Sigma fp

      Photo Review 8.7

      In summary

      Sigma cameras are always interesting to review and the fp is no exception. Like others in the Sigma stable, it’s not necessarily the best choice for everybody; you have to work with the camera to get the best from it, which means it’s better suited to imaging geeks than everyday snapshooters.

      Physically, the fp is very robustly built and extremely compact and light for a full frame camera. The large screws used to attach the various modules are also praiseworthy since they suit even those with limited dexterity, with a slot that fits a 5-cent coin or wide-blade screwdriver.

      The modular design gives the camera a lot of potential for up-scaling, although our choice would be to have a viewfinder bundled with the camera, rather than the hot-shoe module.

      A notable omission is the lack of optical stabilisation, especially if it’s a feature you’ve come to rely upon in other cameras.

      Still shots from the camera were certainly up to the expected standard, and videos shot in the CinemaDNG format were spectacularly good.

      Full review

      Announced in July 2019, the Sigma fp claims to be ‘the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless digital camera’, which is credible from its measurements. It’s also the first camera with a modular design that allows key components other than lenses to be added at the user’s discretion. For starters, it is supplied with the HU-11 hot shoe unit, which it attached to the left side panel by a large mounting screw and includes a clamp that can be tightened to prevent HDMI cable from pulling out.

      Angled view of the Sigma fp with the 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens. (Source: Sigma.)

      Other optional accessories include the LVF-11 viewfinder, BG II base grip and BPL-11 base plate, CR-41 cable release, CN-21 DC connector, BC-71  battery charger, SAC-7P AC adapter, EF-630 electronic flash and MC-21 mount converter. Users can also choose from 14 dedicated L-Mount lenses as well as 13 cine lenses and 29 DSLR lens, which can be attached via mount converters.

      The review camera was supplied with the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens, L-Mount version. It came with the BP-61 Li-ion battery, SUC-11 USB cable (for charging the battery), HG-11 hand grip and HU-11 hot-shoe unit but not the neck strap which is normally included in the box. We had to ask for the LVF-11 viewfinder.  The instruction manual must be downloaded from Sigma’s website, a normal situation with today’s cameras.

      Who’s it For?
      Sigma describes the fp as ‘casual enough to take anywhere, anytime and high-spec enough for serious photo shooting’ and, with the wide range of compatible lenses, that has a ring of truth. But it appears to be targeted primarily at cinematographers, rather than stills photographers because it supports a wider range of options and formats than comparable cameras from Nikon, Panasonic and Sony.

      One important thing to note is that there are no auto settings on this camera, which means it won’t suit point-and-press snapshooters. Shooting modes are selected via the Mode button on the lower right hand corner of the rear panel, which lets you choose from  the standard P, A, S and M modes plus three Custom modes (where frequently-used settings can be stored for quick recall).

      The camera’s modular design allows users to pick and choose from other accessories. It comes with a hot shoe unit (HU-11) that accepts a flash or external microphone and screws onto the left hand side panel but is easily removed when you don’t need it. Sadly, the flash sync speed is limited to 1/30 second for JPEGs and only 1/15 second for DNG.RAW files.

      Unfortunately, the fp is hampered by the lack of a built-in EVF, which a serious deficiency in the Australian market. If Sigma included the add-on LVF-11 LCD viewfinder instead of the HU-11, the fp could be seriously competitive with Sony’s latest α7 model, which has a high-res EVF built in and a more sophisticated AF system.

      The shutter is also electronically driven, which could cause problems when shooting video under fluorescent lighting, leading to flicker and banding. Rolling shutter effects are likely to be a constant threat when panning or shooting fast-moving subjects. In addition, while the maximum burst speed is 18 frames/second, the buffer memory can only accommodate up to 24 low-resolution JPEGs (12 JPEG frames at maximum resolution), which is not enough for serious shooting.

      The contrast-based autofocusing system is nothing special, even though it includes face and eye detection. But, you can only choose between the default multi-point mode with only 49 selectable points and single-point or tracking AF and even though a peaking display and magnification are available for checking focus, functions like individual eye selection and fine tuning to match different shooting scenarios aren’t provided.

      Another deficiency is battery life. The supplied BP-61 battery is CIPA rated for only 280 shots/charge. When shooting movies that equates to a maximum of 70 minutes so you need a few reserve batteries to cover a full day’s shooting.

