At the SIGMA launch in Tokyo, CEO Kazuto Yamaki kept pulling rabbits out of the hat. Actually, no rabbits and no hat — just gasps of astonishment when a SIGMA Classic Prime appeared in his hand on stage. Uncoated inside, mildly coated on the outside front and rear element surfaces, these are flarey, classic, vintage primes that will make Samuel… read more…
Moment is back for their 5th Kickstarter campaign, this time launching the Moment Air range of accessories, comprising of three new products for DJI drones. Drone Anamorphic Lens The new Drone Anamorphic Lens is designed for use with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic 2 Zoom. It adds a 1.33x squeeze to the image. … Continued
The post Moment Air: 1.33 Anamorphic lens, Filters & accessories for DJI Mavic 2 drones appeared first on Newsshooter.
A pair of British wedding photographers have found themselves called “unprofessional” and “appalling” after declining to work for an influencer for free. A PR rep of the influencer had requested 1,000 photos and two videos, and in return would offer their followers a 25% off the photographers’ services — a discount the photographers don’t even offer.
The New SIGMA FP camera was introduced in Tokyo on Thursday evening. SIGMA CEO Kazurto Yamaki calls it a “deconstructed digital imaging device.” It seamlessly bridges the gaps from still photography to video, from smart phone to Directors Finder. Astonishingly, it shoots Full Frane 4K 12-bit RAW internally. It has an L mount (20m FFD) and is smaller (LxW) than… read more…
Capture One is known as a serious tool for serious photographers, and there is no doubt that you can get some serious results by taking the time to dig in and master its myriad of features. One great way to utilize C1 is to take advantage of its black and white conversion engine to generate some truly stunning images.
Hollywood Screenwriting with Screenwriter John August Today on the show we have Hollywood screenwriter, director, producer, podcaster and novelist John August. He is known for writing the hit Hollywood films Go, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Big Fish, Charlie, and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, the Disney live-action adaptation of Aladdin and the novel…
The post BPS 049: Hollywood Screenwriting with Screenwriter John August appeared first on Indie Film Hustle®.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has collaborated with popular YouTuber Irene Rudnyk to take some portraits using a rare f/1.2 lens. The pair took portraits with the Konica 57mm f/1.2, often referred to as the finest of its kind ever to be made.
This year the Reno Rodeo is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and photojournalist Ty O’Neil decided to photograph it in a way that would pay proper homage to that history: by capturing the 100-year-old rodeo with a 100-year-old lens.
“With the Reno Rodeo celebrating 100 years I, as a photojournalist, wanted to capture the celebration of a centenary of rodeos,” O’Neil tells PetaPixel. “Inspired by the historic images of the Reno Rodeo I set about trying to find a way of seeing our modern Rodeo through the lens of history.”
Or, rather, through a historical lens. After considering using Photoshop to post-process the images to look older (rejected that idea) or using something from his collection of early 1900’s cameras (finding film to use in them would be tricky), he struck on a compromise: A 1931 Kodak Rainbow Hawkeye vest pocket lens retrofitted onto a Canon 7D Mark II.
Using a custom-built mount, O’Neil was able to attach the lens to his Canon and shoot digital while achieving that unique effect he was after. But as you can imagine, capturing fast action using this setup was no easy feat.
“Rodeo is a fast-paced sport and using a lens of this age doesn’t come without its challenges,” O’Neil tells us. “The lens has no built-in ability of focus and the solution I found was to slide the baffles back and forth on their metal rails by holding onto the base with my index finger and thumb. The farther away the front element, the closer the focus.”
While this isn’t terribly difficult when your subject is standing still, tracking a moving subject is an entirely different animal. That, combined with “the feel of an f/8 aperture” and a fixed focal length of about 80mm (which O’Neil says he would almost never use when shooting rodeo) meant that this little experiment encouraged him to get creative and find new angles from which to shoot.
So… did it work? We’ll let you be the judge of that. All of the images below were captured using this combination, with only minor editing in order to match the colors with historic images O’Neil had seen from the 1930’s.
Credits: All photos by Ty O’Neil and used with permission.
