CES 2012: Sigma Interview

Kazuto Yamaki, Sigma's Chief Operating Officer

Sigma had a small stand at this year's CES, but the Japanese lens manufacturer still had plenty to show off, including three new lenses - a 19mm f/2.8 and 30mm f/2.8 designed for the Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX E-mounts, and a 180mm macro which should appeal to DSLR users.

We spoke to Kazuto Yamaki, Sigma's Chief Operating Officer about the company's new lenses, and the challenges that lie ahead as Japanese manufactures recover from last year's Tsunami and the ongoing global economic turmoil. We began by asking Yamaki about the recently-announced 'Digital Neo' 19mm and 30mm lenses, which are designed exclusively for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. 

The Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN is a wide angle lens with the equivalent angle of view of a 38mm (35mm equivalent focal length) on the Micro Four Thirds system and 28.5mm (35mm equivalent focal length) on the E-mount system.  The Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN has the equivalent angle of view of a 60mm lens (35mm equivalent focal length) on the Micro Four Thirds system and 45mm (35mm equivalent focal length) on the E-mount system.

Commenting on their relatively large size compared to existing optics for these systems, he told us 'we didn't make a pancake or faster-aperture lens by choice'. He explained 'we used the most advanced technology possible in these lenses and I want customers to choose them for the image quality'. One of the things that Sigma is very proud of, too, is the newly developed linear AF motor of the 30mm, which Yamaki told us, greatly reduces the sound of AF when recording video - something that is very important to casual videographers that rely on their cameras' built-in microphones.

Although he would not be drawn on pricing details, Yamaki promised us that this quality will not come with a prohibitive price-tag. Both lenses will be 'reasonably and competitively priced'.

'More high-end cameras will be mirrorless in the future'

Yamaki explained that 'mirrorless users [represent] two types of customer - enthusiasts and novices. Novice mirrorless photographers might not buy additional lenses […] so we will make lenses for enthusiasts'. And it seems that Sigma believes that the enthusiast mirrorless market is only going to grow in the future: 'DSLRs will always stay at the top' Yamaki told us - 'the benefit of a DSLR is of course the optical viewfinder, but in my opinion more high-end cameras will become mirrorless in the future'.

Partly, Yamaki believes, this is due to the relative accuracy of contrast-detection AF systems compared to phase-detection: 'it's really difficult to achieve accurate AF [with a phase-detection system] and the more pixels the camera has the more difficult this becomes'.

SD1: 'Our forthcoming products will be more exciting'

Speaking of DSLRs, we asked Mr Yamaki about Sigma’s current flagship model, the SD1. Acknowledging the lukewarm reaction of the market, Yamaki explained 'the SD1 was our first product since we acquired Foveon and we haven’t stopped working [since]'.

Sigma's current flagship camera, the SD1, features a 15.3MPx3 1.5x crop Foveon X3 sensor (4800 x 3200 x 3 layers). The SD1 has a weatherproof magnesium alloy body, 3" 460k dot LCD, and new 11-point twin-cross AF system.

Here's the SD1's APS-C format X3 image sensor - at 15.3MP, the images that it creates are significantly larger than previous SD-series DSLRs. 

'We make cameras for specific type of customers. We understand that our cameras may not be [for the mainstream]. We decided to use the Foveon sensor to differentiate our camera [but that meant] we needed to do everything by ourselves from scratch'. 'We had to carefully focus our attention' Yamaki explained – 'we don't have countless engineers so we can't do everything'.

'Our forthcoming products will be more exciting [and] we will do everything we can to reduce manufacturing costs in future models. We have been working very hard in that direction, and I personally feel bad that some of our loyal customers couldn't [afford] the SD1 so we have to prepare a camera for them. We must'.

'Our challenge now is economic'

2011 was a tough year for the camera industry, and for Japanese manufacturers in particular. We asked Mr Yamaki what the biggest challenges were for Sigma in 2012. 

'We have only one factory in Japan, in the north' Yamaki told us. 'The factory is close to the earthquake’s epicenter, but fortunately we were not affected too heavily, and now we're operating normally'. He went on – 'our challenge now is economic. The Yen is very strong. 100% of our manufacturing is in Japan, but 80% of our turnover comes from Europe, the UK and the USA'. He went on – 'the European economic situation is very bad. If the exchange rate gets much worse no-one knows what will happen'. 

'Our strategy is to introduce more products'

We asked Mr Yamaki how Sigma planned to weather the storm, and his answer was simple – 'our strategy is to introduce more products. Better quality products'. 

'I have a long wish-list of lenses that I want to make' Yamaki told us, 'some [manufacturers] think that people will be satisfied by 'traditional' lenses but I don't think this is enough. Sigma has the opportunity to create new categories in the lens lineup, and we like to create new categories. As DSLRs get more pixels there is a need for higher quality lenses so there are many opportunities for us - it is an endless process.

Comments

Total comments: 152
polarhei
By polarhei (Feb 15, 2012)

At least, the company has done it.

Not more than US$3,000 to obtain the high precision camera with a good lens like Nikon F6, good.

0 upvotes
ndarwin
By ndarwin (Jan 31, 2012)

Hi Everyone,

Anybody owns NIKON 1 J1 or V1?

Kindly share with me your experience.

thanks.

0 upvotes
bborowski000
By bborowski000 (Jan 22, 2012)

No One cares about your cameras....thats why you come sucking around now mr. yamaki

1 upvote
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 20, 2012)

".. but in my opinion more high-end cameras will become mirrorless in the future." - I certainly hope not!

2 upvotes
GKC
By GKC (Jan 20, 2012)

Why? Mirrorless is clearly the way of the future of digital photography. Just take a look at Sony. Within 5 years, it is my belief that all of the camera companies will go with similar technology. With high tiny high resolution LCDs instead of an optical viewfinder, more information can be relayed to the photographer in a much more user-friendly manner. Furthermore, without a mirror, cameras can shoot considerably faster, and wear factor is reduced. There is no reason to continue with mirror/pentaprism cameras.

3 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 20, 2012)

It's the flicker. My eye sees it, I'm not particularly a fan. Not every thing needs to be overly electronic these days. Let the human eye do what it was designed to do: see the picture as it is.

2 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 20, 2012)

p.s. Every one said the same thing about Vinyl records when CDs hit the streets in the 80s, too. I still fire up my turn table to hear the full rich sound of 1:1 ratio. That which even the highest sample rate will still never be able to attain. It's simple: Give the people choices and not ultimatums.

0 upvotes
archaiesteron
By archaiesteron (Jan 20, 2012)

Hey, they merely said "more", not "all"! Why does it make you upset? Furthermore, remember that SLR cameras have never been the best ones. Rangefinder cameras probably were better for many purposes, and Fujifilm X100 obviously is exploring that way. There is much to do in that way and I hope it will be explored!

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 20, 2012)

That's my straight-off-the-hip reaction to the latest trend. I understood the 'more' part as such. I don't think it's a useful technology for some. It's like telling a visual astronomer they can no longer look through the eyepiece but now through a projected image.