      Build and Ergonomics
      Let’s take the most-promoted features of this camera in order. Firstly, it’s small: approximately 112.6 mm wide by 45.3 mm and just 69.9 mm tall, it weighs only 422 grams with battery and SD card installed and can fit into a jacket pocket. It’s also light enough to be carried by a drone.

      Build quality is excellent on the whole. The camera body is a rectangular box made from die-cast aluminium, with a large lens mount and a slightly textured finish covering its flat front panel. The surface isn’t slippery but photographers who require a grip moulding can add the HG-11 hand grip, which will increase the overall weight of the camera by 45 grams.

      Front view of the Sigma fp with no lens fitted. (Source: Sigma.)

      A pair of tiny microphone slots straddles the lens mount near the top of the panel, while the front control dial sits at the intersection of front and top panels where it’s accessible with the right index finger. There are index marks engraved on the panel to show the positions of the tripod/strap holder sockets on either side of the body. These attachment points are also used when fitting accessories.

      Top view of the Sigma fp with no lens fitted. (Source: Sigma.)

      The top panel is relatively uncluttered, with a sliding power switch close to the left hand side and another slider for switching between Cine and Still modes beside it just above the lens mount. Further right is a small red-capped movie recording button, followed by the large front control dial, which has a central shutter button.

      Mounted between the LCD and camera body is a specially designed heat sink, which is visible as a series of small rectangular holes. Combined with a heat dissipation coating applied to the outer surface, it prevents the camera from overheating.

      Rear view of the Sigma fp. (Source: Sigma.)

      Two-thirds of the rear panel is taken up by the LCD monitor, a 3.15-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a relatively high resolution of 2,100,000 dots. An electrostatic capacitance touch panel is overlaid on the screen to support basic touch operations.

      To the right of the monitor sits the arrow pad (‘rear dial’) which has a central OK button. The AE-Lock and Quick Menu buttons are positioned above it. Items displayed in the Quick Menu change when you switch between the Still and Cine modes.

      In the Still mode you get ISO, metering, drive, white balance, image quality, size and aspect ratio settings and fill light. There are two Cine mode options: Cine Style shows format, frame rate, time code, shutter angle, aperture, ISO, colour mode and white balance, while Still-like Style displays ISO, metering, drive, white balance, format, resolution, frame rate and fill light.

      The up button on the arrow pad accesses focus mode selection, while the down button displays the three AF point selection modes. The left and right buttons are used for navigation. The playback button is located just below the arrow pad.

      Below the monitor is a line of buttons for playback, info display, tone control, colour mode and shooting mode. Between the playback and info buttons is a tiny LED that indicates the camera is ‘busy’ storing image of video data, while between the info and tone control buttons is an index mark that shows the optical axis of the lens.  The shooting mode button doubles as a delete button in playback mode.

      Left and right side views of the Sigma fp camera showing the interface ports. (Source: Sigma.)

      The left side panel has separate interface points for the USB (Type C USB 3.0) and HDMI (Type D Version 1.4) ports plus the microphone terminal. The HDMI port includes contacts for the HU-11 hot shoe unit. The only connector on the right side panel is for a DC power connector.

      Unusually for a ‘premium’ camera, the battery and memory card share a compartment that is accessed via the base of the camera and is located on the right hand side. There’s only one card slot but it is UHS-I and II compatible and the compartment has a locking cover.

      The fp is protected against the ingress of moisture and dust by sealing at 42 points around the aluminium camera body, shown in the diagram above. When fitted with a dust- and splash-proof lens, it can be used when shooting in rain, sand- and dust-storms and other challenging conditions.

      As mentioned above, there are plenty of components you can add onto the Sigma fp body to provide facilities not built into the camera. The camera is supplied with the HU-11 hot-shoe unit, which lets you add an external flashgun or microphone. (It’s unlikely you’d need to use both simultaneously.)

      We asked to be supplied with the LVF-11 viewfinder, which we think will be the most interesting of the optional accessories available for most Australian users. It’s radically different from other external viewfinders and operates more like a loupe. It also adds 275 grams to the overall weight of the camera.

      Essentially a 76 mm long, tapered ‘black box’ that fits over the LCD monitor, thereby excluding stray light, it has a lens at the narrowest end that magnifies the view by 2.5x and a surrounding dioptre adjustment ring that ranges from +1.0 to -2.0 dpt. A pull-off lens cap is tethered to the assembly by a short cord.

