Sigma releases update about its full-frame Foveon sensor development
Sigma’s full-frame sensor development project has been a tumultuous saga. At Photokina in 2018, Sigma’s CEO Kazuto Yamaki unveiled the company’s ambitious plans to develop a full-frame camera based on Sigma’s Foveon sensor technology. The company’s Foveon sensor has long been one of the most distinct image sensors on the market, so the promise of a new full-frame image sensor was immediately exciting.
We interviewed Yamaki at the time of the announcement, and he said that Sigma expected the new full-frame camera to hit the market in 2019. That plan didn’t come to pass, and photographers shifted their sights to 2020. More bad news came last February.
Today, Sigma published a video from CEO Kazuto Yamaki updating the world on Sigma’s sensor development. Unfortunately, it’s more bad news. You can view Yamaki’s message below in English. For any Japanese-speaking readers, the Japanese-language announcement is available here.
As you can see in the video above, Sigma had to scrap its full-frame image sensor project last year and start from scratch, including the revision of the full-frame Foveon image sensor on which it had been working. The image sensor was a 20-megapixel Foveon X3 full-frame image sensor. Further, Sigma has terminated the contract with the sensor manufacturer it was collaborating with on the sensor.
At this stage, Sigma is now fully engaged in the research and development of full-frame X3 image sensor technology. Sigma’s head office is leading the project and are also reviewing the sensor specifications. They are also aware that customer expectations in today’s market have changed significantly since 2018.
Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki
Yamaki says, “We will do our utmost effort to create a camera in which we have full confidence.” He continues by expressing Sigma’s gratitude for the ongoing support the company has received from photographers as the company has dealt with the challenges in its sensor development efforts. “All of our employees, including me, will do our best to develop innovative and outstanding technology,” Yamaki concludes.
Unfortunately, Sigma has had to deal with so many problems developing a new full-frame Foveon image sensor and accompanying camera system. In terms of its lenses and cameras, Sigma has always proven to be an innovative company and has taken risks. There are often costs unique to being the first through the door.
Here at Imaging Resource, we’re hoping for the best, not just because Sigma is an interesting company that makes highly-capable photographic tools but also because the industry itself is greatly enhanced when companies take risks and work hard to innovate. Here’s hoping Sigma’s efforts to create a new full-frame Foveon image sensor pay off. When there’s a new update, you can be sure to read about it on Imaging Resource.