After endless leaks and rumors, the Sigma fp L has been officially announced – and it has a pixel-packed 61MP full-frame image sensor, hybrid autofocus system and 5x digital Crop Zoom.
Impressively, the Sigma fp L packs all these new features (and more) into a body that's the exact same size and shape as the original Sigma fp, meaning that you can seamlessly upgrade or use both cameras side by side while using the same EVFs, cages and other modular accessories.
• Hands on: Sigma fp L review
At the heart of the Sigma fp L is a back-illuminated 61MP Bayer image sensor, equipped with a low-pass filter to reduce moiré. Of course, the potential compromise here (as with other anti-aliasing filters) is that the same technology that smooths moire patterns also smooths general sharpness, so we're very keen to get this camera into the lab to see how it performs against the Sony A7R IV's 61MP sensor with no low-pass filter.
The high resolution facilitates Sigma's Crop Zoom – basically a digital zoom function, available on stills and video, that enables you to crop into your frame to artificially increase focal length. It is operated by a pinch-and-zoom motion on the rear LCD, and offers a maximum 5x zoom that can still shoot 1080p video.
A new hybrid AF system combines the contrast detect autofocus seen in the original fp with phase detection, which in theory offers superior subject detection and tracking to the original camera's erratic performance. However, in our hands-on review, we still found the autofocus to be unreliable: "In many instances, the camera would get confused with what to focus on. Even when a subject would completely fill the frame, the Sigma fp L would occasionally fail to focus."
The camera supports continuous power via its USB-C connection, enabling you to record video and time-lapses or use the fp L's out-of-the-box webcam functionality without having to worry about battery life.
A brilliant new trick is the ability to save camera settings as a QR code, for easy loading and sharing with other photographers and cinematographers. If you've ever worked on a professional set, with multiple bodies or operators, you'll know just how useful this could be.
It also introduces two new color modes for in-camera effects: Duotone offers "a striking two-color image", while Powder Blue provides "a bright and clear feel, featuring a refreshing blue color". Both these and the QR code function will be introduced via a firmware update.
The Sigma fp L will be available from 16 April and will retail for $2,499 / £1,999.99 (approximately AU$3,287) body only or $2,999 / £2,449.99 (AU$3,945) with the new 3.68 million-dot OLED Sigma EVF-11 viewfinder, which is also available for separately for $699 / £599.99 (AU$920).