SIGMA fp Style

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SIGMA fp Style 09

Graham Sheldon

Filmmaker

After spending a few weeks with the world’s smallest full-frame mirrorless camera, the SIGMA fp, I’ve been most impressed by the sheer number of uses. I’ve mounted it to drones, built the camera with a matte box and rails complete with wireless output, shot run & gun doc style, and finally, I’ve stripped the entire build to encompass just the body and a single, tiny SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary L-Mount lens. From my point of view, the configuration potential of the fp appears to be endless.

It’s impossible to talk about the camera without again mentioning the physical size of the body. Without card and battery, it’s only 0.81 lbs., making travel from shoot to shoot easier. There is also a boon to creativity that comes from working with a camera this light and small. The fp allows and by design, even encourages seeing things from a unique point of view. This I discovered by contorting myself into various positions so I could capture not only the tiniest details of an image but those details as shot from the most unusual angle.

SIGMA fp + SIGMA CINE LENS FF High Speed Prime 28mm T1.5 FF
Still from 12-bit CinemaDNG 23.98 fps UHD Video

My preference is toward the 12-bit RAW CinemaDNG UHD or FHD recording features in the fp. The file sizes are larger compared to the MOV format that the camera is capable of shooting, but it was quick and easy to mount an external SSD drive to one of the available ¼ 20 side threads for extra recording time and fast transfer speeds for offloading. With regards to color profile, I mainly stuck to neutral which allows for grading flexibility in post, but having a wide choice of in-camera color and tone options ensures flexibility for quick turnaround projects where there isn’t time or budget for grading in post. The 12-bit color also means that you don’t see that annoying jump from color to color in the image in the sky.

SIGMA fp + SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports
F2.8|ISO800|1/1250s

Most of the tools I use to judge exposure and focus on larger cameras are also present with the SIGMA fp. For exposure, I prefer using waveform over the histogram. Occasionally I’ll pop on peaking for a gut check on the focus. The fp has a mini waveform view which is handy when you want an image less obstructed by tools.

In the past weeks, most of my time was spent in Cine mode, but I would occasionally bounce to Still mode to catch a quick photo or time-lapse using the built-in intervalometer. The camera menu is especially easy to navigate when taking stills or shooting video since you’ll only see menu options specific to either mode. Mid-shoot, this can be a real time saver.

An added benefit is that these types of tools provide value to a wide range of roles on professional productions.

SIGMA fp + SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
F2.8|ISO400|1/640s

“For me, the piece of kit I end up taking out into the field is the one that works in the most situations and the fp meets that standard.”

Though I’m gradually acquiring more L-glass, most of my glass is EF-mount, so I often used the SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-21 during filming with the fp. Out in the field I worked with a plethora of SIGMA CINE LENS, Contemporary and Art glass and found being able to easily swap between a variety of lenses depending on the situation meant the camera was just that much more flexible. For me, the piece of kit I end up taking out into the field is the one that works in the most situations and the fp meets that standard. I’m looking forward to the SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-31 which will allow the fp to sync with PL lenses, with the pleasant result that every lens on my shelf will play nicely with the camera.

SIGMA fp + SIGMA CINE LENS FF High Speed Prime 135mm T2 FF
Still from 12-bit CinemaDNG 23.98 fps UHD Video

Anticipated firmware updates that will unlock additional recording options and features such as HDR video and Cinemagraph indicate to me that SIGMA is committed to supporting the camera in the months and years to come. I foresee a bright 12-bit future for the SIGMA fp in the hands of content creators everywhere.

Graham Sheldon

Filmmaker

Graham Sheldon has produced and shot scripted, travel, topical, and historical TV, digital and film projects on six continents. Some highlights of Graham’s work includes NBC’s “The Island with Bear Grylls”, “Sinking Nation”, “Echoes from Chernobyl”, “Cuba: An Island Apart”, “The Science of Mortal Kombat”, and his Emmy award winning expose on migration: “Crossing Borders”. Graham is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a contributor to the filmmaking website: Cinema5D. Feature film credits include “Ms. White Light”, “The Good Catholic”, “The Right Girls” and “Dry Blood”.

grahamsheldon.net