The Sigma fpL Review. Amazing color and capabilities. FULL Video Review!

The Sigma fpL Review. Amazing color and capabilities. Full Video Review. 

Hello again everyone! Today I want to share some thoughts on the new Sigma fpL camera announced by Sigma just today, March 25th 2021. I have been lucky enough to have one of these new cameras in hand for the last 2 weeks and have truly enjoyed my time with it. Just as I enjoyed the original fp, this one has also brought me a few smiles and a new experience. The video below has my full review. The words on this page will just talk about the features of the “L” version over the still available fp. This fpL does not replace the fp, rather it brings in another option…and this time it packs a punch as a serous hybrid camera.

I suggest watching my full video review. I share images, video, thoughts and tests. This page will only talk about the changes made to the fp, so it will be brief. If you missed my original fp review you should read that HERE as 85% of what I say there applies to the new fpL. The video below covers it all! 

March 25th 2021.

Sigma has announced this new fpL along with the new EVF-11 accessory. This add on EVF will work with the original fp camera and the fpL. In fact, the fpL is not a replacement for the fp, but an addition. Another choice that brings with it a new 61 MP backside illuminated sensor, and this means the fpL is made just as much for still shooters as cinema shooters. 

Click images for larger versions. Also, all were shot with the Sigma 35 f/2 at f/2. ALL images shot as straight OOC JPEGS! I talk about why in the video above. 

Still the smallest full frame camera in the world, this camera is all about making it yours. You can keep it simple, small and basic and get phenomenal results or you can rig it out as a full cinema workhorse. The fpL keeps the same body as the OG fp and this is good as this means all accessories will be interchangeable. It’s still the same small brick like body that allows you to add whatever you like. A grip, the new EVF-11, or the older larger viewfinder, which is still an amazing option if you do not mind the size.

The fpL is unlike most other cameras as it has style, character and something unique about it. Sure, it’s the body with its chunky on and off switch and dedicated cine/still switch right up top. It’s also the big record button that makes it seem so simple and basic, yet what is inside is pretty powerful. This is a serious camera for cinema or photo users, and I asked myself as I shot with it…”is this the ultimate hybrid camera”?

I started to test the camera with pre-production firmware as Sigma was still working on the continuous AF. As the release date grew near, Sigma e-mailed me firmware Version 1.0 and it did seem to improve the Af performance of the camera, especially with continuous video AF (I test it in the video). The fpL now includes Phase Detect AF along with contract detect. The original fp only has contrast detect so the new fpL is an improvement over the original when it comes to continuous AF for video for sure. While not as sticky as a Sony, it’s very good in the L mount category of cameras.

Of course it is still a fantastic camera to shoot Leica M mount lenses on. IMO, it is a much better camera than the Leica CL itself, and feels more like a real old school Leica CL in the hand and in use. It’s hefty, built well, has simple controls and it is full frame. It has gorgeous color performance, even some of the best in camera JPGS I have ever seen. In fact, every image here and in the video above are STRAIGHT FROM CAMERA JPEGS.

So the new fpL has the new impressive sensor (that also is good at high ISO as shown in the video) at 61 MP, it has added phase detect AF and the all new EVF-11 is a fantastic addition to the camera. It is an articulating EVF which makes it super useful in use. Sure, it is an add on, not built in, but it leaves the users of the original fp with an accessory that they can add to their cameras as well. It is actually more useful than most EVF’s due to the fact that it articulates.

While there is no IBIS here, the Electronic Image Stabilization inside works better than the IBIS inside of Sony bodies. I show examples in the video at the top of this page. You can easily shoot steady handheld footage, though you do get a slight 1.24 crop when using E.I.S.

If you want to hear all of my thoughts, and conclusion about the fpL, see the full video HERE. For me though, the sensor and color performance really impressed the heck out of me. The AF with firmware 1.0 while not as sticky and instant as a Sony A7SIII, is better than most L mount cameras. It’s a complete package for cinema shooters or photo shooters. A true hybrid with spectacular specs and performance across the board.

The Sigma fpL comes in at $2499 for the body only.

The EVF-11 is $699

The body and EVF-11 kit comes in at $2999.

