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what to expect, and where are you going?

I'm pretty sure that if you asked the industry experts what the L-mount Alliance meant for Sigma when it first announced, they would have stopped at "developing the lens". It made sense: that's what Sigma touted on the scene when Panasonic, Leica and Sigma all announced this partnership.

Clearly, this L-Mount alliance is much more deeply woven between the three societies than previously thought.

This morning, Sigma announced a surprise, knowing that she had managed not to let escape despite the three lenses announced by Sigma, who have already been online since last week. The fp, or fortissimo / pianissimo (Italian for very large and very small), is the smallest full frame interchangeable objective camera of all time, and it comes from Sigma, an unlikely source if you asked for a majority from the camera sector.

Sigma has made cameras in the past, but they used the Foveon sensor as a base and focused on still images. This camera uses a traditional Bayer sensor and actually seems to lean more for use by videographers than by traditional photographers.

The Sigma fp uses a 24.6-megapixel back-illuminated Bayer sensor, which is in the same vein as what we saw in both the Sony A7 III and the Panasonic S1, for example. Although it is not exactly the same resolution, it is probably a Sony sensor designed for Sigma and based on the specifications of the IMX410C1K CMOS sensor proposed by the division. Sony sensors. This sensor is capable of capturing 4K UHD (CinemaDNG RAW and MOV (ALL-I) in the same slot on an SD card slot or an external recorder and will capture CinemaDNG RAW in 8-bit, 10-bit or 12-bit at 23.98p It can also capture 1080p Full HD footage up to 119.88p in 4: 2: 2 8 bits.

Sigma also referred to different sensor image formats used in filmmaking, which leads us to believe that you can shoot in different ways on the Sigma fp (eg full frame, Super35, etc.). ). It seems that more proportions are offered via a firmware update, as part of the "Director of Viewfinder" mode, although it is unclear if this will work. record in these modes, or simply offer real-time visualization, replacing the unnecessarily optical configurations that administrators use to visualize the field of view on different formats with their film goals.

You probably have to use external recorders with HDMI, but as many people have asked me in recent years: why? HDMI is not really the best type of connection for the transmission of very high bit rates, and Sigma seems to be of that opinion. The fp will transfer its CinemaDNG RAW video streams via USB-C (USB 3.1 GEN1), and Sigma also states that it is compatible with other "movie camera type user interfaces" and that it can therefore "be used directly in the video production settings".

This is not to say that HDMI is not supported on the FP because there is always an HDMI output interface on the side of the camera. Next to it is the USB-C connection and the microphone jack.

I want to go back and talk more about the video uses of this camera in a moment, but I do not want to entirely neglect to talk about the immobile capabilities of this camera because, unlike most video-centric cameras, This seems to actually have a lot of still image capability too.

The Sigma fp fully exploits this 24.6 megapixel sensor with a variety of aspect ratio and shooting speed options. It captures RAW files in 12-bit or 14-bit lossless compressed format, and saves up to 18 frames per second. It uses a contrast-sensitive autofocus system, but Sigma lists a technology called "moving object prediction function" that can result in better tracking. Hard to say for now, we will have to wait for the release of the camera to get more information on its performance. It should be noted that the Sigma fp will start auto focus with eye detection. Therefore, they may be using their partnership with Panasonic to create a powerful contrast only system.

This is also the time to mention that the fp will not use any kind of mechanical trigger, but will instead choose to be fully electronic. With large sensors and electronic shutters, there is usually some level of roll-up shutter. It is possible to create a fully electronic system without shutters, as on the Sony A9, but it is not easy. Sigma says the shutter will be very low, but we'll have to wait to see exactly what it means when the camera is released.

The ISO on the Sigma fp is also quite unique, with a base ISO range of 100-25 600, but expandable to 6 (yes, you read correctly, a figure to 6) and a high ISO of 102 400.

Sigma has also added custom color processing modes that work in both still images and videos. Teal and Orange seem particularly apt to emulate Hollywood styles.