      This picture shows the Sigma fp camera (outlined in red) fitted with the 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports lens, MC-21 mount converter, HG-11 hand grip, LVF-11 viewfinder and BPL-11 base plate. (Source: Sigma.)

      The LVF-11 attaches to the base of fp camera body via a screw on the bundled base plate extension. There are two metal-threaded sockets in this extension; one a standard 1/4-20 UNC tripod thread positioned on the optical axis and the other a 3/8-16 UNC thread for attaching larger and/or heavier components.

      It’s not as compact or flexible as the electronic viewfinders commonly found on mirrorless and compact cameras, and, with an RRP of AU$399.99 it’s a fairly pricey accessory (and not currently seeing much discounting). But it provides a remarkably clear view of the screen and by our judgment – having tried shooting both stills and video in bright outdoor conditions with and without the LVF-11 – we’d consider it a ‘must have’ accessory for anyone planning to use the fp outdoors in any Southern Hemisphere country (especially in summer).

      The bundled HU-11 hot-shoe unit is designed for Sigma’s EF-630 flashgun and includes an HDMI cable lock for securing a connected HDMI cable with recording to an external storage device. A socket is provided for attaching the strap holder to its outer side.

      Sigma fp camera shown with the 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art lens, the HG-11 hand grip, HU-11 hot-shoe unit and the EF-630 flashgun. (Source: Sigma.)

      The two hand grips are for those who require a moulding to make the camera easier to hold and balance. While they may not be essential when compact lenses are attached or when the camera is enclosed in a video rig, they can be really useful when shooting with longer and heavier telephoto lenses.

      Each grip is attached via the standard fp screw fitting, with the HG-11 screwing onto the neck strap mount socket and the larger HG-21 attaching to the tripod socket in the base of the camera. Each grip has a socket for attaching the strap mount on its outer side.

      The CR-41 is a fairly standard cable release with a plug at one end and a trigger attachment at the other. It also has a 3.5mm microphone socket close to the plug end to provide an alternative input for external mics.

      The BG-11 Base Grip is a vertical post that screws into the camera’s tripod socket. It provides a vertical handgrip for video shooters, particularly vloggers who want to shoot with the camera held at arm’s length. The camera can also be set up for professional movie recording and supports a range of interfaces that will be familiar to cinema camera users. It also accepts Sigma’s ‘Cine’ range of Art-series prime lenses.

      Two views of the Sigma fp camera set up with different video accessories. (Source: Sigma.)

      Two mount converters, the MC-21 and MC-31 have been developed to enable photographers with Canon EF and PL-mount cine lenses to be attached to the fp body. The camera is also compatible with Samsung’s SSD T5 the SanDisk Extreme portable storage drives as well as the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K portable recorder, Timecode Systems UltraSync ONE time code generator and the IDX A-E2EOSC external battery to extend recording capabilities.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      Although Sigma is known for its ownership of Foveon, which makes sensors that record RGB data at three levels in the chip, the 35.9 x 25.3 mm sensor in the fp is a relatively conventional back-illuminated CMOS chip with Bayer filtration and approximately 25.3 million photosites (24.6 megapixels effective). To maximise image resolution it has no low-pass filter. No information is available on which manufacturer produced it.

      When shooting stills, the camera offers a choice of JPEG or DNG.RAW formats, with three quality settings for the former (the default Fine, Normal and Basic) and a choice of 12- or 14-bit gradation for the raw files. The files can be recorded in three resolution ‘sizes’: High, Medium and Low) and unlike many cameras which only record raw files with the largest size, the fp supports raw recording at the low size with 12-bit depth.

      There are also six aspect ratio settings in addition to the native 3:2 aspect ratio. All are obtained by cropping the frame. A ‘DC Crop’ mode is also available with a 1.5x multiplier factor. It is selected automatically when an APS-C size lens is mounted and will change still image sizes more than movie frame sizes (which are reliant on frame cropping). Details are provided below.

      As is usual with Sigma’s cameras, the fp includes some interesting in-camera effects, including a new Tone Control menu that adds manual tone curve adjustment to the two auto options available in previous models. Eleven levels of adjustment are provided auto options available in previous models, along with new TONE and COLOR buttons for a quick access to the tone control and colour mode menus.

