History

    fp L

    A camera that perfectly interprets
    “Less is more”.

    Colin Prior

    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
    ISO 100, F11, 1/5s, 28mm

    Throughout my career as a photographer, one of the issues I’ve struggled with has been my weight – not my BMI – quite the opposite, in fact, but the weight of my rucksack. Climbing mountains to position for sunrise usually demands an overnight camp on or around the summit and that means a lot of kit. A tent, sleeping bag, mattress, a stove, food, water and oh, yes, camera equipment and tripod. It amounts to 23 kg in the summer and 25 kg in the winter months, of which my camera bag weighed 7.5 kg – not exactly a picnic and each time I returned, I vowed that I would somehow, reduce my rucksack weight, but I’d eaten all of the food and used everything that was in the sack.

    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
    ISO 100, F16, 0.7s, 70mm

    My camera at the time was a medium format Fuji GX617 which captured only four exposures on a 120 mm roll film – the running costs were akin to driving a classic car and on most mountain sunrises, I’d be shooting anything between 3-8 rolls of film. These would then be processed and one or two selected for scanning – a process that normally took 2-3 weeks, simply to get an image on your computer screen. So, why did we go to all that bother and expense, I hear you ask? The answer is simple – because these large and medium format transparencies were superior when reproduced in print, significantly better than a much smaller 35 mm transparency. Whilst this still holds true, modern digital sensors and lenses have revolutionised the quality of printed photographs.

    * Images without photograph data have been created with other cameras and lens produced by SIGMA or manufacturers.

    That was then and this is now, and I recently had the opportunity of trying SIGMA’s latest camera, the fp L, with its new 61 megapixel sensor and ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER EVF-11 – a package that weighs just under 600 grams and with the new 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary attached, less than a kilo. The fp L has a tiny footprint and fits comfortably into the smallest of camera bags which can be comfortably dropped into your rucksack, instead of being carried externally, in a separate camera bag which my Fuji GX617 necessitated.

    Bothwell woods, Bothwell, Scotland.
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
    ISO 200, F8, 1/200s, 124mm

    Bothwell Castle, Bothwell, Scotland.
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
    ISO 250, F8, 1/250s, 210mm

    For many, the new 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens is going to suffice for general landscape photography allowing wide-angle views to moderate telephoto shots, without the need to change lenses – something which is always a bonus when you’re in the great outdoors, where the elements can adversely affect an exposed sensor. However, if you are a photographer like me and are always looking for something a bit longer, such as the 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary, then you’re in for a treat as the fp L comes in L-Mount and that means that you have access to the wide range of SIGMA’s professional lenses which will help you maximise the potential of the 61 megapixel sensor. I carried both lenses with the camera and their combined weight was 2.5 kg – 5 kg lighter than my previous outfit. Where was this camera 10 years ago—A compact camera which delivers medium format quality, and it would have preserved my knees for another decade!

    Ben Ime (The Cobbler), Arrochar Scotland.
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
    ISO 250, F11, 1/250s, 176mm

    The 61 megapixel sensor offers great performance at a range of ISOs – ideal if you are trying to capture wildlife in low light where shutter speeds must be given priority. This camera gives you the best of both worlds —phase detection with focus tracking at high ISOs and then very quickly can be reset to work on a tripod at low ISOs for landscape work. I found the new attachable ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER EVF-11 to be a real asset allowing me to compose precisely and by the flick of a switch, revert back to the rear screen when required. I preferred to assess the image and histograms in the EVF-11 which gives an almost three-dimensional rendition.

    Sparrowhawk, Bothwell Woods, Bothwell, Scotland.
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
    ISO 2000, F6.3, 1/500s, 400mm

    Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe, Scotland
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
    ISO 100, F16, 1/60s, 43mm

    Having used the camera for three weeks my overwhelming impression was of its versatility. It can be many cameras for so many different types of photographers. If you want the freedom to explore by foot, bike or kayak and not be overwhelmed by heavy and bulky camera equipment without the need to compromise on quality, then this might be a camera for you. If you are someone who simply likes to point and shoot on auto-iso then this camera is also going to be attractive, and if you are someone like me who seldom uses any of the camera’s technology and works with it manually, then it can also behave like the manual cameras that I grew up with, without any loss of quality. For once, less is more.

    Black Mount, Lochan na h’Achlaise, Rannoch Moor, Scotland
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
    ISO 125, F13, 1/40s, 34mm

    Stob Ghabhar, Loch Tulla, Scotland
    SIGMA fp L, SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
    ISO 100, F10, 1/250s, 61mm

    Equipment