Sigma Fp Assessment: A miniature surprise with a deadly flaw
"Mini however highly effective, Sigma Fp is just not afraid to face out by being totally different."
Extremely compact design
Wonderful construct high quality
24MP full body sensor
No mechanical shutter
No built-in viewfinder or shoe
Distinction detection autofocus solely
Poor battery life
Sony. Canon. Nikon. Panasonic. Leica. 5 corporations had been making full-frame mirrorless cameras earlier than Sigma bought into the fray with Fp. It’s a extremely aggressive area. So how can Sigma hope to face out?
Apparently, by constructing a really weird digital camera.
The Sigma Fp is a special breed. Indoors and outside, it doesn’t adhere to the design requirements of different producers. Regardless of this, or due to it, the Fp is without doubt one of the most intriguing cameras available on the market. Relying in your perspective, it's both a miniature surprise or a irritating flop. It’ll attraction to videographers probably the most, however for the needs of this evaluate, I’ll take into account the FP primarily as a digital camera.
The FP can't do many issues that the opposite cameras within the $ 2,000 value vary can. However he may do issues that others can’t do. There isn’t any viewfinder or mechanical shutter, for instance, however it information RAW video and presents a low compute ISO of 6. Sure, ISO 6. This makes it a tough digital camera to evaluate in comparison with its friends, because it doesn’t appear to compete instantly inside its personal value group.
Perhaps he doesn't even have friends, however calling him "unmatched" seems like a too sturdy praise. It’s actually distinctive, and it’s thrilling.
Design and specs
Let me return for a second. It’s not completely honest to say that the Fp doesn’t adhere to any design normal, because it embraces two that permit it to realize a foothold.
Firstly, it makes use of the Leica L mount versus the SA mount from Sigma, which makes it suitable with plenty of Leica and Panasonic lenses along with these of Sigma.
Second, it makes use of a daily 24.6 megapixel Bayer sensor as an alternative of the Foveon X3 chip from earlier Sigma cameras, just like the SD Quattro H. I hope that Foveon's growth will proceed because it presents advantages for some pictures functions, however the swap was essential to provide the Fp such sturdy video capabilities.
The Fp appears and seems like a small, matt black brick. Measuring four.four x 2.6 x 1.Eight inches and weighing a hair beneath 15 ounces, it’s the smallest and lightest full-frame digital camera. Sigma has made sacrifices to achieve this dimension, however not in construct high quality. The digital camera seems like it could survive something apart from a direct nuclear assault. A number of totally different handles can be found to enhance ergonomics.
The germination between the physique and the LCD display screen is a ribbed sample that runs alongside the sting of the digital camera. It’s not a design assertion, however a warmth sink. This retains the digital camera in its optimum temperature vary even when recording lengthy takes of RAW video. Regardless of the uncovered warmth sink, the digital camera is totally waterproof.
Nevertheless, there’s unhealthy information. The Sigma Fp doesn’t have an digital viewfinder, the contact display screen is mounted and the shoe holder is just not built-in, however reasonably a screw-on accent that protrudes from the facet of the digital camera.
I discovered all of this forgivable, however there’s one factor lacking from the FP that can’t be ignored: a mechanical shutter. With out it, the distortion of the digital curler shutter is a continuing risk when panning or capturing fast-moving topics. Worse, which means that the flash sync velocity is restricted to just one/30 second for JPEG and just one/15 for RAW. When you're capturing with flash, whether or not on or off the digital camera, Fp gained't be just right for you.
The truth is, taking a look at its specs, I doubt Sigma wished the Fp to be largely a digital camera. It could possibly take bursts as much as 18 frames per second, however just for 24 frames. It makes use of a contrast-only autofocus system with 49 factors, and it's not a "refined" kind of distinction detection just like the depth of Defocus know-how in Panasonic L-mount cameras. Because of the ultra-compact building, it additionally has a small 1200mAh battery. Sigma doesn’t specify the battery life, however I might not anticipate quite a lot of hundred photographs per cost.
On the video entrance, nevertheless, the information is best. The digital camera information inner RAW video in Adobe CinemaDNG format as much as 24 fps in 4K or 60 fps in Full HD. 4K RAW is restricted to eight bits internally, however 12 bit output by way of USB-C on to an SSD is supported. Full HD might be recorded as much as 12 bits internally. Along with RAW, the Fp may shoot .MOV movies at 440 megabits per second in 4K at 24 or 30 fps, or as much as 100 fps in Full HD.
Some at the moment lacking options are deliberate for a future firmware replace. These embody playback inside CinemaDNG information, RAW output by way of HDMI and a log profile to protect a extra dynamic vary in .MOV recording.
As a video digital camera, the Fp might very nicely be a recreation changer.
Photographing with the Sigma Fp is enjoyable. Paired with the 45mm F2.Eight pancake lens, it appears extra like capturing with a viewfinder than a full-frame mirrorless digital camera. It’s a refreshing expertise, particularly within the L-mount space, the place different cameras identified for his or her bulk (the Lumix S sequence cameras weigh greater than most DSLRs; the Leica SL2 is just not far behind).