      The camera also includes 12 Colour Mode settings for accessing pre-set colour adjustments, which work in both Cine and Still modes. As well as the usual Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, and Monochrome modes, the Sigma fp includes the FOV Classic Blue and FOV Classic Yellow modes, which replicate the rich colour renditions of Sigma’s Foveon sensor and a Cinema mode that reduces saturation and emphasises shadows to produce a cinema-like image. New Teal & Orange, Sunset Red and Forest Green modes emphasise particular colours, as implied in their names.

      Contrast, sharpness and saturation are adjustable in each mode (except saturation in the monochrome mode). These settings can be used to change the ‘mood’ of a photo, as shown below.

      Some of the fp’s colour modes: Top row from left – Standard, Cinema, Teal & Orange; Bottom row from left – Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue.

      Yet another interesting new addition is the Fill Light, which was formerly available only in Sigma’s proprietary image development software. It is designed to increase the brightness of shadow regions without altering highlight exposures and appears to work with both JPEG and DNG.RAW files instead of only JPEGs, which is usual for in-camera adjustments in other cameras. An example is shown below.

      This pair of images demonstrates the effect of the in-camera Fill Light. The top image shows the scene without correction while the bottom one shows the same scene with +1.6 of Fill Light correction.

      HDR recording is also available for both stills and video recording – but only with JPEG stills or MOV format movies. In the Stills mode, three images are captures – standard, under- and over-exposure – and then composited to produce a single frame. Exposure range adjustments of up to +/-3EV are available, along with an Auto setting where the camera sets the range automatically.

      In Cine mode, the camera shoots a series of frames at twice the specified frame rate and with different exposure values. The resulting vide is created by compositing pairs of frames. Misalignment can occurs with fast-moving subjects or when the lens is panned or zoomed during a recording.

      Stills Photography
      The Sigma fp is pretty well equipped for stills photography, thanks in part to its support for the ‘universal’ DNG.RAW format. Pushing the Cine/Still switch to the Still position sets the camera into the stills shooting mode.

      The mode button gives users access to the standard P (with Program Shift), A, S and M modes plus three Custom modes for storing frequently-used combinations of settings. Users can select from three focus area modes and change the focus frame size or position with the arrow pad buttons. Up to 49 focus frames are available for selection, either by touch or through the arrow pad.

      When shooting JPEGs, the camera offers seven aspect ratio choices – achieved by cropping the native 3:2 aspect ratio frame – with three resolutions for each. The table below shows what’s available.

      Aspect ratio Uncropped Cropped
      Large Medium Small Large Medium Small
      3:2 6000×4000 4240×2832 3008×2000 3840×2560 2736×1824 1920×1280
      4:3 5344×4000 3776×2832 2672×2000 3408×2560 2416×1824 1712×1280
      16:9 6000×3376 4240×2392 3008×1688 3840×2160 2736×1536 1920×1080
      5:4 5664×4000 4000×2832 2832×2000 3616×2560 2560×1824 1808×1280
      7:6 4672×4000 3312×2832 2336×2000 2992×2560 2112×1824 1488×1280
      21:9 6000×2576 4240×1824 3008×1288 3840×1648 2736×1168 1920×1280
      1:1 4000×4000 2832×2832 2000×2000 2560×2560 1824×1824 1280×1280

      Raw files are always recorded with the native aspect ratio, with two sizes: 6000 x 4000 pixels and 3008 x 2000, the latter in DC crop mode with a 1.5x focal length multiplier. Both 12-bit and 14-bit DNG.RAW options are available. Typical file sizes for the 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios in the uncropped mode are shown in the table below.

      Aspect ratio Image Quality
      DNG (14-bit) DNG (12-bit) Fine Normal Basic
      3:2 58.3MB 52.4MB 17.2MB 9.2MB 6.9MB
      4:3 56.4MB 50.5MB 15.4MB 8.2MB 6.2MB
      16:9 55.6MB 49.7MB 14.6MB 7.8MB 5.9MB
      1:1 52.5MB 46.7MB 11.5MB 6.2MB 4.7MB

      A wide range of ISO sensitivities is supported, with the native range covering from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 in the default Auto setting. Expansion to ISO 25600 is available without recourse to the camera’s menu. There is also a Composite Low ISO Expansion mode that combines multiple frames to record with ISO settings between 6 and 80 plus a high ISO expansion setting that adds values from ISO 32000 to ISO 102400 in one-stop increments.