0 upvotes
PK24X36NOW
By PK24X36NOW (Jan 20, 2012)

I certainly hope not, either! Thre's no need for more mirrorless crap (sorry, I call 'em like I see 'em), there's plenty to go around already. Anyone who's dying for a flickering eyestrain-inducing view of what was a moment ago can choose from the bevy of products already being peddled. @ GKC, yes, look at Sony - they can't compete with Nikon and Canon, so they've emphasized something different - and less desirable, where maybe they can establish a market they don't get their a$$es handed to them so handily in. That doesn't make EVFs the heir to the throne by any stretch.

No EVF will ever beat looking through the viewing lens with an OFV, and EVFs will reduce battery life for things batteries are actually necessary for, like making pictures. Thanks but no thanks. The only attraction to EVFs is the cheapening of the product, and SLRs are not prohibitively expensive, so there's no need to replace OVFs with a lesser substitute.

1 upvote
archaiesteron
By archaiesteron (Jan 21, 2012)

Again, what is wrong about having more of them? If you don't want them, nobody will force you to buy them. But again, if EVF can get better, there are obvious facts you have to consider: no mirror allows much better lenses for short focal lenses and this is why rangefinder cameras were often seen as better than SLR. Please have a look at some "SLR vs rangefinder" page and see the pros and cons. It has not only to do with size or price; there are things that SLR will never do as well as mirrorless cameras.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Jan 22, 2012)

But rangefinder vs. SLR is not the same as EVF vs. OVF. None of the current mirrorless cameras (except Leica M9) are true rangefinders, and to my knowledge noone has so far created a rangefinder with an EVF. They use OVFs too, although a different type. Some of us just find OVFs more useful and suited to our style of photography than EVFs, regardless of whether the camera is a DSLR, rangefinder or regular compact.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

"look at Sony - they can't compete with Nikon and Canon.''

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!! Best joke I heard all day. Just look at Canon and Nikon trying so hard but in vain catching up with Sony and Panasonic in mirrorless.

Re. optical viewfinders.... if a modern optical viewfinder is what that $4.99 value hack job is on the CANON G1 X, for instance, then heck no, give me an EVF or at least a hybrid optical-electronic VF any day of the week, please.

0 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (Jan 20, 2012)

Sigma please create a cheaper ultra wide for 4/3rd other mirrorless cam. It will sell I promise :)

0 upvotes
JohnHoppy
By JohnHoppy (Jan 20, 2012)

That's my desire too - Panasonic has a superb 7-14mm but SO pricey, which leaves only Olympus' 9-18mm. This area is surprisingly poorly served. Sigma ought to look again, why would I want their 19mm f2.8 when my 20mm f1.7 is excellent? See a niche and fill it, don't duplicate.

1 upvote
istscott
By istscott (Jan 19, 2012)

As everyone else said, the SD1 isn't successfully primarily based on price. It also is lacking feature wise compared to all semi-pro camera bodies that sell for around $1000 - $1500. That being said, no one sees $5500 worth of sensor in the camera so it gets overlooked.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

I see $5,500 worth of sensor in the camera. I don't see $20,000 worth of sensor in the Leica S2, but I would buy one of those cameras, if I had a budget of about $50,000 for equipment this year. It's the best for what it is, just as the Sigma SD1 is the best for what it is. The Sigma SD1 is expensive compared to the Nikon D7000, but so is the Nikon D3x. The Sigma SD1 shoots better quality photos than the Nikon D3x, even though it costs less than the Nikon D3x. That my friend, is value . . . maybe not as good of a value as the same camera would have been, if it had been sold for the same price as the SD14 or SD15, when they were introduced, but it is still reasonable value, and it is worth every penny for the "quality-minded" photographer, who wants very high quality images with incredibly low noise at ISO 100 (lower than any 24 megapixel APS-C sensor camera that is available today, and possibly lower than any 24 megapixel camera in existence).

1 upvote
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Jan 20, 2012)

Better quality photos that the D3x ? Thats highly debatable. There is a lot of false detail and aliasing with the Sigma SD1. Whether someone likes that is open to debate.

The D3X has far better features (AF, high ISO, weather sealings, lens support, memory support, metering, reliability, service support, accessories support etc etc) and costs only a little more.

1 upvote
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Jan 19, 2012)

More honesty than I've heard from Nikon the past several years.

1 upvote
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 19, 2012)

Honesty after the fact when everyone knows you messed up is hardly laudable. Nikon are still in business despite massive setbacks - I reckon they know just how much honesty consumers really need.

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Sigma is still in business too . . . duh.

3 upvotes
Feud
By Feud (Jan 19, 2012)

I own a DP1 and a DP2. I was going to buy an SD1, but not for more than a full frame. I think Sigma should now sell Foveon either entirely to a mainstream camera manufacturer or licence it to all comers. I certainly won't be paying more than I'd pay for a D4 for their next experiment.

2 upvotes
DanCart
By DanCart (Jan 20, 2012)

I cant see any of the major camera makers buying foveon even if it were available at a giveaway price, Canon et al already have good sensors why would they even consider anything else?

Given that he said they wanted the foveon sensor to make their cameras stand out , I suspect they bought Foveon because they believed in the foveon sensor and wanted it for themselves in order to retain the uniqueness of their cameras.......I cant see Sigma selling Foveon to anyone

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Jan 20, 2012)

i agree. it's more on of a wish that Foveon is on the hands of the bigger camera makers.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Jan 22, 2012)

In principle , yes , but then the Foveon sensor is still far from performing decent. Until then it will not made it OK for mainstream products. And while at it, the price must go down several notch and the imaging tool kit must be there.

I am not seeing that in the near future. And the big one is everybody else is also working on their own full spectrum sensor which , if and when implemented to the market, simply would open up the competetions

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Jan 19, 2012)

they should now focus on their DP series. i would not care if still had the same old sensor, body, and lens. it should have better lcd, battery life, and faster writes to the card.

1 upvote
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jan 20, 2012)

MUCH faster AF would be a godsend as well!!

Moving from my D3s bodies to my DP2 is like swapping a Ferrari for a pushbike.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Jan 20, 2012)

i like that too but it seems that slowness of the AF is the cost of having a precise focus. i once tested AF versus manual focus and can't see a difference, if there is, i couldn't find it.
anyways, in general, we wanted refinement on these DP cameras. come on Sigma! offer something to those who don't need more resolution.

0 upvotes
Bernd M
By Bernd M (Jan 19, 2012)

I really can't understand the Sigma "lens-politics" for mirroless cameras. Exemple: Panasonic has an outstanding 20mm F1.7 Pancake. Why I should buy a big, heavy 19mm F 2.8? - 2.8 is what you buy with a zoom lens. Even Sigma itself has a reasoable 18-50mm F2.8 for 4/3. What I'd be interested in, would be fixed lenses that are small and/or have F1.2 - 1.8 as aperture. Something zoom lenses still not offer.

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Jan 19, 2012)

i think their 19mm has better IQ than the panasonic 17mm at wider apertures. of course, most people wouldn't care. i'd choose the pancake too.