You can order each option at B&H Photo HERE

You can order the Sigma 35 f/2 in L mount HERE

You can order the Sigma 65 f/2 in L mount HERE

I will miss this camera as it is something I could love using for B roll and even as a main camera for some video work I do outside of this page. It has amazing video capabilities, and is also so nice to use as a manual focus M camera. I prefer the color to the Leica SL2-S and Panasonic S5. Again, every image here is an OOC JPEG. I talk about the color modes I used in the video above, or you can see it directly at YouTube HERE.

I thank Sigma for allowing me to try out the camera!

 

32 Comments

  1. Thanks for an awesome review Steve! If you had to pick between the EVF and the original VF for manually focusing M lenses on an fp, which one would be your preference?

    • Well, preference for clarity and view, the original. But it’s huge. So for size consideration, the new EVF would be better. I love the original, and if one doesn’t mind the size, it’s fantastic.

  2. Hi Steve, wonderful review. The video very well made.
    Would you recommend the fp l over a Sony RX1R II in terms of af-capabilty and IQ?
    Does it have app picture transfer by wireless?
    Best regards

  3. Hello Steve, thanks for the suggestion Sigma fp / fpL, I chose fp 24Mp. I’m starting my adventure with photography, I have photographers friends, all of them have confirmed your choice for me, thank you once again and congratulations on your photo website. I wish you many successes.

    Marek

  4. Hi Steve, I have read about potential rolling shutter issues in stills mode. Have you experienced some ? Thanks for your review, it was very informative

    • I have experienced none at all with video or stills, so not an issue for me. Unless you are shooting while waving your arms around I doubt it would ever be an issue. The only camera I have ever had an issue with for rolling shutter (with electronic shutter mode on) is the Hasselblad 907x and X1D series. But again, not an issue if you hold still when shooting and those are as bad as it gets for rolling shutter when using the electronic shutter. If someone is getting rolling shutter issues with the fpL for images they do not know the basic fundamentals of how to take a photo : )

      • Thanks for your reply. I think this issue is probably being overexaggerated in other « reviews ». Nice to hear from someone who actually used the camera in real life

        • Thanks, and yes, I haven’t seen it in real use. If I picked it apart and tried to replicate it maybe I could but then that leaves the realm of photography and what the camera was designed to do. I may be getting out of photo reviews as it’s become way too political and biased as well. Many who own brand A love to tear down Brand B and so on. It’s silly and disappointing to see as it seems it has stopped being about the art and craft of photography. Rather, most worry about the specs and gear and put what they are designed for to the bottom tier. Strange.

          • I do hope you will still continue doing photo reviews, otherwise we will be left with mainly biased reviews based on specs

  5. Thanks Steve,
    It looks great and i’m on the look for updating from my SL, mainly for photography and not so much for video.
    I’m concerned about the electronic shutter only and mostly about doing flash photography with such a slow sync speed.

  6. Hi Steve, thanks for the great review, FP or FPL … that’s the question? 😉 I’m before the decision I read that fpL you sent back, for low light and color which you would have chosen if you didn’t have fp 😉

    • It comes down to if you want the higher res or not really. Both have great color. The 24MP will offer better low light but I am talking if you are in cavernous conditions. In normal low light scenarios the L is fantastic. Sio I would base on wether you want 24MP or 61MP as that is what it comes down to. For video, the AF is better in the L of course, and for photos it is snappier as well. If it were me, and I were shooting adapted lenses like M mount lenses I still would go for the fp probably as 24mp is enough for me but then again, I have been enjoying photographing deer in my yard and the 61mp would help with the ability to crop in. Bottom line though its the resolution and phase detect af that make the differences between the two.

  7. Dear Steve. I am “afraid” of the file sizes coming out of a 60mpx camera. I have a iMac which is not “recent”. Did you have problems in post with the huge files? Also to me it is not very clear how the positioning of the autofocus point works if not using the rear screen but the extra EVF which clips on?

  8. Very interesting camera. Sigma makes somewhat niche products much like Leica does but still manages to do their own kind of thing and I admire that. Kudos to them for finally implementing phase detect AF in an L mount camera. Leica if you are reading this, please do the same in future L mount cameras.

    This is just my assessment but the colors coming out of the FPL kind of remind me of a more saturated and cooler toned M240. The greens in that camera and in this one aren’t necessarily my cup of tea but the other colors balance well.

  9. It has contract detect? This will be a useful camera for lawyers… 🙂
    “ The fpL now includes Phase Detect AF along with contract detect.”

