The ongoing chip and semi-conductor shortage is not exactly news and has been affecting quite a few camera producers over the past year. However, lens brand Sigma recently confirmed that they too are experiencing supply issues that will affect their rollout and distribution of products over the coming months.
The Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki recently replied to a question on Twitter by customer Terry Hastings asking about production and wondering when he might expect his new lenses that he’d ordered. Hastings had apparently ordered 3 new Sigma Prime lenses and after waiting 9 weeks is still yet to hear anything. UK stockists have apparently not been able to keep him in the loop on when he might expect to receive his lenses.
Yamaki replied confirming that Sigma has been experiencing both a shortage of supplies coinciding with high demand so that they are still working to produce backorders from the last quarter of 2021. He also implies in his response that shortages could well continue into 2022.
Thanks for waiting. Not sure which lenses you ordered, but we’ve been continuing the full production. We just couldn’t catch up the demand of some products in Q4 2021. Hope lenses reach you soon. In 2022, supply shortage of semiconductor may affect production of some products. https://t.co/cOrqCHFraL
— Kazuto Yamaki (@KazutoYamaki) January 4, 2022
Other camera and lens producers have been affected by this issue too, with Sony, Nikon and Canon all somewhat behind on their production. Aside from greater demand and distribution issues due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, the chip shortage has also come about from environmental reasons. The most severe drought in 50 years in Taiwan meant that the huge amount of water that was needed for production was not available. As most of the world’s supply of semiconductors are made in Taiwan and South Korea this obviously had a large impact on supply.
Now as photographers we are always going to be seduced by new equipment, and I am certainly not immune to Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). But it does beg the question we should ask ourselves before he hit the ‘buy’ button. Do we actually need that new lens/camera/light whatever?
It is no longer a question of our own needs and finances (and something that particularly working professional photographers always have to balance) but also one of sustainability. Of course, photography brands exist to sell products, that is their point, and they are very good at making us feel that we cannot operate without that shiny new piece of gear. But at what cost?