0 upvotes
chris_j_l
By chris_j_l (Jan 19, 2012)

I suspect that Sigma is really targeting the E-mount market and looks to pick up some easy sales by providing a u4/3 mount (there is only 1.25mm difference in flange-focal distance between the two). u4/3 is already well served in this range by Pan/Pan-Leica short primes that aren't break the bank expensive and additionally the Sigma lenses for u4/3 would tend to be larger (to provide a flat field) unless they can provide lens correction parameters to the body - so they are fighting an uphill battle to make inroads in u4/3. NEX is an easier/less pressured market to service.

1 upvote
audijam
By audijam (Jan 19, 2012)

Don't even attempt to understand their logics here. They create one unique lens and whoever finds the need of it will buy~ If they come out with DG EX 70 f1.4 or EX DG 43 f1.8 I am sure some people will buy them...(i am probably one of them)

0 upvotes
chris_j_l
By chris_j_l (Jan 19, 2012)

And if they took one of their 105mm macro lenses to u4/3 I'd definitely be pulling out my credit card.

0 upvotes
The A-Team
By The A-Team (Jan 31, 2012)

I agree - don't really understand these lens choices. Why make a big f/2.8 prime (giving an equivalent DOF of f/5.6 on full frame)? Panasonic was going the right route with the 20mm 1.7. I'd like to see them take it even further, down to f/1.2, as you stated.

0 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jan 19, 2012)

I like the Foveon sensor concept. But have already invested in Sigma lenses with EF mount to use on my EOS DLSRs. I find the SD1 overpriced, considering the sensor size and performance.

If Sigma offered an APS-C (1.5x) body with decent functions, superb low-light performance (important for me), at least 10 EV dynamic range without clipping any channel and good handling (Canon xxD until the 50D for example) at a price around 1500 € and a free remounting of their own lenses from any mount to their Sigma SD when buying a new camera, then I would gladly jump ship. Of course the sensor would be fine if its native (not interlaced) resolution (and the resolution of the final RAW image) would be 3000 x 2000 pixels with super per-pixel sharpness, that is enought even for big prints. I do not neet more "empty" resolution, I want more dynamic range. I shoot mRAW with my 60D.

Sigma makes perfect lenses for a reasonable price, but the cameras, or better the SD1 to be concrete, are overpriced...

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

If you want more dynamic range, you should try a Sigma SD14. It does not give you a lot of "empty" resolution, and it has incredible dynamic range. You can get them used for about half the price of your Canon 60 D, and then you can start collecting lenses for a system that will one day offer the amazing sensor in the SD1 for a "reasonable" price. Of course, maybe Foveon is not for you, since you did say you want good low light performance. Maybe you should just get a Nikon D700.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 19, 2012)

Suprisingly reasonable guy. I expected something entirely different. Seems that Sigma actually know what they are doing and what they have done. Interesting..

Well Im definitely looking forward to some cheaper version of SD1. Layered sensor and lack of AA are tempting things, if only done properly.

1 upvote
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 27, 2012)

Quote: "Seems that Sigma actually know what they are doing"

Their rediculous SD1 pricing strategy proves otherwise!

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 19, 2012)

No Dpreview reports on a Sigma camera? I find only a preview of one. You'd think the 2010 compact with a large sensor would merit something. Or how about a test of the Foveon sensor?

Yamaki is correct that the strong yen threatens production of any consumer electronics items in Japan. Unless people pay a whopping premium (which they won't), the companies must move the production elsewhere, or else lose money.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jan 19, 2012)

We're hoping to have a full review of the SD1 in the coming weeks.

6 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

If the Yen increases by 20%, they just need to increase prices by 20%. That would make a $500 camera into a $600 camera. No big deal. Sigma cameras are not really in competition with other cameras, since they do not offer the features other cameras offer. Instead, they are producing unique cameras. When it comes to lenses though, they definitely ARE in competition with other manufacturers, and there is the rub. If Tamron is producing lenses in Thailand, like Nikon or maybe in China, Sigma has no choice but to produce their cheap lenses somewhere else, or somehow make them faster, with robots or something. Otherwise they will not be able to compete. I suspect they know this, and that is why they are going up-market with their line of lenses as well as cameras. The latest APO lenses and the new Foveon sensor are an indication of this.

0 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (Jan 19, 2012)

If you read the reviews everyone agrees it is a nice camera and capable of producing good images, it is just completely over priced. Does Kia make a car priced as much as Lexus, or BMW high end or even mid range cars. No because it is relatively unknown. That is what Sigma did, and did not even give us something competitive in that class. You need to build brand by producing something that competes but is priced below your competition.

1 upvote
icexe
By icexe (Jan 19, 2012)

Exactly right. You don't sell products at luxury prices until you have established a proven track record of quality, reliability, performance, craftsmanship and support.

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

When Honda created Acura, they started going up-market. Did they follow your suggestion? Not with the NSX. Today the NSX is still legendary. I know someone who was a Ferrari collector, and his favorite car was his Acura NSX. The NSX sold for less than the Ferraris, but it was much more expensive than the Porsches and other cars that were its competition. Why? It was something unlike anything that came before and unique in a class of its own. If Sigma has decided to follow the leader, I think they have picked the right leader (Honda). Yes, it's a stretch. I know. lol

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Jan 19, 2012)

Like my Grand Mother said :

" Real Men Shoot Sigma"

The SD1 is an achievement. A technological achievement. Sigma is not Canon, Sony or Nikon.

Sigma is brave, do some mistakes, like all of us, but I absolutelly trust in the future of this compagny and in new future products.

They can't please everyone. But this is evident that they will please their actual Pro's and customers.

I forgot to mention that SIGMA After Sale Service is the best I never used , because they are often free and very friendly.

Try the After Sale Service of Hasselblad or Leica :D

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 19, 2012)

Not sure why you said that, but Leica Germany has really great service. They are able to fix almost everything. About Hasselblad, no idea.. but then considering how often that brand is sold Im not suprised if they service isnt exactly great.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

The absolute worst customer service, and the priciest, were for my German-made cars and camera. It's basically arrogance -- coupled with even more arrogance.

0 upvotes
chris_j_l
By chris_j_l (Jan 21, 2012)

After sales by Sigma seems spotty at best - I have an ongoing query that still hasn't been replied to after 7 days. I'd expect even just an acknowledgement after a day.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jan 19, 2012)

The biggest mistake with the SD1 was not making it available in Nikon F and Canon mounts!

3 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

I think the biggest mistake that Nikon makes is not making it in Canon mount! lol

Then Canon could make their cameras in Nikon mount, and nobody would have to pick a line of cameras and lenses to match! It could be like Open Source!

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jan 20, 2012)

But why would Nikon users want to put inferior lenses on their superior bodies?! ;-)

Fuji made cameras in other mounts, so there is precedent. No one is going to by a body that restricts them to using second or third class lenses like Sigmas.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

Compared to the overpriced offerings from Canon and Nikon, 3rd-party lens mfrs such as Sigma are a veritable Godsend for us little people without a hefty trust accounts.

