Sigma fp vs Sony A7III – High ISO Comparison!

Sigma fp vs Sony A7III – High ISO Comparison!

By Steve Huff

Happy Saturday everyone. I am testing out the Sigma fp all weekend and the first thing I wanted to do before I head out tonight to shoot in lower light (video and stills) was test the ISO performance against the Sony A7III. The Sony is considered one of the best low light cameras made today and comes in at $1799, or $100 less than the Sigma. I have used the Sony up to ISO 25,600 when shooting, with usable results. With the little Sigma fp in hand, which is the smallest full frame camera made today, I wanted to see if the sensor inside the Sigma would be able to compete against the Sony. Both are 24 MP so should be similar. Where I expected them to differ is in the color, and there are differences.

These were shot RAW and the files you see here were direct from RAW without any processing whatsoever. So what you see is what you get from each camera. Color mode on each was set to Neutral. You can click the images below for larger versions and to see the 100% crops at 100%. To me it appears the Sigma eeks it out in the noise department but they are close. Color, I prefer the Sigma but that is a personal preference.

First two images shot at ISO 12800 and 1400s – from RAW. 

The 1st image is from the Sigma fp and Voigtlander 75 1.5 Lens. The 2nd Photo from the Sony and same lens. Click them for larger and to see full 100% crop. 

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Next two..Sigma then Sony, both at ISO 25,600

So there are clear color differences here. I will say that the lights behind the can are REDDISH/PURPLE and the Sigma is representing the color much better than the Sony which appears almost orange though neither are spot on. I almost feel as if I am seeing a slight color cast in the Sony image, I sometimes call this “dirty color”. When I look at the blue on the can, the Sigma nails this color perfectly. The Sony almost has a haze over it with a color cast/haze that appears yellowish. When you click the images and view them at the larger size you can see this color cast in the Sony images. Of course this reflects on the AWB of each camera, and both were set to AWB. This shows how each camera may render colors, at least in this kind of lighting scenario. No light was on the can at all and it was pretty dim in the room.

The Sigma is really more of a cinema camera as it shoots in DNG RAW and can shoot at 12 bit in camera, which is unheard of in a camera of this price. But it also houses a nice full frame 24MP sensor and while it is more expensive than the Sony, it offers a few unique things that may sway some to it over a Sony. No built in EVF, no swivel LCD, No 5 Axis IS, no built in grip…rather the fp was created to be modular. Meaning, if you just want the camera body, it can be small and compact, even with the Sigma L mount 45 2.8. This combo is small and yet powerful in the IQ department.

You can add to the fp with grips, viewfinders, and accessories that screw on tight and feel great. Add whatever you need. My setup has the viewfinder, which is large (make no mistake) but it is also beautiful to shoot through. I am usually not a fan of large accessories but this viewfinder makes the fp feel retro, like an old super 8 movie camera. I prefer the EVF because these days my eyes are so bad for close up and I rarely have readers on when taking photos, so the LCD looks blurred to my eyes when shooting. The Sony offers more for less. Better battery life, built in EVF, swivel LCD, 5 AXIS IS, faster autofocus and many more lenses available. The Sigma offers charm, smaller size, and a much nicer/easier menu system that is intuitive and beautiful all at the same time. I will say the Sigma is more fun to shoot than the Sony and I would reach for it over the Sony almost every time if given the choice.

The fp is more of a unique experience. With that said, I could not imagine slapping on a Leica 24-90 or 90-280 or even 50 1.4 L mount to this as it is so small and those lenses are so large. I believe many may find this camera great for video, as maybe a B roll camera, but I also see great potential as a stills camera when using Leica M mount lenses. The body, the grip and the viewfinder with M mount lenses is quite the experience. A Leica SL can be had today new, USA model, for $4500. A Leica SL 2 can be ordered for $5995. The fp, with the same lens mount and being much smaller comes in at $1899, the grip at $59 and the VF at $300. So we are looking at a $2260 investment for these this kind of setup, or half of an original SL. I think the original SL is a nicer experience when shooting M lenses but it also does not have as good of IQ in low light. The new SL2 comes in at close to $3800 more and offers more MP but even worse low light performance. Then we have the Panasonic S1, which is also superb BUT it’s HUGE, the largest of all of the 35mm full frame cameras. That camera comes in at $2500 for the body only and offers a 24MP sensor, 5 Axis IS, and all the goodies and features one could ask for.

At $1900 the fp is more in line with a Sony A7III or Nikon Z6 or Canon EOS-R. All of these cameras have more features and gimmicks built in but the fp, again, has some charm and really shines in the cinema dept and may be the camera to go for if you want small, and to shoot Leica M mount glass. Sure the Sony can do this too but it’s just not as fun and the color not as good. I will be shooting tonight with M lenses and the Sigma 45 2.8 as well as a Canon mount or two and am excited to see how it goes.

