Some Sigma fp Continuing First Impressions

I am not exactly loving Sigma fp with 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C kit lens. Steve Huff’s glowing hands-on review compelled me to buy the diminutive full-frame shooter and sell overly-large Fujifilm GFX 50R. The compact camera checked off many of the benefits I sought in replacing the Fuji medium-format beast—or so seemed the case based on his reactions, and a few other early adopters.

Steve’s January 2010 Leica X1 review inspired me to purchase that camera, too. Much as the image quality and manual controls appealed, the X1 didn’t work well for me, and I sold it six months later. In retrospect, I should have remembered mainly why: Backside LCD as primary means for framing and focusing subjects. I much prefer, really require, an integrated optical or digital viewfinder. In the bright San Diego sunlight, handling Sigma fp, I struggle to compose photos, like Leica X1. Manual dials are gone, as well, and they are greatly longed for.

Steve is a professional photographer. I am amateur at best. His skills make allowances mine cannot. He has access to several cameras, and many more lenses. My intention is to use one, and in the interim two (other is Leica Q). Enthusiasm is contagious—and I caught it, forgetting what characteristic is my usability foible. A viewfinder is available for Sigma fp, and I purchased it; but the thing is big, is better suited for filmmaking, and makes suddenly large a camera that’s major benefit is small size.

I hugely miss the GFX 50R’s fantastic image quality and remarkable dynamic range. I don’t miss the bulky body that intimidated animals and people. That said, if not for subjects’ generally consistent aversion, amazing IQ and pleasingly practical ergonomics would have made the Fuji a keeper.

As worthwhile replacement, Sigma fp is a joy to carry. It’s small—113 x 70 x 45 mm (4.45 x 2.76 x 1.77 inches) and weighs 422 grams (14.89 ounces) without lens—is rugged, evokes premium quality, and is unobtrusive, which includes minimal branding: “fp” on the body’s front.

I have 60 days from date of purchase (mid November) to return the Sigma shooter for refund. The fp and I will be close buddies through the New Year, as I decide whether several design idiosyncrasies—and LCD framing and focusing—are dealbreakers; or whether many benefits, which I will share in future post(s), are worthwhile enough.

Sigma fp viewfinder—huge isn’t it?

I captured the Featured Image at 10:11 a.m. PST today. As part of my ongoing Sigma fp experimentation, I changed the in-camera color setting to Monochrome, which applied to the captured JPG (the DNG RAW is natural). In post-production, I cropped, emphasized highlights, but reduced shadows. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 125, 1/400 sec, 45mm. I chose black and white, hoping to emphasize the stunning thunderheads. Was the choice sensible?

I shot the companion pic on Dec. 1, 2019 at 2:35 p.m. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 45mm. Both street shots are along University Ave. in downtown Hillcrest, which borders San Diego neighborhoods North Park and University Heights.

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