0 upvotes
The Big One
By The Big One (Jan 20, 2012)

+1 -- if Sigma made a Nikon F-mount SLR I would very likely look to it for my next camera. I have a number of F-mount lenses (the best of which are Sigma brand) already, though, and don't want to invest in yet another mount.

0 upvotes
PK24X36NOW
By PK24X36NOW (Jan 20, 2012)

Couldn't agree more, and ditto for every other dSLR Sigma has made. They never should have introduced a proprietary lens mount. Instead, they should have made a Nikon and Canon version (at least) of each camera, and then they could sell both lenses and cameras to the majority of the market. Their cameras are too limited in function and capability, and their software too mired in the stone age, for anyone to abandon their C/N gear for, or to duplicate any sizable portion of their C/N gear for, the ability to occasionally shoot with a Sigma camera when the light permits. They'll never have any dSLR market penetration with their proprietary lens mount - it's just not going to happen.

2 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jan 21, 2012)

I've often bought pre-loved Nikkors in preference to Sigma or other dubious makers when my funds have not stretched to new ones - let someone else pay the depreciation.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

Guys...You dont have to worry about Sigma DSLR's having an SA mount because there are fully reversable mount swap kits available for the SD14, SD15 and SD1, including Nikon mount!:
http://www.sigmacumlaude.com/products.html

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 19, 2012)

Sigma is not a premium brand (either for lenses or cameras). Their strength was always in filling gaps in the OEM lineups with good value offerings. Something they would do well to remember when they decide on prices.

If they need to offshore the manufacturing of their lenses, they should have done so years ago. I don't see any evidence that "made in Japan" has done much for their QC, as I share many other people's experiences of quite dramatic variation.

As for their cameras, much as I understand the unique appeal of Foveon (assuming it was available for a decent price) I cannot help thinking that Sigma would have been much better off just using Sony's customer chip foundry or joining 4/3. The cost of entry is much lower and the market much wider.

Seems emotion and ego, not good business sense, prevailed at Sigma at the time.

5 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 19, 2012)

"Sigma would have been much better off just using Sony's customer chip foundry or joining 4/3. The cost of entry is much lower and the market much wider."

One has to respect a company that is prepared to go against the grain or try what others avoid. Occasionally, emotion + ego = Steve + Jobs = money.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 19, 2012)

As far as I know Sigma is part of 4/3s. :) They just never created any camera. Tho Foveon m4/3s or even 4/3s dSLR would be pretty interesting.

1 upvote
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Jan 19, 2012)

An m4/3 Foveon based capturing system would breathe some badly needed life into the format.

0 upvotes
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 19, 2012)

It's very "brave" to fight a polar bear with your bare hands, but if your objective is survival it's also rather dumb.

An mft foveon would be nice, but as brave as fighting a polar bear after a winter's starvation. I honestly think the chip is too little too late. Just not enough development dollars and cold shouldered by the rest of the industry. Why make when you can buy?

Charging $5000 for a Sigma branded product isn't even brave its positively hubristic. Who does their market research? Cheech and Chong? Wheoever it was was almost as high as the price.
If they want to sell cameras, robust sensibly priced MFT cameras with Panasonic sensors would be a good start. They already have a bunch of lenses to supply!

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Sigma needed to differentiate themselves. At the time, the Foveon chip was something truly amazing. It still is, especially this new one. The biggest problem they had was making a camera that would work quickly and with a big buffer. I don't know why the SD1 has such a small buffer (only about the same as the old SD14), but they finally fixed the small buffer issue, with the SD15. I suspect the SD1 is a sort of "development" platform, which they really had no interest in selling in large qualtities (which would explain how they could justify the high price to themselves). Hopefully we will see a new camera with the SD1 sensor come out sooner, rather than later. As far as establishing themselves as a premium brand, how do you suggest they do that? Sell cheap crap forever?

0 upvotes
PK24X36NOW
By PK24X36NOW (Jan 21, 2012)

I'd submit that their current strategy on lenses is a giant step in the wrong direction as well. Their move toward OS gadgetry, along with the related stupendous price hikes, has put their products in a market sinkhole where they are trying to get C/N prices for lenses with crappy ergonomics (zooms in particular) and no quality advantage (or even parity), optical or otherwise, as compared with the C/N competitors OR their previous offerings. I think Sigma's best strategy would be to stick with continuous improvement of non-OS, non-"macro" feature (except for macro LENSES, of course) lenses with top-notch optical design, robust construction and better QC, and value pricing to make (once again) their products attractive alternatives to higher priced C/N contemporaries, while maintaining their traditional role of filling in gaps in the C/N lineups.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

All the big camera companies had to start at the bottom of the market and work their way up but Sigma is impatient and trying to climb to the top straight away, before the market is ready to receive them...Even today, hardly anyone you ask in the street even knows Sigma makes lenses let alone cameras...And if they are'nt known to anyone, noone is going to seek out and buy their products. You can think of Sigma as still being in their infancy, still wet behind their ears, not even toilet trained yet even...So it will take many more years of respecting their elders before they can start to call themselves equal to the big boys.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Jan 19, 2012)

Ah, so...

2 upvotes
simon65
By simon65 (Jan 19, 2012)

Three years ago Sigma produced the first compact camera ever to be made with an DSLR-sized sensor, and then blew their competituve lead by failing to produce a version with a zoom lens, or intechangeable lens.

Their latest compact the DP2x comes with a fixed 41 mm equivalent lens.
A 41 mm! Fixed! I ask you, who in the world needs or wants that? No surprises that there isn't a single user review of that camera at DPR, the camera has clearly and rightly sunk without trace.

Such basic mistakes are the reason why Sigma has failed to make its mark despite having access to some great sensors.

As for the SD1 I can only assume someone dreamed that gem up while up there sitting on a cloud. Sigma will need to come down to earth and get closer to the market if they are to make any progress going forward. This market isn't getting any easier.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
like a bumblebee
By like a bumblebee (Jan 19, 2012)

The compact Fuji X10 with a fixed 35 mm lens has more reviews here than "mainstream" Canon 600d. It's not a bad idea after all, and I wouldn't mind narrowing the angle from 35 to 40 mm (the standard for cheap cameras of my childhood). But then Fuji themselves trashed the X10 by announcing the Xpro, so perhaps the numbers were very small indeed.

0 upvotes
Dafffid
By Dafffid (Jan 19, 2012)

"A 41 mm! Fixed! I ask you, who in the world needs or wants that?"

Me. And all the people, who like me, use a 4/3 camera with Panasonic's fantastic 20mm on it. Far sooner that than a 35 or 50 - what are they, but meaningless round numbers?

http://blog.dpreview.com/editorial/2009/03/what-is-a-standard-lens.html

1 upvote
NorthwestF
By NorthwestF (Jan 19, 2012)

"Three years ago Sigma produced the first compact camera ever to be made with an DSLR-sized sensor"

False. Look up Sony R1

1 upvote
simon65
By simon65 (Jan 19, 2012)

It what way was the Sony R1 a "compact camera"? It weighed 995g and had the looks and dimensions of a hippo.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 19, 2012)

Compact.. not much, but that performance of R1. :) IQ from that camera is more than usable even today!

