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”.