I will be posting more from the fp Monday or Tuesday for those interested. Stay tuned.

Steve

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Ok crazy comparison request!

    Obviously not high iso comparison

    But how about IQ for 200 w these 2 cams and a Foveon?

    Throw in an EM5lmklll for kicks?

  2. Hi Steve,
    Nice article! The fp has got me curious. Would love to hear some more comments on the experience with M-lenses WITHOUT the viewfinder. Seems like compactness, as a selling point, is negated when adding the viewfinder…Though it does look nice, I’m not sure I’d want to carry that around every day. I’d think some of us would like to hear some comparisons between the fp, S1, and SL/SL2 for use with M-lenses, too. All seem to be great options for M-lenses, though I think I may put the S1 as the best bang for the buck (but it’s certainly not small). I personally would have loved to see Leica produce a stripped down SL2 with all its goodies like IBIS, but at 24mp. Anyway, keep up the great content as always! We’re entering the mirrorless golden age.
    -Marlon

    • To me this is a photo camera first and foremost. I am not a fan of the video aspect of it, but for photos it’s special for those of us who like this style of photography. Not for those who think speed, features and gimmicks make a great camera. Rather for those who want a unique experience and class leading IQ. It beats my Sony A7III easily in color, ISO, and overall IQ. That’s with M lenses or even the 45 2.8. It’s modular so you add the accessories you want, and it’s such a solid build. I bought one after evaluating it a bit, with the VF and grip and 45. For me it’s about the IQ, the color and the VF which is brilliant in use.

      • Steve,

        That is an interesting take. “Most” are claiming this to be a video first and photo camera second. I was intrigued by this camera but have decided to wait to see more user experiences like yours. Obviously, it is no small camera once you start adding the things that you did BUT on the flip side has the ability to be a small camera should you want it.

        I have read some users having issues with AF and the LCD not being visible outside. I know you are using attached VF, just curious what your experiences are with the LCD outside without the VF attached? Also curious about AF.

        For the time being I’m on the sideline deciding between this, the S1 and the new SL2. Very different beasts for sure but they actually have more in common than I ever thought they would.

        Look forward to more experiences not just of the FP but he SL2

        Thanks

        • Thanks. I posted my 1st part review today of the FP. Some of the finest IQ I have seen from a full frame 35mm so far. I see it as just as good for images as video, and I will use it for images 90% of the time, video maybe 10%. I will use it only with the VF if using M lenses as it makes it so easy to focus. The VF magnifies 2.5X and provides a huge, crisp, clear view of the LCD though it’s appears as if you are looking through an EV 10X the size of a normal EVF. If using AF lenses, I would use the LCD itself. Outside it is about the same as most of my other LCD’s if in the sun. Hard to see. This is not a camera for everyone, but I see it as something like an alternative to an original Leica SL as it’s less expensive, offers nicer IQ, low light and color, and a unique experience. It’s lighter and much smaller but it’s different, that’s for sure. When shooting it the other night a couple asked me if I was using an old movie camera, lol.

  3. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras shoot 10-bit and CinemaDNG starting at not far from half this price. Not FF, but definitely “heard of.”

  4. I’m a Sony A7 III shooter using a Zeiss 35mm 1.4 ZM. I love the experience of shooting manual focus lenses and totally in love with the rendering of the Zeiss. Recently I popped into a local camera store in London (bad idea I know) and decided to try out two cameras, Leica M10 and Panasonic S1. I wanted to see firstly the full potential of the lens mounted on a body it was intended for and was blown away by how much better the images were from that body. Alas, as much as I enjoyed the rangefinder experience I knew within me it would be a novelty I would eventually find limiting. I then mounted it on the Panasonic and was blown away by the EVF. WOW! It was such a delight. I could strap two to my head and walk around with better than 20/20 vision! 🙂 There was no need to to magnify, I could nail focus at 1.4 with ease such was the clarity of 5.76mp. The only issue I had was the size of the body – its far to large for me to want to carry it all day every day as I do with my Sony. With the release of the SL2 and the better sensor and micro lenses for M lenses, and the same EVF as the Panasonic S1, this indeed would be an almost perfect camera for me if it were not for the price :'( This is where the Sigma comes in. I love the size and modularity. I love that it has no low pass filter even with 24mp. And judging by the images you put up looks to give great image quality much like the M10 I tried out. If indeed this does turn out to be the case I’ll be supplementing my A7III with the Sigma and its bits without the need to sell a body organ or turn up at my local Leica dealer on launch day with a balaclava and banana in hand. Eagerly awaiting your review Mr Huff. Happy shooting!

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