41mm is fine, Olympus had 40mm lens for long time, Minolta too. Voigtlaender/Cosina makes them even today. Its nice focal length with unusual FOV. Personally I think its pretty good, not too wide, not too "normal" like 50mm. But its individual, some might not like it..

I think that Sigma compact camera is actually pretty good and photos from DPs are really good (for compact camera). Tho it should be faster lens.. 1.4 or 1.8 at least.

0 upvotes
ashwins
By ashwins (Jan 19, 2012)

I agree with simon, 41mm with 1.5x crop factor is a bit too narrow for general photography, whereas 28–30mm is lovely.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

I would like a 45mm (equivalent). 41mm would have to do, if I were willing to settle for the image quality of a compact camera. I don't have a problem with the size of a SDLR, like so many others seem to, so I shoot with a Sigma SD14 (just as a body to use, while I build a lens system to work with a future SD1 body or whatever replaces it), but I am not satisfied with the resolution of the SD14. I wish it were 10 MP x3 (30 Foveon megapixels). That would be enough resolution for me to be satisfied for quite a while.

The SD1 is amazing, and it is not overpriced for certain photographers (the wealthy ones, like many Leica shooters, or long-distance nature shooters that shoot slow, or medium format shooters looking for something cheap, light and weather-sealed to carry around, but capable of capturing finer detail than a Nikon D700 or Canon 5 D Mk II).

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

Except it has low dynamic range, with most samples showing blown highlights, even when correctly exposed! Its also slow, it has a small buffer, hardly any of the features that are now standard across the industry, such as high-def video, lifeview etc, and most importantly, Sigma do even not offer pro support yet are proud to tout it as a pro camera! Basically, the SD1 was dead in the water from the start at the rediculous asking price and even if they slashed the price to something a bit more realistic, shall we say, it will almost certainly struggle to sell in low triple digit figures, whereas its competitors will continue to be able to sell as many cameras as they can produce, usually in upper four figure digits and and even into five figure digits...In fact, lets be honest, Sigma is'nt really competitive in todays marketplace at all and unless they realise this and start taking proactive action they are doomed to failure.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Gene Hack
By Gene Hack (Jan 19, 2012)

the problem is not only the steep price of the cam.
If it were a superior camera to all existing DSLRs, people would at last accept it.The fundamental issue is, that they have issues with the sensor. 7F stops dynamical range is something NO PROFESSIONAL photographer, let alone ambitioned amateurs accept.Weak greens, smeared color transitions and lifeless color balance worsen this.
No listening at all to the customer, and having a pitbull defending shilled user base over at the Sigma forum with passive support for this behaviour by the company kill this product.PR at worst.

6 upvotes
unlearny
By unlearny (Jan 19, 2012)

That's pretty spot on. I'd add that there is a fundamental cheapness of mind in the Sigma management that refuses to allocate software and engineering resources to fully fleshing out the SD1. The reason there's no video is they didn't want to spring the extra $300/unit price for a video card. I was surprised to see them develop live capture (tethered) software for the SD1... It is at least 1mm closer to being a reliable studio camera. Although I haven't used the capture software, and can bet you it is crap.

Quality wise, in my tests, the SD1 more closely matched my betterlight in quality, against a 100mp image, than I could discern - blowing away the 5d mII (but at normal ISO, so...) the betterlight is more convenient... at least it can be tethered.

1 upvote
Lin Evans
By Lin Evans (Jan 19, 2012)

Unfortunately, Gene, you are wrong on multiple levels - your response indicates you have no experience with Foveon sensors.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Gene, have you EVER seen a photo from a Sigma camera? I can tell you from experience that my Sigma SD14 (an old camera) has incredible dynamic range, superior to my Canon 5 D, Nikon D5000 or my Canon T1i (which captures in 14 bit raw). On top of that, there is NO noise at ISO 100, where I shoot the vast majority of my photos. Like unlearny said, the Sigma SD1 is incredibly good at capturing high-quality images at "normal" ISO settings. You obviously don't know about the dynamic range of Foveon sensor cameras.

3 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

Say what you like, I think Gene is quite correct about the SD1's low dynamic range...I've seen enough SD1 samples by now to know its an inherrant problem with the SD1's sensor design.
In terms of dynamic range the SD1 is totally outclassed by the SD14 and SD15 as their larger photosites are inherrantly less noisy.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
lajka
By lajka (Jan 19, 2012)

Hej Big Sigma. What about joining the m-less fray and come double quick with APS-C Foveon box. And remember, no stupid Samsung move whose flange distance makes it impossible to use M-mount lenses. You already started to make glass for it, even a 19/2.8 and 30/2.8 are far from spectacular. What about 30/1.4, 20/2 and 12/2.8 all of them of course covering APS-C.

2 upvotes
BBnose
By BBnose (Jan 19, 2012)

sd1 turns to sour grapes. lots of people want it but it's too expensive.

0 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (Jan 19, 2012)

umm, nope. Sour Grapes would be a full frame camera for the same price. People genuinely are not interested for $7k; its no simple matter of being out of their grasp financially. Many like myself can afford it, but know there are many cameras far more deserving for the money; even by the notorious red dot.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

The SD1 is the absolute BEST long-distance camera available, if you are a nature shooter who shoots at ISO 100 or ISO 200 most of the time. The photos at ISO 400 and ISO 800 are even usable, and considering the Foveon reputation, that is saying a lot. The ISO 400 photo from my Sigma SD14 are not usable (in my opinion). Maybe I got a dud, but you can see for yourself in my comparison gallery: http://ffphotos.zenfolio.com/SigmaSD14

As far as sour grapes, I am not sure what you mean. If you mean to say that many people are soured by the price, then I think you are totally correct. Sigma is marketing it to a select few, which is what makes me think it is either a test platform situation, or they are just trying to create an up-market image for themselves. I hope they hurry up and introduce a new, cheaper camera, maybe like an SD16, with the new sensor, video capability, and a bigger buffer.

0 upvotes
cptrios
By cptrios (Jan 19, 2012)

"Commenting on their relatively large size compared to existing optics for these systems,"

I get that there are plenty of small m4/3 lenses. But what "opticS" are smaller for the NEX at the moment? Does the 17/2.8 count as multiple optics?

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jan 19, 2012)

I like this statement:

"... this is due to the relative accuracy of contrast-detection AF systems compared to phase-detection: 'it's really difficult to achieve accurate AF [with a phase-detection system] and the more pixels the camera has the more difficult this becomes'."

Well said. :)

2 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Jan 19, 2012)

The other side of the argument is that it's really difficult to come close to the predictive focus capability of phase detection AF systems using a contrast detection system.

2 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jan 19, 2012)

Yes - this is a tough one. Phase detection is much faster. But - its not accurate enough for cameras with high pixel density. Measuring on the actual sensor is, if possible, much better.

1 upvote
GuptaD42
By GuptaD42 (Jan 19, 2012)

Which is exactly why we need a CDAF driven by a phase detection based prediction. The zone of uncertainty where CDAF has to confirm focus becomes so small it'll not be slower than purePDAF once some design improvements are added.