  10. Looks great, thanks for the review. A lot of people are somewhat negative about this camera, but I think they don’t quite understand it’s purpose. It’s not really meant to compete with mirrorless slr type cameras – it’s a cinema camera essentially, that happens to take nice stills.
    I’m a little surprised they went with another Sony sensor, the 60mp. I would have personally been fine with the 47mp Panasonic sensor in the S1R making it into the fp L. 60 is nice, but a bit overkill really. 24 is fine for me for almost anything, but higher is nice for landscape detail. Maybe Sony’s was more available, or cheaper, or easier to configure, I’m not sure.
    I’ve heard it has issues outputting 12bit 4K to an SSD, and problems with BRaw and Pro Res external, I hope they can fix that. From what I’ve seen, the 4K H264 internal image is a huge improvement. I may end up buying the original fp at a discount, but would be curious to see how lower light compares.

  11. Great new camera, great pictures.
    I wonder how thin the filter package on that sensor is compared to the SL/SL2 sensor.
    Why, because that’s what makes M-lenses work on such a non-M camera.

    And I wonder what’s the best compact 35/50mm kit using this camera.
    fpL+TL-summicron23
    or
    fpL+adapter+24/35mm M-mount lens
    and
    there’s still the elmarit 18

    nice compact stuff.

  12. Steve, didn’t you prefer less Mpixels .on the SL2s compared to the SL2. The sweet spot I think you called it. Suddenly we are up to 61 MP.? Holy file size!
    Am I missing something here? Different cameras for different purposes?

    • I am reviewing the camera and touch on this in the video. Just because I prefer 24MP for my personal use doesn’t mean I can not review a 61 MP camera ; ) Also, as sensor tech moves on, we can eventually get to the qualities of that 24MP in a 100MP sensor. I always preferred 24 as it was always the best in low light, where higher MP sensors suffered. Today those sensors are catching up and we have fantastic low light performance in higher MP cameras. The sensor in the fpL is fantastic…and yes, tech moves ahead everyday.

  13. Wow. That’s big news. I did not see the video since I prefer to read and see the pictures, but after having seen the first images above I knew right away that something big is going on: excellent, crisp overall rendering and great colors. Thank you Steve! It is no even expensive, considering the 61 MP sensor! Finally, I found the replacement for my Rx1rII I have been looking for. And those new Sigma lenses are a great option…For me: a no brainer.
    Maybe you want to drop a few words on the manual focusing experience? Thanks again

    • Same here, will likely get this as an upgrade to my original RX1R, the form factor is so similar, I’ve gotten really used to the size.

    • Same here, will likely get this as a step up from my original RX1R, which still works great, but lacks weather sealing and lens options. The 35mm is great, but would like to be able to mix it up more.

  14. Thank you for the review, Steve ! I was looking forward to read your impressions on fpL

  15. Stevie they heard you on tilting evf.

    Jpeg straight from camera colours are lush. Forest Green eh !

    Totally right call moving to countryside 20acres of space peace.

    Tough choice between this and Fx3 for cinematography.
    Gonna go down to night time high ISO : Fx3 should top this with its 12MP phat pixel sensor.

    • I own the FX3 and adore it. The body is really a Sony copy of the fp so it’s nice. It works for what I need, and it’s fast, predictable and once it is dialed in to your preferences it is fantastic. BUT! No EVF, so if run and gun you will need an external display as the built in LCD is not so hot in the sunlight. It’s colors are not as nice as the fpL but the AF of the Sony is world class. No one beats it. if shooting manual focus video, I’d prob go to the fpL, unless you want that crazy insane low light of the FX3. They both offer pros and cons really. The Sony has the included XLR Audio handle, the fpL only 3.5 but most only really need that 3.5. Sigma wins in color and photo/stills for sure. Also character ; )

  16. Hi Steve, nice to see you reviewing the sigma again. I bought the orginal fp from your orginal vid. The colours on the new one look amazing! However, I’m selling it as I just cannot afford to buy a 699usd evf. Trouble is I get a now bigger camera so it looses the point of it being small. I’m down grading to the new fuji x-e4 as for a little more money the new evf (yer I know) I get a whole camera with a built in evf, tilting screen and roughly the same size as the fp. I need a evf as like you my eyes are going and the new one, though cool is just to big and to much money. I love the fp, it was such a great camera, but as a photographer, I just cannot justify the cost. Keep up the good work steve!

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