      Thanks in part to the electronic shutter, the drive mode supports frame rates up to 18 fps, although the buffer capacity is limited to 12 frames for large, high-resolution JPEGs or 24 frames with small, low-resolution files. This is tiny in the modern context.

      The camera shows a count of the number of frames as they are stored but stops at nine frames. Once the buffer is full and the display switches to zero, the shutter will lock. The drive also includes a self timer with the normal two- or ten-second delays plus an interval timer for recording time-lapse movies. Intervals can be set from one second to 60 minutes, while the number of exposures can range from two to 99 or unlimited (∞). In AF mode, focus is locked at the first frame.

      Electronic IS is the only form of in-camera stabilisation provided in the camera and unlike like some systems which simply crop the frame, the system in the fp works by combining frames. Both systems reduce the lens angle of view a little, in the still mode by approximately 5%. Shooting with a stabilised lens requires the user to choose between the OIS in the lens and the EIS in the camera because they can’t work together.

      The HDR shooting function, which is available in both recording modes, takes advantage of the electronic shutter to record three frames and then merge them to yield an increased dynamic range. It’s currently available only for stills, with the two-frame video option becoming available via a future firmware update.

      Also coming via a firmware update is the Cinemagraph function, which enables the camera to record sequences of animated GIFs in which where parts of a still image will move, while the rest remain static.

      Movie Options
      One area where the Sigma fp stands out from other stills cameras is in its video recording capabilities. The Cine mode includes numerous functions that parallel those provided in profession movie cameras, such as shutter angle and waveform displays and zebra patterning to aid exposure settings and show colour information.

      It is also the first of its type to support external recording in 12-bit CinemaDNG format, which records each frame as a DNG.RAW file with a resolution of 3856 x 2170 pixels for 4K resolution or 1936 x 1090 pixels for Full HD. In this format both 10-bit and 8-bit options are available, with bitrates in 10-bit depth of up to 2500 Mbps. Note that movie clips recorded in the CinemaDNG format can only be played back on professional equipment; not regular TV sets.

      Recordings can also be made in the MOV format in two options, ALL-I and GOP, each with 8-bit 4:2:0 colour depth. The ALL-I setting supports up to 420 Mbps, while the GOP setting goes up to 120 Mbps. Most TV sets and computer monitors should be able to display these clips.

      In each recording format, users can choose different resolutions and frame rates and where to store the data. However, the high bit depths are restricted to external recording, normally to an SSD connected via the HDMI port. When recording to an SD card internally, recordings are limited to 8-bit depth. The same applies with bit rates, with the maximum supported on a UHS-II SD card being 1670Mbps at 8-bits and 25 fps in CinemaDNG format.

      When an APS-C format lens is attached, the camera will automatically switch to DC Crop mode with a ‘Super 35mm’ frame size and a 1.5x crop factor. The resolution – UHD or FHD – doesn’t change with this shift but frame sizes will be reduced accordingly.

      Electronic stabilisation is only available in the MOV format; not with CinemaDNG (seemingly due to some ‘technical issues related to applying the associated crop factor to the DNG.RAW frames).  But the top frame rate for the MOV setting is 50 fps (PAL format) when electronic stabilisation is used, although without it a rate of 100 fps is selectable.

      Unfortunately, even though most of the colour modes can be used as easily for movies as for stills, there are no LOG picture profiles. Hopefully this deficiency can be rectified in a future firmware update.

      One of the more interesting movie-related features in the Sigma fp is the Director’s Viewfinder function, which simulates the different angles of view of the registered cinema

      camera (chosen from a list of pre-programmed settings for Arri, RED and Sony cameras) and the focal length of the attached lens. Support is also provided for anamorphic lenses and the camera can ‘desqueeze’ a video squeezed with an anamorphic lens to display it.

      This function is exclusive to the Cine mode and not available in the STILL-like style. No sound is recorded, the focus frame defaults to the centre and M size, time code, frame guide, and grid lines are not displayed and image magnification is not available. Users can select from black and semi-transparent rendering for the area around the video frame or turn this function off and have the long side of the frame fitted to the screen.

      In playback mode, clips recorded using the Director’s Viewfinder are identified by an icon in the top right corner. The time code, number of pixels, and aspect ratio are not displayed and frame grabs can only be in JPEG format.

      When recording soundtracks, the fp provides separate gain adjustments for each of the stereo channels. It also includes a wind noise canceller. But that’s the limit to the in-camera audio controls.