Hollywood Screenwriting with Screenwriter John August Today on the show we have Hollywood screenwriter, director, producer, podcaster and novelist John August. He is known for writing the hit Hollywood films Go, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, the Disney live-action adaptation of Aladdin and the novel…
The post IFH 331: Hollywood Screenwriting with Screenwriter John August appeared first on Indie Film Hustle®.
Shooting in a studio has its advantages. But although being warm, dry and convenient are greatly appreciated, shooting between the same four walls can get a little boring if you’re constantly using them as backgrounds for your shots.
Sure, you could get some colored paper setup, you could even buy a fancy canvas sheet with paint splashes on it, and for the really adventurous, you could even use some colored lights behind your subject. But what happens when you’re finally bored of all that? Time to get a little more creative with your studio backgrounds.
Visual Depth on Location: Depth of Field
Recently I wanted to find a way to add a sense of depth to my studio backgrounds. I didn’t want my shot to just be two visual layers of model and background, I wanted to somehow make my backgrounds feel like they went beyond what we can initially see.
One way we ordinarily do this is with depth of field on location. For example, we set the subject up in the foreground and ensure there are elements behind them that we can throw out of focus with our aperture choice. We do this instinctively now, but it’s a visual trick that the viewer engages with as they are being asked to consider what the blurry elements behind the subject are. This sense of intrigue simply wouldn’t happen if everything was in focus.
Unfortunately, in a studio, this deep background shot isn’t possible. We have a big empty space and it simply isn’t very interesting to have that empty space behind the subject and no matter how out of focus it is, it’s never going to get the viewer to wonder what’s back there.
Forced Depth: Haze and Smoke
But what if we’re shooting in small spaces? How do we create that sense of depth to the background where there is none?
One trick to add exaggerated depth or ‘forced depth’ to a shot in smaller areas like a studio, is to add smoke or mist to the scene. This is yet another visual trick that is employed far more than you think and smoke, mist or artificial atmosphere is used in practically every TV show or movie you’ve seen in recent years. For example; I’m currently watching Gotham on Netflix and that show has haze in EVERY scene!
If you’re shooting in tight spaces where there is little depth, or even in big open spaces where there is actually no elements to be seen in the background, mist can be added to trick the eye into thinking there is more going on in the scene than there really is. Again, our eyes are tricked into wanting to know more about what’s going in the hazy areas, and this, in turn, draws us into the scene or shot. On set, this technique is often referred to as ‘voluminous lighting’ too.
Mist and haze are great tricks to use, but they do have a certain downside and that’s that they’re very hard to control. We can’t simply add mist to the background and not the foreground in a small space like a studio, it will most likely float into the foreground and around our subject as well. As a result, our subject will lack a lot of contrast. Look at the shot above again and you’ll see that the subject is actually shrouded in grey. This doesn’t look out of place, but it’s not always a desired effect on the subject or styling.
So how do we create a sense of depth with our background in a small space and without pumping the room full of smoke so that our subject is obscured? It’s with this problem in mind that I came up with a possible solution.
What if I could imitate the look of dense mist behind my subject, and then place simple objects behind that so they appear to drop off into this artificial mist extremely quickly?
This would allow for my subject to remain crisp and unaffected by any supplemental artificial atmosphere and my backgrounds would have a visual depth to them that would draw the viewer in.
The Diffusion Gel Test: The Plant
If we look at the properties of mist from a photography standpoint, it simply diffuses the light as it passes through it. Think of clouds on a cloudy day. The light appears far larger and is scattered among the atmosphere, and mist/haze/smoke is doing the same thing on set.
But if I wanted to create this softer mist-like look behind my subject, I’d have to explore other alternatives beyond bringing a cloud indoors.
Thankfully in our photographer toolbox, we have other ways of creating this heavily diffused light look and one of them is via diffusion gels. These are sheets of gels that are doing a similar thing to the diffusion cover on the front of your softbox and they will very effectively scatter the light that passes through them. Softboxes actually have a very heavy amount of diffusion on them though, whereas the diffusion gels come in a vast number of densities so I should be able to find the perfect diffused background, but which diffusion gel is the best one for what I was after?
Here is where I had to test out my idea to find out which diffusion gel would do what I wanted. After all, I wasn’t strictly using the diffusion gel for its intended purpose.
