Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sigma fp L
Resolution: 61.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 6 - 102,400
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 sec
Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8 in.
(113 x 70 x 45 mm)
Weight: 15.1 oz (427 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $2,499
Availability: 04/2021
Manufacturer: Sigma
Full specs: Sigma fp L specifications

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Sigma fp L Review -- Now Shooting!

by Jeremy Gray
Originally posted: 03/25/2021

Updates:
05/21/2021: First Shots added
05/26/2021: Field Test & Gallery Images added

Click here to jump to our in-depth Sigma fp L Product Overview.

 

Sigma fp L Field Test

The Sigma fp L is a compact and unusual camera that doesn't quite hit the mark 

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 05/26/2021

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 640.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

While Sigma's lens business often focuses on making traditional lenses, with a few exceptions, its camera business is another story altogether. Sigma's lens operations play it a bit safe, to great success, as their lenses are among the best available. Sigma's cameras, on the other hand, range from slightly odd to simply strange. This is not necessarily a knock on Sigma; rather, I think it may reflect a desire to think outside the box within their design the team. Innovation is to be applauded, although there's an inherent risk to changing the formula.

Rather than employ the interesting APS-C or APS-H Foveon sensors of yesteryear, Sigma's fp series opts instead for traditional Bayer-type CMOS image sensors, this time of the full-frame variety. While the image sensor may be more 'normal' than Sigma's past offerings, the camera surrounding the image sensor is as delightfully distinct as ever. The fp, and now the fp L, employ a boxy, incredibly compact and modular design. It's an unusual camera, and that's both good and bad in real-world use.

Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 65mm, f/4, 1/320s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Despite being physically identical to the fp, the new fp L has a few key differences inside. The camera uses a 61-megapixel full-frame image sensor, an improved hybrid autofocus system and several new photo and video features. Do these new features pay dividends? Is the Sigma fp L an enjoyable camera to use? Perhaps as importantly, is it a powerful photographic tool? Let's find out.

Sigma fp L Key Features and Specs

  • Compact full-frame mirrorless camera
  • World's smallest and lightest full-frame camera
  • Uses L-mount
  • Scalable, modular design
  • Weather-sealed construction
  • Compatible with EVF-11 electronic viewfinder
  • 61-megapixel backside-illuminated Bayer image sensor
  • Native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 50-102,400
  • Hybrid autofocus system with contrast-detect and on-sensor phase-detect AF
  • Face/eye detect autofocus
  • 4K UHD video at up to 29.97p
  • Full HD video at up to 59.94p
  • Supports 3 RAW video formats
  • Includes videographer-friendly features like time code, waveform display and zebra patterns
  • 240-shot battery life
  • USB charging while shooting
  • Electronic shutter only
  • $2,500 body only (without optional grip or EVF)
Panasonic 70-200mm f/2.8 OIS LUMIX S PRO lens at 86mm, f/2.8, 1/30s, ISO 800.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Sigma fp L body and design: Compact, lightweight but not that enjoyable to use

The most immediate thing you'll notice with the fp L is that it's remarkably compact for a full-frame camera. The fp L is 4.4" (112.6mm) wide, 2.8" (69.9mm) tall and 1.8" (45.3mm) deep. The design is boxy, so there's not much to hold onto without an optional grip. I used the optional grip accessory almost exclusively, as it makes the camera significantly more comfortable to hold. It does add a bit of size and weight, plus an extra $100 to the bill, but it's worth it, in my opinion.

The Sigma fp L is a very compact, boxy and stylish camera. It is also ruggedly-built and has a very weighty, solid feel in the hands.

You'll notice that the fp L doesn't have an electronic viewfinder, which is an optional add-on, and one I'd highly recommend. Granted, at $600, the new EVF-11 is another expensive add-on. You can save $100 by purchasing the EVF-11 in a bundle with the fp L. The EVF-11 attaches to the side of the fp L and connects to the camera via a small USB port and USB-C. I'll tell you that I had a terrible time getting the EVF to quickly mount onto the fp L. It was just a finicky, annoying process. This is especially annoying because charging the camera via USB-C requires a direct connection into the camera, and not the USB-C port on the EVF.

The touchscreen doesn't tilt and there's no built-in viewfinder, which impacts the usability of the fp L straight out of the box.

