Probably the smallest 24×36 camera today, the Sigma fp offers excellent video features with 4K recording at 30 fps and 12-bit 4: 2: 2 recording on external media. Discovery of these assets.In this file, we will approach Sigma fp from the angle of the video only, a “classic” test for the photo part will be proposed later. It is however undeniable that the Sigma FP is designed for video productions.
The Sigma FP is a very small device which seems very solid and which is built like a lego: on the one hand, there is the monobloc case and, on the other hand, a handle on the right side and a magnifying glass / aimed by- above the LCD screen on the back of the camera.
The sensor is a 24×36 24.6 megapixel model significantly larger than the Micro 4/3 type model of a small Blackmagic Pocket 2K.
The Sigma fp is in an L-mount. It is a mount launched by Leica, and of which Sigma and Panasonic are now partners. You will therefore have to either equip yourself for 24×36 video with the new dedicated optics, or use adapter rings to go to PL or EF.
The camera, once ready to shoot, looks like a large rectangle in its length, but is very comfortable over time. It will of course be necessary to equip it with a cage to associate it with microphones, potential monitoring with an Atomos for external RAW recording, and the shoulder stock.In addition, an AC adapter must be provided to power the camera with D-Tap connectors and professional V-Mount batteries. We regret the absence not only of the headphone output to control the sound entering the camera, but also of the built-in ND filters for filming at full aperture outdoors.
For the wysiwig video part ( “what you see is what you get” , the digital positive ready to be broadcast), you will have to choose between several image profiles that come from the photo world, not really from the video world. A button can call up a quick menu to configure 8 main settings (menu adjustable according to your needs).
The camera uses a rather “young” firmware , pending the next more successful firmware for independent filmmakers. Today it is possible to choose these different options:
- UHD or HD without cropping (downscale from 6K),
- Recording in MOV (HD / UHD video 8 bit 4: 2: 0) or RAW (UHD / HD DNG 8/10 or 12 bit),
- MOV files in “I-frames only” (up to 400 Mb / s in UHD) or in GOP (up to 70 Mb / s in UHD),
- Recording on SD card or on external SSD disk via a USB-C socket.
Internal recording requires very fast SD cards (200 MB / s), and when recording in 12-bit RAW in UHD externally, SSDs that exceed 300 MB / s must be used.
Video recording is limited to UHD 3,840 x 2,160 px while photos can go up to 6K or 6,000 x 4,000 px and therefore 24 million photosites in total. The FP has no low pass filter and has a standard Bayer mosaic.
If the Sigma fp is clearly oriented video, there are still a few options missing, and for the moment (subject to improvement through firmware updates ):
- No in-house LOG to calibrate the image from the RAW implemented in the calibration software (Resolve in particular),
- No logging in the internal camera on SD cards,
- The DNG Cinema of the camera posed problems for Resolve, and of decoding quality during the test, compared to the DNG photos taken by the camera,
- Limitation to 8 bits in 4: 2: 0 of MOV video files,
- Limitation to 8 bits of UHD RAW files internally,
- The impossibility of doing 24P / 25P on the SSD externally, we are stuck in 23.98P. (Sigma would have to Europeanize the whole case, to be sure!)
The Sigma fp is a promise, the promise of a small camera for independent filmmakers offering image quality in 12-bit RAW. We were not convinced by the electronic stabilization of the case, which is well below an S1H for example.
The quality of the video output HDMI 4: 2: 0 8 bits is sufficient for a broadcast without calibration, but for the fiction market, it will be necessary to wait for the implementation of a real internal LOG on 10 bits in 422 and RAW externally (RAW compressed RAW prores) in 12 bits via HDMI (which is already possible with the current firmware ).A promise that has yet to be confirmed by firmware that meets expectations in the coming weeks.