Thankfully I knew this effect would be in the background of the shot so I didn’t actually need to test these diffusion gels with a model. Instead, I simply ordered a big fake plant to sit behind my gels. I felt this fake plant would be perfect as it naturally has a little depth to it thanks to the leaves coming out in all directions.
The Diffusion Gel Test: The Diffusion Gels
Once I had my plant, it was time to test the diffusion gels. For the diffusion gels I reached out to LEE Filters who seemed to have the widest selection of diffusion solutions I’ve ever seen. They also split their diffusions up between regular ‘diffusion’, ‘frosts’, ‘cloths’ and ‘spuns’. To be fair, all this choice can be a little daunting when you’re trying to find what you want. Thankfully though, LEE has a very cool image preview and comparison window on their site so you can see exactly how each diffusion will react compared to one another.
Here’s a link to the LEE Filters diffusion comparator if you want to check it out for yourself.
I went through their selection and ordered 10 or so diffusion gels that I thought might be good for my particular test and then got to work setting up my scene.
The resulting images of my ‘plant behind diffusion gel’ test aren’t particularly exciting, but I thought I’d share them as a point of reference for you guys to see what I was after and what I felt wasn’t working.
From the images above, you should be able to see that most of the diffusion gels are actually pretty dense and too opaque for me to get the effect I was after. But there was a couple of contenders that looked very promising. The 404 one looked good but it wasn’t giving off a very strong ‘mist’ vibe that I was looking for. Ultimately I actually thought the 255 was perfect for what I was trying to achieve and it had the best mix of transparency and depth I was after.
The Diffusion Gel Test: The Lighting
Once I had my particular diffusion gel figured out, I now wanted to test out some lighting options with it. Again, the shots below aren’t necessarily very exciting, but it shows me testing a variety of lighting options and color gel looks that could be a possibility. This process helps me build up a mental picture of exactly how this gel will react in any given situation.
During the testing process, I’m in a very controlled environment and I have no time constraints or model to deal with, so the more knowledge I acquire about this new idea here the better.
After trying a multitude of ideas I eventually decided that a clean white light may actually be the best solution here. I really did love the eerie colored mist look with shafts of light coming through the leaves, but ultimately I felt that this may be a bit heavy for a clean fashion look. But again, this is great knowledge for another potential project and I’d love to incorporate these ideas in another area in a future shoot.
No time spent behind the lens is ever wasted.
With the background details set up and understood, all that was left was to light the subject and get both the model and background working together visually in the shot.
Let’s take a look at the setup I used on the day.
We had a large softbox at the back with the plant and then the diffusion gel in front of that. Next, we got the model to stand in front of the diffusion gel and then placed the lights around her. We had two small strip boxes with grids behind pointed back and a 22” beauty dish key with a small gelled softbox fill.
The shoot itself was actually pretty easy as I’d tested the trickiest part already. Using the diffusion gels to make the plant look like it was shrouded in the mist behind the subject was the potential tripping point, but it looked surprisingly effective with very little tweaking required. Plus having the light coming through the diffusion from behind meant I could get away with the model being surprisingly close to the gel with no shadows.
Here are some of the resulting images from the shoot.
Last Minute Tweaks on the Day: Low Contrast Filter
There was one change I made during the initial stages of this shoot and that was to add a low contrast filter to my lens. The reason for this was that the background actually looked too realistic with its haze effect and in contrast to that, the model in the foreground was almost too clear and perfect by comparison. This caused a visual dissonance that felt jarring to me. By adding a low contrast filter to my lens, I was able to soften some of the more contrasting elements of the model. As a result, the foreground and background elements of the shot now seemed to come together a little more with it in place.
In my opinion, the low contrast filter really ties this shot together and it’s a lens filter I’ve been using a lot for this reason recently. I’d love to show you a multitude of examples images of my uses of the low contrast filter for studio shooters…. but that’s an article for another day 😉
Overall I was incredibly pleased with these shots and the effect I’d achieved in a small studio space. The plant behind the model really did look like it was shrouded in mist or fog and I believe it does add an element of depth and visual interest without being overly distracting.
