Read the instructions . . .

Even after yesterday’s debacle with the fp L, I wasn’t ready to give up on the camera. There was some recollection of having read somewhere in the marketing materials that the size of the Single AF point could be changed. But even though the two main focus controls are accessed directly by a single click, I saw no way to change the size of the focus point.

Digging through the instruction manual, I found something that said either dial can be used to change the size when the PDAF points are displayed on the screen. Previously, having had a problem with a wandering focus point due to my unintentional pressing of buttons, I found that the PDAF points can be displayed by some combination of pressing the AEL button and the down click on the back dial. Hardly straightforward, especially for a camera that is otherwise blissfully intuitive in its operation.

I still haven’t figured out the exact sequence for displaying the PDAF points, I just keep pressing the buttons until it appears. Oh, to center the point, press the “MODE” button while the PDAF points are displayed (easier than the CL!). Anyway, with the points displayed, I rotated the front dial and found that there’s a “single point” even larger than than the huge default one; as well as a smaller one, which is the one I was looking for.

To give the camera as fair a chance as possible, I set out this morning with two Sigma-branded lenses, the 85mm f/1.4 DG DN and the 100-400mm. For most shots, I used Continuous AF.

What a difference that little point made!

Suddenly I was getting a higher rate of critically accurate AF than I ever did with any of the Sony a7r series. Pretty much any shot where OIS didn’t throw the focus point was in perfect focus.

I tried the fp L with the Lumix 70-200mm and 1.4X in the afternoon and it didn’t fare as well even though the Lumix’s OIS gave a very steady focus point. But if it can cooperate well with its own lens plus the 90-280mm SL (which seems to work beautifully with every L-mount body on which I’ve used it) I’ll be happy as a lark.

With the strictest power settings, I got 115 shots over about 3.5 hours with a sliver of the battery bar still showing. That’s eminently tolerable, and a great improvement over my earlier experience.

Once I find some software (other than Sigma’s own) that has a profile for the fp L, I hope to get a bit more detail from the sensor, which currently displays with less fine detail than the SL2.

There’s no such thing as a perfect camera. But for my purposes, there’s a lot to like about the Sigma fp L. It is a relief to have the battery and autofocus settings now optimized so that I can get the best out of it—not just as a backup, but as a first-team player.

fp L/100-400mm DG DN