The fp L is a SIGMA’s upgraded step up from the fp, which was geared towards cinematographers, however the body looks the same, the fp L should up the game for still photographers and take the experience to a new level. The SIGMA fp L is one of the smallest and lightest (427 grams) full-frame mirror less cameras in the market, and it packs a 35mm full-frame 61 megapixel Bayer sensor as well.
It uses a hybrid auto focus system with on sensor phase-detect AF, also face and eye detect AF, and three metering systems (evaluative, spot and center-weighted average).
There are many control points directly on the camera and plenty of color profiles (15 of them!) from Standard (Portrait, Landscape, Vivid, etc.) to Creative (Teal and Orange, Powder Blue, Duo tone, etc.) with further options to fine-tune them. The battery life is good and only for about 240 photos on average – might be a good idea to have a second one on hand.
The camera’s controls consist of buttons, switches and dials. At the top are the Power and the Cine to Still switches and the Record button is next to the control dial.
The buttons on the back side of the camera can all be customized, and when I set up the camera that’s exactly what I did. Since I prefer to adjust curve and tone in post-processing, I dedicated the Tone button to Crop Zoom while using the 45mm f2.8 lens.
Few things to note about the Crop Zoom feature is that the amount you can zoom depends on the image size. It’s fixed unless the Image Size is set on Auto, and if the image size is 9.5K then the full frame is used and the Crop Zoom feature isn’t available. However at that size, tight cropping in post-process shouldn’t be a problem.
The rear dial of the SIGMA fp L is used for exposure compensation while shooting. Click it up or down to select different focus points and program modes. The Quick Selection button is easy, if a little cumbersome. Still, this is not an action camera. A lot of effort goes into setting up a shot, and once my preferred settings are in, it’s nice to customize the Menu button for something else altogether.
Let go Step by step
1. SIGMA offers the electronic EVF-11 as an accessory that attaches to the left side of the body, covering up some of the other features when it’s attached, but I can’t do without it.
2. The rectangular body is a flat and smooth little box, there is no obvious way to hold the camera. With no place to get a good hold without resting the bottom of the camera. But what is sacrificed in ergonomics is made up for in size, and if I were shooting at a museum or trying to maintain a lower than low profile, I would use the camera with a lens as-is.
While outside taking the large grip choice from the two available models. Once it's attached a lens, the view finder and the grip, seems like a bulkier camera, kind of defeating the purpose of the design, but still remarkably light and usable. Attaching the EVF is a little wonky; it takes some fiddling, but it’s stable once it’s attached and tightened. Unfortunately, even if you don’t prefer a viewfinder, the rear screen is fixed making it difficult for you to use. The EVF-11 tilts 90 degrees, so it could save me if I’m using a tripod and find myself in a tight space.
It’s quite different working with an electronic viewfinder. The camera does have all kinds of bells and whistles on focusing but I tend to rely more on my eye than the camera.
The camera is very light, but once a lens is attached it feels solid. The grip is secure and there is no problem removing the battery or the SD card with the grip attached. There is a hot-shoe accessory, but it’s a choice between the EVF and the hot-shoe as they both attach at the same place on the camera.
It looks to me like SIGMA wants to open up a photographer’s creative possibilities with this camera, so with creativity in mind, and maybe a new way of looking at the world, I want to take the camera out for a test run and see what it can do for me as a still photographer.
Some things can be done relatively quickly with the buttons on the back without deep diving into the Menu. Program mode can be changed with the Mode button by pushing and dialing, and then there are the creative colors you can access with the Color button. The QS button is easy enough to reach, but although it’s “quick” I still spend a lot of time dialing and pressing and dialing again to get to where you want to go.
The dial on the top and the one on the back of the SIGMA fp L can both be used with the QS button or there are various ways you can customize them.