Just when you think Summer is quiet, Sigma go and announce one of the most interesting new full-frame hybrid stills/cinematography cameras we’ve seen in a long time.
The camera, called the SIGMA fp, is claimed to be the world’s smallest and lightest full frame mirrorless camera, and from the pictures we’d say that claim isn’t far off the mark. With dimensions of 112.6 x 69.9 x 45.3mm and a weight of 370g, it would appear to be quite amazingly small given its features.
The camera is equipped with a back illuminated 24.6MP sensor, with a large heat sink designed so that the camera can be operated for hours without overheating. The aluminium body is fully dust and splash-proof, which when combined with a similarly designed L-Mount lens will allow for shooting in extreme weather.
The shutter on the fp is fully electronic with no mechanical mechanism, which SIGMA claims makes for a much more reliable camera, or interfering with the intimacy of a shot with the loud clunking sound most alternative cameras make.
But while the stills capabilities, which include 14-bit raw DNG and an ISO range of 100-25600 and what looks like an extended ISO mode from 6-102400, look stellar, the headline feature here is the focus on cinematography.
To begin with the fp will record 12-bit CinemaDNG raw up to 24p 4K. It can also record in MP4 format as All-Intra or LongGOP, for smaller file sizes. While we don’t have solid information on the frame rates available, it would appear that 24p is the highest frame rate for raw recording. But even if this is the case, it is still remarkable to have such a feature in a camera as small and as portable as this one. It would almost seem to be a full frame 4K version of BMD’s classic Pocket Cinema Camera.
It will be very interesting to see what the battery life is like given that it uses the BP-51 style battery, which is around 8.7Wh and 1200mAh. Although it appears from the photos of it rigged up for cinematography use that there must be some sort of power input option. Meanwhile there’s no mini XLR in, but there is a 3.5mm mic input.
Interestingly the camera also features HDR shooting for video, combining two exposures (with the ability to combine three exposures for stills). It isn’t clear whether this is for the MP4 and DNG modes, or just MP4. It would seem logical that it will most likely be for MP4 recordings. If so it implies that frame rates of up to 48fps might well be possible during normal shooting.
Another curious feature is its ability to be used as a directors viewfinder by simulating both the angle of view and look of various cinema cameras including various Arri film cameras, ALEXA models, Sony VENICE, and the RED range of systems.
It would appear that the fp has been designed with speed of use in mind. The menu system appears to take cues from the Blackmagic Design school of thought. There is a large switch on the top of the body that allows it to be switched between Cine and Stills mode. The rest of the body has dedicated buttons for different operations such as picture tone – it has various picture profile looks built in, including the famed teal and orange look.
There’s a USB 3.1 connection that allows the camera to record to an external SSD instead of the default SD media.
For more information visit the SIGMA website. But good luck, it appears the site is cracking under the pressure! No word on price yet, but the company says it expects the camera to be available in the fall.