Initial Evaluation Of Sigma Fp L

A high-resolution upgrade to the company’s small full-frame interchangeable lens camera is the Sigma fp L. More stills-focused than the original fp 24MP L-mount mirrorless camera, it now has a 61MP BSI CMOS sensor.
Sigma claims that its goal was to create a user-oriented camera that was flexible, adaptable, and enjoyable to use, rather than looking at existing categories of cameras. The fp L is the smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera on the market, but it is undoubtedly not easily comparable to other current models.

Key Information:

  • Full-frame 61MP BSI-CMOS sensor
  • phase detection on a sensor
  • automatic eye detection
  • Twin control dials and a small body
  • An exclusive Stills/Cine switch
  • an always-quiet electronic shutter
  • 8-bit UHD 4K/30p video in MOV or CinemaDNG 4K output as up to 12-bit CinemaDNG to an external recorder or SSD

The list price of the Sigma fp L is $2499, and it will go on sale in the middle of April. The retail price of a kit with the EVF-11 viewfinder is about $2999.

What’s fresh

Autofocus with phase detection

On-sensor phase detection autofocus is another feature that the fp L gains over the fp. This enables the camera to determine how far the focus needs to be driven, as is the case with all phase detection systems. This technology supports some of the fastest and most dependable AF systems we’ve come across from other manufacturers, but neither of these qualities are guaranteed by it. Although the Sigma fp L we’re using hasn’t been finalized, focus appears to have advanced from the original fp model, showing a little bit faster and more decisive focusing, especially with smaller AF points (though there is occasionally still a little wobble/hunting).
The fp L also has eye-detection autofocus, which makes it easier to get a clear focus when taking portraits and social media pictures. The Sigma is able to detect eyes even when they are small in the frame, which is good news in our opinion.
A subject tracking autofocus system with a 7×7 focus point grid is also included with the fp L. Although we haven’t used it seriously yet, based on our limited experience so far, it appears to be effective.

Crop and zoom

The fp L’s crop zoom mode is one of the primary ways it utilizes its high pixel count sensor. This provides a series of sensor crops for a closer angle of view (effectively digital zoom, if you then view at the same size).
The camera’s maximum and minimum sensor regions can be set, ranging from full-frame to a “Full HD” crop (1920 horizontal pixels). These are designated as 1.0 to 5.0x crops, and if you are using a 24mm lens, they will increase your field of view from 24mm to, say, 153mm.
Naturally, as you crop in, you use smaller and smaller portions of the sensor, and if the image is blown up to the same size, the noise cost and resolution loss will increase. It’s important to think about where to set your limits and whether you’d rather crop in post-processing since our calculations indicate that the maximum 5.0x zoom will use a sensor region roughly the size of a conventional compact camera with 2.4MP resolution.

Modes are also worth considering

Duotone and Power Blue are two additional color modes that Sigma has added to the fp L. Power Blue gives the images a cool, pale tint, while Duotone forces one of ten contrasting color gradients on them.
There are now 15 color profiles as a result of the additional modes. Additionally, there is an in-camera conversion option that enables you to experiment with different color profiles after the fact as long as you are shooting DNG files.

Low ISO Expansion Composite

The fp L has a number of composite Low ISO settings, which may be appropriate for a camera that will probably lend itself well to landscape photography. These combine a number of exposures to create the appearance of longer, lower ISO shooting. You’ll need a steady tripod because there is no motion correction between frames, but it allows you to use exposures as low as ISO 6, which gives you more exposure options.