Once attached, however, it was a good EVF experience. The EVF tilts upward, which is awesome and very useful, especially given that the camera's LCD doesn't move. The 0.5"-type 3.68M-dot OLED panel is sharp, clear and easy to use. However, a big annoyance with it is that there's a dedicated switch to go between the EVF and LCD. There's not a built-in eye sensor, which feels like an odd omission in 2021. It took a while to get used to hitting the switch when I wanted to use the LCD and vice versa. On the plus side, you can still use the touchscreen as an AF touchpad while using the EVF.

With the EVF attached and the grip affixed to the fp L, it becomes a much more usable, enjoyable camera. However, at this point, it's no longer smaller or lighter than some competing full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Speaking of the LCD, it's a mixed bag. The 3.15" display has 2.1M dots and looks great. It's sharp and vibrant. However, it's a fixed display (for good reasons, I'm sure), limiting the fp L's usability, especially if you don't have the tilting EVF-11. Being able to tilt a display may not seem like a big deal in and of itself. Still, after using many cameras with tilting and even fully articulating displays, you get used to the flexibility afforded by a tilting screen. The touchscreen capability of the fp L's display works, but not that well. It's not responsive in general, but especially not when using the display to move the autofocus point around. There aren't many AF points to choose from, only 49, and it still felt nearly impossible sometimes to select the desired area of the frame to place the autofocus area.

Because the display doesn't tilt, the tilting EVF feature is a really important when working on a tripod.

The somewhat unresponsive LCD wouldn't be a big issue, except that there's no dedicated joystick or controller input for moving the autofocus point. You must go through a few steps to be able to move the autofocus area using the rotating directional pad on the back of the fp L.

The lack of an AF controller isn't because the fp L has limited buttons. Every area of the camera is being used for something. To the right of the LCD are AEL, QS (quick settings) and Menu buttons, in addition to the rotating controller with the center select button. Beneath the LCD are playback, display, tone, color and mode buttons. The same is true for the top of the camera. There's a power switch, cine/still mode switch, dedicated record button, command dial and shutter release. The command dial feels good when rotating, and the shutter release feels quite nice as well.

The top of the fp L is pretty well-designed. The shutter release has a good feel and the command dial works well.

Despite its small stature, the camera feels very rugged and solid. It has a high-end feel, which is good given its price point. The camera is constructed using an aluminum alloy, which not only offers good rigidity and a lightweight design but also has significant thermal advantages as well.

There's no question that the fp L has some annoying quirks regarding its design and usability. At times, it was frustrating to use, and I was routinely slowed down while shooting. However, there's great strength in its expandable design. The camera without add-ons is very compact and lightweight, which is excellent, but it can also be built out and customized to suit your needs or shooting style to some degree.

This is how the fp L looked during much of my time with the camera. It's the best setup for usability, but it does result in a camera that isn't particularly compact or lightweight.

Image quality: An impressive 61MP image sensor

The image sensor is a key area of differentiation between the fp and the fp L. With its 61-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, the fp L's images have significantly more resolution than the 24.6-megapixel fp. While I eagerly await the release of a full-frame Foveon image sensor which is still in development, by the way the Bayer-type sensor in the fp L offers great image quality. It delivers sharp, vibrant images, both in raw DNG format and straight-from-the-camera JPEG files.

Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 35mm, f/8, 1/3s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The native ISO range is 100-25,600, which is expandable to ISO 6-102,400. This is the same ISO range as the fp despite the large rift in megapixel count and pixel density. At high ISO settings, such as ISO 6400, which is fairly high for a 61-megapixel camera, the fp L produces impressive images.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 210mm, f/5.5, 1/640s, ISO 6400.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 6400.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

In terms of dynamic range and raw file flexibility, the fp L excels here, too. It's easy to pull many highlight and shadow details back from the fp L's DNG files. It's also easy to get a bit more detail, pump up colors and tweak settings to your taste without introducing banding, artifacts or other image quality issues.

Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 35mm, f/8, 0.8s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 35mm, f/6.3, 1/125s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Autofocus and performance:

Lackluster autofocus holds the fp L back in real-world shooting situations

The Sigma fp offered only contrast-detect autofocus, which was an area of concern for photographers. The fp L adds phase-detect AF, making it a hybrid autofocus system. However, what is an improvement on paper doesn't translate to great autofocus in real-world shooting.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 1250.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Many modern cameras, especially ones aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, deliver great autofocus. While some cameras are faster or have better AF features, nearly every camera is at least good. Regretfully, I can't say the same about the Sigma fp L. I used the camera with three L mount Sigma lenses and two Panasonic lenses and in no case was the autofocus swift, nor especially accurate and decisive.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 296mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 800.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Continuous autofocus performance with the fp L is not good. There were numerous occasions when the camera indicated that focus had been acquired, only for me to later look at the images on my computer and see that they weren't in focus. This happened with stationary and moving subjects alike.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 800.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

In general, the autofocus area, when using single-point autofocus, feels imprecise and indecisive. When trying to focus on a smaller subject or small portion of a subject, the fp L often gets stuck on the background. This proved challenging when trying to photograph wildlife. I will note that the face and eye-detect autofocus worked reasonably well.

For more accurate autofocus and a better overall experience, AF-S works well. It's not sufficient for certain moving subjects, of course, but it works considerably better than continuous autofocus and delivers more accurate results.

Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 65mm, f/2, 1/500s, ISO 2500.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

I didn't shoot with the Sigma fp and its contrast-detect autofocus system, so I cannot speak to what improvement, or lack thereof, the Sigma fp L's hybrid AF system represents. However, I can say that the fp L's autofocus system is not impressive, especially when considering continuous autofocus and overall usability in the field.

Performance is okay, but the battery life is not

The Sigma fp L can shoot at up to 10 frames per second, which while slower than the fp, is plenty fast for many situations. However, the buffer depth holds the camera back, as you can record only about a dozen 14-bit DNG frames before the camera slows down from its maximum speed.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 500.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

In use, the camera can sometimes feel a bit sluggish. For example, powering on the camera to begin shooting takes a bit longer than I'm used to, and image playback can feel laggy. Playing back images also doesn't have a great look at first, as the camera has to 'catch up,' so to speak, to display a high-quality image.

Menu organization and navigation are good overall, but the touchscreen functionality is a bit iffy, especially when trying to work with smaller elements in the menu system. I like that the camera offers direct access to its Quick Settings menu and Tone and Color settings. The camera has 15 Color Modes, by the way, and many of them look great. Colors and tones can be fine-tuned as well, making it easy to get the look you want straight out of the camera.

Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 35mm, f/11, 4s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Battery life is not a strong suit of the fp L. The battery is rated for only 240 shots, and I'm not sure I was even getting this. Granted, I had the EVF attached, which would represent some level of power draw. I had a second battery on hand, so I was prepared, and I'd recommend prospective fp L customers pick up a spare battery. The battery compartment, which also has the SD card slot, is on the bottom of the camera. A cool thing about the optional grip attachment is that while it covers the bottom of the camera, there's a hole so that you can still access the battery compartment without removing the grip.

There's plenty of room through the bottom of the add-on grip to access the battery compartment and UHS-II SD card slot on the bottom of the camera.

The fp L's overall performance is definitely mixed. The camera can record short bursts of action, assuming focus isn't an issue. The camera offers direct access to some important settings, and the menu is well-organized, albeit a bit slow to navigate at times. And, I wish the battery life were better.

Video: Lots of nice video features

While video is not my area of focus, it's clear to see that the fp L has a lot going for it as a video camera. The fp L records 4K UHD video at up to 29.97p and Full HD video at up to 120p. The camera supports 12-bit Cinema DNG, displays shutter angle, has time code support, waveform display, zebras, is expandable, and has a director's viewfinder function, which allows you to simulate the framing of other select cinema cameras.

4K video quality is impressive with the fp L. Video looks sharp and vibrant. Autofocus is a bit of an issue when recording video, which isn't terribly surprising, but the camera does offer great manual focus features. The clips in the sample video below were all shot at 23.97fps using manual shutter speed and aperture with automatic ISO.

Sigma fp L 4K video compilation - 3840 x 2160 at 23.97 frames per second.
Download edited video (576.7 MB .MP4 File)

Shooting experience: Not my cup of tea

I'm sure that some people may view the Sigma fp L as a video camera, not a stills camera. However, that's not how Sigma markets the fp L. It's positioned as a camera well-suited to both stills and video applications. I agree that it works well for video, although the electronic shutter can have some issues with rolling shutter. I do not consider the fp L to be a strong stills camera.

