SIGMA FP L GEAR
different eye cups. It’s pretty good, as it should be at that price, but makes the super-compact camera not quite as compact. It also takes up the HDMI port and stops you charging the camera over USB while in use, but it does add a headphone socket. With the higher pixel rating, better AF and optional EVF, the Sigma fp L is now a great high-resolution stills camera and can even shoot stills at 10fps. But the buffer fills up after 12 shots at the highest resolution. However, as this is primarily a video-first magazine, we have to mention that the new sensor has come at the cost of some video performance. This is because the increase in resolution takes longer to read out, so the rolling shutter is not great. In fact, it’s one of the worst we’ve seen for a while. But it does have options for real 24p and 23.98p and there is also a zoom crop function, where you can shoot 4K from up to nine different crops of the sensor down to a native 3840x2160 region, which is the equivalent of a 2.5x crop. Of course, converting the signal from a 9.5K, 61-megapixel sensor down to 4K means some info has to go and, although Sigma won’t reveal details, it seems that the far superior oversampling technique is used when recording DNG files, rather than line-skipping.
incredible resolution offering near medium format levels of detail. The colours are bright, but not too oversaturated; the control of noise is excellent, although – as is also the case for video – it’s not as good at higher ISO ratings. The camera has a dual base ISO sensor, which bases at 100 and 400 for stills, 100 and 250 for video. The new stills crop mode also allows you to zoom in for a tighter view. It’s like a digital zoom, so as you crop in, the lower the resolution of the shot. But there’s so much detail, it hardly matters. The camera has a new subject- tracking AF system, which has eye detection and 49 focus points. It’s OK for stills shooters looking to record subjects that are relatively static, but it’s not amazing – especially for moving subjects. That’s the same for video, too. It’s a lot better than the contrast detection AF on the original fp, and good as a first attempt at PDAF, but won’t win any awards. The non-tilting screen and lack of viewfinder was an issue for stills and video shooters on the former fp, but the L model is now compatible with an optional £599/$699 EVF-11 electronic viewfinder, which bolts on to the side of the camera and has a 3.69 million dot OLED viewfinder that tilts up to 90°. This has adjustable diopters from -4 to +3 and comes with two
The camera’s pièce de résistance is still its ability to shoot Raw video internally, where you can extract maximum detail from the files in post, but all internal recording is 8-bit only in 4K. Go to HD and you can select 10- or 12-bit. Internally, it records 4K up to 30p, or DCI 4K 24p externally. It can record 8-bit CinemaDNG 4K Raw files to a card or, if you connect an external SSD, you can output 12-bit CinemaDNG Raw over USB-C or 12-bit Raw over HDMI. This also allows ProRes Raw recording to an Atomos recorder or Blackmagic Raw (BRAW) to its video assist monitor/recorder. However, when recording externally via HDMI, we found the footage wasn’t as sharp, suggesting the camera is using line-skipping to downscale the shots. For best quality, it’s DNG recorded externally all the way for maximum dynamic range, pulling detail from shadows and highlights, and changing white balance to perfection. Add sharpening, grade to your heart’s content and the footage is amazing. The camera also
WIDE BOY Adding on the new viewfinder (top) makes the camera a lot bigger. The rear screen (above) is decent
“For best quality, it’s DNG recorded externally all the way formaximumdynamic range”
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