Sigma FP Announced

On cue, SIGMA has introduced the FP, a Bayer sensored Fullframe.

Common knowledge was that Sigma was working on a new camera since the announcement of the L Mount alliance, but the assumption was that it would be a full-frame Foveon sensor. The FP uses a Bayer sensor, although there remain plans to offer the FP with a Foveon sensor in the future. Lightweight and compact, the FP measures 112.6 × 69.9 × 45.3mm and weighs just 370g (422g with the battery and SD card inserted).

The SIGMA FP w/ L-Mount 45mm

As mentioned, the FP uses a 24.6MP BSI-CMOS sensor with a traditional Bayer filter, not the Foveon sensor. This sensor is placed inside a body that has been extensively weather sealed and fitted with a 3.2-inch 2.1M-dot touchscreen, SD card slot, HDMI port, flash sync port, mic and headphone ports, USB 3.1 port, and remote shutter port.

The FP will be modular in design, with accessories including a hot shoe, LCD viewfinder, handgrips and etc.

Give SIGMA some credit. While Leica is producing “Urban Jungle CL’s” SIGMA is sticking their neck out with truly innovative cameras. Get back to me when they introduce the Foveon version.

20 thoughts on “Sigma FP Announced

  1. Rob Campbell

    Yes, Tim, but you have to accept that Leica is playing to an entirely different audience than is Sigma.

    Whether Leica does or does not make the very best of something in this world hardly matters any more, as Buddy might have remarked. It has become firmly locked into the double-edged dentist’s plaything category and I think many years must pass before it can – assuming it really wants to – climb back into the best-tools-in-the-world club, without any doubtful halo of jewellery shining around it.

    Bottom lines are bottom lines; if they have a working formula, which they appear to have at last, I, for one, think they’d be nuts to blow it. Heritage is fine in olde England television soaps, but money still rules everything.

  2. Keith Laban

    If it wasn’t for eyesight issues I’d still be shooting those dentist’s playthings.

    But what do I know, I was simply user, rather than an armchair critic.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Leica will survive a few armchair critics, Keith. Plus, it’s incredibly fun to tweak stuffed shirts, a large proportion of whom seem to gravitate to Leica. WTF does some guy with a Yacht bigger than a football field have to tell me about photography? Nothing. Fuck the uber-rich and their stupid pretensions. The whole things a fucking bad joke and Leica, if it had any self-respect, should be ashamed of itself.

  3. Keith Laban

    Tim, I’m hardest on the makers of the cameras I use, always have been, always will be.

    Leica make fine lenses and uniquely continue to make those prehistoric rangefinder cameras. From the perspective of most pro or enthusiast togs, their service, marketing and pricing are laughable. But what are they to do, fold, after all there are precious few like myself who put up with the above to use the cameras we love; loved.

    How can Leica possibly compete in today’s market, they are but a minnow in the ocean? What is your vision of their way forward?

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Keith: I do understand your point – it’s easy to criticize, harder to have solutions to what you’re criticizing. I am guilty as charged. It’s human nature to laugh at foolishness, which is essentially what I’m doing, pointing a finger at Leica and laughing. They make it so easy, is the problem. My only “vision of a way forward” would be for them to stop frittering away whatever goodwill they have from people like us and act like adults providing exceptional tools for other adults – instead of this bizarre fascination with baubles for the extremely wealthy and the famous. The Leica I feel an allegiance with was a company that produced exceptional, simple, functional tools of the highest order. It had an unparalleled history behind it, a history earned via the exceptional work of exceptional photographers. AND YET… the current ownership has chosen to squander all that by it’s bizarre fascination with the most toxic, vacuous and vulgar elements of current culture: the stupid vulgarities of wealth and assumed privilege of fame. Leica goes out of its way to fete these vulgar, stupid people…all in the name of making a quick buck, in the process squandering an incredible heritage. Like SIGMA, they should be feting you and me, and photographers like us, the people who read and help write this blog and others like it, not craven opportunists like the usual shallow idiots, capitalist fellow-travelers, fame-obsessed morons and faux-aristocratic social climbers, all of whom have nothing of value to contribute to the practice of photography and who, in their continued identification with a once legendary brand, have, in the last 25 years, turned Leica from a revered name to a punchline.

      1. Keith Laban

        Tim: and I do understand your point. My point is that you and I are a dying breed and Leica know it.