I think I’ve explained my thought process and execution fairly comprehensively, but there are a few things I’d like to hammer-home.
1. Always be looking to come up with new ways of making your studio shots more engaging. With the proper motivation, there should be no reason to ever get bored of the backgrounds in a studio.
2. Dissect light and redeploy its properties for your own benefit. Don’t be too hasty to dismiss one form of outside lighting as impossible for inside lighting. Light has very consistent and predictable properties and by taking those particular properties and using them indoors you can produce striking results. From stark, bright sunlight to hazy overcast light, all of which are very possible indoors with the right knowledge.
3. Test, test, test. Don’t be fooled by what the internet tells you, great results take time and experience and the only way to get that experience is to test new ideas. I could have purchased a single diffusion gel and set about doing my shoot, but I guarantee the results on shoot day would have been awful as a result. I took the time the test a bunch of diffusion gels to find the perfect one for the shoot and I believe that was time well spent. Can you bill that test time to the client? Rarely, but a reshoot may cost you more as a result of not doing it.
4. I think as studio shooters, we can often be guilty of lighting our subject and background separately. Although I believe this is a good discipline to consider, always be mindful of tying them back together in camera. In this shoot, I initially got the beautiful hazy background I wanted, but the model was stark and crisp in comparison. As a result, she felt ‘stuck-on’ afterward so I wanted a way to tie the foreground and background back together. In this instance, the low contrast filter did the job but other elements like colors or toning can also do this. Light them separately, but don’t forget the bigger picture.
About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. If you’d like to learn more about his incredibly popular gelled lighting and post-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
Credits: Modeling by Miss Alexiss
Chinese lens maker Venus Optics is bringing two of its ultra-wide angle lenses to Canon and Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless systems. The Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D, which is now available for both the Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts, and the Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom, which will only be released for the Nikon Z system.
Venus Optics made a name for itself with its “Zero-D” line of ultra-wide lenses with minimal distortion, and now the brand is trying to expand its influence to Nikon and Canon’s full-frame mirrorless mounts by porting over two manual focus lenses that were previously released for the Sony E-mount.
Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D
The Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D is a compact, lightweight ultra-wide prime lens that Venus Optics claims is, “currently the widest f/2 rectilinear native lens for full frame mirrorless cameras.” The lens uses an optical formula comprised of 12 elements in 9 groups—including 2 aspherical elements and 3 extra-low dispersion elements—and unlike the Sony version, it features 5 straight aperture blades to “produce a clean and sharp 10-point sunstar rendering.”
Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D Sample Photos:
Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom
The Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom, meanwhile, is only being ported over to the Nikon Z mount, giving Nikon mirrorless shooters an even wider option than Nikon’s own NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S released earlier this year.
As with the Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D, the folks at Venus Optics designed this lens to be as lightweight and portable as possible, weighing in at less than 500g and measuring approximately 9cm in length. Its optical construction consists of 14 elements in 10 groups, with 2 aspherical elements and 1 extra-low dispersion element, and it, too, features an aperture diaphragm with 5 straight blades to produce well-defined 10-pointed sunstars.
Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Sample Photos:
The Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom is available now for Nikon Z mount for the same $850 price tag, but if you’re hoping they’ll eventually bring this one over to Canon as well, don’t hold your breath. Venus Optics says they have no plans of porting this lens over to the Canon RF-mount, which is a real shame given the EOS-R’s heavy crop when recording 4K video.
To find out more about either of these lenses, head over to the Venus Optics website.
Credits: Sample photos courtesy of Venus Optics.
Sigma, who has made a big splash with affordable cine glass in the last few years, has just made a big splash with their new “pocketable” fp.
“Pocketable.” Full Frame. L-mount. 370 grams. Dustproof, splash-proof, and with a large heat sink for long continuous shooting.
24p 4K, 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW. From the start, the list of specs for the new fp camera from Sigma is very exciting for filmmakers who want a small camera capable of big images.
The standout feature here is the small body with a large sensor. While there are other pocket-sized cameras out there (Blackmagic has named their small camera the pocket), they are usually built around the smaller MFT (micro four thirds) sensor size.
Sigma’s latest entry in the field is built around the increasingly popular “full-frame” sensor size
Ful-frame refers to the size of 35mm stills images. Of course, a larger sensor means more heat, which needs more cooling, so typically larger sensor cameras have been… well… larger.
