SIGMA fp – A Full Frame, yet Pocket-Sized Camera with Cine Mode

July 11th, 2019
SIGMA fp – A Full Frame, yet Pocket-Sized Camera with Cine Mode

That one got us by surprise! Along with the introduction of quite a few new lenses for Sony E-mount as well as L-Mount, SIGMA has just unveiled their newly developed SIGMA fp camera, sporting a full-frame 24.6MP backlit sensor! It comes with some welcomed tricks and fresh ideas such as a dedicated switch to set the camera either in stills mode or in cine mode.

SIGMA fp

So here it is: SIGMA’s first camera with true dedication for cine applications. It’s based on a traditional BSI Bayer sensor but this camera is unlike any camera I’ve seen in a very long time. According to SIGMA, this camera is free from genre or categories and it’s designed to be a true user-centric camera.

SIGMA fp Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

The camera itself is really tiny, more a box than an ergonomic camera. That’s because SIGMA wants this camera to be as modular as possible to be able to cater for most shooting scenarios. From stills shooters to indie filmmakers, the SIGMA fp can teanform into anything you like it to be. That’s the idea.

The back-illuminated Bayer CMOS sensor is 36x24mm with an effective resolution of 6,072 × 4,056 pixels, resulting a total of 24.6 megapixels [in an earlier version we mistakenly wrote 60 megapixels]. The camera uses the new L-Mount which makes total sense as SIGMA is part of the L-Mount alliance and already produces L-Mount lenses.

SIGMA fp

SIGMA fp with attached viewfinder

The SIGMA fp comes with a dedicated switch for putting it into either stills or cine mode. And each of the modes transforms the whole camera system in order to only display the items of importance to each use case. No more digging the menus for that specific video setting! Very nice. Furthermore, it comes with a dedicated video record button.

Video Recording

The SIGMA fp records either raw CDNG in 8, 10 or 12bit (externally to SSD) or it records plain h.264 into a .mov container either in all-i or GOP mode. Supported resolutions include:

  • 3,840 × 2,160 (UHD 4K): 23.98p, 25p,29.97p
  • 1,920 x 1,080 (full HD): 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 59.94p, 100p, 119.88p

I couldn’t find any intel about color sub-sampling yet but will add these information once I have them. Another thing which is still a bit unclear is the fact that SIGMA states a 1.5 crop in the specifications. Maybe that crop applies to video recording (or UHD recording, at least). It also could be just an option (as seen in the menu – video above @ 2:34), which would be the best possible solution, of course. We will update this article as soon as we know for sure.

SIGMA fp

still from the presentation of the SIGMA fp.

For external recording, the video feed can be send out through USB 3.1 (GEN1) to a fast outboard SSD or through HDMI (4:2:2 8-bit only as it seems) to an external recorder. SIGMA specifically names ATOMOS Ninja Inferno and Blackmagic Video Assist 4K as supported devices. More makes and models should follow I assume.

Note: The in-camera playback function of recorded CinemaDNG frames will be implemented later with a firmware upgrade so as of now you can shoot CDNG but you can’t play it back on the camera itself. Another curiosity: In their press release SIGMA claims that the fp is able to record 12-bit raw CDNG externally through USB 3.1 while further down in the specifications it reads that the camera is able to record 12-bit raw CDNG internally. We will have to wait and find out what’s actually the case here.

SIGMA fp

Audio is being recorded in Linear PCM (2ch 48kHz /16bit).

The fp camera records to one of the following types of media: SD / SDHC / SDXC Memory Card (UHS-II compatible). Furthermore you can use an external USB3 SSD which will be bus-powered. The BMPCC 4K springs to mind!

Stills Mode vs. Cine Mode

Since this camera sports not one but two cameras in one body, let’s run through the features of both modes! In general, this is really a nice (maybe even overdue) feature to have in modern mirrorless hybrid cameras. Using the dedicated switch you can flick between stills mode and cine mode effortlessly without any menu digging.

SIGMA fp

stills mode vs. cine mode

Furthermore, in each mode you only get the relevant information displayed on the screen and these information reflect the mode you’re working in. For example you’ll get a 16:9 image in cine mode without any overlaying icons. You can, however, enable some overlays such as audio meters or a waveform monitor. Additionally frame guides can be displayed (and adjusted of course).