        I’ve been trying to think of a model that Leica could have adopted, a model based on excellence and distinction.

        There’s Alpa, but they face similar problems in that their product range is aimed at a small and decreasing market. Same goes for Phase One whose product range is being increasingly challenged and undermined by the full frame manufactures. Their target market is pretty much limited to a decreasing number of top flight pros, wealthy amateurs – rings a bell – and institutions such as museums and galleries, but those pros are swapping out in droves. I and some others believe that the future of Phase One is with their software, not their hardware. Both manufacturers strike me as smaller and less ambitious in terms of sales than are Leica.

        The fact is I’ve been forced out of the Leica market for reasons beyond my control, but had that not been the case I’d have been perfectly happy to carry on, regardless of the clientele of the company.

        Anyways, enough of my armchair stewardship.

      2. StephenJ

        Forgive me Tim, but Leica has no alternative, they are trying to operate an innovative business in the EU.

        A task not dissimilar to trying to do the same in Soviet Russia.

        The two companies both have heads that are very interested in the pursuit of photography, both companies are quite small, but Sigma has the ability to charge sensible prices and attract people to their different ideas.

        Leica has to produce jewellery, so that ordinary users are beguiled into thinking that there is something special about Leicas.

        The only really special thing about the modern digital Leica, is the deliberate pursuit of simplicity in use, which of course was implicit in the old film cameras.

        Leica’s difficulty is all about overheads, and all those fat lazy technocrats in Brussels are creating a huge burden, they are not the last serious camera manufacturer that is still partially in Europe for nothing.

  4. stefano

    I got excited for a second when i saw the announcement, i really thought the FF Foveon was finally here … nice camera, but not so interesting with a “normal” sensor; the other thing that would put me off buying one is the lack of a proper VF, the huge contraption they show in the accessory page is a joke.
    I am glad they are still brave enough to try new things; the images i have shot with the many Sigma cameras i have owned in the past still surprise me.

  5. Finny

    this pretty little camera with the Foveon chip, and she’s mine. It also depends on the price. But it gives me an absolute “I want to have” feeling!

  6. Rob Campbell

    Tim, Keith, you are in one of those situations where you are both right at the same time, but hold opposing – partly – views. Real life, as I hope most know, is often like that, unlike Internet life where simplistic stances are usually what folks adopt, and upon which they act accordingly.

    For me, the appeal of the Leica of M3 fame and format has always been in it as object, a beautiful bit of industrial design. As mentioned before, I never owned one, and though my last employer had one, even we in the studio used it for just one kind of job: room sets for BBC tv productions in Glasgow, Scotland; everything else that was 35mm film oriented went to the Nikon F. M3 got that gig because of its 21mm lens: Nikon didn’t match it. He also had 6×6 and 4×5, so it was a matter of choice, and not obligation.

    Basically, the problem – until digital viewing systems helped solve it – with that kind of camera has been the viewfinder. Some say it’s better than the others because you have a wider-than-shot view of the subject. Yes, for street shooters that may help, but hardly for the commercial pro who knows exactly what he wants to include in his shot, has to fill the physically small film frame, and has the ability to set it up before going click! To him, both parallax and the focussing system are not often ideal! Let’s not even get into the matter of long lenses. Serious photographers need a system camera, not a confusion of brands and non-interchangeable bits and bobs.

    Leica knew all of this a long time ago: they introduced their first reflex model because they realised their rangefinder system had serious limitations that their Visoflex kit didn’t solve very elegantly. Unfortunately, they leaped off the quay when the boat had already left the harbour, and no matter how hard they tried to swim, the boat had more speed than they could muster, and they never caught up with it. It wasn’t just a matter of their swimming ability but also of tide: it was against them.

    Few but dead heroes, politicians and postage stamps can live off past fame. Better, if you want to surive as a name, to adopt the skills of the chameleon and do your best, even if much of that survival resides in, and depends upon the motif of a red dot. And Leica wants to survive as more than a name, but as a profitable business, too.

    Today, an added problem for all manufacturers of top-end cameras is in the outlets for the work those cameras can do. As advertising moves ever faster off print and onto the Internet, high quality devices are becoming relics of a past photographer mindset. Though sales to pros did not provide the highest volume of profits for camera companies, they did have one great function for those manufacturers: they provided highly visible brand advertising. Many firms even used the photographers’ identities for direct marketing, nothing subliminal,about it. Olympus did a lot of that with Bailey, Lichfied and others. Hasselblad also wasn’t afraid to go public that way, either.

