A Camera that is the Gateway to Personal Visions: Thoughts on the fp from Roy Wagner, ASC

Roy Wagner test

Having been a prominent innovator in the world of cinema for years, you’ve probably heard the name Roy Wagner, ASC. He has been a part of the motion picture and television industry for over 40 years, an esteemed member of the American Society of Cinematographers, and a four time Prime Time Emmy nominee. After taking the Sigma fp for a spin, we felt honored for him to tell us about his experience. 

Roy sees two possible routes when attempting to capture a moment. First, hope to create the image entirely when it presents itself and use your camera to capture that instantaneously. The other is to bring the image to life after hitting the shutter button, in the darkroom, or through a digital photo editing program. Though Roy has worked with both options, he tends to lean towards the latter. 

“I want a camera partner that mechanically or electronically sustains a repeatable event and allows me to capture the bones of my emotional reaction to the muse before me.”

Either way, Roy notes the struggle that artists often experience with cameras and their menu selections and options. When the moment is just right, the last thing a photographer wants to deal with is pushing through menus to find what they need. Inspiration comes swiftly and does not wait for minor adjustments.

“Most of the modern cameras are great works of ingenuity and technology that suggest that we can wait for that moment or sustain it until we adjust the proper level of menu to the needed sub prompt. That very well may be true for architectural or landscape photographers, and yet the photojournalist, portraitist, nature, or sports photographer needs that instant of inspiration.” 

For a man who’s honed his craft for years and tested all types of cameras, he keeps it simple as far as his demands.

“I contend that my perfect camera must be accessible/invisible so that I can have it at the ready for any instant moment I wish to capture. Secondarily, I want a camera that may have all the options of the major DSLRs and mirrorless cameras but does not require any prompt or suggestion to separate my eye, brain, finger from that perfect moment of capture that virtually all of those wish list menu prompts stand between me and the moment.” 

Like many artists, Roy doesn’t believe in the concept of the “one perfect” camera. Instead, he looks to the benefit of a camera that molds to the needs of the artist in any given situation.

“The fp has been built to service all of those special interest menu options that professional photographers seldom use and yet to have built a perfect full-frame 35mm Bayer sensor with 24.6 effective megapixels at this size is astonishing. This camera delivers the most important issue that every photographer has with their favorite camera, ergonomics. This camera is small enough to offer a real photographic instrument that can be lifted to your eye quicker than your iPhone.”

As a pioneer in the industry for years, Roy has genuinely had the opportunity to test a variety of cameras across multiple brands. He understands the desire for choices mixed with simplicity and efficiency. His philosophy comes down to the feeling of the camera in your hands, along with its ability to capture. 

“I have journeyed through digital Leica’s, Nikons, Sony and Canon. All great products that are mass produced to enchant the greatest number of photographic love affairs…As for me the Sigma fp is currently the finest digital capture device I’ve used”. 

“This is why I’ve fallen in love with the fp. Its a work of art by a lens manufacturer who loves his craft no matter what the cost, stepping into a risky market that often demands new technology every six months.”

Roy Wagner has been a member of the motion picture community for over fifty years. He’s a Fellow of the British Royal Photographic Society, American Society of Cinematographers, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Honorary member of the Society of Operating Camera and Digital Cinema Society. He’s been nominated four times for the Emmy, won twice for the creation of the look on “Beauty and the Beast” pilot and “Quantum Leap” pilot. He has also created the look on numerous other projects including CSI: Las Vegas” and “House”. He’s further won the American Society of Cinematographer’s Award for Michael Mann’s “Drug Wars” and been nominated once for an episode of “Beauty and the Beast”. Eastman Kodak chose him to be one of the top 100 International Cinematographers for their “On Film” Series.

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