The Sigma FP, the real Pocket Cinema Camera
A full frame, 4K cine camera, capable of recording Raw12bit that fits in your pocket. Is the Sigma FP the real Pocket Cinema Camera?
If you live on specs sheets, this camera is not just the best in class, but possibly the best value video camera currently on the market. So why isn’t this pocket friendly, sub 2 grand cine cam in everyones pockets. Well to find out a little more Sigma have let us borrow the FP with the latest firmware to put through its paces.
It is a camera that has been on the market for over a year now, so I’m not going to bog down too heavy on the specs as there’s tons of videos about that already. I will say that behind the L mount is a full frame sensor, that can output an insane 4k Raw 12bit image if you’re happy to record out to a SSD. If you utilise the internal UHS2 SD card storage you can record 4k Raw in 8bit or if you still want 12bit raw you can do so in 1080p with an internal SD card.
If CineDNG raw video is overkill for your needs, and I wouldn’t blame you, then moving to the compressed formats allow for full 4k recording internally at up 440 Mbps. The beauty of these ALL-I & GOP compressions are not just the post production ease or the cooler grading headroom they still facilitate, but also in the utilisation of the built-in Picture profiles, but more on these later.
So thats enough of the geeky bits, lets just get to using the camera and firstly looking at the good bits of the Sigma FP.
My initial thoughts when I first started testing out the FP in the studio was really how user friendly it is, considering its form factor. When I say form, don’t mean it’s diminutive size but more the fact that this camera is clearly intended as the central point of a more fully formed and accessorised cinema rig.
It truly is the rightful successor to my favourite camera of all time, the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Much like that camera from a few years ago, everything about this is designed for very experienced video users. It’s aimed at teams to rig this out and operate the separate areas of production and not really for the solo shooter.
That being said, the Sigma FP does buck the mini-cine trend somewhat with actually being a very useable camera. The screen is very good, directors monitor good. The controls are excellent and the video assist tools do make solo more than plausible, but genuinely achievable.
On that usability note, the picture profiles available to you when shooting in the compressed video formats are amazing… Fujifilm amazing. They are quite possibly one of my favourite feature of shooting with this camera. That and the all important picture that sensor renders for you. And in truth that is what this camera is all about, giving you as a solo shooter access to that gorgeous full frame sensor with all the rig-ability to be able to upgrade this camera to being the central point of a full filmmaking rig.
So on to the bad bits, and in truth it’s not like any of these points are hidden in anyway. With the Sigma FP you have to know and acknowledge what you are buying into. This looks like an interchangeable lens, hybrid with a high video spec. But it’s not, and before you shoot me down I know it ‘can’ shoot good stills. But this camera is a pocket cinema camera. This is the central point to a filmmaking rig, and is designed with the limitation as such that a solo shooter or even vlogger will find frustrating.
Things like the continuous auto-focus are horrible, but this camera
is designed to live in manual. Really the Sigma FP is not for the casual user or vlogger. This camera is designed to be used in deliberate, planned filmmaking situations by more experienced users and in that setting the results it can render are phenomenal.
The biggest compliment I can pay to the Sigma FP is that it really is like the bmpcc built for 2021. Possessing all the charm and cinematic prowess but without some of those key limitations. And like the bmpcc this is a filmmakers camera, a miniature cinematic workhorse. In truth it is just the central element to a more fully formed rig, but this is to be expected for a cine focussed camera. However this isn’t to say to that it can’t be used on its own, because it can and either way the results from a camera that sits under 2 grand and fits in your pocket, are genuinely exciting.
For more information on the Sigma FP, there are some links below and whilst you’re down there why not consider subscribing to the channel or downloading some awesome filmmaking freebies from the downloads area.
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