SIGMA fp Style 11

Go Itami


As a passionate Foveon user for over five years, SIGMA fp was a bit scary at first. The photographs that the Foveon gave me – I loved them so much that I accepted the camera’s functional shortcomings, I looked over its fixed sensitivity, I even bought a new computer after I couldn’t endure the software anymore.

I couldn’t use it in my professional life, though, where speed, ease of use and efficiency are indispensable and required me to use a Bayer sensor camera.
There is a clear difference in image quality between Foveon and Bayer sensors. It’s not a question of better or worse, but simply a fundamental difference in style. An eye that is used to Foveon photographs will find images taken with Bayer sensors looking somewhat pale and lifeless. But after trying out Bayer-sensor cameras last, I had to abandon away from my old, frumpy convictions. There is still a difference between both sensors. But the capabilities of the Bayer sensors (including image resolution) are beyond what I had been expecting.

Just as I began opening up, somewhat reluctantly, to Bayer sensor cameras, the fp arrived on the market.

SIGMA fp, 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, F8, 1/1600s

I imagine its seamless integration of video and photography as well as its remarkable compactness are the big talking points of the camera. I think so myself, too. I never expected that a day would come when I could use a SIGMA camera whose pictures look normal at ISO6400, and when I saw the autofocus follow the eyes of my subject I became strangely excited.

But what surprised me the most was, in the end, the brilliantness of the Bayer sensor. Its pixel count isn’t that exceptional, but it creates images with rich gradation and at a simply wonderful resolution.
I still feel emotionally stirred every time I see the little noise at low ISO values. I had expected the low noise to contribute to the sense of resolution and transparency (ie. great color contrasts), but I did not expect the effect to be so huge. It’s precisely because I’ve loved using Foveon cameras for so long that I feel about these points so strongly.

SIGMA fp, 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary, F5|1/1000s

For people like me, who believe that the nature of the camera determine the nature of one’s photography and decide over the quality of one’s output, technological updates like these are not only extremely important but one of the greatest joys to experience.

The fp has also helped fuel my imagination for the inevitable full-size update of the Foveon sensor – what kind of sensor will it be? And how will it change the photographs I take?
One of the strengths unique to the medium of photography is its high reproducibility. I am always looking for cameras that stay true to this quality, and I aim to be someone whose photographs reflect this characteristic.