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  • Cheryl Tan

3 Months Later With The Sigma FP: The Japanese Leica

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

It’s been three months since we talked about our hands-on experience and first thoughts about Sigma’s first camera, the Sigma FP. We’ve had the chance to really put the camera through its paces now with all the accessories, so let’s get into it.

When we did the hands-on video earlier, we said this was a camera with a lot of character and we stand by it. It’s definitely a fun camera to shoot with, if you enjoy photography. The camera feels great in the hand, and we’ve added some accessories since the last video such as the large grip and more lenses like the 35mm f/1.2 and others.

L-mount lenses can also be adapted, like the L-mount Voightlander 50mm f/1.2. The colours out of this camera are beautiful, and it’s probably one of the best full-frame cameras that will give you these colours.

Auto-focusing isn’t the greatest, we were hoping Sigma would push out a firmware update but they haven’t yet. Low light performance is great, however. A continuous framerate of 18fps means you can’t use this to shoot high-speed sports reliably, but it is a camera that’s better suited to lifestyle shots. There’s also no image stabilisation (IS) in this camera, so you’ll be limited to using lenses with IS.

The Sigma FP has a lot of potential when you get into the accessories, but it’s also frustrating. Let’s use the external viewfinder as an example. It’s great, it magnifies up to 2x, but here’s the thing. Once you’ve attached it, it’s a major pain to remove it because it’s secured with screws.

A potential solution would a foldable viewfinder which could fold up and out of the way when the screen is needed, thus reducing the need for photographers to lie on the floor if trying to get a shot from a low angle. We would also love to see an electronic viewfinder, but overall, the accessories get the job done and are really well built.

The whole camera and accessories feel like it’s a lot more expensive than it really is, partially thanks to the fact that Sigma makes their own magnesium alloy which is used here.

Video-wise, sure, it’s a hybrid camera, it’s great for videos, but it’s a little hard for amateur videographers since the camera’s autofocusing for videos isn’t great. You definitely won’t be using this for vlogs unless you have a tripod and monitor setup.

One good thing about this camera is that it allows for 12-bit raw recording, but only to an external SSD that’s attached. There’s no processing done in-camera, everything goes into the SSD.

There’s an issue that we encountered however, which could be a problem only with our unit running firmware 1.01, but the screen goes black suddenly and the buttons don’t work. The only fix for this is to remove the battery, wait a second and re-insert the battery for the camera to restart.

The Sigma menu system is also a bit of an issue. In some ways, the menu system is simple, but at the same time, it can be difficult to find where all the sub-menus are if you’re not used to the camera.

Let’s talk about the lenses, first is the 24-70mm f/2.8. It’s a new lenses that’s available for E and L-mounts and we like it. It’s a great alternative to those who don’t want to spend too much on the Leica or the Panasonic options.

We also tried out the ultrawide 14-24mm f/2.8 lens that we previously used with the Panasonic S1R and we love it. Build quality is great and images are sharp.

What do we wish were improved? Well, the accessories first of all. The grip is nice but the battery door is recessed, resulting in a massive struggle to remove the SD card for people with bigger fingers. The other one is the rear wheel. It’s too easy to rotate, and Sigma hasn’t allowed users to lock just one wheel. If the wheel had just a bit more tension, the camera would be much better for it.

The lack of image stabilisation is understandable due to the smaller body of the camera, but overall, it’s a quirky camera. We think it’s a couple of firmware updates from being a full-fledged camera with the potential to come alive. And that’s why we call it the Japanese Leica, because there’s this unique character to the photos and the process is enjoyable, even with all the faults that the camera has.

More information about the Sigma FP (S$2,888) is available on Sigma’s website.

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