For Foveon sensors, there may be a unique possibility - it already has 3 laters of photosites sitting at each pixel. Could one layer be used for phase detection while another is used for contrast detection - at the same time?

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Gupta, you need to read a little:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autofocus#Phase_detection

Note that contrast detection would not work if you were to use one color layer, if nothing of that color is in the scene.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Jan 19, 2012)

Not all technology progresses at the same rate. Sigma bet on the wrong horse with Foveon, just like Hitachi and plasma displays. The difference is Sigma aren't willing to accept defeat and move on.

1 upvote
unlearny
By unlearny (Jan 19, 2012)

wrong

6 upvotes
Faintandfuzzy
By Faintandfuzzy (Jan 19, 2012)

Right.

1 upvote
psn
By psn (Jan 19, 2012)

They did not bet wrong. They priced it wrong.

3 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jan 19, 2012)

Yes, Sigma priced the SD1 wrong. But, the Foveon bet is more complex than that. It is, as Yamaki san says, very expensive to develop sensors. So, that first Foveon and then Sigma cannot compete is no proof of anything. They both are/were too small. Sigma has been "too late" with many models now. The SD1 was not late, but the price made in uninteresting. Waiting for an affordable alternative with an SD1 sensor is probably going to make the next camera too late again. By the time it arrives we probably have 40 MP Bayer sensors with stellar performance. Who wants a 15 MP Foveon sensor then, even if it is as sharp as any 30 MP Bayer CFA sensor? ---- Then, of course, we have the curse of the SA mount. A camera with a Foveon sensor should of course be MUCH more interesting if it had a mainstream mount. ---- The mirror less cameras can get away with having a new mount, as thats the case for all the competition also.

4 upvotes
unlearny
By unlearny (Jan 19, 2012)

They proved it was the right technology with the DP1, here on this website, DPreview said that the resolution easily beat a 12mp Panasonic or Olympus image. Okay so, not 14mp, but 12mp... By Dpreview's logic the SD1 is 42MP, not 46MP, and those aren't crappy P&S pixels, either. Every snarky electronics guy knows if your technology is expensive to produce, the answer is to produce much much more of it. If your favorite camera brand had a foveon sensor version coming out, you'd be pooping yourself with joy.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

But Luminous Landscapes resolution tests clearly show the SD1's resolution to be equivalent to a camera with a 24mp Bayer sensor...Like the NEX-7 for instance. Now consider that
the NEX-7 has all the features the SD1 should have had to make it competitive, including true high-def video, a high res LCD screen (which is articulated too!), liveview, 10 FPS etc, plus a bigger choice of lenses than even the Canon EF mount, and all for less than a grand!...It makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to think of a single sane reason to buy an SD1...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
S_Leeper
By S_Leeper (Jan 19, 2012)

The SD1 would do a lot better (& possibly be less expensive) if they made it with Nikon & Canon lens mount options.

14 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

The D3x would do a lot better, if Nikon made it in Canon and Sony lens mount options. Gee, I wonder why Nikon doesn't do that?

3 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (Jan 19, 2012)

If there is one thing Sigma (and others) need to learn its; you cannot pass on your failure to the customer.

At least he seems to get it; but it would have been better for Sigma to cut prices greatly and gain some back with SD1 sales, than next to nothing at all; which is where they are now.

6 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

I'm sure they have their reasons for pricing the SD1 where it is. It may have been a test, just to see what would happen. Sigma has been experimenting in the DSLR field for quite some time now. I don't think anyone has convinced themselves that Sigma is a camera company yet, but they are developing, and we just may see that in five or ten years, Sigma is a name as big as Pentax. For now though, they are still relegated to "bargain lens company" status. I think the SD1 may be a step toward shedding that image.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

"we just may see that in five or ten years, Sigma is a name as big as Pentax."

Since PENTAX itself is not big now, if SIGMA will be only that big in 5-10 years time, that means that (a) they will continue to be small or (b) they will not be making cameras any more.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

"For now though, they are still relegated to "bargain lens company" status. I think the SD1 may be a step toward shedding that image."

Thats obviously what Sigma hoped would happen, but its been an umitigated disaster for them as they still only have an extremely small market presence...Ask anyone you meet in the street if they know that Sigma even make camera lenses let alone cameras and the vast majority of replies will be a resounding NO!
They simply have'nt been in the camera business long enough yet or released anything yet that has gained them significant widespread public aclaim, which they need to start the ball rolling towards being a well recognised camera brand.
They were far too impatient and stupidly thought they could simply jump to the top of the market overnight by pricing the SD1 way over the budgets of their current and potential user base.
Now they have been relagated to being little more than the laughing stock of the camera industry as a result.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Retro Joe
By Retro Joe (Jan 19, 2012)

what a joke; the real truth is the SD1 is ridiculously priced...and people aren't foolish enough to lay out money for such a poorly reviewed camera. Maybe the time has come to own up to Sigma sensor being not much better than that of an advanced compact.

6 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 19, 2012)

Do we happen to know ANYONE who had actually purchased a Sigma SD1 DSLR? Anyone at all?

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jan 19, 2012)

Yes. Some writing in the Sigma DSLR group has. I dont have a list, but a hand full or two it may be.

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Yes Francis, there are at least dozens, and possibly hundreds. Still, that is in my opinion far less than what we all originally hoped for (for Sigma's sake). What you say about the "Sigma sensor being not buch better than that of an advanced compact" is in some way silly. Actually, some of the most advanced compacts are Sigma cameras with Foveon sensors. You sound silly saying what you did. The best image quality in an advanced compact right now, as far as I know, is from the NEX 7. I don't know how Sigma (or anyone else) plans to compete with that thing. Maybe Sigma plans to introduce a compact with interchangeable lenses, finally. Maybe they will use the SD1 sensor. I bet that would upset a lot of SD1 buyers!

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

"Do we happen to know ANYONE who had actually purchased a Sigma SD1 DSLR? Anyone at all?"

Only a tiny handfull of individuals, numbering less than 20 people, and the majority of them almost certainly got their SD1 direct from Sigma for free, in reward for vounteering to be an SD1 Beta tester.
In fact, currently there are probably only about ten individuals worldwide that were stupid enough to part with a huge wad of their hard earned cash to get an SD1. Which makes it the biggest flop since the Spruce Goose!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 19, 2012)

While I am generally opposed to trying to fool people with prestiege brand names, if I were a product manager for Sigma I would have come up with a different "Lexus" name to go with a camera in this price range. Fabulon, Sigmalux....

Anybody remember when the president of the U.S. Alpa distributor called each purcasher personally, to thank them? Now that was value for money. I don't think he made too many phone calls.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (Jan 19, 2012)

In Australia "Fabulon" is a brand of ironing aid - you know you spray it on your shirt before you iron it, sorta like starch.
Probably not the ultra luxury branding you're thinking of.
:-)

5 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Jan 19, 2012)

LOL!!!!!!

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

Oh I dont know...Sigma need something to help iron out their current financial problems!