All cameras have relative strengths and weaknesses. Even something like the $6,500 Sony A1, a Swiss Army Knife of a camera, can be bested in certain ways by other cameras. What's unfortunate about the fp L is that it feels like a camera bested by other cameras in multiple ways.

Panasonic 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 MACRO OIS LUMIX lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The fp L is super compact and light. That's great. But its size advantage comes at the cost of a built-in EVF, a tilting touchscreen and good physical controls. The fp L introduces hybrid AF to the fp series, but it's slow and indecisive.

Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 65mm, f/8, 1/8s, ISO 1000.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

An area where the fp L excels is image quality. The 61-megapixel image sensor produces high-resolution, vibrant images with great flexibility and overall performance. Dynamic range, high ISO performance, all of it, it delivers when it comes to the actual photos. It's the process of capturing the images that can be frustrating with the fp L.

This is part of the reason why I believe that the fp L is probably best suited for slow-paced shooting situations, where fast AF and an agile user experience aren't needed. Capturing landscapes with the fp L is great. The camera's lightweight design is great here, too. You only need a small bag for the fp L and some lenses.

Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 65mm, f/8, 1/13s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Sigma fp L Field Test Summary

When stripped down to its basics, the fp L loses something important

What I like most about the fp L

  • Very compact and lightweight without the optional accessories
  • Excellent image quality
  • Expandable system
  • Good video quality when rolling shutter isn't present
Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 65mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

What I dislike about the fp L

  • Without the EVF and grip, the camera isn't comfortable to use
  • Even with these accessories, it's not an enjoyable camera to use
  • Poor autofocus performance, especially continuous AF
  • Electronic-only shutter can be problematic
  • Sub-par performance and battery life

I've written a lot of camera reviews in the last six years. I've used cameras that cost only a few hundred dollars, cameras that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and everything in between. The Sigma fp L isn't quite like any of them, both in good ways and bad.

The Sigma fp concept strips a camera down to its basic components, allowing the user to decide how to build it back up, if at all. It's a nice idea in principle, but I'm not convinced it's a good idea in practice. The fp L loses something important in this process. It's not an easy camera to work with. It can be very frustrating to use, and simply put, it's often not fun.

Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens at 35mm, f/8, 1s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Where the camera does perform well, however, is when you can slow down and enjoy the great image quality the 61MP image sensor provides. The fp L may not be great for shooting action, but it can perform very well in some situations.

 

• • •

 

Sigma fp L Product Overview

by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 03/25/2021

Sigma has announced the Sigma fp L full-frame mirrorless camera. The fp L is the world's smallest and lightest 61-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera. The fp L has the same form factor as the Sigma fp and looks identical. However, the internals are different. The fp L incorporates a new high-resolution image sensor, an improved hybrid autofocus system, additional features for photo and video, and more.

Sigma fp L Key Features

  • Compact full-frame mirrorless camera
  • World's smallest and lightest full-frame camera
  • Uses L-mount
  • Scalable design
  • Weather-sealed camera body
  • Compatible with EVF-11 electronic viewfinder
  • 61-megapixel backside-illuminated Bayer image sensor
  • Native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 6 -102,400
  • Hybrid autofocus system with contrast-detect and on-sensor phase-detect AF
  • Face/eye detect autofocus
  • 4K UHD video at up to 30p
  • Full HD video at up to 120p
  • Supports 3 RAW video formats
  • Includes videographer-friendly features like time code, waveform display and zebra patterns
  • 240-shot battery life
  • USB charging while shooting
  • Electronic shutter only

Sigma fp L body and design: Like the fp, the fp L is remarkably compact and lightweight

The Sigma fp L, like the fp, is a tiny and lightweight full-frame camera. The fp L has the same dimensions as its sibling. It's 4.4" (112.6mm) wide, 2.8" (69.9mm) tall and is 1.8" (45.3mm) deep. With its battery and an SD card inserted, the fp L weighs 15.1 oz. (427g), which is 5g heavier than the fp.

The fp L is weather-sealed at 42 points. Despite robust weather sealing, the camera promises a strong thermal design. The camera includes a dedicated heat sink between the image sensor and the 3.15" rear touchscreen display. Looking at the rear of the fp L, the display takes up much of the camera's rear aluminum alloy panel. Beneath the screen are five buttons: playback, view mode, Tone, Color and Mode. To the right of the display are AEL, Quick Select and Menu buttons, plus a rotating control dial.

