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Has Sigma Just Joined The Pocket CineCamera Game?

Lewis McGregor

Sigma has announced a new mirrorless, full-frame, pocketable, and fully customizable fp camera for both stills and cinema.

While Sigma is widely known for its lenses, this wouldn’t be Sigma’s first entry into the digital camera scene. In 2011, they released the $10,000 Sigma SD1, and in 2016 they released two mirrorless cameras: the SD Quattro and SD Quattro H. Although the majority of their systems have fallen flat with both amateur and professional photographers. The fp, however, looks to change that. Sigma’s website has currently crashed under the weight of the breaking news, so I’ve included the press release at the bottom of this article, but here are some of the notable video features that caught my attention.

Has Sigma Just Joined The Pocket CineCamera Game? — FP


Specs and Size

The majority of cameras breaking onto the scene are either photo-first with a decent video function, or video-first with a somewhat usable stills feature. The Sigma fp seeks to change that by offering the best of both worlds. For photography, it provides a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame Bayer sensor with 24.6 megapixels and an ISO range of 100-25600. The images will be captured in 14-bit raw in the DNG format (similar to the Pocket 4K’s still function), and of course, you can capture jpegs.

It can record 4K video at 24fps, 12-bit Cinema DNG Raw (though this does require an external capture device through the USB 3.1 connection). As the camera is touted to be for “everyone,” it also allows you to record in the MP4 all-intra format (for those who aren’t looking to upkeep large file sizes for simple vlogs and online content). And as for it being for everyone, for content creators on the go, it comes with a built-in “teal and orange” color grade profile. (Yeah, I don’t know how to feel about that either.)

I’ve been quietly poking fun at how the Pocket 4K is anything but pocket, but the size of the fp has stolen that crown. Sigma is boasting that the fp is the smallest and lightest mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor. It sits at 112.6×69.9×45.3mm and bodyweight of 370g (without a battery or memory card). The fp is also wholly dust-proof and splash-proof, allowing users to film or photograph in the rain (although I don’t recommend taking it for a dip in the pool).

Has Sigma Just Joined The Pocket CineCamera Game? — Specs and Size

With those specs, Sigma certainly does have a pocket cinema camera on their hands. On the flip side, as you can see in the teaser video, this camera is also fully customizable. You can take it from a pocket stills camera to a full-fledged cinema camera.

The fp ships with the Leica L-mount, which isn’t unusual because Sigma (along with Panasonic) formed an alliance with Leica in 2018 — known as the L-Mount Alliance. Sigma currently has 14 L-mount lenses on the market, but you can also acquire the MC-21 adapter for EF lenses and Cine-lenses. If there’s one issue that smaller cameras encounter when recording lengthy video at a high-data-rate, it’s overheating.

It looks like that Sigma has taken inspiration from popular cinema cameras on the market:

Designed and inspired by those used on professional cinema cameras, a large-size heat sink is mounted between the LCD and camera body. Combined with a heat dissipation coating applied to the outer surface, the SIGMA fp achieves highly effective heat dissipation. It prevents overheating at high temperatures or in long hours of use.

While I will always reserve judgment until I have the camera in my hand, it does seem like this may be the MacGyver of the camera world.


Cine Mode UI

With cameras like the GH5 or the Canon 5D, when switching to the video mode, you’re still operating from the photography menu, which can make switching settings a little cumbersome. The Sigma fp has a primary switch on the top of the camera that takes you from photography to cinema function; they have stated it will completely alter the UI and offer a menu system similar to cinema cameras. It will switch the shutter speed to shutter angle and display waveform and color information — even zebra patterning,

Has Sigma Just Joined The Pocket CineCamera Game? — Cine Mode UI

At the flick of a special switch, it can move back and forth between the two modes. This presents a new shooting experience that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional cameras that are designed either for stills or videos.

One of the most interesting tidbits from their site is the inclusion of the “director’s viewfinder” feature. They state that the Sigma fp has a function that allows the filmmaker to simulate different fields of view and image look depending on the cinema camera. From the ARRI Alexa LF to the RED Monstro 8K. I’m not too sure how this is going to work, but I’m excited to see how this function performs on such a small device.

I’m always somewhat cautious when a new camera enters the scene, especially when it’s supposedly for everyone and can do everything. That often means the camera is not exceptional in any particular area but, rather, average in them all — but this camera does seem promising. There’s currently no price nor official release date other than “later this year,” and, of course, it’s not uncommon to see features added or scaled back closer to release, but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any news regarding the Sigma fp.


Press Release

SIGMA Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of “SIGMA fp,” the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless digital camera*. The SIGMA fp incorporates a 35mm full-frame Bayer sensor with 24.6 effective megapixels in a compact body, and boasts great versatility and scalability that allows mixing-and-matching of a variety of interchangeable lenses and accessories. It is a camera that is casual enough to take anywhere, anytime, and high-spec enough for serious still and cine shooting in the highest image quality, all in a robust and classy body.

Regardless of the differences in shooting scenes and styles or genre boundaries between stills and videos, this new camera is set to expand the freedom and possibilities in image shooting and art creation further than ever before. A “pocketable full-frame” camera: SIGMA fp, is now available.

*As of July, 2019.


SIGMA’s take on an entirely new system camera. The world’s smallest and lightest “pocketable full-frame” camera is here.

The environment that surrounds shooting and art creation is undergoing radical changes. In this day and age when one user may have both a high-performance interchangeable lens camera and a smartphone camera, using them flexibly according to specific purposes and settings, SIGMA stopped and questioned the inherent value of a digital camera.