1 upvote
petr marek
By petr marek (Jan 19, 2012)

It´s obvious, that "doing everything by ourselves from scratch" is not good strategy to build progressive, reliable and affordable camera in time. It´s not good for Foveon. I can imagine, that in few years Sigma will have a new affordable camera, little better than SD1, but that time everybody will be shooting 4K video on Foveon type sensor from Panasonic or Fujifilm...

2 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

The statement that they are "doing everything by [themselves] from scratch" is false. They did not develop much of their technology. Companies like Leica and Nikon developed some of it. Foveon developed the sensor technology. They just built on it. Sigma does not make the processor and certainly did not invent DDR 3 memory! He is full of it. Making such a claim is dishonorable! A perfect example of how they do NOT do everything by themselves is in this article about the Xilin Spartan-6 processor in the Sigma SD1: http://www.design-reuse.com/news/27250/xilinx-spartan-6-fpga-sigma-sd1-digital-camera.html

1 upvote
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

Its not just the processor thats Spartan...The features the SD1 offers are very Spartan too!

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Gothmoth
By Gothmoth (Jan 18, 2012)

sigma should better look at their QM.. 50% of their lenses suck.

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 19, 2012)

Do you have the list of those, please?

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jan 19, 2012)

From
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/01/lens-repair-data-2011

"During the year I will see this data pop up on various forums, often for the purposes of bashing Sigma lenses. Those who do that are painting with too broad of a brush. Yes, Sigma supertelephoto zooms have reliability problems. The current versions fail, the previous versions failed. But what nobody seems to notice is that the other Sigma lenses NEVER end up on this list. From a reliability standpoint the Sigma wide zooms and primes are EXTREMELY RELIABLE."

One needs to have a more balanced viewpoint.

3 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Jan 19, 2012)

Sigma's QM is a problem, no doubt about it and won't challenge anyone to help defend Sigma's name. However, it is undeniable that their QM has improved over the years and based on my research + experience, I say I am very happy with my Sigma lenses.

Okay SD1is just a joke and nobody buys it. People got their hands on it do not OWN it. Sigma lent them the body to test and write awesome reviews. I will just bash it and make it a good ash tray.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Audijam, you are correct about Sigma quality improving over the years, but I have a 6 year old Sigma 18-125mm f3.5-5.6 that has taken a beating and keeps on shooing very good quality images. I started shooting with it mounted on a Canon 20 D, and I am now using it on a Canon T1i, which produces far superior images, but with the same lens. The only problem I have with it is the fact that it does not have OS (Sigma's version of IS or if you are a Nikonian, VR). I plan to buy an 18-125mm f3.8-5.6 OS. At $340 and image quality approaching the Canon 15-85, it is sure to be an amazing lens for me. If I am happy with it, I will buy one for my Sigma SD14 also, to replace my 24-70 as a walk-around lens with wider and longer reach. As far as the SD1 being a joke, you don't know what you are talking about. There is NOTHING digital that is available new for under $10,000 that competes in image quality at ISO 100.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 18, 2012)

Gee-whiz, thanks for (almost) nothing, Sir.

"DSLRs will always stay at the top' Yamaki told us - 'the benefit of a DSLR is of course the optical viewfinder."

Interesting. Of course:

1. DSLRs will probably go bye-bye in 8-10 years time.

2. You do not have to have a mirror in a camera for it to have an optical VF. Doesn't Mr. Yamaki know this, I wonder?

Re. the SD1 -- that is probably the most crazily priced DSLR body out there at the moment. What were they thinking, for cripe's sake?
Also, how about putting some VIDEO FEATURES into your cameras, like everybody else is already doing for quite some time, Sigma?

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 18, 2012)

I don't understand the contempt for the DSLR by some photographers. Do people really want to be stuck with a crappy EVF that get grainy in low-light just to save a few mm in size.

Using a good OVF like the large, bright finder on my 5D is a joy to use. I agree with Mr. Yamaki that many photographers will always desire such a finder. Not sure why people are wishing for or predicting the death of the DSLR. I have 3 mirror-less cameras and other than weight, they are not nearly as nice to use as my DSLR.

10 upvotes
MonkRX
By MonkRX (Jan 19, 2012)

Your vision isn't taking into account the advance of display and sensor technology. EVFs will get to a point where they are better than OVFs. The new high resolution EVFs from Sony are a testament to that (and now add two more generations for technology leaps and tell me OVF is better in every case).

In the future, imaging sensors will perform so well in low light that it'll be better to use live view over OVF. Manual focus lenses will be easier to focus on live view over OVF. Captured dynamic range is easier with live view. The actual viewable image is 100% in live view.

The captured image is on the sensor - not the optical view finder. Once electronic displays catch up, OVFs will have little going for them.

6 upvotes
CharlieDIY
By CharlieDIY (Jan 19, 2012)

It /will/ get to that point, but most of those who denigrate DSLRs write as if it had reached, and passed, that point. No one can be sure of that 8 to 10 year date, either.

3 upvotes
herebefore
By herebefore (Jan 19, 2012)

Until such time as the EVF can present the view AS IT HAPPENS instead of a few microseconds AFTER IT HAPPENS, there will be a need for OVFs on DSLRs.

I have 3 mirror-less cameras (micro 4/3) and I really like them a lot... I actually prefer to shoot with them.. BUT, when Im shooting stuff that is timing specific. I need an OVF, and so does everyone else that shoots that kind of stuff.
At least someone at Sigma understands this..

Why is there a push to be rid of OVF cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
PK24X36NOW
By PK24X36NOW (Jan 19, 2012)

EVF's will never be better than OVF. They will eat batteries and will never be "real time," as fast as you might make them cycle. As for dSLRs disappearing within the next decade, that is absolutely ridiculous, as they remain the best tool ever to be supplied to photographers. Nothing will ever compare with looking through the viewing lens.

2 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (Jan 19, 2012)

Surely an EVF can never be better than an OVF for a normal daylight scene.
It can add features, but I don't see how it can be improved in terms of what the scene looks. In a OVF you see unmediated photons. The same photons that bounced off your subject pass through the lense in to your eye.
With an EVF you are seeing a mediated approximation and that is all it can ever be.
Of course you could argue that an EVF is better (or may get to the point that it will be better) for seeing what is recorded on the sensor...

And why do people want to kill the SLR?
My guess is it cheaper to manufacture mirrorless cameras ergo more profit to be made, all other things being equal.

To be honest the hybrid view finders of the new fuji's look very intriguing. I'd like to give them ago, and suspect I'll want to see them in my next dslr.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jan 19, 2012)

EVF can take advantage of nightvision tech.. grainy but a lot better than seeing nothing.

0 upvotes
jadot
By jadot (Jan 19, 2012)

I've got a camera. It's got an optical viewfinder. I'll use it in 10 years' time. It's a DSLR.
Does this mean that the picture I take will be "dead"?
Do you think Sally Mann moans on and on about this stuff?

