The new Sigma fp is the world’s smallest and lightest mirrorless digital camera, but in the age of smartphones, it is only for professional photographers or enthusiasts
Technology has never stopped evolving, but it has changed mediums. For example, the smartphone has almost killed alarm clocks, radio, calculator, voice recorders, MP3 players, to an extent televisions, and point-and-shoot cameras. However, professional cameras are untouched, because the demands from such cameras are unique, and because companies are introducing newer innovations in these cameras.
The latest is the Sigma fp, made by Japanese company Sigma, traditionally known for camera lenses. The Sigma fp is the world’s lightest and smallest mirrorless digital camera (it weighs only 370gm). It’s so portable that you can carry it in your pocket (without the lens)—something unheard of for professional cameras. The body is sturdy, and is claimed to be both splash-proof and dust-proof. The finishing is done in matte black, so it doesn’t pick up smudges or fingerprints easily. As it’s small, it doesn’t have an in-built flash or electronic viewfinder. There is, of course, an option to use external flash.
For the lens, it uses the L-Mount—the bayonet for interchangeable lenses (the L-Mount Alliance is a partnership between Leica Camera, Sigma and Panasonic, designed to provide photographers with a unified lens mount standard)—and so it is compatible with lenses from Leica and Panasonic as well. It has a 3.1-inch touchscreen, which, unlike some other professional cameras, cannot be tilted or flipped. However, the Sigma fp doesn’t have a handgrip (it comes optional).
It incorporates a 35mm full-frame Bayer sensor with 24.6 effective megapixels. Both the photo and video quality is exceptional; if you pair the Sigma fp with the right lens, you might not need a separate video camera at all—for raw video data, it supports 12-bit recording, and with the 4K UHD/24 frames per second recording, it produces video data that can be used in filmmaking.
For still photography, you may have noticed that when professional photographers shoot in one go in a quiet room, a lot of shutter sound is produced, but the Sigma fp doesn’t have a mechanical shutter, so you can use it in a situation where others might hesitate (because of unwanted shutter sound). In addition, there is no shutter shock—the slight vibration that comes from a mechanical shutter—and so even if you are burst-shooting at 18 frames per second, the camera doesn’t shake. It, instead, has an electronic shutter to take multiple pictures of different exposures—three frames for still photography and two frames for video—at once, which can then be merged into a single picture or video. It also has the Cinemagraph function, a kind of hybrid between still photography and video (animated GIFs
in which parts of a still image keep moving). And you can go from the Still mode to the Cine mode at the flip of a switch.
Because it’s small, the battery life isn’t day-long—for still photos I was able to take about 300 shots on a full charge, and this number drops when recording videos. The battery takes about two hours to fully recharge using the USB Type-C charger (comes in the box).
Priced rS 2.15 lakh (including the Sigma 45mm lens), this camera is a decent deal. It minimises the need for a separate video camera, and its small size ensures you can carry it in your pocket. The best thing about it is its versatility and ease-of-usage.
However, in the age of smartphones and where most viewers consume photos on Instagram, a camera such as the Sigma fp makes sense only for professional photographers or enthusiasts.