Sigma's Different Approach to Full Frame

Sigma today announced a number of interesting things—FE and L mount lenses, and the DC DN primes now in EOS M mount—but the product that probably caught the most curious attention was the development announcement of the Sigma fp camera.

bythom sigma fp45mm

Sigma has long been the most entrepreneurial of the Japanese camera makers, willing to take risks in search of customers. The fp is another in their oddball approach to cameras. Despite a 24mp full frame sensor—and surprise, it's a Bayer sensor—the camera is barebones and one of the smallest mirrorless bodies out there (422g with card and battery, and only 4.4" wide).

What's striking is how bold Sigma's approach here is. They've built the camera in a way that emphasizes video over still use (no EVF, multiple tripod sockets arrayed around the camera, no flash, etc.). Yet it still should prove to be an adequate still shooter, assuming you don't mind framing from a rear LCD. Cinema DNG Raw recording should net you over 12 stops of dynamic range in video, and recording is supported over the USB 3.1 connection. It's little touches like that last one that show how forward-thinking Sigma was being.

There's a plethora of bolt-on accessories (grips. plates, etc.) that are enabled by rethinking the camera straps (!). At each camera strap position there's instead a tripod socket. Shipping with the camera are small screw in strap eyelets, but you're free to add other options via those connections. It's a bit like having a minimal cheese plate built into the camera.

The all electronic shutter is something I've been predicting for awhile, as it removes one of the last mechanical parts from cameras and lowers overall manufacturing costs. And yes, Sigma's done just that: remove the physical shutter. That obviously has implications on shooting under frequency-based lighting, but it also simplifies the body and design parameters. 

And one of those body parameters is using the aluminum casing as a giant heat sink. It's likely to be a very hot soap bar body under stress—though there is significant venting—but it wasn't designed to hand held by the body only. 

The fp uses the L mount, which is a bit of a contradiction at the moment, as most available L mount lenses are quite large (the lens on the camera above is the new Sigma 45mm f/2.8 L). 

No price was mentioned, and a lot of details are still missing in the specifications, but the camera should be available in early fall.

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