The more astute among you may have noticed that I have fallen in love with the Sigma fp camera as a personal/art camera not the least because it's so damn eccentric. It adds friction to everything I shoot with its funky operating methodologies and also because of its lack of a feature I used to think of as "mandatory on any modern camera" an eye level viewing function. EVF or OVF (but preferably the EVF so I can learn as I go...).
The fp is a little brick of a camera and it has NO frills (unless you consider 12 bit DNG raw video as a frill). It has only the immovable screen on the back of the camera for you to use when composing or evaluating an image. Absolutely basic point-and-shoot primitive. (It largely makes up for any shortcomings with a perfect sensor and a enervatingly good selection of shooting menu color tweaks).
The list of accessories for the camera includes a big, bulky and supposedly solidly constructed loupe which fits over the rear screen but doesn't occlude the control buttons. It's supposed to screw into the tripod socket and be of stout and heartwarmingly resolute construction. But I've never seen one in the flesh and I'm beginning to believe that it does not exist. That it is vaporware meant to entice less cautious photographers into a system that may not exist as a complete ecosystem.
Much as I love the camera and make excuses for any of its shortcomings I am becoming a bit disconsolate at the lack of support from its maker. While the rear screen, in its naked glory, is just fine for indoor photography it, like just about any screen exposed to the brilliance of the sun, is dreadfully painful to use in bright, exterior light. I've tried to cobble together a substitute for the $300 Sigma accessory by using rubber bands and a Hoodman loupe but it kept falling off, hitting my shoes and randomly diminishing the effect of my rigorous shoe polishing (a different story altogether).
I was about to go to a priest and ask for advanced absolution for the vigorous and profane venting of spleen directly to the poor, hapless people of Sigma when I remembered that I am not catholic and I don't have the contact information for any one of any influence at all at Sigma. I also remembered that real absolution in this time of fear and anxiety might be difficult to obtain with any real assurance. Especially for something as petty as excoriating Japanese manufacturers over their inability to get me a gadget. One I don't even need for my real work.
But then, one evening when lightning played like distorted shafts of sun off a chaotic mirrored ball puncturing the black of night, and thunder scared all the woodland animals so badly they decamped and moved to Oklahoma, I happened upon a product on a site called Amazon.com and it seemed like exactly what I needed only fashioned out of lesser materials and promising a lesser result. But it was only something like $50 and I knew I could send it back if it turned out to be so tawdry that using it would imperil my singular vision of the world. It was the Movo Loupe and included in the description was the "promise" that it would fit on the Sigma fp.
It arrived two days later. We had, by then, emerged from the root cellar that serves as our redoubt in intense storms, and were ready to brave shooting in full sun once more. I rushed to the Amazon locker that held my newest treasure safe. I pieced the unit together and attached it to the camera.
At first I was sadder than Persephone on her endless returns to Hades. While the unit fit just fine and covered the screen but not the controls, the image through the ocular, even after adjusting the diopter to its maximum was soft and gauzy. What a disappointment!!
But as I was driving my new
Later, when I used the hinge on the loupe to raise up the eyepiece up towards the heavens and look directly at the screen ( nicely shielded by the loupe's remaining surround) I happened to see something I hadn't noticed before. The inside element, the one closest to the screen, also had a plastic film covering it as a protective measure. Once I removed that film the loupe started to perform remarkably well for such an inexpensive product.
Now I can say that I am happy with the Movo loupe and can give it a resounding recommendation (as long as you incorporate the low cost into your matrix of points of satisfaction). While the Sigma loupe might be engineered out of better materials (the Movo is polycarbonate....) we may never know because, in fact, we may never have the opportunity to see one in the wild. It may be the "Ghost Leopard" of the photographic industry.
And that's my review. Don't like it? Sorry, go read about Ctein's Tesla X instead. You'll be back....