The L-mount takes up much of the space on the front of the camera. The top deck includes a power switch, a Cine/Still mode switch, dedicated record button, shutter release and control dial. Like the fp, the fp L includes dedicated user interfaces for stills and video.

The rectangular fp L is designed for significant expandability. The camera is compatible with many optional accessories, including an attachable hot shoe unit to allow for flash use, an LCD viewfinder, base plate, hand grip and more, including a new EVF-11 attachment.

The EVF-11, which is also compatible with the fp, is a new high-resolution OLED EVF. The EVF-11 has a 0.5" display with 3.68M dots and 0.83x magnification. Of the new electronic viewfinder, Sigma says, 'SIGMA's attention to detail is evident in the EVF-11's tilting mechanism, expandability with external accessories, and highly functional user interface, which is designed to ensure convenience and comfort during use.' The EVF-11 can tilt upward 90. The EVF-11 also includes a USB Type-C port, allowing users to record to an SSD using the EVF-11.

Sigma fp L shooting features: 61-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor, hybrid autofocus and more

One of the primary differences between the Sigma fp and the new fp L is the image sensor. The fp L uses a 61-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, up from the 24.6-megapixel sensor found in the fp. Like the fp, the fp L's sensor is Bayer pattern, meaning that fans hoping for a full-frame Foveon image sensor will have to wait longer. According to Sigma, the 61MP sensor includes a built-in optical low-pass filter to help reduce moiré and aliasing artifacts.

The sensor has a native ISO range of 100-25,600, which is expandable to ISO 6-102,400. This is the same native and expandable ISO range as the fp despite the vast difference in megapixel count between the two cameras.

Using the dedicated 'Color' button on the rear of the fp L, users can access a total of 15 Color Modes, including a pair of new ones: Powder Blue and Duotone. The full list of Color Modes is as follows: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Teal and Orange, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue, FOV Classic Yellow, Monochrome, Powder Blue and Duotone. You can also fine-tune the camera's tone curve using the 'Tone' button.

The fp L includes numerous special features for both stills and video. The camera includes in-camera RAW processing, the ability to pull stills from video files, Cinemagraph functionality, HDR for stills and video and more.

The Sigma fp L's 61-megapixel image sensor allows for much more cropping than the 24.6-megapixel sensor in the fp. Using the fp L's touchscreen, you can pinch/expand to control digital zoom, much like how you zoom in on a photo on a smartphone. The fp L allows digital zoom up to 5x, turning an attached prime lens into a zoom lens.

The new image sensor comes with a new autofocus system. The fp L uses a hybrid autofocus system rather than the contrast-detect AF found in the fp. The fp L has on-sensor phase-detect autofocus points, which will hopefully result in overall better autofocus performance. The user can control the autofocus system across 49 AF points, as was the case with the fp. Like the fp, the fp L's AF system is rated to work down to -5 EV. The fp L includes face/eye detect, tracking autofocus, AF+MF, MF assist, and magnified AF.

Like the fp, the fp L includes only an electronic shutter. This allows the camera to maintain its compact form, and it means that the camera is always shooting silently. The shutter speed range is 30s to 1/8000s, plus a bulb mode. Due to its electronic shutter, the maximum flash sync is 1/30s on the fp, which is unimpressive, but it's even worse with the fp L at 1/15s.

The increase in resolution results in a decrease in burst performance, as well. The fp L can record at up to 10 frames per second, down from 18 with the fp. At its maximum speed of 10 fps, the fp L can record a dozen 14-bit DNG frames, the same as the fp.

Available metering modes include evaluative, spot and center-weighted average. The metering range remains at -5 EV to 18 EV. When recording still images, +/- 5 EV exposure compensation is available. When shooting video, the range decreases slightly to +/- 3 EV. In addition to in-camera HDR functionality, 3-frame and 5-frame exposure bracketing options are available.

The fp L has a new save/load settings feature. You can save custom camera settings, which isn't unusual, but the fp L can save settings as a QR code, allowing you to load various settings quickly and easily. You can also exchange QR codes with other fp L users, allowing photographers and videographers alike to try out each other's settings.

The Sigma fp and fp L both can be easily turned into a webcam, as well. Using just a USB-C cable, you can use the fp L as a webcam with your PC. The fp L supports USB charging while the camera is in use. You can change settings when the camera is connected, including exposure compensation, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and Color Mode. The Hybrid AF promises impressive tracking performance as well.

