The SIGMA fp L is a full-frame mirrorless camera. It's a remarkably compact interchangeable lens camera with a sturdy-feeling body made out of premium materials. Despite its compact size, it still has several inputs and outputs, including an HDMI out and microphone port, and it comes with a hot shoe attachment if you want to connect an external flash or auxiliary mic. However, it lacks a viewfinder, which may disappoint those who prefer to shoot through a viewfinder instead of the screen, but Sigma sells an electronic viewfinder attachment that you can purchase separately. The screen is fixed, which makes it hard to shoot from unconventional angles or monitor yourself while vlogging. On the upside, it delivers good overall image quality and decent video quality in both FHD and 4k, but its autofocus system is disappointing for both photo and video.
The SIGMA fp L is okay for travel photography. It delivers good image quality out of the box, and it's very portable for an interchangeable lens camera, with a compact, sturdy build. It's also weather-sealed, so it can withstand some rain and humidity, though we don't currently test for this. That said, its small size and lack of grip make it a bit uncomfortable to hold for longer periods. It has an okay battery life as well, but this can vary with real-world conditions and usage. Unfortunately, its autofocus system is disappointing, and it struggles especially with tracking subjects' faces.
The SIGMA fp L is decent for landscape photography. It delivers good overall image quality with decent noise handling capability at higher ISO levels and excellent dynamic range to bring out a broad range of details in landscape shots. It also feels exceptionally well-built, with robust materials and a lightweight design that makes it easier to take with you to remote shooting locations. It's weather-sealed as well, although we don't currently test this. However, it can get uncomfortable to use for long periods due to the lack of handgrip, and it also lacks a viewfinder, although you can buy an EVF attachment separately at an additional cost.
The SIGMA fp L is mediocre for sport and wildlife photography. It has an okay shooting speed that's hindered by the small buffer size, meaning that long burst shots may be interrupted. It also has a poor autofocus system that struggles to keep moving subjects in focus, although it does a better job with inanimate objects. Finally, it lacks in-body image stabilization, making it harder to shoot at long focal lengths without a tripod. On the upside, it feels exceptionally well-built, and it's weather-sealed to withstand dust and rain, though we don't currently test this. It also has decent noise handling capability and delivers good overall image quality.
The SIGMA fp L is a poor choice for vlogging. It has a fixed screen, so you can't easily monitor yourself as you record. It also does a poor job of tracking moving faces, whether shooting in 4k or FHD. It lacks in-body image stabilization, but its digital stabilization feature does an okay job of smoothing out camera shake in FHD, although it performs noticeably worse in 4k. On the upside, it's very portable and relatively lightweight, so it's easy to take on the go.
The SIGMA fp L is decent for studio video. It delivers satisfactory video quality in FHD and 4k, with particularly good low-light capability in FHD. Its menu system is very simple and easy to navigate, and it has a clean HDMI output, so you can connect an external recorder without overlays. It has a microphone jack and comes with a hot shoe attachment to mount a mic or external flash, though it can make some inputs harder to reach. You can also use the USB-C port to connect an external SSD, allowing it to record video with 12-bit 4:2:2 color depth, useful for videographers who prefer to work with larger, higher-quality video files.
The SIGMA fp L is mediocre for action video. It's not designed for mounting on a helmet or action cam rig, but it's relatively compact and portable for an interchangeable lens camera, and you can use it with most video rigs. Also, it comes with three screw holes, so you can mount it to a tripod or gimbal in different orientations. That said, it's not waterproof, though it is weather-sealed; however, we don't currently test this. Its frame rates are also limited for 4k, as it can only shoot at up to 30 fps. It's more flexible in FHD, as it can shoot at up to 120 fps without a crop. Its digital stabilization feature also does a decent job of smoothing out camera shake, but it lacks in-body image stabilization.
Note: This camera comes with a hot shoe attachment, which affects its portability, as seen here. With the attachment in place, it measures:
Note: By default, the command dials are disabled in video mode. You can enable them in the settings menu. Also, in addition to the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera, there is a screw hole on each side of the camera for attaching accessories like the hot shoe unit, electronic viewfinder accessory, or shoulder strap attachments, but these can also be used for a tripod if you wish.
Note: A viewfinder attachment can be purchased at extra cost, although using it blocks some of the inputs on the side of the camera. We purchased and tested the camera without a viewfinder.
Note: This camera has a 'crop zoom' function that may be useful for users shooting with a fixed focal length prime lens. It allows you to shoot with a magnification of up to 5x, zooming in the image without a significant loss in image quality thanks to the remarkably high-resolution 61MP sensor.
Note: This camera has an extended low ISO range of 6-80, or 6, 12, 25, and 50 for full exposure stops. It also has an extended high ISO range of 32000-102400, with 51200 and 102400 as extended full stops. Note that there is no extended low ISO in video mode.
Note: This camera has an advertised recording time limit of 2 hours, but our battery died before we could reach it while shooting in 4k.
Note: This camera has an advertised shooting speed of 10 fps, and while we were able to confirm it shoots at that speed, it's limited by its small buffer size, resulting in an effective shooting speed of 7 fps according to our test methodology. Even when lowering the file size, the buffer fills up very quickly.
Note: Due to the camera's shooting speed limitations, we weren't able to get a representative sample size for autofocus performance using our usual methodology. As such, the results may not be fully comparable to other cameras we've tested. We achieved better results by disabling focus tracking and manually selecting the subject's face as the focus point. However, the camera still performed poorly overall, focusing more on the subject's surroundings than the subject itself.
Note: To follow our usual methodology of using a 70mm focal length for this test, we had to use the crop zoom function, so the results may not be fully comparable to other cameras we've tested.
Note: This camera has several additional features that may be useful to videographers, including a 'Director's Viewfinder' function that simulates the framing you would get from different filmmaker-oriented cameras, a cinemagraph function that can edit short video clips into a cinemagraph—a still image in which a portion of the photo is animated—and webcam capability through the USB-C port.
Note: This camera also supports CinemaDNG RAW files in 8-bit, 10-bit, or 12-bit. When plugged into an SDD through the USB-C port, it can also record in Blackmagic RAW and ProRes RAW.
Note: In 4k, you can only record in 24 fps when shooting in the CinemaDNG file format.
Note: While this camera is advertised to have a 2 hour recording time limit, the battery died before we reached the limit during our testing. Recording time is effectively limited by battery life. Also, when connected to an external SSD, the camera can shoot in 4k 12-bit at 30 fps or less.
Note: When recording in the CinemaDNG file format, the camera is limited to 60 fps or less in FHD. In MOV, it can go up to 120 fps.
Note: When connected to an external SSD, the camera can shoot in 12-bit FHD at up to 100 fps, or 8-bit at up to 120 fps.
The SIGMA fp L comes in one color variant: 'Black'. You can see our unit's label here.
If you come across another variant or your SIGMA fp L doesn't correspond to our review, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.