We all know that the piece of gear that matters is the one we take off the shelf and bring into the field. The Sigma fp, due to the ease of set up (forget the hassle of multiple hours of rigging), will be the one you decide to take with you. At 0.81 lbs. the camera body has the potential to be built into almost any configuration and that’s an exciting, possibly intimidating prospect.
Who is this camera for and what are some use cases that might be perfect for the new Mirrorless Full-Frame Sigma fp? Let’s dive in and try to take some of the guesswork out.
(Please note that manufacturers are continuing to support the fp with new accessories coming out all the time and this guide is meant to be used as a starting point to help you on your quest to find the perfect Sigma fp rig.)
Sigma has designed several accessories for the fp that are specifically suited for filmmakers. For example, to satisfy your individual prescription, Sigma’s viewfinder (LVF-11) blocks glare from the rear LCD and also has a built-in diopter.
Three types of grips are also available and any one of the three could support your preferred style of operating. If you’re using the Sigma fp in Director’s Viewfinder mode, then the Base Grip (BG-11), in conjunction with the viewfinder, may give you the most comfort for that application.
The camera ships with a hot shoe unit (HU-11) that gives you a hot shoe port and also has a built-in HDMI lock for keeping your micro HDMI cable from slipping during filming. This hot shoe unit might be a good place for a shotgun mic, external SSD or wireless transmitter. And most of these accessories include ¼ 20 mounting points as well. (Click here and scroll down to see all available Sigma fp accessories.)
The Sigma fp is unique in that it provides two ¼ 20 mounting points hidden under the camera strap mounting points on the left and right of the camera body, in addition to the one on the base of the camera. Either of these points allow for a wide variety of accessories, but a cinema “cage” is always an option for increasing your mounting points and even giving the camera body a little protection. Currently, Taipan Cinema has a cage launching called the Kabuto FP-1 that is designed to be compatible with the fp.
Another option is the Zacuto Half Cage. The Half Cage mounts directly to the 15mm rails and makes a home for everything from a handle to wireless, audio and even camera-mounted lighting. In the coming months additional manufacturers are announcing new accessory compatibility with the fp.
Sigma fp 3D Schematics
To help jump-start the rigging and accessories available for the fp, Sigma has released the 3D schematics of the camera and its accessories.
In general, for video you’ll need to have ND filters to shoot 23.98fps and keep your shutter at 1/48 for “normal” looking motion. Currently, the Zacuto Polaris Baseplate is compatible with the camera and allows for 15mm rails to be connected to give a rail mounting point for your matte box of choice.
If you’re not interested in using a 15mm rail-based system, you can always use a clip-on matte box like the Misfit Atom from Bright Tangerine or the Wooden Camera Zip Box. One consideration with clip-on matte boxes is compatibility with the lens diameter. For Sigma cine glass you’ll need a clip-on matte box compatible with the 95mm front diameter of the cinema line.
Screw-on ND filters from brands like Tiffen or Schneider are always an option when using the Sigma Art, Sports or Contemporary line with the fp, but keep in mind that the lens filter diameter varies from lens to lens, and also varies with the Sigma cinema lineup.
Many wireless manufacturers are compatible with the Sigma fp and you’ll want to find an HDMI based transmitter for use with the camera. Simply take your favorite brand of micro HDMI to full sized HDMI cable and then you’ll be all set from the camera perspective.
During testing I found both the Teradek ACE 500 and SmallHD Focus Bolt TX monitors to be excellent options. The ACE 500 takes HDMI input and the SmallHD Focus 500 Bolt TX does too, but the latter has the advantage in that it will give you a monitor that swivels.
At present Sigma has eight L-mount lenses shipping. By Q1 of 2020 the expectation is that there will be a total of 14 L-mount lenses shipping. Note that the camera’s current native L-mount allows a wide variety of glass to be mounted to the camera beyond L-mount through the use of adapters. For owners of Canon EF mounted glass, for example, the MC-21 permits EF lenses to be used with the camera and it will also transfer aperture data. If you’re a cinema user with a variety of PL optics, you’ll want to use the MC-31 to adapt your glass from PL to L-mount.
Third party manufacturers like Leica, Wooden Camera and Fotodiox (to name a few) all have L-mount adapters for different types of optics.
Testing with the Sigma fp and different monitor/records is ongoing, but at this time the camera is compatible with both the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K and the Atomos Ninja Inferno. Either of these options open up additional encoding formats to the user.
The Samsung T5 SSD is small and directly supported by the camera, but it won’t work as a secondary monitor. The T5, used in conjunction with the Sigma fp, will unlock UHD 12-bit CinemaDNG as a recording option selectable in-camera, but recorded externally to the drive.
The compact and modular Sigma fp is the perfect solution for shooting full-frame RAW aerials. Both DJI and Freefly have aerial systems that will take the Sigma fp and in the case of DJI, the Matrice 600 Pro Hexacopter accepts the camera weight easily. In fact, you may have to add weight to the camera to fine tune your balance.
In addition, with the size-friendly fp you’ll find you have plenty of space in your payload to include large cine lenses and clip-on matte boxes.
Are these all your rigging options? No! We’re only scratching the surface, but my hope is that some of these tips will help get those synapses firing and guide you to your perfect Sigma fp rig.