Sigma FP-L Mirrorless Camera Image Gallery
March 25th, 2021
Most of us know Sigma as a lensmaker and nothing more, but Sigma has actually been developing somewhat quirky cameras for some time. Many of those were built around Sigma’s own SA mount or with a fixed lens and tended to be crop sensor cameras (APS-C or APS-H). They frequently had unique shapes well outside the mainstream of camera design. In 2020 Sigma released the Sigma FP, a 24MP compact full frame mirrorless built around a Leica L-mount. It should probably come as no surprise that in the latter part of 2019 Sigma had started to design a new lineup of DN lenses designed specifically for mirrorless and coming in both the very popular Sony FE (full frame e-mount) along with the Leica L mount. Clearly some partnership with Leica had been forged, and by building their new camera around the Leica L-mount, it allowed Sigma to not only leverage their new lens designs on two different platforms but also allowed them to produce lenses “for” their new camera(s) in a more popular mount that maximized their investment. A fringe benefit is that the FP was immediately compatible with a wide range of existing Leica L-mount lenses and Sigma didn’t have to build their own full catalog of lenses. 2021 brings the second camera in the FP line-up, the Sigma FP-L, the world’s most compact high resolution full frame camera with a massive 61 megapixels of resolution. That kind of resolution allows you to deeply crop an image like this:
…and get a still nicely resolved image like this:
This also helps explain Sigma’s recent fixation with developing small, light lenses that are still high performing (this has previously been Sigma’s strategy at all). Sigma’s most recent release was the compact wide aperture standard zoom – the Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN (my review here), a lens that makes a lot of sense on a camera like the FP-L. We’ve also seen Sigma dive into the compact prime market in the past year with the i-Series (24mm F3.5, 35mm F2, 45mm F2.8, and 65mm F2 lenses, all of which I’ve reviewed and you can find in this playlist). These lenses addressed the reality that most of Sigma’s recent lenses have largely been well, large, and as such were poor pairings for compact cameras. Certain people love Sigma’s large aperture ART series lenses and their highly corrected optical performance, but others find them unnecessarily large and heavy. Sigma’s focus recently seems to be on addressing the secondary market of those who want good optical and build quality but want smaller, more compact lenses to pair with smaller cameras like the Sony a7C, the Sigma FP or FP-L, and the Leica SL2-S.
The Sigma FP-L is the smallest and cheapest way (at the moment) to get such high resolution, but that comes with a major asterisk. At $2499 USD, it is cheaper than the Sony a7RIV (with similar resolution), and it is certainly smaller at a compact dimension of (W x H x D) 112.6 x 69.9 x 45.3mm (4.43 x 2.75 x 1.78″). This is identical to the dimensions of the FP, and the weight is quite similar as well, with the FP-L weighing 427g (15.1oz) vs 422g for the FP. Both bodies can share accessories because of their identical size, which becomes very important because of the discussion at hand. Sigma has designed the FP cameras to be modular in design, so the basic “brick” is designed to be as square and compact as possible. This means that a lot of basic features that you take for granted (a viewfinder, hot-shoe, or even a functional grip) are not built into the camera but are accessories. The hot shoe is an included accessory, but requires you to mount it to the side of the camera like this:
The grip and viewfinder options are separate purchases, however, and if you go with the new Sigma EVF-11, you are looking at an EXPENSIVE upgrade ($699 USD solo, or sold in kit with the FP-L for $2999). It requires a rather delicate process of removing the cover from some ports and then bending another cover back while simultaneously lining up male mini-HDMI, communication socket, and USB-C attachments on the EVF-11 into their female counterparts on the camera and then securing it with a tightening wheel on the front. I’m a little concerned that there is room for damage to components if you don’t get that process right. After attaching everything, here’s what the viewfinder looks like:
The EVF-11 can be adjusted up or down for different viewing angles, and sports a fairly good 3.68 million dot resolution and 0.83x magnification, though the refresh rate of 60fps is only so-so. This isn’t really an action camera, though, so it is probably sufficient. There’s an alternate loupe-style viewfinder (LVF-11) that goes over the LCD screen and provides some magnification of the rear LCD along with shading, but it radically changes the compact nature of the camera (it is more than double the natural depth of the camera). The modular design of the camera only then makes sense if you either want no accessories (want to go as compact as possible) or want to build around the camera in a video rig, because for ordinary use you’ll end up with a larger, more expensive camera than the Sony a7RIV once you add either viewfinder and a grip…and you still won’t have a hotshoe all the time as it is either/or rather than both when it comes to mounting the two accessories. It’s an unconventional approach, to say the least, and while it will suit a couple of small demographics just fine, it won’t make a lot of sense to the masses, I suspect. Maybe Sigma is okay with that…
What’s not up for debate is the fact that the camera can produce beautiful images. My review period was brief, but you can check out the photos I was able to take during that time below.
Thanks to Sigma Canada for providing me loaners of the FP-L and lens used for this review.
Photos of the Sigma FP-L
Photos Taken with the Sigma FP-L
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Keywords: Sigma FP-L, Sigma, FP, FP-L, Sigma FP-L Review, Leica, L-mount, Sigma 28-70 DN, Sigma 28-70 F2.8, Sigma 24mm F3.5, Sigma 35mm F2, Sigma 45mm F2.8, Sigma 65mm F2, Review, Sony a7C, Review, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Sensor Performance, ISO, Dynamic Range, Autofocus, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Leica L
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