Movie recording

The fp L is well-equipped in terms of movies. Internally, it can record 8-bit MOV or 8-bit CinemaDNG files at resolutions up to UHD 4K at 30p. It is one of the few cameras with the ability to capture true 24p video in addition to a 23.97p option.
It is impressive how much thought and consideration Sigma put into the video in the fp L. The fp L has a waveform display in addition to focus peaking and zebras, which are now fairly common, to help determine exposure. Additionally, it allows exposure to be adjusted in terms of shutter angle rather than just shutter speed.
Additionally, the fp L has a crop zoom feature that allows you to shoot 4K in any of 19 crops, ranging from the entire sensor’s width down to a native 3840 by 2160 area (around a 2.5x crop).
Similar to the fp, when you connect external devices to it, the fp L really excels in terms of video. CinemaDNG Raw video in 10 or 12-bit resolution can be output if an external SSD is connected. Alternatively, you can connect an external recorder and output a Raw video stream over HDMI that can be encoded as either ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Raw (though this appears to be less detailed than the CinemaDNG footage). Even if you decide against shooting raw video, HDMI output makes it possible to output DCI 4K video (the wider, 4096 x 2160 format).
The Director’s Viewfinder mode, which is used to simulate the coverage that various camera systems and their modes will give if you use the same lens on those cameras, now supports a greater variety of aspect ratios thanks to the fp L. This enables directors using the Sigma alongside professional cinema cameras from Arri, Red, or Sony to use the fp L as a method of previewing framing.

Vewfinder EVF-11, optional

The EVF-11 is an electronic viewfinder that attaches to the side of the fp L’s body (not to be confused with the LVF-11 loupe-style magnifier for the LCD screen). It needs the HDMI port cover removed, the USB port door held open, and is plugged into both ports while being screwed on.
It features a 3.69M-dot OLED finder, a sizable eyepiece cushion, and an upward tilt that can reach 90 degrees. Since there is no sensor to automatically switch as you bring the camera up to your eye, the large LCD/EVF switch on the side of the finder does exactly what you might expect.
A headphone jack and a USB-C passthrough allow you to keep sending data to an external SSD just below this switch. Below this are a 1/4-20 (tripod-style) mounting point where you can attach a camera strap. There is no HDMI pass-through, though. Since the EVF does not obstruct it, the microphone input is still usable.
When using the finder, the camera’s rear screen continues to function as an AF touchpad. You must tap in the top left corner of the screen to position the AF point there rather than swiping relative to the point’s current position because it uses absolute positioning rather than relative positioning.
If purchased separately, the viewfinder will set you back $699, but when purchased as part of a kit, the price is only increased by $500.


The original fp’s BP-51 battery is also used by the fp L. Sigma rates this 8.7Wh battery’s capacity at 240 shots per charge. This isn’t much, especially if you’re shooting video, but thankfully the fp L can be powered by its USB-C connector and charged while in use. If you use an external power source, you can use it for longer periods of time, whether you’re recording video or using it as a webcam.

How does it compare?

It can be a little challenging to compare the fp L to anything else. Its high resolution but slow readout sensor ends up being somewhat limited in what you can shoot without a mechanical shutter (artificial lighting risks banding and any significant movement will be distorted by the rolling shutter effect). Even compared to its 24MP sibling, these same factors also work against it in terms of video.
Despite this, it is easily the smallest and lightest full-frame camera available and is more affordable than other cameras with an output of this high resolution. There isn’t anything like it in circumstances where that is useful.

Sigma fp L Sony a7R IV Sigma fp Sony a7C
MSRP at launch $2499
($2999 w/ EVF)
$3499 $1899 $1799
Pixel count 61MP 61MP 24MP 24MP
Auto focus Hybrid Hybrid Contrast-detection Hybrid
Shutter type
  • E-Shutter only
  • Mechanical
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
  • E-Shutter only
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
Image Stabilization Lens only Yes Lens only Yes
Viewfinder Optional
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x mag.
5.76M-dot OLED fixed
0.78x mag.
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x mag.
2.36M-dot OLED fixed
3.2″ 2.1M dot fixed 3″ 1.44M-dot tilting 3.2″ 2.1M dot fixed 3″ 1.44M-dot tilting
Video internal UHD 4K/30p
FF to 1:1 in 19 steps. 8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35
8-bit gamma encoded
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35.
8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/24p
FF, 30p with 1.2x crop
8-bit gamma encoded
Video external DCI 4K/24p
Up to 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Raw out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/30p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
DCI 4K/24p
Up to 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Raw out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/24p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
Battery rating
240/- shots 670/530 shots 280/- shots 740 / 680 shots

113 x 70 x 45 mm

129 x 96 x 78 mm 113 x 70 x 45 mm 124 x 71 x 59 mm
(with finder) 157 x 92 x 56 mm 157 x 92 x 56 mm
Weight 427g (15.1oz) 665g (23.5oz) 422g (14.9oz) 509g (18.0oz)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button