Sigma will "never give up" on the Foveon sensor, says CEO

Cine D interviewing Kazuto Yamaki
(Image credit: Cine D)

Sigma is certainly persistent when it comes to the technical development of the long-awaited full-frame Foveon X3 sensor. Originally announced in 2019, the sensor has provided an endless amount of issues that need to be solved before it lands in a camera – but Sigma’s CEO, Kazuto Yamaki, is dedicated to its success. 

However, while many expected the sensor to appear in a camera like the Sigma fp or Sigma fp L, it's going to need a bigger camera than anything Sigma has brought to market recently.

In an interview with Cine D at Cine Gear 2023, Yamaki revealed some exciting details about the company's ongoing efforts to realize this sensor technology. Sigma remains steadfast in delivering a Foveon-powered camera that will revolutionize the industry, but the sensor requires an incredibly powerful processor – meaning that the company must first design a larger and more powerful battery, which will likely result in a larger camera. 

"When it comes to Foveon sensor, we need a very powerful processor," said Yamaki. "And it makes the back end system inevitably big. So it might be challenging to put the Foveon sensor and the back end system into such a small body." 

Despite this, and new technical issues that arise every time Sigma prototypes the sensor, the CEO nonetheless impressed that, "We [have] several technical issues that we need to solve. But we are still working on it and we will never give up."

While the absence of an FP-sized Foveon-powered camera may disappoint some enthusiasts or have been waiting four years, it’s crucial to recognize how complex this new development is. 

Unlike most sensors found in many mirrorless and DSLR cameras, Foveon sensors capture color information at every pixel making them much more power-hungry. Sigma has outwardly committed to prioritizing performance and usability over compactness in a bid to launch a camera with outstanding image quality. 

Sigma's dedication to the development of the next generation of Foveon is rooted in its pursuit of excellence. With its ability to capture more accurate color and detail, the technology has gained a loyal following among photographers seeking uncompromised image quality. Sigma recognizes the immense potential of this sensor and is determined to refine it further to meet the demands of professional and enthusiast photographers alike.

As well as working on the Foveon sensor, Sigma is actively exploring other avenues to enhance its cameras, such as integrating cloud services into future mirrorless models. This would give users the ability to access images from a computer without having to upload them, making for a more streamlined workflow and more efficient collaborations. 

Sigma has undoubtedly made some exciting moves recently, such as releasing the world's fastest 14mm f/1.4 wide-angle lens, and it has also continued to expand its range of cine lenses. Under the watchful eye of Yamaki, Sigma has remained one of the most well-respected third-party lens manufacturers – and when it finally cracks the X3 sensor, it could make a real name for itself in the camera world too. 

If you enjoyed this why not also check out the best mirrorless cameras and browse a range of Canon's, Nikon's, Sony's and more!

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.