As a result, SIGMA set itself to develop a user-oriented digital camera that reflected the idea of “how a camera can be” in a more flexible and true-to-life manner, without conforming to manufacturers’ ideas of camera-centric categories and hierarchy.

Pocketable full-frame │ Impressive portability and power

The “smallest and lightest body possible” with which one can express their creative ideas whenever they want, combined with a “full-frame sensor” that is suitable for serious occasions without compromising on image quality, and “superb build quality” that makes the camera the perfect linchpin of a high-performance lens system.

Scalable │ Versatile scalability

An “open and liberal system” that allows one to pair the camera with lenses and accessories, whether from SIGMA or other brands, using a variety of attachments, complete with “versatile scalability” that makes the camera adaptable to any scenes.

Seamless │ Full-fledged, liberating shooting functions

A “highly intuitive UI” that allows one to move between full-fledged still and cine shooting modes with just one finger, making for a “seamless and truly creative tool” that goes beyond style and genre differences.

Making it a top priority to realize these three concepts all at once and without requiring any trade-offs, SIGMA selected only the elements and mechanisms that were truly needed with no compromise to create the SIGMA fp as the embodiment of an “entirely new digital camera that SIGMA can offer to the world right now.”

It’s a camera body that changes its configuration with great flexibility centered around the user. It’s a tool that gives the user the joy of a new camera life that they themselves are yet to discover. It’s a new system camera that will overturn the paradigm of “digital cameras.”
The SIGMA fp is here to broaden the potential of “image shooting” ad infinitum.


World’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera

With overall dimensions of 112.6×69.9×45.3mm and body weight of 370g, without battery and card, the SIGMA fp is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera*. It employs a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame Bayer sensor with 24.6 effective megapixels for high-quality images.

Covered on the front and back sides with die-cast aluminum alloy for its superior robustness and thermal conductivity, the compact body of the SIGMA fp is built with a signature heat sink structure and sealing on 42 points for a dust- and splash-proof structure, making it a perfect camera to use for long hours under all types of environments. With its small body and great adaptability, the SIGMA fp enhances the joy of full-frame image quality, no matter what one’s shooting settings may be.

*As of July, 2019.


Electronic shutter for a variety of settings

“Able to shoot whenever you want, wherever you want”―to realize this concept, the SIGMA fp incorporates a construction without a mechanical shutter for quiet shooting. This allows shooting without worrying about noise in a situation where one would have hesitated with a conventional camera because of its shutter sound. It gives no shutter shock even when shooting in quick succession at a frame rate of 18 frames/sec. eliminating even the tiniest shakes.

In addition, the absence of a mechanical shutter, whose performance level can change through continuous operation, means that the SIGMA fp is a camera with improved reliability.


Superior options in artistic picture & video creations

The SIGMA fp is a frontrunner in incorporating functions that help exploring the photographic and cinematic creations.

For instance, in addition to a number of different color modes, the SIGMA fp has newly introduced the “Teal and Orange” mode, inspired by the color grading technique commonly used in Hollywood films. Each mode has a slider that enables adjustment of the strength of the effects to apply, providing even greater control in one’s creations.

The SIGMA fp is the first SIGMA camera to employ a tone curve adjustment function in addition to “Fill Light”, a special adjustment function of SIGMA Photo Pro, and they are both available in-camera. It has also newly introduced “TONE” and “COLOR” buttons for a quick access to each of the tone control and color mode menus. With these enhanced functions and a variety of operation elements, the SIGMA fp makes it simple and easy to create an image, in-camera with great details, be it still or video.


Advanced picture & video generating functions

The SIGMA fp employs a number of advanced technologies for image and video generation.

The Auto HDR function takes advantage of an electronic shutter to take multiple pictures of different exposures (3 frames for still photography and 2 frames for video) at once, which can then be merged into a single picture or video with a great dynamic range that could not have been achieved in normal shooting.

The Cinemagraph function, meanwhile, achieves a hybrid between still photography and video in the form of animated GIFs in which parts of a still image keep moving. With this function, the SIGMA fp is capable of creating Cinemagraphs in-camera.

Note: The Auto HDR function in the Cine mode and the Cinemagraph function are to become available via firmware update scheduled at a later date.


L-Mount

The SIGMA fp uses the L-Mount*, characterized by a short flange focal length, large diameter, and superior durability. For interchangeable lenses, in addition to the wide-ranging choices of SIGMA lenses, other manufacturers’ lenses can also be an option through the L-Mount Alliance with Leica Camera AG and Panasonic Corporation. With the SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-21, SIGMA SA mount and SIGMA’s CANON EF mount lenses can be used, making the best out of one’s lens investment.

*The L-Mount Trademark is a registered Trademark of Leica Camera AG.


Supports full-fledged video production

For raw video data, the SIGMA fp supports 12-bit CinemaDNG external recording. With 4K UHD/24fps recording, it produces video data that can be used even in filmmaking. It also supports ALL-I recording which is optimal for editing H.264 compressed videos.

For video output, it uses USB3.1(GEN1), which allows a smooth data transmission to an external recording unit. As it also supports cinema camera-like user interfaces, the SIGMA fp is a camera that can be taken straight to video production settings.

Note: The feature of playing CinemaDNG footages in-camera is to become available via firmware update scheduled at a later date.


Seamless transition between Still and Cine modes

Going from the Still mode to the Cine mode at the flip of a switch. Each mode comes with a specially designed operation system and displays, making it possible to concentrate on shooting in each mode, stress-free.

For more about other features, please refer to the link


All images via Sigma.

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