2199 This is a pretty solid proposition for both the camera body and the 45mm lens. The camera can also be purchased individually for $ 1899.
It's hard to know exactly what you can expect from the entire camera / lens package because everything is so new. But based on the previous specifications and where Sigma obviously seems to be focusing, I'm very optimistic.
As soon as the camera arrives and I have the opportunity to work on some test shots and real productions, I will report on it with a more thorough review.
Let me know your first impressions of the Sigma FP in the comments below!
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Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!