TC will be displayed in cine mode but not in stills mode. Exposure correction is a feature stills photographers need, video shooters not so much. You get the idea. I think this feature alone is a huge breakthrough for video capabilities on small mirrorless cameras such as this SIGMA fp. Other manufacturers should think about separating both modes of operation as well!

SIGMA fp

Other Specifications

The SIGMA fp is a tiny camera, indeed. With overall dimensions of 112.6×69.9×45.3mm and body weight of 370g, without battery and card, the  SIGMA fp is not your average mirrorless camera. Maybe that’s why the fp stands for fortissimo & pianissimo: Strong and light at the same time.

SIGMA fp

The rear TFT screen can’t swivel or tilt. It sports approximately 2.1 million dots and it’s a touchscreen, of course. The camera offers a 3.5mm mic input and, as a scratch audio source, a built-in stereo mic. It also offers a tiny speaker for audio playback but somehow SIGMA forgot to implement a headphone jack. That’s really a bit strange since this camera is clearly aimed towards video (at least in cine mode), so I can’t think of any reason to not implement a headphone out.. Maybe SIGMA adds this with a future module of some kind. Let’s just hope proper audio has not been forgotten here.

The SIGMA fp offers a a so-called director’s mode, i.e. director’s viewfinder. With it you can mimic another camera’s sensor size as well as film cameras and even anamorphic lenses. Available and build-in camera profiles include the ARRI ALEXA LF, Mini LF, AMIRA, Sony VENICE, RED MONSTRO 8K and many more. So this camera could even be a directors accessory on fully-flegded productions. Not exactly necessary but still a nice addition. In a later firmware upgrade you will also be able to record and playback video while in director’s mode.

SIGMA fp

With a whole stack of accessories for this new camera, SIGMA lets you transform it into whatever camera you like. Add a handgrip and a hot shoe for adding a flash? No problem! Need a proper viewfinder and a large handgrip along with a mount converter for shooting video? Not a problem!

SIGMA fp

You really can transform this camera to match your exact needs for the given job. Pretty neat I’d say. For a full review we need to go hands-on of course but from what I can see here this SIGMA fp could be a really capable tool for stills shooter and indie filmmakers alike.

In terms of power, the fp uses a SIGMA lithium battery (Li-ion Battery BP-51). And since the camera sports USB, you can charge the battery through that USB port, but only if the camera is turned off.

SIGMA fp – Combating camera body heat.

Pricing and Availability

The SIGMA fp is set for a release later this year (around fall) but there’s no word on pricing yet.

SIGMA fp

SIGMA’s Kazuto Yamaki holding the new SIGMA fp.

I love this photo. A moment of pride

Links: Website

What do you think? Is this the camera you’ve waited for? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Rodrigo Polo
Guest
December 3rd, 2019

How much cropped is the 4K-UHD and FHD?

joseph
joseph
Guest
September 23rd, 2019

no wireless connectivity no bluetooth no wifi?

Mike
Mike
Guest
July 24th, 2019

it is only pocketable without the lens. With the lens it is huge and no longer pocketable. Then what is the point of having s small full frame but big lnes? what is the space saving here?

chetan bhawsar
chetan bhawsar
Guest
July 16th, 2019

how it perform in low light situation

John Ho
Guest
July 15th, 2019

How much would this cost?

Dave Gold
Guest
July 14th, 2019

what about dynamic range???

Curtis Zondag
Guest
July 14th, 2019

No 4k60???? Dead on arrival.

Rafael Molina
Guest
July 13th, 2019

So ¿It can do UHD 4K 60fps while using the whole Full Frame Sensor without crop at 12 bit CinemaDNG? Just kind of saw it at your hands on overview. Need confirmation. ?

 Cory Lum
Cory Lum
Member
July 13th, 2019
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

Hey Sigma, since you’re listening. What your current mirrorless competition lacks is good battery power. If Sigma made a small battery enclosed grip that housed 2 Canon batteries to power the Sigma FP would be an amazing accessory. Two Canon batteries should power this small camera for a while. Sort of what Indiepro accessory maker did, but make a small compact sealed unit that mates with the Sigma FP on the bottom keeping the small profile. Cheers. Aloha ! Also, Olaf. thanks for this informative article.