General context

Ok, so where is the camera? Sigma's stated goals with this camera were to do something very small and totally different from what exists. Obviously, the market has slowed down and it is currently extremely crowded, especially in the high-end market of complete models. But they also see that there are people who still make great photos and videos, so there is always an opportunity to do something really good.

And that's where the Sigma fp comes in. It's a camera that looks like what you can be, for the most part, what you need. There are a ton of accessories that change the look and feel of the camera, but the basic camera itself is very small and has rather unique patterns. For example, it does not have a fan like on high end cinema cameras (what you need because these sensors produce a lot of heat), but a heat sink placed between the sensor and the rear LCD screen .

In terms of size and modularity, the Sigma fp is more like a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera competitor than a competitor Panasonic GH5 or S1 or even S1H. The positive side for Sigma fp in this fight against Blackmagic is the size of the sensor and the fact that it will take better pictures than Blackmagic's will.

Overall, Sigma takes very good risks while not quite a camera capable of doing everything. So, although CinemaDNG is filmed, which is great, it will not be able to shoot high speed 4K video in any format: its maximum 4K frame rate is 24p or 30p (at the time of publication it is There is little confusion about this between the launch presentation (claiming a maximum of 24p) and published specifications (claiming 29.97p). It also does not offer Cinema 4K picture format, No headphone jack., you will need to use an external recorder (which, let's be honest, is probably a near-must for this camera anyway, especially if you want to get the most out of the sensor).

Also, although Sigma has indicated that it will be added as a firmware update, if you are recording CinemaDNG internally, the fp can not play this video on the camera. It's a bit depressing, but fortunately they will update the camera to eventually fix the problem.

Another update via firmware we've been talking about concerns several production factors, such as the Super 35. These will also arrive at a later date, which is great.

Looking at the list of what the Sigma fp can and can not do, I'm a little ripped on the role of this camera. Nikon has announced that it will support RAW video at some point on Z cameras, which would mean that Nikon, Blackmagic and now Sigma are the only ones to do so.

But unlike Nikon, the Sigma fp has no log profile or captures traditional video in the log, which means that to get a great dynamic range and take full advantage of the sensor, you need to shoot in RAW. Turning to RAW is a bit painful because the amount of storage space you need, even for short clips, becomes monumental. In addition, your computer will become very tested by modifying as much data. For a camera designed to be, according to what we understood in its presentation, "more affordable", it puts a lot of pressure on the post-production capabilities of those who shoot with it. It's a little bit disconnected between the types of users who would buy this camera (those looking for a good video camera at a lower price), and the way the camera was designed (high-end specifications requiring high capacity storage and a large final computers).

A side note here: At the very beginning of the presentation, affordability was a problem with current movie cameras, but it may be relative. In their video concept and some platforms that they had in the zone to touch and try (with very little touch or try to permit), the focus was on building platform. forms, the use of a drone, cages in movies, etc. One constant theme was the use, so it's clear from the presentation that the cinematographic part of his abilities was squarely aimed at the pros who would incorporate it into something, as opposed to a pocket camera for the masses. Obviously, a lot will depend on the price and there was no question of anything. Oh, and it should be noted that the use of professional video would also mitigate any limitation in terms of AF reliability on this camera. Sigma has consistently focused on the use of film lenses, all of which are in MF anyway.

Overall, there are some specific use cases for this camera, and the size of the construction can not be overlooked. It is very small and in this small box, the Sigma fp can certainly do a lot. Although we do not have an exact release date yet, but it will happen in the fall, and there is no price either, we will have to wait to see exactly where Sigma wants to integrate into the very crowded ILC. market. Their choice of using the L-mount seems logical, and it probably means that they intend to work hand-in-hand with Panasonic's offerings. If their camera can easily slide into the workflow of a Panasonic shooter and offer features, such as RAW video, that Panasonic cameras can not, then it is possible that L-Mount Alliance creates a complete ecosystem of products you can build on. At the very least, the announcement of this camera really makes us see the slogan "L-Mount Alliance" in a new light. There is a lot more work here than three companies making three different parts of a camera system. He feels much deeper than that now.

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