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SIGMA fp L Interview – We ask, SIGMA Answers

The new SIGMA fp L is now official and we had the opportunity to not only test it prior to its release (see Johnnie’s review here), but also to speak with SIGMA’s Head of product planning, Wakamatsu-san, to learn a bit more about it and its differences from its predecessor, the SIGMA fp. Let’s dive right in!

If you put both cameras, the new SIGMA fp L and the original fp side by side, you might think they are the same camera. The only visible difference is a black letter L below the fp logo. That’s it, right? Of course, there’s more, and in this interview we’ll go over the differences between the two models in the SIGMA fp line of still/cinema/web cameras (which can also serve as a director’s viewfinder).

SIGMA fp L
the new SIGMA fp L camera. Image credit: SIGMA

SIGMA fp L – Interview

To give you a quick rundown of the above video, here’s a brief list of questions asked:

  • Changes made for the new fp L?
  • New Sensor?
  • What about the new Phase-Detect AF feature?
  • Will the new fp L replace the original fp?
  • Why the new EVF? Can it be used with other cameras?
  • New Color Modes and an improved Color Mode: OFF behaviour
  • What about copmpressed RAW internally?

So what are the features of the new “L” model? First and foremost, it has a completely new sensor compared to the original fp. It offers a massive 61 MP resolution, which leads us directly to the next big feature of the new fp L camera: the crop zoom. When shooting in FullHD (1920 x 1080), you can zoom up to 5x without losing resolution. In UHD, it is still a 2.6x zoom.

That’s the advantage, but there’s a twist here. To realize a high-resolution sensor, the actual pixels have to shrink, otherwise they wouldn’t fit on the sensor. Smaller pixels lead to inferior low-light performance. And since Wakamatsu-san is very transparent with his users here, he admits that this is indeed the case: the original fp offers better low-light capabilities than its successor, the fp L.

SIGMA fp L
SIGMA fp L with EVF-11. Image credit: CineD

Another very useful feature is copying/pasting settings from one camera to another by simply scanning a QR code displayed on camera A with another camera B. Great for multi-cam setups!

Since this camera is also marketed as a director’s viewfinder, the next feature is only natural: you can take screenshots of what the camera “sees” with your smartphone, with crucial information embedded. This could be very useful if you’re out scouting possible locations and you want to take not only the captured image, but also the camera parameters as well.

Another great feature of this camera (which the original fp lacks) is the newly developed phase detection autofocus that works in both photo and video modes. Make sure to read (and watch) Johnnie’s review for more information on this!

Both models co-exist

As Wakamatsu-san assures, both models will co-exist. So the original SIGMA fp will not disappear anytime soon. You have the choice of which tool you need and make a decision yourself.

Both models support the new EVF-11 attachment (the fp will soon receive an update to support it). However, this EVF cannot be used with any other camera. Maybe SIGMA will open it up to work with any camera, but that doesn’t seem very likely (since the ports are custom-made for the fp camera series, it will be a Frankenstein task anyway, I guess).

SIGMA fp L
The new fp L camera. Source: SIGMA

As a nice touch, SIGMA has added a headphone jack to the new EVF-11, so you now have a way to properly monitor incoming audio. The camera body itself lacks such a headphone jack. But when you use the EVF, it blocks the HDMI port, so no more external monitoring (other than the EVF, of course) or recording is possible. Without the EVF, the camera can output RAW to either Atomos monitors/recorders (ProRes RAW) or Blackmagic Designs monitors/recorders (BRAW).

At least there is a USB-C port on the EVF, so you can still record cDNG directly to an SSD.

Color Modes

The new SIGMA fp L offers two new color modes: Blue Powder and Duotone. In addition, Wakamatsu-san goes into a bit of detail about the camera’s “Color Mode: OFF,” which offers a log-like image but is not technically a logarithmic image. The engineers have redesigned this mode a bit to make the image less sharp and therefore more suitable for further manipulation in post-production.

Pricing and availability

The new SIGMA fp L is available now and it sells for $2,499, the new EVF-11 will sell fo $699.

For more information, make sure to give Jakub’s article about the new SIGMA fp L camera a read over here.

Link: SIGMA, SIGMA fp L Features Introduction, SIGMA’s footage: Masthead | Director: 柴田大平 Daihei Shibata Producer: 松井 康彰 Yasuaki Matsui, Production Manager: 帰山 奏子 Kanako Kaeriyama, Production company: WOW inc.

What do you think the L stands for? Are you interessted in this new SIGMA fp L camera? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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