Will the Quattro Embarrass Sigma into dropping their camera line?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
maxotics
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My Conclusion
In reply to jennyrae, 4 months ago

Thank you everyone for posting very interesting replies.

As Laurence pointed out, Sigma cameras have always shown ambivalence towards market opinion. First with the DP series where you had to take the lens cap off first to use the camera, then with the SD line, with SA mount, that forced one into Sigma lenses and made it difficult to use Nikon glass, then the SD1 with its obnoxious pricing, then the Merrills which, when I first got mine, I wondered if they could do anymore more, short of oiling the body, to make it more slippery. And of course, SPP, slow and buggy. Therefore, the Quattro, if I follow history, is the rule, not the exception.

But why? Why would Sigma take such market-risks with the Quattro?

This morning it hit me, that I had asked a question on the supposition that Sigma's goal is to sell cameras. After all these replies, and some thought, I believe my assumption wrong. Sigma can't be embarrassed by a camera that is more R&D and company passion, than consumer product. That is, Sigma cameras are a vanity project. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that they don't want to make a camera people will use, only that their design considerations are driven internally and little influenced by the market.

Sigma manufacturers a certain number of cameras and that's it. They don't push to sell them in America--that's for certain. Most of them end up, it seems, in Japanese store inventory, where they slowly make their way around the world.

The Sigma cameras give Sigma prideful entrance to the Japanese fraternity of camera makers. They aren't JUST a lens-maker. Whatever I, or others, may judge of the Quattro, it is a very slick camera. If money were no object (and I think it isn't to the target market of this camera, mostly in Japan) then who wouldn't want one of these cameras? By making the camera so unique, Sigma actually skirts embarrassment in Japan because it is playing by its own rules. The Sigma cameras say "We aren't just a generic lens maker, we're a camera company successful enough to make WHATEVER camera we want!"

It's possible that one reason the cameras are so slippery is that they aren't meant to be used a lot. It is only in Europe and America where we actually use them and put grips on them Or put another way, as Veblan pointed out, the sheer un-utility of holding the Sigma body is what makes Sigma feel the most luxurious and wealthy.

So back to the functionality of the camera.

If Sigma market-share is not a concern, than the form-factor of the body makes the camera distinct. There is always a non-utilitarian market for modern-looking gear. And again, the camera gives Sigma cache.

On the Quattro processor. That's an odd one. Why would Sigma pursue that out of vanity? It may be an argument to dismiss all the above. Or, as many have pointed out, it may lead to significantly faster processing times, both in camera and out, once the software catches up. Even Sigma royalty may get impatient using their cameras

SPP is more evidence that Sigma is not focused on market needs. It seems as if a few people have been working on that software, within Sigma, for years. As a software developer, I believe SPP could be re-written, and its performance improved, but I can see that it wouldn't be worth the cost to Sigma if they only manufacture and limited number of cameras with limited revenues.

Finally, the idea that Sigma would sell its camera business is a non-starter. A family business can't just cut out a piece of their factory and knowledge-workers. If Sigma would sell anything, it would be patents, which may be partly behind the Quattro experimentation.

If I met the CEO of Sigma, my guess is he would say, "You may not like the camera, but I like it, and so do many of my friends." I'd nod and he'd say, "It's the only camera like it anywhere." On that, there is no argument.

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