Video: Sigma fp L is a very expandable cinema camera

Like the fp, the fp L is well-suited to video applications. The fp L can record DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24p (only with RAW output via HDMI) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at 23.98p, 24p, 25p and 29.97p frame rates. 4K/60p video remains unavailable. When recording Full HD video, you can shoot at 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 48p, 50p, 59.94p, 100p and 119.98p. There is an automatic crop at 100p and 120p frame rates of 1.67x, which is not the case with the fp.

The fp L can record 4K UHD video in 12-bit CinemaDNG format at up to 24p. The camera also shoots 8-bit and 10-bit CinemaDNG, in addition to MOV H.264 video. The camera has a built-in stereo mic that records 16-bit 48kHz audio, plus you can plug in a microphone. The fp and fp L don't have a dedicated headphone output. However, the new EVF-11 includes one, which is a great addition.

The fp L includes a director's viewfinder function. This allows you to simulate the framing of other cinema cameras, including models from Arri, Sony and RED. Being a capable cinema camera, the fp L can also display the camera's shutter angle, and it includes time code, waveform and zebra pattern features.

Compared to the fp, there aren't many differences in terms of video features. However, there are some minor changes. While the overall ISO range remains the same, the fp L when recoding CinemaDNG video at 12-bit is ISO 1250, rather than ISO 3200. Further, the 8-bit and 10-bit RAW video ISO has shifted from 640 to 250. We expect that the new autofocus system will have advantages when recording video with the fp L as well, but we won't know for sure until we go hands-on with the new camera.

Ports, Power and Accessories

The Sigma fp L includes USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI Type D and cable release/microphone ports. This camera, like the fp, doesn't include a built-in hot shoe, requiring an optional accessory to use flash. The fp L uses the same BP-51 lithium-ion battery, although the new sensor has increased power demands, decreasing the battery life from 280 images to 240 images. In video terms, the battery life has decreased from 70 minutes to 60 minutes. That said, the fp L can be charged while in use, something that the fp is unable to do.

Pricing and availability

The Sigma fp L will cost $2,499 USD (body only) when it launches in mid-April. A bundle with the new EVF-11 will also be available for $2,999. The EVF-11 will be sold separately for $699 and can be used with the Sigma fp after the camera receives an upcoming firmware update.

Sigma fp L vs Sigma fp

There are many similarities between the Sigma fp and fp L, including many of its features and specs. However, there are some key differences worth summarizing. The biggest change comes in the form of the new 61-megapixel image sensor. This image sensor significantly outclasses the Sigma fp's 24.6-megapixel sensor in terms of resolving power. In terms of image size, the fp L can record 9,520 x 6,328 images, while the fp tops out at 6,000 x 4,000.

The fp L's new sensor also includes on-sensor phase-detect autofocus, making the fp L a hybrid AF camera, whereas the fp offers only contrast-detect autofocus. There's no change in overall autofocus features, but we expect the fp L to deliver faster autofocus and potentially better subject tracking as well for both stills and video. Time will tell.

With respect to video, overall features are the same in terms of resolution, frame rate and RAW video recording capabilities. However, the fp L records with a 1.67x crop when shooting Full HD video at 100p and 120p frame rates, something the fp doesn't do. This is the case whether you're recording internally to the SD card or using an external recorder.

Overall shooting modes and features remain the same, overall, although the fp L does add a couple of new Color Modes and the ability to save and load camera settings using a QR code. It's possible the new Powder Blue and Duotone Color Modes will be added to the fp via firmware update, however, so that's something we're going to be looking into.

Both the fp and fp L include an electronic image stabilization system. However, whereas the fp can use its IS when recording all video, the fp L can only stabilize video shot at 59.94p or less.

The higher resolution sensor has an impact on maximum shooting speed. The fp L shoots at up to 10 fps, while the fp shoots at up to 18 fps. In both cases, when shooting at maximum speed the buffer depth is only 12 frames, so neither camera is particularly well-suited to action photography. The new sensor also has a slower maximum flash sync speed: 1/15s vs 1/30s.

Power demands have increased with the new image sensor, which reduces the rated battery life from 280 images to 240 images (70 minutes to 60 minutes of video). However, the fp L has an ace up its sleeve; you can charge the camera via USB while using it, something that's impossible with the fp.

 

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