      Playback and Software
      The Sigma fp  provides the same basic playback options as most other cameras, driven by the arrow pad buttons. The rear dial can also be used for scrolling from one image or clip to the next. Up to 10x magnification is available when displaying still pictures.

      The image info screen has three pages with variable levels of details. For movies, the recorded time is displayed below the file size, while Cinemagraphs (GIF images) will be shown with the playback time and speed below the file size.

      Movies can be played back with varying speeds from 1x to 512x but soundtracks are only played with the settings between 1x and 2x. Audio volume is adjustable during movie playback.

      Users can lock/unlock, mark, rotate and delete single images or groups of images. Slideshow playback is supported and the fp also includes in-camera raw file conversion into JPEG format.

      As is usual, the Sigma Photo Pro 6.7.1 software for converting DNG.RAW files into editable formats is provided as a free download and available separately for Windows and Macintosh platforms. Fortunately, DNG.RAW files from the camera can be processed in all popular third-party raw converters, including Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), our preferred application.

      We were disappointed by some of the JPEG files we obtained from the review camera as they appeared to be somewhat flat with muddy-looking colours and reduction in the recorded dynamic range. This could have been a consequence of Sydney’s air pollution but the colour-related issues were confirmed by the Imatest tests we conducted indoors where pollution should have been negligible.

      DNG.RAW files, when converted into 16-bit TIFF format in ACR, provided plenty of data to work with and resulted in images with much greater dynamic ranges and much better colour accuracy. This was confirmed by Imatest analysis of the raw images captured simultaneously with the JPEGs, which displayed a normal level of saturation plus fewer and far smaller colour shifts.

      We can’t say on the basis of one sample that the camera has problems with JPEG reproduction since subsequent shots taken on different days well away from the city’s pollution showed few problems with JPEG colour rendition. Nonetheless, the raw files were definitely more promising to work with than the 8-bit JPEGs. The image data will be there and it’s not difficult to access it, as shown in the four examples shown below.

      This example shows a relatively evenly-lit scene. Note the differences in highlight and shadow renditions. Colours and saturation levels are also closer to the original colours in the image from the DNG.RAW file on the right.

      This example shows the differences in highlight and shadow reproduction in a scene with a very wide brightness range.

      Another example of differences in shadow and highlight reproduction, this time in a scene with a more ‘normal’ brightness range. Both highlights and shadows are clipped in the JPEG image.

      This pair of JPEG/DNG images of a scene with a moderately wide brightness range  provides a further example of the tendency of the camera’s JPEG processor to compress both highlights and shadows in order to place mid-tones within as much as possible of the 8-bit dynamic range.

      Overall performance at high ISO settings was very good, as shown in the graph below, although JPEG files taken with the two highest settings showed a progressive loss of colour saturation. Both JPEGs and raw files showed some softening at the highest ISO settings. Differences in JPEG and raw file resolution were also evident with all images recorded, regardless of the ISO setting and we have included some shot comparisons across the ISO range in the Samples section below.

      Auto white balance performance was similar to many other interchangeable-lens cameras we’ve reviewed with shots taken under incandescent and warm-toned LED lighting remaining partly corrected, while shots taken with fluorescent lighting were largely cast-free. The camera has two AWB settings, the second one prioritising the ambient light source. We found neither could counteract the warm casts of incandescent and LED lighting, although the source priority settings provided slightly better correction.

      The pre-sets for the incandescent and fluorescent lighting types slightly over-corrected, a common situation, even in modern cameras. Manual measurement delivered a neutral colour balance for all three lighting types and in-camera adjustments include colour temperature settings plus three Custom memories as well as adjustments for tweaking images as you shoot. WB bracketing is also available.

      The camera’s AF system was a mixed bag and fairly typical of contrast-based systems.  While we encountered few difficulties focusing when shooting in low light levels there were occasions where we found slight hesitation, particularly if contrast was low and it was hard to find an edge to focus upon.

      AF performance when shooting movie clips was a bit hit-and-miss, with the camera often slow to find focus at the start of a clip, regardless of the shooting mode or video format. There were also times when it had difficulty focusing upon one subject in the frame and smoothly shifting to another, closer subject as it entered the frame. Success when tracking moving objects could be sporadic as well.

