Sigma’s full-frame Foveon still far from ready, but “we’re still working on it” says Sigma

Feb 19, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sigma’s full-frame Foveon still far from ready, but “we’re still working on it” says Sigma

Feb 19, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s been a long, strange trip for Sigma’s Foveon X3 sensor since the L mount alliance was announced in 2018. During that announcement, Sigma said they were working on a new full-frame Foveon L mount camera to come in 2019. Then in March 2019, its release got pushed to 2020. But in February 2020, Sigma announced that they were starting over from scratch.

Now, in February 2021, Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki has posted a video to YouTube retelling last year’s story and the decision to terminate the contract with the original chip manufacture with whom they were collaborating. But today’s announcement reaffirms the company’s commitment to releasing a full-frame Foveon L mount camera… Eventually.

That’s pretty much all the new announcement video boils down to. “We haven’t forgotten about you, we’re working on it”. So, it’s kind of a good news, bad news thing. The bad news, obviously, is that it’s been delayed. Again. The good news, though, serves as a testament to Sigma’s commitment to making the camera be the best they possibly can.

Sigma’s SA mount Foveon bodies, while far from perfect in many respects, offer pretty unparalleled image quality for sensors of such size (1.3x and 1.5x crop). So any new camera will have a lot to live up to. The competition is also much better now than it was even as recently as 2018. So, while Sigma has no real competition in Foveon-like technology, the bar has been raised when it comes to user satisfaction and expectation.

Sigma will have to at least meet this bar if not raise it further, which is no easy feat.

But it looks like Sigma’s initial goal of possibly launching in 2021 is out of the window, and their “Maybe 2022” is turning into an almost certain “at least 2022”.

In other Sigma news, the company is expected to announce a new 28-70mm f/2.8 FE lens and a Sigma fp L camera body at some point in the next week or so when CP+ (virtually) opens up in Japan.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Sigma’s full-frame Foveon still far from ready, but “we’re still working on it” says Sigma”

  1. Kayi Brixius Avatar
    Kayi Brixius

    It will be nice to see Sigma back in the game with the new Foveon chip. I’ve only recently discovered how wonderful the colors are coming from their three layer recording device. I’m looking forward to seeing them back on their a game. My only worry is going to be whether or not my lenses still fit the larger sensor size.