When I first saw this photo series, I don’t know what resonated with me more: the images or the stories that accompany them. I reached out to photographer Waleed Shah to discuss the poignant project.
Last summer, SiOnyx introduced Aurora (our review), a night vision action camera that can capture color images and videos in low light and nearly nighttime settings. Now, the company is back with the Aurora Sport, a successor that features the same 1-inch 0.9MP ultra low-light CMOS sensor and night vision capabilities, all at a smaller price tag than its the original Aurora.
The SiOnyx Aurora Sport HD action camera can ‘turn night into full-color daylight,’ according to the company, using the same semiconductor tech powering its $20 million night vision project with the US Army. The sensor is able to produce full-color images in ‘near moonless starlight’ settings.
Aurora Sport mirrors many of the features offered by the original Aurora, including a 16mm lens with F1.4, F2 and F5.6 apertures, 720p video recording at 8, 15, 24, 30, and 60fps, a micro OLED viewfinder, time-lapse modes ranging from 1/60s to 1s and a microSD slot for storage. The new model is better suited for use as an action camera, however, due to its IP67 water-resistance rating. It also includes built-in WiFi for use with SiOnyx’s iOS and Android apps.
The biggest difference between the Aurora and Aurora Sports is the price tag, which has dropped from the original model’s hefty $799 USD to a more affordable $399 USD. At this time, Aurora Sport is available to pre-order for $359.99 USD from the SiOnyx website. After the limited-time pre-order price, it’s jump back up to the full $399.
Digitell, Inc., a conference recording company that covers more than 100 events every year, captures video content with the JVC KY‑PZ100 and says it has a number of advantages over other PTZ cameras.
More than 30 years ago, Digitell, Inc. was established as a conference recording company in Jamestown, N.Y., recording content using audio cassettes. Today, the company has a list of international corporations and associations, hosts a proprietary platform for its internet broadcasting, and captures video content with KY‑PZ100 robotic PTZ network video production cameras from JVC Professional Video, a division of JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation.
The KY-PZ100 is a robotic pan, tilt and zoom video production camera. It’s the first PTZ camera that features JVC’s unique IP communications engine providing network connection via Wi-Fi, 4G-LTE (through the use of an external adapter), or cabled LAN. It’s designed to be used as a stand alone remote camera or as part of a multi-camera system in both studio and field environments. In addition to its 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs, it is also capable of reliably streaming 1080i/60, 1080p, 720p, and 360p video with 2-channel audio – all with minimal latency and forward error correction.
Advantages over other PTZ cameras
Paired with the JVC RM‑LP100 remote camera controller and CCU, the PTZ cameras are streamlining productions, reducing costs, and simplifying shipping for the company, which covers more than 100 events every year. “The ROI is off the charts,” said William Bacon, director of marketing for Digitell. “There were so many benefits right out of the gate.”
Bacon said the KY-PZ100 had a number of advantages over other PTZ cameras, including its integrated SD media card slot for on-board recording, live streaming capabilities, SDI output, and 30x zoom lens, which is more than sufficient for coverage in most auditoriums and event spaces. He also praised the smoothness of the RM-LP100 joystick control, and said the presets are “amazing” for following panel discussions.
“The joystick is just so fluid,” Bacon added. “It takes very little ‘stick time’ to get comfortable with that controller.”
Smaller size of JVC PTZ cameras is an asset
Digitell has nine KY-PZ100 cameras, most of which were purchased last summer initially to support a multi-room conference in France. The cameras helped the company avoid renting full-size cameras with long-throw lenses and larger tripods, which created significant savings for the customer.
Shipping is also simplified with the KY-PZ100. Bacon said the smaller size of the PTZ camera allows an entire production package to be shipped in one Pelican case, including the camera, controller, tripod, encoder, audio board, and cables.
A typical event setup has a PTZ camera mounted to a lightweight, seven-foot tripod that is surrounded by pole barriers with retractable belts to keep attendees away from the equipment. As a result, clients do not have to rent two risers (one for the camera and a separate one for the camera operator to minimize camera shake).