      For our video tests, we deliberately chose a scene that was likely to be difficult to reproduce with a wide dynamic range and large areas of both bright sunlight and shadow. When the frames were in focus, video image quality was quite good when shooting in the MOV H.264 format using ALL-I compression but a bit less impressive with the IPB compression. In the CinemaDNG format recordings were outstandingly good, even when recording internally to an SD card, where bit depth was restricted to 8-bit. We had no difficulties with moiré or flickering but didn’t organise special situations to test these issues.

      However, for both stills and video shooting there were definitely times when we found the lack of effective stabilisation problematic, having become accustomed to it with other cameras and lenses we have reviewed. Fortunately, the camera never became hot while we were using it, even in ambient temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.

      Our timing tests were carried out with a 32GB Lexar Professional SDXC UHS-II card which claims transfer speeds of 300 MB/second.  The review camera took just over one second to power-up ready for the first shot.

      Capture lag ranged from around 0.3 seconds when the lens was seriously out-of-focus to less than 0.1 second when little re-focusing was required and when shots were pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.75 seconds. On average, it took 1.6 seconds to process each Large Fine JPEG and the same time for each compressed DNG.RAW file. RAW+JPEG pairs were processed in 2.1 seconds, on average.

      In the Continuous High shooting mode, the camera recorded a burst of 20 Large Fine JPEGs in one second before hesitating, which is very close to the specified frame rate. It took 6.5 seconds to process this burst. With DNG.RAW files, recording paused at 14 frames, which were captured in 0.7 seconds. Processing them took 9.2 seconds from the last frame captured. With RAW+JPEG pairs, capture paused after 13 frames which were recorded in 0.6 seconds. It took 11.2 seconds to process this burst. It’s a pity the buffer depths are so small, particularly since we chose very fast cards to make the most of the camera’s capabilities.

      We weren’t able to fully test battery capacity but it appears to be about average for the size of the battery provided. We believe the rated capacity of 280 shots/charge would be realistic, although probably not sufficient to cover the actual usage of most potential users and so would recommend having a spare battery handy during extended shoots.


      Please Login or Register to access the Conclusion.



      Image sensor: 35.9 x 25.3 mm sensor Back-illuminated Bayer CMOS sensor with approx. 25.3 million photosites (24.6 megapixels effective ); no low-pass filter
      Image processor:  Not specified
      A/D processing: 12/14 bit lossless compression RAW(DNG) data
      Lens mount: L-Mount
      Focal length crop factor: 1x
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3), DNG.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Movies: CinemaDNG (8-bit / 10-bit/ 12-bit)/MOV H.264 (ALL-I/ GOP), Linear PCM (Stereo) audio
      Image Sizes: Stills with native 3:2 aspect ratio – 6000 x 4000, 4240 x 2832, 3008 x 2000; Movies: 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K) /23.98p, 25p,29.97p, FHD (1920 x 1080) /23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 100p, 119.88p
      Aspect ratios: 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 16:9, 7:6, 1:1, 21:9
      Image Stabilisation: Electronic system that composites four still frames or two movie frames to minimise blur
      Dust removal: Not specified
      Shutter (speed range): Electronic shutter (30 to 1/8,000 second plus Bulb)
      Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3EV steps
      Exposure bracketing: 3/5-frame across 3EV  in 1/3EV steps (  Standard → Underexposure → Overexposure)
      Other bracketing options: White balance, focus, colour mode, fill light, HDR
      Interval shooting: Yes, for time-lapse photography
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
      Focus system: Contrast detection system
      AF points & selection: 49-points selection, Free Movement, Face/Eye Detection AF, Tracking AF
      Focus modes: Single AF / Continuous AF (with moving object prediction function) / Manual Focus (MF);  AF+MF, MF Assist, MF Guide, Focus Peaking, Release Focus Function, AF-ON, Quick AF, Pre-AF, AF during Image Magnification
      Exposure metering:  Evaluative, Spot, Centre Weighted Average patterns
      Shooting modes: Program AE (Program Shift is possible), Shutter Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
      Colour modes: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Teal & Orange, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue, FOV Classic Yellow, Monochrome
      Other recording modes: Tone control, Stills: Fill Light / Shading Correction / HDR shooting; Movies: Still image shooting during movie shooting / HDR shooting / Director’s view finder
      In-camera functions: Still mode – Fill Light, Shading Correction, HDR shooting’ Movie mode – Still camera shooting during movie mode, HDR shooting, Director’s viewfinder
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto (ISO 100-25600 ) with extension to ISO 6, 12, 25, 50 and ISO 51200, 102400  available; adjustable in 1/3 or 1 EV steps
      White balance: Auto,  Daylight, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater, Colour Temperature, Custom
      Flash: External flashguns only
      Flash controls: S-TTL automatic light control, Manual, Wireless flash, Multi-emission Flash
      Flash modes: Red-eye effect reduction / Slow synchronisation, 2nd Curtain synchronisation
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/-  3EV in 1/3EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. 18 shots/sec. with locked AF
      Buffer capacity:  Max. 12 frames
      Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I, II compatible); Portable SSD supported via USB 3.0 connection
      Viewfinder: None
      Monitor: 3.15-inch 3:2 aspect ratio TFT colour LCD with 2,100,000 dots, electrostatic capacitance system touch panel
      Playback functions: Stills: In-camera DNG development; Movies: Cinemagraph / still image cut-out
      Interface terminals: USB 3.1 GEN 1 Type-C, Micro HDMI (type D), microphone terminal, Dedicated terminal with hot shoe unit HU-11 (supplied with this product) mounted
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)
      Power supply: BP-51 rechargeable Li-ion batteries in special base pack; CIPA rated for approx. 280 shots/charge
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 112.6 x 69.9 x 45.3 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx. 370 grams (body only); 422 grams with battery and SD card

