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SIGMA fp L Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 19, 2021 at 11:10 am
SIGMA fp L Picture
6.7
Travel Photography
7.5
Landscape Photography
6.0
Sport & Wildlife Photography
5.6
Vlogging
7.6
Studio Video
6.2
Action Video
Body Type
Large Sensor Compact
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Panasonic LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6

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.

Our Verdict

6.7 Travel Photography

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.

Pros
  • Good overall image quality.
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Weather-sealed.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Disappointing autofocus performance.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • Viewfinder must be purchased separately.
7.5 Landscape Photography

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.

Pros
  • Excellent dynamic range.
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Weather-sealed.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Disappointing autofocus performance.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • Viewfinder must be purchased separately.
6.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography

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.

Pros
  • Good overall image quality.
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Quick shutter speed.
  • Weather-sealed.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Disappointing autofocus performance.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • Continuous shooting speed is limited by small buffer size.
5.6 Vlogging

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.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Satisfactory video quality.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Disappointing autofocus performance.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • Fixed screen.
7.6 Studio Video

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.

Pros
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Supports clean HDMI output.
  • Menu system is easy to use.
  • Great internal and external recording capability.
Cons
  • Disappointing autofocus performance.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support.
  • No headphone jack.
6.2 Action Video

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.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable design.
  • Feels exceptionally well-built.
  • Satisfactory video quality.
Cons
  • No handgrip.
  • Not designed for action cam rigs.
  • No in-body image stabilization.
  • 6.7 Travel Photography
  • 7.5 Landscape Photography
  • 6.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 5.6 Vlogging
  • 7.6 Studio Video
  • 6.2 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 29, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  2. Updated Jul 19, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jul 14, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black (Body Only) fp L
SEE PRICE
B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
7.6
Design
Portability
Height
2.7" (6.9 cm)
Width
6.2" (15.8 cm)
Depth
2.2" (5.6 cm)
Volume
29.7 in³ (486.9 cm³)
Weight
0.97 lbs (0.44 kg)
Weight With Lens
1.76 lbs (0.80 kg)

Note: This camera comes with a hot shoe attachment, which affects its portability, as seen here. With the attachment in place, it measures:

  • Height: 2.7" (6.9 cm)
  • Width: (15.8 cm)
  • Depth: 2.2" (5.6 cm)
  • Volume: 37.3 in3 (610.51 cm3)
  • Weight: 1.15 lb (0.52 kg)
  • Weight With Lens: 1.94 lb (0.88 kg)
  • Overall Portability Score: 6.7

9.0
Design
Build Quality

  • The body is covered with die-cast aluminum on the front and back, with rubber accents on the bottom and thumb rest for grip
  • Screen is fixed
  • Buttons are easy to reach and feel responsive
  • Inputs and outputs are covered by rubber flaps, but the HDMI flap isn't attached to the body, so it may be easy to lose
  • Battery and SD card slot is a hinged flap that locks into place
  • Advertised to be dust- and splash-resistant and sealed at 42 points on the body, but we don't currently test for this
  • Has a magnesium heatsink fitted in between the LCD monitor and the body to prevent overheating; however, we don't currently test the efficacy or effect of this
  • Comes with a hot shoe attachment in the box

Design
Body
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
No
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
L Mount
Built-In Flash
No

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.

Design
In The Box

  • SIGMA fp L camera body
  • 1 x Sigma BP-51 battery
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • AC adapter
  • Sensor cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • Strap holders
  • Hot shoe unit
  • Instruction manual

6.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Large Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No Hand Grip

  • May be uncomfortable to hold for longer periods due to lack of dedicated handgrip
  • Textured rubber thumb rest on the back of the camera feels comfortable
  • Despite its weight, the camera feels well-balanced
  • Relevant buttons are easily within reach and feel clicky and responsive
  • Dials and buttons are all big and easy to use
  • Back dial buttons can be customized
  • Dedicated button to switch between photo and video modes, as well as a dedicated button to start recording when in video mode
  • Fixed screen makes it more difficult to shoot at angles other than eye level

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
No Viewfinder
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Advertised Magnification
N/A

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.

4.6
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
No Articulation (Fixed Screen)
Screen Max Brightness
790 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
2.10 million dots
Size
3.1" (8.0 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
8.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
No
App Name
No App

  • Menu is very simple and easy to navigate, with useful features and buttons to make accessing more complex settings easier
  • Quick settings menu has 8 customizable settings
  • Pressing 'AEL' button while in the 'Quick Set' menu gives you more options by taking you to the relevant page in the full settings menu
  • Can customize display options to adjust how much information is shown when pressing the 'Display' button
  • No guide mode to walk users through settings, but instruction messages appear to inform you why an option may be unavailable
  • Includes a feature that lets you save, load, and share saved settings via QR code to easily share settings with collaborators, though we don't test this function

Design
Assistance Functions
Level Display
Dual-Axis, Photo & Video
Grid Lines
Photo & Video
Histogram
Photo & Video
Zebra Pattern
Photo & Video
Focus Peaking
Photo & Video
Waveform
Video Only
6.9
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
3.5 - 5.6
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/3.5
Minimum Focal Length
20 mm
Maximum Focal Length
60 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
60 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
66.5%
Light Falloff
66.5%

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.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
61 MP
Processor
Unspecified
Extended ISO Minimum
6
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
25,600
Tested Firmware
1.01

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.

6.1
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sigma BP-51
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
240 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
69 min

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.

Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
DNG
Shutter
Electronic
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
4.9
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
3 fps
High Speed Continuous
7 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
7 fps
Raw Buffer Size
13 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
17 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
24 s

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.

4.9
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
68%
Face Tracking Success Rate
4%
Face Detection Distance
75" (190 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
49

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.

4.2
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/80 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No

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.

Photo Image Quality
9.1
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
SNR 18% After Exposure Recovery
25.40 dB
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
12.1 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 800
11.2 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 3200
10.0 f-stops
7.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo Sharpness
JPEG Sharpness At Base ISO
1.531 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.8309 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.980 pixels
RAW Sharpness At Base ISO
4.111 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 800
4.086 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 3200
4.070 pixels
8.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Color Accuracy
Color Difference (dE2000) At Base ISO
7.78
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 800
7.60
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 3200
8.37
6.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
34.78 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
31.48 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
29.43 dB
7.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
39.58 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
37.82 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
35.73 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
33.26 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
30.45 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
27.39 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
24.28 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
20.6 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
17.15 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
13.74 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
4:2:2
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
12 bits
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
No

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.

Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
Yes

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.

4k Video
8.5
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

Note: In 4k, you can only record in 24 fps when shooting in the CinemaDNG file format.

8.2
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
121 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
120 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
120 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0

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.

4.1
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
3.7
Face Tracking In 4k
2.3
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
6.2
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
Walking Test In 4k
14.17 pixels/frame
Running Test In 4k
28.25 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
4k Video Stabilization Crop
1.26 x

Note: The camera's digital stabilization function is not available when shooting in the CinemaDNG file format. Also, when pressing the record button to stop filming, the camera cuts out the last second of footage.

7.3
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
7.5
6.4
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
5.7°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

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.

8.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
99 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
60 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
120 min

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.

5.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
4.3
Face Tracking In FHD
5.4
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
7.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
Walking Test In FHD
8.45 pixels/frame
Running Test In FHD
10.19 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
FHD Video Stabilization Crop
1.26 x
8.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
8.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
9.0
6.9
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
4.3°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
6.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
No
Bluetooth
No

Note: The hot shoe attachment comes with a vice lock to secure your HDMI cable so that it doesn't accidentally disconnect.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

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.

Discussions