Last year Sigma delivered the full-frame mirrorless Sigma fp, a highly conceptual modular camera featuring a 24.6MP Bayer sensor that literally fits in your pocket (without a lens, obviously). Indeed, it's the smallest full-frame mirrorless camera on the market, and it can be customized with add-ons to make it conform to any shooting setup.
At CP+ 2019 the manufacturer announced that it would release a 61MP camera using its own proprietary Foveon sensor (an interesting choice, in our book, as we've never been sold on what the tech delivers) – and it later confirmed that the camera would release in 2020.
However, that plan appears to have been derailed, either short or long term, following a recent announcement that Sigma would be scrapping the work currently completed on the Foveon sensor and starting over from scratch…
No Foveon camera in 2020
Sigma's 61MP camera, and perhaps the future of Foveon sensor technology in general, was dealt a massive blow as the company announced that it would not be released this year.
"As a result of careful and rigorous testing based on the latest development information, it has become clear that the launch of such a camera would be infeasible within this year," said CEO Kazuto Yamaki. "Still at this point, we cannot say for certain when the full-frame Foveon X3 sensor will be put into mass production.
Worryingly, this isn't your common or garden camera delay but a fundamental issue with Foveon sensor development – something that has led Sigma to scrap everything it has done so far and start completely from scratch.
"In light of current development progress, we are not in a position to offer any specific release plan at present. We have therefore decided that we should start over the project with a clean slate, putting the production plan for this new camera back to the drawing board and going back to the development of sensor technologies."
Sigma APS-C camera
While the news that the company had literally gone back to the drawing board in terms of its full-frame Foveon camera, the company has previously stated that it is considering an APS-C L-mount camera – one that may or may not use Foveon sensor technology.
"We might even use an APS-C sensor again," said Sigma, noting that "If we find another very good sensor we might use it as well but Foveon belongs to Sigma so in the future we will continue to develop the Foveon sensor cameras. Maybe from time to time we may use another type of sensor but so far we haven't had such plans."
Foveon or not, it seems that an APS-C camera may be much closer to fruition for Sigma right now. And while an L-mount camera with an APS-C sensor would be an unorthodox move, Sigma's traditional Foveon sensors have been slightly smaller than APS-C size – with the Sigma SD Quattro H using a larger APS-H 51MP sensor (with a spatial resolution of 25.5MP).
With the future of the 61MP (if that's even still the plan) full-frame camera up in the air, an APS-C Sigma camera might well be next on the horizon.