Can You Even Autofocus, Bro? The Sigma Fp L Has Big Things To Prove

The 61MP Sigma Fp L looks like it might be oriented towards photographers, but we’re still not entirely convinced.

Sigma turned heads last year when they launched the Sigma Fp. An incredibly tiny, 24 Megapixel modular camera that was geared more towards videographers than photographers. Still, we took it for a spin. We found that while the camera was trying to be innovative, it still struggled with autofocus. Autofocus has always been Sigma’s Achilles heel, and it has been the downfall of many of their cameras. Now, we find out (late, we might add) about the new 61 Megapixel Sigma Fp L. It’s the same small modular camera from before, but it has a beefed-up sensor. Sigma is also launching a new EVF to go alongside the camera. We’ve got all the details as well as an opinion about it for you after the break.

What Is The Sigma Fp L?

Sigma Fp L

So, the Sigma Fp L. What is it exactly, and should you care? The Sigma Fp L is the smallest camera on the market with a huge 61 Megapixel sensor. It measures just 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8-inches. Yes, this is also most likely the same sensor that can be found in the Sony a7r IV–which right now only costs a few hundred dollars more. Along with the sensor, the Sigma Fp L features a new and improved hybrid autofocus system.

The AF system has 49 autofocus points, can track human faces and eyes, and utilizes both phase and contrast detection. It’s chargeable via USB-C, there no low-pass filter, it will capture 10 frames per second, and the LCD is just over 3-inches in size and has a resolution of 2.1 million dots. There’s still no IBIS, and the battery is rated for just 240 shots. Apart from the new sensor and an improved autofocus system, it’s basically the same as the Fp. It’s worth noting that the Sigma Fp L has a lower burst rate and worse battery life than the Fp. The price? The Sigma Fp L will cost $2,499, which is admittedly cheap for a 61 Megapixel camera. But wait! There’s more!

Let’s Not Forget About The New $699 EVF – The EVF-11

Sigma Fp L

Launched alongside the Sigma Fp L is the new Sigma EVF-11. A $699 modular EVF that attaches to the side of the Sigma Fp L. It features a half-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 3.68 million dots. It has a dedicated HDMI connector built-in, and the viewfinder can be rotated between 0 and 90 degrees. This is a must-have item for photographers. Sigma knows this and has made a bundle that includes the Sigma Fp L and the EVF that will cost $2,999. So the same price as the class-leading Sony a7r IV when it’s on sale.

The Sigma Fp L Has To Deliver The Goods

Sigma Fp L

Sigma took a big chance on the original Fp, and while it found some grace with videographers, it was a hard pass for photographers. During our review of the Sigma Fp, we found that the lack of direct controls made it unintuitive. The autofocus was so bad that it reminded us of a cheap point-and-shoot camera. As a webcam, it failed even simple autofocus tasks, and its image quality was a mixed bag. It also didn’t help that at the time, the available L mount lenses were all huge.

So, what has Sigma done to rectify these problems? Well, in theory, the new 61 Megapixel sensor should help when it comes to image quality. Well, that is if the image processor has been upgraded. I haven’t been able to find any information about the image processor at all. Sigma has released the I series of lenses which should balance well on the new camera. Whether or not they can resolve 61 Megapixels is another story. The autofocus system, well, we will have to wait and see how that does when we get our hands on the camera. Still, the videos that we have seen on YouTube show the Sigma Fp L struggling with tracking. Sure, it’s pre-production firmware. Still, by now, you’d have thought Sigma would know how to make autofocusing work reliably. It still seems to be their kryptonite.

Sigma Can’t Afford To Screw This Up

Sigma has been trying to make its mark in the camera market for some time now. They have seen limited success with their Foveon-based cameras. While the images from those cameras are gorgeous, autofocus and high ISO performance always let them down. The Sigma Fp, Sigma’s first L Mount Alliance camera. Unfortunately, it left a lot to be desired as well.

A lot is riding on the Fp L. The camera market is more competitive than ever. Sigma is entering into a pricing category with the Sigma Fp L that will chew up and spit out anything less than exceptional. Time will tell if Sigma has finally delivered a camera that’s worthy of consideration from photographers. More importantly, Sigma must find favor with hybrid content creators who need exceptional stills and video performance at a solid price point. If this camera doesn’t work out, perhaps Sigma should go back to focusing on lenses only.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.