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 19, 2012)

Those (at least half of them in my opinion) who bash the DSLR's are just gear worshippers who religiously spend money on every new product hoping that their photography will get better. They don't know what they are talking about or they have never seen a 100% ovf. Because they are stuck with the currently inferior evf's their narcissism stop them from accepting the mistake they've made or they don't need speedy operation. Maybe that they are not even aware of the delay evs's present. "Ignorance is a bliss"

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

EVERYBODY else is NOT putting some video features into their cameras, and the SD1 is NOT the most crazily priced DSLR body out there at the moment. I would say the Leica S2 is, considering it is more than 3 times the price, but only gives slightly better image quality. The Leica and many other larger DSLR cameras are other cameras that do not have video features Francis. Why does Sigma have to include video features? Their cameras are not video cameras. Just because "everyone else does it" does not make it something everyone wants. Those majority of manufacturers that are including video are trying to make their cameras "do everything cameras" - Sigma has chosen to make still image quality their priority . . . with great success. I have no doubt that they sold more cameras in 2011 than they did in 2010 and more in 2010 than in 2009, and I estimate that trend will continue.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

"Until such time as the EVF can present the view AS IT HAPPENS instead of a few microseconds AFTER IT HAPPENS, there will be a need for OVFs on DSLRs."

Never heard of liveview? Its now a standard feature on most DSLR's (Not the SD1 though), making the OVF pretty much redundant, unless your trying to save battery power.

1 upvote
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (Jan 18, 2012)

I agree with his comments regarding the accuracy of contrast detect autofocus. For those of use who don't need 10 frames per second but whose photography is at a rate of 1 frame per hour, I believe contrast detect autofocus is superior to phase detect autofocus.

I assume from his comments the next camera from Sigma will be a new DP compact body. If they could put the sensor from the SD1 in a DP body and price it under $2000 I believe they would have a huge seller on their hands.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Jan 19, 2012)

Dude, if you are taking only one photo per hour you don't need autofocus at all!

5 upvotes
Charles King
By Charles King (Jan 19, 2012)

Sure, give contrast-detect a second or two and it'll do very well. But if you're working at that rate you'll get better results with manual focus (either optically or through an enlarged LV) anyway.

PDAF can be fussy about calibration, but it remains *far* superior in dynamic situations, which is where auto-focus really matters.

0 upvotes
policeman0077
By policeman0077 (Jan 18, 2012)

hope these to lenses will save sony nex system.......

0 upvotes
Sumicron69
By Sumicron69 (Jan 18, 2012)

Sigma has brought me some of the best and worst lenses I have used. I hope they can bring some tempting new products to market. But really what is up with the whole SD1 concet. Innoative yes but the pricing was established by someone smoking crack.

7 upvotes
Sevventh
By Sevventh (Jan 18, 2012)

My Sigma 50mm 1.4 is the most "unique" lens that I own and I absolutely love it. I say it is unique because it is 3 lenses in one: Front focusing up close, spot on at 15 feet, back focusing past 20 feet. However, when used with AI-Servo mode it creates beautiful images.

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 18, 2012)

"what is up with the whole SD1 concept. Innoative yes but the pricing was established by someone smoking crack."

Agreed. Whatever that camera bod is, it was priced stratospherically for what it really is.

0 upvotes
Gothmoth
By Gothmoth (Jan 18, 2012)

i can agree to the worst lenses part.....
i would never buy sigma again.

3 upvotes
Sumicron69
By Sumicron69 (Jan 19, 2012)

My 50mm macro was a dog. But I swear my 70mm macro is one of the best lenses I have ever used.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

You people seem to have NO IDEA what the SD1 is. It shoots better quality images than the D3x with incredibly low noise (almost none) at ISO 100 (where many people shoot most of their photos), but it is APS-C, giving it an advantage with long lenses in the field. On top of that, it has a price tag that is $1,000 less than the D3x. WTF is wrong with you people? Are you blind?

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

@ Scottely: A very good APS-C sensor camera (Sony NEX7, SLT Alpha 65, for example) can be had for under $1,000. Why would anyone want to spend more than five times that much dough on a cropped sensor-cam?

1.5x crop factor -- not that good for UWA and WA shooting. Better to have a 1.0x crop in my view. But only the FF 35-mil sensor cameras give you that, right?

Apparently a whole lot of people are blind indeed -- they have been staying away from the Sigma SD1-cam in droves so far.

0 upvotes
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

"Hope these two lenses will save sony nex system......."

But it does'nt need saving!...Its already very successfull without these two new Sigma lenses, plus with all the E-mount adapters available and its short registration distance, you actually have a bigger choice of lenses than the Canon EF mount!

1 upvote
DaSigmaGuy
By DaSigmaGuy (Jan 28, 2012)

"But it is APS-C, giving it an advantage with long lenses in the field."

APS-C offers no advantage in the field...It only offers a narrower FOV compared to full frame camera fitted with the same lens!

"On top of that, it has a price tag that is $1,000 less than the D3x."

Rubbish!...In the UK the SD1 is £600 more than the 3DX!

"WTF is wrong with you people? Are you blind?"

Nope, in fact my eyesight is so good I was easily able to see that the SD1 is equivalent to a 24mp Bayer camera, like the NEX-7, in the Luminous Landscape resolution tests...Or did you fail to see them?

1 upvote
WT21
By WT21 (Jan 18, 2012)

Sigma could make a real DPx series. Something that does AF and has real controls. Even at a fixed FL, people might buy it, if they could work with it.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jan 18, 2012)

I think most of us really wanted to like the DP1/2, but they are just too weird. I mean it is basically way ahead of the X100 for the idea, it was just executed poorly.

So I agree. Sigma needs to get a real DPx camera out there that could compete well with the X100, G1x

4 upvotes
solsang
By solsang (Jan 19, 2012)

I still try to use my dp2 without getting frustrated, i have been hoping for a dp3 for years and comtemplate the x10 which has the body and controls which sigma should have had all along, then i must live with more boring colours, as long as the shooting is fun:)

0 upvotes
Graham Gibson
By Graham Gibson (Jan 19, 2012)

If Sigma comes out with a decently fast lens (f2 minimum) on their next DP with the higher resolution SD1 sensor, I think they could be successful in a corner of the market. Either that, or make it a m4/3 camera so that we can use multiple lenses.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (Jan 20, 2012)

Sigma seems to be quite successful "in a corner of the market" already. It definitely would be cool to see a 4/3 camera from them with a Foveon sensor. I doubt that will happen though, since that would require a new sensor design, and from what I hear, sensors are expensive to design. But maybe that is the way they will go, but I suspect they are more interested in creating a competitor to the NEX 7 instead. (Though it will not really be a competitor - just a platform for people who want to buy the amazing sensor that is in the SD1, but for a more reasonable price.)

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Jan 18, 2012)

Looks as if the SOPA protest failed - we've been censored :/ At least the text is here now :)

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 18, 2012)

The intricacies of the way the site works meant that all previous comments are associated with a non-existent news story, not this article (which is where we're having this conversation).

Nobody's been censored, they've just fallen down a gap in the site. For which I apologize.

1 upvote
farrukh
By farrukh (Jan 18, 2012)

I know, just being cheeky :)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 152