A New Hiking Companion
My introduction to the mirrorless world
All photos were taken with the SIGMA fp (well, except for the ones where you can see the wee little camera, obviously)
The huts were all booked, the weather forecast had been filled with nothing but sunshine for days and we knew the route by heart. Five days, that’s how long we’d be hiking through the Alps and I was already mentally preparing myself to haul my brick of a DSLR camera and my two favourite lenses, the SIGMA 24-70mm F2,8 DG OS HSM Art and the SIGMA 70-200 F2,8 DG OS HSM Sports over the mountains. All this equipment would most likely make the hike ten times more strenuous but ah well… You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do (and I know some of my landscape photography friends reading this can relate).
However a couple of weeks before our hiking adventure I was offered the chance to take a second camera with me to put it through all its paces: the SIGMA fp. At first I didn’t know what to make of it – burdening my shoulders with even more weight? I could already hear them complaining loudly. But I was way too curious to reject an offer like that. „It’s only five days, Maike. Your legs will survive,“ I said to myself and so the SIGMA fp and the SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary joined the trip as well.
Turns out all my concerns were completely unfounded. The SIGMA fp is the smallest, mirrorless full-frame camera there is and if you’d put all the cameras in the world into a boxing ring, it would definitely rank among the flyweights, weighing in at 370g. But that doesn’t make it any less robust! From the valley up to 3,000m altitude it tackled every situation the mountains threw at us and pssst, don’t tell my DSLR but in the end this small, compact device was the camera I actually used more often.
I’m probably one of the last individuals to join the mirrorless clan hey? Nothing, really nothing could lure me away from my trusty, big camera – at least until the SIGMA fp came along with her no-nonsense-settings and its full-frame sensor, which creates great, crisp photos. So now, a thousand years later, you can welcome me to your ranks, fellow mirrorless photographers.
Back to our trip: This time our hiking route led us 30km through the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol, Austria and to four beautifully located alpine huts. Three years ago Philipp and me had already hiked the E5 from Oberstdorf, Germany to Merano, Italy, so we roughly knew what we were getting ourselves into. Back then I had my DSLR with me as well and I remember many a moment where I would have loved to take a photo but didn’t because the act of digging my camera out of my backpack always took terribly long and interrupted our pace. So a lot of amazing moments just slipped through my fingers, which is a real bummer.
This time should be different though! Magical light? Curious sheep? Unique cloud structure? It didn’t take a second and the small camera was ready to go. Not only because if you felt like it you could just let it dangle over your shoulder while hiking, but also because it comfortably fitted into the head compartment of my backpack. I didn’t have to undo hundreds of straps and buckles, or even take my backpack off. The camera was just one zip away, always close at hand and ready to use. Even though I really don’t have to take photos of every single moment, it was nice to know that I could have done so without any troubles (I also tend to remember things way better if I have a photo of them or have written them down somewhere). So I really appreciated that and now I don’t have to mourn after a missed photo opportunity.
I already mentioned it at the beginning that the forecast had predicted many hours of sunshine and I’m a sucker for a good backlit photo, so I was particularly curious to see how the SIGMA fp would cope with such situations and how the autofocus would work. And what can I say: it passed with flying colours! The autofocus is indeed amazing. Or maybe I’m just overly excited because my DSLR sometimes takes a wee bit longer to focus. Many of you are probably so used to the perks of mirrorless cameras that for you this is nothing new, but for me it was that little extra treat, the cherry on top of the mirrorless cake.
The attached 45mm lens worked a charm as well and definitely satisfied my bokeh heart, creating lovely soft backgrounds (and foregrounds) which I love to play with when shooting landscapes. I was also quite impressed at how well you could still take photos at low shutter speeds without making the photo look like a very cold you had taken it (or a very drunk you; definitely a shaking you). So probs to the low weight again! And while I’m already in praise mode (because the fp definitely deserves it): zooming in automatically when the focus is set on manual? Where has this feature been all my life?? (Again, probably nothing new for all you old hands).
My first trip with the SIGMA fp was definitely a blessing for my little photographers soul and made it much easier for me to capture the hike in all its details. Sorry dear DLSR, maybe you will have to stay at home a little more often in the future…