The SIGMA fp Evolves – Firmware 2.0 for the Cinema Crowd

Note: Images below are taken directly from the camera with no post processing

It’s no exaggeration when I say the fp has changed the way I work. Over the past year, I’ve found myself moving faster between shots, finding new compositions, and while in fp director’s viewfinder mode, easily sharing those shots with the team. I find I’m bringing this super portable under-a-pound full frame mirrorless camera everywhere (that is, everywhere current restrictions allow). And every single time I take a shot, the robust Cinema DNG 12-bit RAW is there, helping to create gorgeous images.

Product shot of the SIGMA fp body taken on the SIGMA fp with 105mm Cine EF Prime and MC-21 adapter. Color mode: “OFF”. JPEG pulled directly out of the camera. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Of course, we cinematographers are always on the lookout for a better tool to get the best shot. Firmware updates usually show up somewhere on the continuum from incremental to a true quality-of-life improvement that extends the usefulness of a camera body for years to come. The latter is not something I’m used to seeing, at least not until I installed version 2.0 into the SIGMA fp. Version 2.0 doesn’t make the fp a new camera. What you already love about it continues to be there. What version 2.0 does do is make the fp a camera that’s really, really hard to leave at home.

Aerialist and welder, Thea Ulrich, finds balance in this shot with T&O color set to +1 orange. JPEG taken straight out of the camera and uploaded here. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon, Model Credit: Thea Ulrich

As a Cine Pro I’ve watched SIGMA engineers and staff take feedback from consumers and then work hard to improve a photo or cine lens. More evidence that the company is listening is version 2.0 for the fp. The proof is in the pudding: LUT’s can now be turned to “OFF” creating additional grading capabilities, the HDMI out now allows for RAW to external recorders (with upcoming third-party support), HDR is now possible when shooting .MOV, 120fps is unlocked when shooting Cine DNG 10-bit or 100fps at 12-bit, and you now have dual base ISO at 100 or 3200. Oh, and I shot something on the fp called a Cinemagraph in-camera. It’s darn fun and will definitely be added to my bag of creative tricks.

There is useful information online about how to conceive and shoot a successful cinemagraph, but the fp 2.0 update makes the post process seamless and quick by tackling things in-camera. You can use a touch controlled mask button in the UI to select what you would like to be still and moving in your image. Then simply hit the AEL button for a quick preview and change your mask or add bounce (causes the file to loop) or click the export arrow depending on the results of the preview. You can even tinker with the image exposure in the cinemagraph menu. After clicking export, the .MOV file then pops up in your DCIM folder normally reserved for stills on your SSD or card and you can then upload to the platform of your choice.

Most of my time with this new firmware has been focused on 120fps 10-bit HD footage. This framerate option is rare on a full frame camera at this price point and with this body size. I’ve also spent time with T&O color and “OFF” color. While the new firmware doesn’t’ have a dedicated LOG profile, the “OFF” function offers an image without a pre-set color profile, and the power of the DNG Raw file allows tremendous flexibility in post for color and grading. “OFF”, now found by scrolling all the way right on the Color menu, delivers more information in the highlights and further demonstrates the excellent dynamic range of the camera while shooting between 100-800 ISO.

The above image is shot in “OFF” mode on the SIGMA Cine 105mm from a good distance. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon, Model Credit: Thea Ulrich
Another “OFF” image. This is taken with the 105mm SIGMA Cine Prime EF mount using the MC-21 L to EF adapter. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon.

T&O (Teal & Orange) color mode is something that initially intimated me. I’m usually hesitant to lock color choices into my images during filming. But, considering SIGMA spent a great deal of time with the color science on the fp, it didn’t seem fair for me to just shoot everything as a flat image and feed a REC 709 image to the monitor and figure out the grade later. Where’s the fun in that? So over the course of several shoots, I gave T&O color mode a try.

T&O color mode here with some added orange, but with more dramatic lighting due to the welding. JPEG directly out of the camera and posted here. Taken on the 105mm Cine Prime “Bokeh Master” in EF mount. In the video file of this you can really see the bokeh colors on her mirrored sunglasses glint. Cool. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon, Model Credit: Thea Ulrich
Model Victoria (Tori) Bohn looking tough during a break from skateboarding in San Diego. T&O set to +1 Orange. This is taken at 70mm on the 28-70mm 2.8 EF ART. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Here’s a back to back comparison, again featuring model Victoria (Tori) Bohn. First, you’ll see a T&O Orange +1 image followed closely by an image in “OFF” color mode. Again, both taken right out of camera and uploaded here as JPEGS (without conversion from DNG stills

I’m just scratching the surface here. Updates like the ability to pull stills out of video files taken in director’s viewfinder mode and cine mode, as well as CinemaDNG in-cam playback are huge improvements. Plus, timecode for multi-cam shoots can now be generated to make syncing footage later much easier.

For a full list of patch notes (including some not discussed here) visit the official press release here.

Despite its minimalist exterior design, the fp continues to surprise. And shakeup my workflow in the best way possible. As I evolve as a cinematographer, the fp does too and firmware 2.0 ensures this camera finds a home in my kit for years to come.

T&O Color mode set to -1 Teal. Welder: Thea Ulrich, Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

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