Scott Kennelly
Guest
July 13th, 2019
Reply to  Cory Lum

I think they decided to use the same battery that Panasonic FZ1000 and Sigma DP Quattro cameras use, because that’s a battery they’re familiar with. I would like to see a battery grip too. In fact, I think they might make two different battery grips – one that can take the same battery, doubling the battery life of the camera (because there would then be one battery in the camera and a second one in the grip), and a big one that takes the same battery as the Panasonic S1, which would probably triple or quadruple the battery life. That would allow S1 owners to use the same battery they use now, give people much more battery life, and help lay a path forward to a bigger, more powerful, Sigma camera that uses that same battery.

Vish Lazcano
Guest
July 13th, 2019

Mark Thorpe might be something to think about

Ben J
Ben J
Member
July 12th, 2019

I must officially be an ‘old man’… cameras are featuring ever more cumbersome files, whilst removing ever more hardware functions.

 Jeff Kreines
Jeff Kreines
Member
July 12th, 2019

CDNG is a dreadful format. They should consider Cineform RAW, now that it’s open source.

Do you know if the sensor has a rolling or a global shutter?

Scott Kennelly
Guest
July 13th, 2019
Reply to  Jeff Kreines

That looks like a good format, but I’m guessing Sigma decided to leverage what they have learned sbout DNG and support a format that seems to be gaining popularity in the industry, including being supported by companies like Black Magic and Adobe. Sigma has limited resources, and just because Apple doesn’t support CinemaDNG, they can’t make their decision based on that. There are a lot more photographers and videographers using Windows, and consequently NOT using Final Cut Pro X. Many of them use Adobe and Black Magic video editing products, and consequently will find the CinemaDNG format very useable, I suspect.

Ant Barrett
Guest
July 12th, 2019

Craig Smith seen this tiny full frame madness from Sigma

Hmmm
Hmmm
Guest
July 12th, 2019

8-bit video is not going to cut it in 2019 and beyond. Super lame.

Scott Kennelly
Guest
July 13th, 2019
Reply to  Hmmm

What exactly are you talking about?

 Andreas Paleologos
Andreas Paleologos
Member
July 12th, 2019

Looking forward to videos showing out of camera colour, dynamic range, low light. Super interesting little thing! Would be nice with Blackmagic RAW in addition to Cinema DNG.

Bryce Olejniczak
Guest
July 11th, 2019

No cranking in 4K though?

Scott Kennelly
Guest
July 13th, 2019

What do you mean by “cranking in 4K” Bryce?

Mark
Mark
Guest
July 11th, 2019

What, a modular camera without gen lock!!!! What were they thinking? Also, it looks like the in/out ports are placed on the short end of the body. This unfortunately interferes with the goal of trying to minimize the stereo base when shooting two cameras steroscopically in “Z” configuration. Clearly Sigma was not interested in this being used for stereoscopy. A lost opportunity.

Larry Thomson
Larry Thomson
Guest
July 11th, 2019

If I’ve waited 4 years for a replacement to my NX1, I can certainly wait another 4.

 Serhat Akbal
Serhat Akbal
Member
July 11th, 2019

ohhh wery nice!! Now my camera (Canon1DXMK2) 8 bit… pff….

Gerrit
Gerrit
Guest
July 11th, 2019

Thanks for the quick introduction and the video.

Together with the upcoming MC-21 Sigma-to-EF mount, will I be able to use my Sigma lenses that have a Canon EF mount?

 Gerrit Schulze
Gerrit Schulze
Member
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

Thanks, wasn’t quite sure about the MC-21 adaptor.

Matt Carlson
Guest
July 11th, 2019

@Sigma_Photo what are you doing? “Hey look we have a “pocket-sized” camera we are coming out with.” But to… https://t.co/1EgNE8WXhd

Scott
Guest
July 13th, 2019
Reply to  Matt Carlson

So what format SHOULD they offer? Black Magic supports CinemaDNG. I’d say they know what they’re doing, or would you ask the same question of them too? You say CinemaDNG files are a nightmare to work with. Why? What’s better, and why? You seem to be informed, so what file format should they have offered instead? BTW, the DJI Zenmuse X5R also records in CinemaDNG. Maybe your software is obsolete. No doubt Adobe products support the use of CinemaDNG, and Resolve does too. Maybe you should get Resolve. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/media

Member
July 11th, 2019

Interesting concept. Curious how it’ll work out when kitted out and rigged up for real production.