PTZ workflow reduces personnel requirements
Both the SDI output from the PTZ camera and a PowerPoint graphics feed from a laptop are fed to an encoder, so the producer can share either source (or both via a two-shot) with the web audience. Digitell also takes a feed from the venue’s sound board to a small Tascam field mixer for better audio control, and loops the feed to the PTZ camera for on-board recording.
Digitell sometimes uses up to three PTZs in one room, including a dedicated camera for audience participation. Instead of separate camera operators standing on risers throughout the conference, one camera operator sits next to the producer and adjusts the PTZ cameras with the RM-LP100. The PTZ workflow reduces personnel requirements and eliminates the use of expensive wireless headsets for communication.
“Having a camera operator off of a riser and sitting next to the producer is crucial for getting the best shots possible,” Bacon said. “Remote color balance and exposure are also a must. The presets make it possible for an operator to work the camera and produce a stream by themselves.”
The post JVC KY‑PZ100 robotic PTZ video cameras reduce costs and streamline productions appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.
Sigma fp introduction
Well we didn’t see that one coming! Sigma has just announced the ‘fp,’ the world’s smallest full-frame camera and, despite owning the sensor design company Foveon, it’s built around a conventional Bayer sensor.
But, more than just being small, it’s one of the most radical cameras we’ve seen released in years, incorporating an array of new ideas and video capabilities. We’re at the launch event in Tokyo, where we’ve had a chance to use one.
The camera we handled is running fairly early firmware (v0.02) so it’s too early to talk about performance, but it’s immediately apparent Sigma’s engineers have put a lot of work into making the fp a camera that’s as practical as it is innovative.
The Sigma fp stands for ‘fortissimo pianissimo,’ which roughly translates as ‘very loud and very soft.’ This could be a reference to dynamic range but we also wonder if there’s an intentional implication of the camera being both large (in terms of sensor) and small in its physical presence.
It’s built around a 24MP BSI-CMOS full frame Bayer sensor, which immediately makes it likely that it’s a similar chip to the one used in the likes of Sony’s a7 III, Nikon’s Z6 and Panasonic’s S1 (though we’ll need to test images from the camera to be sure).
But the main thing you notice is that the fp is really small. It’s a cuboid box with very few protrusions that measures just 113 × 70 × 45mm (4.43 x 2.75 x 1.78″). Part of the way it manages to be so small is that it lacks a mechanical shutter, instead relying entirely on the sensor’s electronic shutter mode.
It can shoot at up to 18 fps (though only for 12 frames).
The body of the fp has a certain functional charm to it. The whole thing is designed to act as a heat sink and, despite its small size, it finds room for an array of control points and connectors.
In terms of controls, the top-plate features a shutter button set in the middle of the camera’s main control dial, there’s also a dedicated video [REC] button, a power switch and a dedicated Stills/Cine switch, which gives hints about the camera’s intent.
The back of the camera finds room for nine buttons and a second control dial. The button functions include a conventionally-placed AEL button and a ‘QS’ button for accessing Sigma’s ‘quick set’ menu. The majority of the space is taken up by a large 3.2″ 2.1M-dot touchscreen, which noticeably has small vents between itself and the camera body, for heat dissipation.
The body: connectors
In terms of connectors there are Mic, USB-C and HDMI connectors down the left flank of the camera. The USB-C port can be used to connect to an external SSD for video capture and the camera can be powered via the port, for longer periods than the battery allows.
All these ports sit behind large rubber doors, to contribute to the camera’s extensive weather sealing.
The camera’s strap lugs screw into tripod-style 1/4″ treaded holes on either side of the body, meaning they can be removed if you want to mount the camera vertically on your tripod (or re-arrange your camera strap, however you want).
Included with the camera is a screw-on adapter that adds a flash hotshoe and also acts as an HDMI cable retainer/protector. This hotshoe mount can, of course, be used to mount an external microphone for video work.
Two optional hand grips (the HG-11 and HG-21) will also be offered, providing different degrees of extension to provide a more firm grasp on the body (particularly for use with larger lenses).
Stills and focus
The camera shoots both JPEGs and DNG Raw files. The Raw files feature lossless compression and can be captured in with 14 or 12-bit definition.
