Why Gerald Undone is wrong about the Sigma Fp-L

In the YouTube comments “this was the smoothest bloodbath in a while”.

On social media slick ninja-like assassins strike again in the middle of the night, and the unfortunate victim always seems to be the Sigma Fp series.

In what’s a common theme the original Fp and now the Fp-L, I don’t think many of the social media glitterati get this camera.

In the case of Gerald, I don’t think he gave Sigma a fair crack of the whip in at all.

Let’s start with that new articulated EVF. This is the most capable EVF attachment available on the market for any mirrorless camera. It has more features than the one that comes with the $10K GFX 100. It has no cabling or separate battery like the $2000 Zacuto Gratical. It is only $599.

Next…

The modular concept of the Fp-L is brilliant. Can I change the grip on my Sony A7S III to suite my shoot or personal preferences? Nope.

In Chris and Jordan’s DPReview video about the Fp-L – it as if the concept of modularity is completely lost on them. Immediately Chris talks about it slipping out of the hand if he has a big heavy lens attached, there’s no mention at all about the modular grips! Talk about seeing problems where they don’t exist.

It doesn’t have a Sony A7 series style grip because it is meant to be added by you and tailored to your style.

Next…

There are not many 61 megapixel full frame cameras on the market. Let’s count them. Sony A7R IV. Sigma Fp-L. Yes exactly two. That’s higher resolution than most medium format cameras.

Yet the Fp-L is $2499 which considering the 9.5K sensor, you’d have to be very spoilt indeed to say that’s too expensive.

The Fp-L has a sensor designed to please the landscape photography crowd. It is not an FX3. It is not even a replacement for the original Sigma Fp. How is any of this confusing?

If you want 61MP for $2499 with better colour science than Sony and a smaller, lighter form factor, with modularity and a better EVF which can even be articulated upwards, there are many reasons to pick the Sigma Fp-L and that is before you even mention the word “Cinema” or “DNG”.

The original Fp was optimised for cinema and low light shooting. It’s a similar philosophy to the A7S and A7R. Worked for Sony, right?

So please help me understand this – why is YouTube lit with praise for the A7R IV but the Fp-L is suddenly a big backward step for video shooters?

Sure Sigma did not put all the features in that I’ve had liked. We are still without LOG, an articulated screen, or IBIS. But the market is absolutely crowded with options that have these features.

Surely it is better to be different?

The Fp-L is not just the cheapest 61MP full frame camera but the smallest one too. In the world.

Just the fact that 4K RAW even exists from a 61MP camera only slighter larger than a deck of cards is in itself a small miracle. In fact it is unique to Sigma, whereas Canon, Nikon and Sony copy each other in a big dick swinging contest, Sigma has done something different. Let’s talk about being different for a moment because it is central to why I like the Fp and Fp-L and why the influencer glitterati just don’t get it.

First camera company to drop the mechanical shutter.

First camera company in the L-mount alliance to shift to phase-detect AF.

First camera company to make a full frame camera as small as the Fp. The Sony FX3 followed in Sigma’s footsteps, not the other way round.

These are all big moves that set up Sigma for the future. They moved in anticipation of all cameras working without moving parts, with infinite shutter lives, very fast rolling shutter and global shutter sensors. With phase-detect AF, both Leica and Panasonic are STILL yet to make the jump. These are both very important forward looking moves and no they won’t get it perfect at the first attempt. When is anything perfect at the first attempt?

Sigma Fp USB C webcam video streaming

Sigma don’t get any recognition for the bravery, nor the modularity or the almost miraculous technical capabilities on offer. The central criticism from Gerald comes purely from a consumer point of view. If you had to choose between X or Y, why would you choose X over Y? In other words why not just buy a Sony FX3 or A7R IV?

Of course the 4K Cinema DNG to SD card will put it on the map with filmmakers just like the original. So of course social media influencers are going to try and make out that it is a cinema camera. Remember the lifestyle thing matters here. YouTube is the same as TV, the same as show-biz. “Cinema camera” carries a lot of weight with consumers interested in that as a lifestyle choice.

It is no surprise that social media influencers dislike a niche artist’s tool or at least don’t get it. They are not actually out there in the field doing fine art landscapes – something you used to need a $25,000 medium format camera for. They are not actually out there doing a full RAW Cinema DNG workflow on their feature film, their labour of love. They are not out there with the smallest possible 61MP camera for street photography, cropping several focal lengths out of one tiny unobtrusive prime. They are instead presenting content on YouTube and glamourising it to look like a lifestyle golden ticket, and in that sense the Sigma Fp finds itself a square peg that won’t go up Philip Bloom’s cat’s arse.

The answer to the followers and sheep will always be Sony or Canon because that is what works best for the mainstream consumer or the average worker.

But as an artist, the worst thing you can do is just follow whatever everybody else does.

These reviewers are box ticking for the masses. Does it have IBIS? Does it do ISO 25,600? Is it fit for every type of use you can possibly think of?

If yes – Buy a Sony!

If no – TRASH. TERRIBLE! DON’T GO NEAR IT!

If creativity is a box ticking exercise then of course Sony has all the boxes covered, with Canon and Nikon currently a step behind. The Sony A1 undeniably has superior ticks in every box compared to the Canon EOS R5 especially for filmmakers. Fuji offers us the best 10bit APS-C cameras at reasonable prices and medium format 10bit 4K for $6000. Panasonic is best value for money when it comes to 10bit codec quality and 10bit full frame mirrorless cameras. Canon have a hand warmer and Nikon have an announcement of a camera that seems a dollar short and a year late to me (Z9). Where’s Nikon’s 61MP camera for $2500? Where’s their Cinema DNG RAW internal codec? The Nikon Z6 II doesn’t even have an internal LOG profile but it never seems to come up as an issue like it does with the Fp series! Gerald Undone did an 18 minute video exploring the HDMI RAW output of the Z6. Is the Sigma Fp going to get 18 minutes about BRAW via HDMI? I doubt it!