Though nerdy, the musical references are slightly misleading. Fortissimo and pianissimo means “very strong” and “very quiet” respectively. They are notated ff and pp. A single f means forte, which is loud. A single p means piano, quiet. Fp is really Fortepiano, Italian for loud-soft, which means loud initial attack, and then soft sustained note. Also an instrument…

ANDYYEH
ANDYYEH
Guest
July 11th, 2019

This camera will be new best snapshot camera….

 Dave Haynie
Dave Haynie
Member
July 11th, 2019

Kind of interesting for video. Professional video formats even in-camera, something Sony has yet to offer even externally. But no mechanical shutter at all is going to limit its application as a stills camera. No IBIS, no viewfinder as well, though I suppose folks will put a loupe over the back screen… except that kind of fails, as the touchscreen is needed for control. Still, it’s good to see a company thinking out of the box rather than building exactly the same camera with a different name.

Jonathan Sisson
Guest
July 11th, 2019

Really impressed – Great company and culture. Any chance getting a interview to talk about the ne… https://t.co/lyrtE9MiSP

Milan
Milan
Guest
July 11th, 2019

“The back-illuminated Bayer CMOS sensor is 36x24mm with a resolution of 5,520 x 3,680 pixels, resulting a total of 60.9 mega pixels.”

… I don’t think that’s right…

Not only is 5,520 x 3,680 not 60.9MP, but it’s also not 24.3MP as stated in the top.

Melvin Chong
Guest
July 11th, 2019

Foveon sensor ?

Michal Zima
Michal Zima
Guest
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Melvin Chong

No Foveon, same sensor like Sony A7 III.

Hemraj Vishal Soomoe
Guest
July 11th, 2019

Video AF?

Joanns
Joanns
Guest
July 11th, 2019

No headphone jack. Fail! Was so excited but will stick with Sony 7sii series

Patrick
Patrick
Guest
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Joanns

“It also offers a tiny speaker for audio playback but somehow SIGMA forgot to implement a headphone jack. That’s really a bit strange since this camera is clearly aimed towards video (at least in cine mode), so I can’t think of any reason to not implement a headphone out..” But if you look at the pictures on one side there are covered ports for things like hdmi and a microphone and on the other side it appears to have a 3.5mm jack that I would hope is a headphone jack.

Admin
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Joanns

Jonnas, please accept my apology. Indeed no headphones. Will erase my previous comment not to confuse people.
Johnnie

Member
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Joanns

maybe could use a USB C audio adapter / headphones like android… guess we’ll have to see

Shutter Tech
Guest
July 11th, 2019

Anu idea of the price?

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus
Member
July 11th, 2019

Wow, Fascinating. Didn’t see this one coming, either.

“The back-illuminated Bayer CMOS sensor is a 36x24mm FOVEON X3”

Er, what exactly do you mean by that, Olaf? Which way is it, a Bayer sensor or a Foveon sensor?

As far as I know, Foveon is not particularly practical for video so far, especially in a camera as small as this one. Looks like the Sigma website is down at the moment, so couldn’t look it up from the horse’s mouth.

That aside, the concept seems interesting, a bit like a “SPCC4K,” albeit a hybrid one. How well will it perform as such IRL, or will it be just another small mediocre hybrid where the size and form dictates the performance, that will be interesting to find out. Along with the price tag.

Too bad it doesn’t seem to have an EVF of its own. Suppose it’ll have a HDMI port, don’t see any sign of an SDI port anywhere, but a built-in EVF would have been great.
Anyway, quite interesting.

Timur Civan
Guest
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

Olaf is the Foveon version still coming?

Foucauld
Foucauld
Guest
July 12th, 2019
Reply to  Timur Civan

Hi Timur, yes the Foveon FF camera will come in 2020

 Erkki Juurus
Erkki Juurus
Member
July 11th, 2019
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

Looks like new stuff has been added to this article since I first commented, and thanks for that. It helps clarifying a few things.
Looking at Johnnie’s video about the video specs was interesting, but one little detail caught my eye, there seem to be no solid 24fps setting in the menu. I wonder if Johnnie could confirm if that really is the case?
Seems like an odd omission to me. I certainly hope it will be there in the final production model.

As for the ergonomics, they appear to be similar to that of my DP3 Merrill, which means a bit awkward, and that’s rather unfortunate. I think the lack of EVF is likely be an issue for stills shooting, even more so than for video. A clumsy LCD loupe simply isn’t a substitute for a proper EVF. But suppose they wanted to keep the cost down and the design as minimal as possible.
Well, the camera seems quite interesting as a whole, anyway.

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