    What have we got now to provide visibility and camera lust? Social media. Hence the cardboard warriors of today.

    1. Rob Campbell

      I was careful to write “partly”!

      I’d suggest that your two sets of “frustrations” are possibly far wider apart, though: yours because of eyesight and Tim’s due to distaste for the marketing methods that, I guess, assure the marque’s survival. I suspect you don’t care too much about what Leica chooses to do with its promotions, only about what you can do with its products.

      The latter point is what kept me away from it all the career. Now here’s the thing: Jeanloup Sieff, one of my heroes of yesteryear, used Leicas up to the M4 (and the 21mm a great deal), I think, and also Nikon F and Hasselblad 500 and Rolleiflex TLR. It can only have been horses for courses. Here’s a lnk to the latest version of his website:

      He left us some time ago, and his daughter, also a photographer, is the person I think running the site on his behalf.

      1. Keith Laban

        The frustrations I mentioned were entirely to do with servicing, marketing and pricing.

        Happily my eyesight issues bring with them new opportunity and enthusiasm.Throughout my career I relished new challenges, reinvention. The only difference is the latest wasn’t self imposed or a matter of choice. Nevertheless I look forward to yet another chapter.

  7. Lee Rust

    In basic form, the FP may be very appealing to some of us old-fashioned still photo minimalists, but the ‘concept movie’ makes it very clear that this tiny camera body is primarily designed to be the central sensor module for an extensive system of lenses, supports and extensions for use in cinematography. I assume that this is why the Foveon is absent in this version.

  8. Lee Rust

    It occurs to me that Leica and many of the other traditional camera manufacturers have ended up in the very spot that Kodak found themselves in…with a mature product that performs very well but has been made obsolete by changes in the technological and cultural marketplace.

    For still photos, the traditional camera form has been displaced by the smartphone, excepting perhaps in specialized niches like professional photojournalism. No doubt it’s obvious to Leica that their golden era will finally end when the last generations of old-style camera bugs are gone from this earth. The uniquely peculiar market for luxury Leica special editions will die at that same time.

    For moving pictures, the smartphone dominates in the personal realm, but professional-grade video imaging equipment is still a major growth area. The alliances of Leica with Sigma and Panasonic seem to be early steps towards the consolidation of these smaller camera and optics makers into a cooperative entity that can survive and perhaps thrive in the new age of digital cinema.

  9. Rob Campbell

    You make a good point, Lee. It’s the future, and traditional cameras will finish when the market can’t return a profit. The only thing I’ve tried making snaps with that’s worse than my cellphone is the iPad. Great viewfinder, but how do you hold it still and press that little circle and keep the whole thing steady at the same time – assuming, of course, that you can still see your subject?

    The very first thing that I have to do is remove the flexi cover that is attached by a magnet. If I don’t do that, it’s all the wrong way around for me and my hands cover the lens. Not so bad in the car, but in the street? Ergonomics? What ergonomics?

    This madness of trying to make all things fit into one badly-designed (for all but one use) product is actually a disincentive to bother making a snap at all. Maybe the whole picture thing will become passé.

    1. StephenJ

      The iPhone is the most practical and useful camera on the planet.

      Following my previous comment, the nicest aspect of the Leica, is simplicity of operation, and the iPhone takes that concept to its conclusion.

      All you have to do is compose.

      I have even stopped moaning about the lack of an EVF on cameras since I acquired my first usable phone camera, the iPhone 7, after all view cameras, do not have either an OVF or an EVF.

      As for the wisdom of having a single device to carry out many different functions, whilst it is true that is does none of them as well as a dedicated tool might, it sure is bloody useful.

  10. Rob Campbell

    That fp is actually one ugly mother.

    In the first, full-frontal (!) image, the umm, aperture, reminds me of the Stones’ logo after surgery for a piercing gone wrong; the two offset rings for the strap of a fetching mongrel, one ear cocked the other permanently depressed.

    I remember that when the electric Leica appeared there were references to the humble brick.

    Do you think that the physical also governs appeal in cameras, at least on first sight, as it does with interhuman relationships?

  11. Wayne

    I am with you on dismay at the lack of Foveon sensor………….It is kind of like when Subaru introduced the BRZ, without all wheel drive.

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