In fact, that modifications once you mount a bigger lens on the Fp. Along with the 45mm, I additionally examined the brand new 14-24mm F2.Eight Artwork and 35mm F1.2 Artwork. Though these are a part of the brand new Sigma particular mirrorless "DN" vary, they’re significantly bigger than Fp. The 14-24 is extremely compact for what it’s, far more than the outdated DSLR model, however it's nonetheless heavy. The 35 mm F1.2 is comically massive.
Efficiency is satisfactory, however not wonderful. For portraits and different static topics, auto focus works appropriately. Eye detection gave me exact focus when capturing vast open on the 35mm F1.2. It additionally works nicely in low mild. Sigma says it's good all the way down to -5 EV, however it is dependent upon the quantity of distinction in your topic.
Nevertheless, in comparison with part detection autofocus in cameras from Sony, Canon and Nikon, the Fp is gradual and inconsistent. Fast pictures are subsequently tough.
Ergonomics and autofocus matter much less in video manufacturing. Videographers will love the adaptability of this digital camera to totally different lenses and totally different environments. Extra 1/four inch threads on either side mean you can mount the digital camera on a tripod vertically or connect further equipment on to it. It’s nicely fitted to aerial work, as a result of its mild body ought to make it straightforward to mount on a drone. I think about it can additionally discover use as a crash digital camera. You possibly can stick it anyplace on a automobile and it may very well be sturdy sufficient to outlive the influence.
Whereas Sigma sees this digital camera utilized by everybody, from vloggers to Hollywood administrators, I’ve some hesitation earlier than recommending it to the outdated one. With no flip-down display screen, there's no solution to monitor your self with out an exterior monitor, and steady autofocus gained't be dependable for everybody besides probably the most primary pictures.
Nevertheless, for any manufacturing that has a crew, even a small one, I believe the Fp might be unbelievable. You want just a few equipment to achieve its full potential, together with a quick SSD and an exterior energy answer, however the outcomes are price it.
Picture high quality
For nonetheless pictures, the Fp supplies strong outcomes – with one unlucky exception. The 24MP full-frame sensor is predictably wonderful by way of dynamic vary and excessive ISO efficiency. ISO 6 400 could be very usable, and even the utmost of 25 600 has proven a powerful quantity of noise. In the proper circumstances, you will get nice footage of the Fp.
Nevertheless, there’s a drawback of picture destroy. Along with severely limiting what you are able to do with the flash, the digital shutter creates bands when working indoors beneath fluorescent or LED lighting (see photograph beneath). For a lot of photographers, that is merely a breach of contract. The photo-specific LEDs, just like the Lume Dice panel that I used to light up the picture above, are designed to not flicker and work very nicely.
On the constructive facet, Sigma continues to show itself as a frontrunner in lenses. The 45mm isn't the sharpest on the planet, however as a compact lens, it's not its lens. Artwork 14-24mm and 35mm lenses are stellar. I’ll maintain the in-depth evaluation for their very own critiques, however suffice it to say that for those who're involved in regards to the availability of drink on the L mount, nicely, don't be.
As for video, I'm not set as much as deal with RAW 4K photos. I’ve neither the processing energy nor the cupboard space. Even in Eight-bit, 4K CinemaDNG burns as much as 128 GB in simply 10 minutes. I did just a few brief take a look at clips in 1080p and, wow, the RAW video actually modifications the sport when it is advisable to make publicity or colour changes in submit. 9 occasions out of ten, I might take 12-bit Full HD from Sigma Fp in comparison with compressed Eight-bit 4K from different cameras – however that exhibits some aliasing round sharp particulars, like textual content, the place 4K would have a bonus.
I need to applaud Sigma for not being afraid to attempt one thing totally different. The Fp is much from good, however it's a powerful first step. RAW video constructed into the digital camera, an ultra-compact physique, superior construct high quality and L-shaped versatility are all benefits. A lot of videographers will find it irresistible.
Photographers might be even much less impressed. With no shutter, viewfinder, or different intricacies like part detection autofocus and physique stabilization, there are higher selections, simpler to make use of. If Sigma had been ever to make a "Mark II" model of Fp that addresses a few of these points, I believe it may very well be an actual competitor. Right here's the hope.
Is there a greater different?
Inside the L-mount, the Panasonic Lumix S1 is the closest competitor. It'll price you extra, however it's additionally a whole ready-to-use digital camera that doesn't require further equipment. Nevertheless, it’s a lot bigger and heavier and, even when it information good 4K video, it doesn’t provide RAW video.
Past the L-mount, the Sony A7 III is one other sensible choice. It doesn't have the Fp video chops, however its photograph options are higher, particularly autofocus. As well as, Sigma manufactures all of its DN lenses for the Sony E mount along with the L mount, so that you gained't miss a factor.
How lengthy will it final?
It’s a strong machine, and a bonus of not having a mechanical shutter is that there are only a few issues that might break or put on out. It is best to simply get 5 years of use, if no more, and it appears like Sigma plans to maintain it updated with firmware updates.
Do you have to purchase it?
No, not for nonetheless pictures. Video is one other story, however the preferrred use of Sigma is a distinct segment.