The fp is entirely based around contrast detection autofocus but includes a Face and Eye detection, to make it easier to shoot portrait images. It’s too early for us to form impressions of the camera’s AF speed, but we’re very interested in testing that as soon as we can.
Sigma has clearly given a lot of thought to image processing on the fp. It includes the ability to re-process Raw files in the camera, including the ability to apply the shadow-lifting ‘Fill-Light’ processing previously only available in its Sigma Photo Pro software.
The camera also includes an unusual ‘Teal and Orange’ color mode designed to mimic the look that’s become popular in Hollywood movies.
In addition, the Sigma fp can generate ‘Cinematographs’ – animated GIFs in which part of the image moves while the rest stays static. This is the first time we’ve seen this feature built into a camera.
Video is a core feature of the fp. The camera allows the capture of MOV processed video with either Long GOP or ALL-I compression, but the unusual feature is its ability to capture Cinema DNG Raw video footage.
It can shoot UHD 4K at a choice of 29.97p, 25p or 23.87p or 1080 footage at up to 119.88p.
The Cinema DNG footage can be captured internally 8 or 10-bit quality in 30p and 25p mode, or 12-bit quality for 24p shooting. Data can also be output to external SSDs or external recorders over HDMI but we’re still awaiting precise details over whether Cinema DNG can be output using both methods. The fp is compatible with Atomos’ open HDMI protocol, meaning recording can be started or stopped from the external recorder.
Impressively, it appears that Sigma has designed a distinct video interface for the fp that lets you specify the shutter duration in terms of shutter angle and also includes a small waveform display, to let you set exposure and check the tonal distribution in your frame. The fp will also gain, via firmware, the ability to simulate the aspect ratios of various pro video platforms, to help you mimic the framing of cameras including a variety of Arri and Red cameras.
Using the optional CN-21 DC connector allows the fp to be powered from an AC power adaptor or a V-mount battery plate.
Flash and rolling shutter
The obvious challenge of basing a camera around an electronic shutter is that most sensors suitable for high-end photography take some time to read out their data, which limits the maximum speed of their electronic shutter mode.
This has two main consequences: firstly it leaves the risk of rolling shutter distortion if your subject moves as the sensor is being read (this also presents a challenge under artificial light sources, where the lights become brighter and darker during the exposure, leaving dark bands across the image).
The second issue is that it significantly limits the ability to use the camera with flash (if the sensor takes a long time to read-out, you can only fully expose the sensor at long exposure times). So, although Sigma showed the fp with an external flash mounted, it says the maximum sync speed is 1/30 seconds (this drops to 1/15th in 14-bit Raw mode).
The fp is built around the Leica-developed ‘L-mount.’ Alongside the camera, Sigma showed off the first three mirrorless-specific ‘DN’ lenses it’s developed for the L-mount. These included a compact 45mm F2.8, which pairs nicely with the fp.
In addition, Sigma has already announced that it will make adapters that allow Canon EF lenses to be adapted. And, for existing Sigma users, an adapter for its own SA-mount lenses.
As we say, the fp we had a chance to use was running very early firmware, so it’s difficult to read too much into its performance at this stage. That said, our initial impression is that autofocus seems reliable and repeatably accurate in S-AF.
What we can say is that it behaved pretty well, considering its state: it booted up quickly and the touchscreen was responsive. The menu system (seemingly evolved from the one on the SD Quattro modes) looks pleasantly simple and pared-down.
As you’d expect from a camera whose body is designed to act as a heat sink, we found it got warm in use, but not worryingly so. Sadly it’s too early to assess battery life, but none of the demonstration units ran out during our time with them. The use of a decently large 8.7Wh battery should help in this regard.
The camera seems extensively thought-through, not just in terms of offering plenty of options about what the dials control, but also in the small details like letting you choose auto, faster and slower shutter thresholds in Auto ISO mode, that relate to the focal length you’re currently using. This is the kind of fine-grained detail that major camera makers don’t always get right.
It definitely suggests Sigma has put a lot of work in, before taking the wraps off its little box of tricks.
Cameras don’t always come cheap, but when you find the right fit for your style and your business model, value isn’t always only about the sticker price.