      RRP: AU$2999; US$1899 (body only)
      Distributor: C.R. Kennedy & Company, (03) 9823 1555,



      Based on JPEG files straight from the camera.

      Based on DNG.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      All test shots taken with the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance, ambient light priority setting, with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with warm toned LED lighting.

      Auto white balance, ambient light priority setting, with warm toned LED lighting.

      40-second exposure at ISO 6; f/2.8. JPEG  file

      Taken from a DNG.RAW file captured simultaneously with the JPEG above.

      30-second exposure at ISO 50; f/3.2.

      15-second exposure at ISO 100; f/4.5.

      11-second exposure at ISO 400; f/8.

      6-second exposure at ISO 1600; f/11.

      Taken from a DNG.RAW file captured simultaneously with the JPEG above.

      3-second exposure at ISO 6400; f/16.

      1-second exposure at ISO 12800; f/16.

      Taken from a DNG.RAW file captured simultaneously with the JPEG above.

      1-second exposure at ISO 25600; f/20.

      1/4-second exposure at ISO 51200; f/16.

      Taken from a DNG.RAW file captured simultaneously with the JPEG above.

      1/8-second exposure at ISO 102400; f/16.

      Taken from a DNG.RAW file captured simultaneously with the JPEG above.

      Backlit scene; ISO 200, 1/320 second at f/9.

      Crop from the above image at 100% magnification.

      Close-up; ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/2.8.

      053: Close-up; ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/11.

      Crop from the above image at 100% magnification.

      ISO 100, 1/40 second at f/13.

      ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/5.6. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/5.6. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 200, 1/640 second at f/8. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/4.5. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/5.0. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 100, 1/20 second at f/8. From DNG.RAW file.

      ISO 400, 1/25 second at f/8. From JPEG file.

      Still frame from CinemaDNG 4K  3856 x 2170 video clip; 25p 1670Mbps.

      Still frame from CinemaDNG FHD 1936 x 1090 video clip; 100p 1710Mbps.

      Still frame from CinemaDNG FHD 1936 x 1090 video clip; 50p 850Mbps.

      Still frame from CinemaDNG FHD 1936 x 1090 video clip; 25p 430Mbps.

      Still frame from MOV 4K (38400 x 2160) video clip; 25p 440Mbps. ALL-I compression.

      Still frame from MOV FHD (1920 x 1080) video clip; 100p 440Mbps. ALL-I compression.

      Still frame from MOV FHD (1920 x 1080) video clip; 50p 240Mbps. ALL-I compression.

      Still frame from
      MOV FHD (1920 x 1080) video clip; 25p 140Mbps. ALL-I compression.

      Still frame from MOV FHD (1920 x 1080) video clip; 50p 70Mbps. GOP compression.

      Still frame from MOV FHD (1920 x 1080) video clip; 25p at 60Mbps. GOP compression.

      Additional image samples can be found in our review of the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens.



      • Build: 8.9
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Autofocusing: 8.0
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.8
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 9.0