Foveon Test Photos by famous photographer, Stephen Johnson

Started Jul 23, 2002 | Discussions thread
Karl Guttag Veteran Member • Posts: 3,691
Very Old "News"

To the original post. The Steven Johnson photos were posted about 5 months ago.

To Gary's point, I think people are genuinely curious and there are always going to be newbies. BUT it is being built by some people to the point of being silly.

Over the last 3 years EFILM's cartridge and Pentax's 6MP full frame camera ended up as Vaporware. Contax's 6MP camera has disappointed a lot of people with it inability to go to high ISO.

Lots of hype surrounds new concepts, but often the reality cannot live up to the hype. Transmeta had an interesting way to emulate a Pentium in real time, they had some very bright people there (including the creater of Linux) and even had some real customers, but even when their technology was accepted by a few majors, it has not proven to be a business success. The just layed off 40% of their workers after continual losses and lack of growth.

In the case of Foveon, you have a new start up that has not made money and is backing out of their first product. They have a more complex process that is being made by a second tier semiconductor company (National Semiconductor is no longer one of the first tier semi-companies). They are being used by a second tier Camera maker, Sigma, with a lens system that is only supported by them.

The Foveon concept is very interesting, but not without it problems. It requires more transistors per Pixel and concentric diodes. This means that there is less photo diode (photon sensing) for the same size pixel with the same design rules. It also means a DIFFERENT process. In semiconductors, anything that changes the standard processes cost A LOT MORE, and by semiconductor standards, camera sensors are VERY SMALL volume which also hurts costs. Thus for the same size sensor (in area), a Foveon sensor is likely to cost more to make.

They might succeed, but the odds are stacked against them. As a user, I would make my decisions assuming that it does not happen until it is in the market and reviewed. The start-up process might be painful. The Sigma SD9 is suppose to cost about the same as offering from Nikon (D100) and Canon (D60).

You have to compare the whole SD9 "real" product (not a few posts by a professional using an expensive prototype) to the "real" products in the same price clase that are available at the same time. Comparing a $2000 body that has not been independently reviewed to a $600-800 Point and shoot that has been available for months/years seems a bit silly to me. IF the SD9 keeps slipping it will be going up against new offering from Nikon, Canon, and others.

Sorry if this bursts anywone's bubble. But it is better to go on and enjoy what is available and takes great pictures, than to wait for something that may or may not happen.


Gary Eickmeier wrote:

Ross Clark wrote:

I am new to and it already became my favorite web
site. I am keeping an eye on Foveon development for a long time.
I have a feeling that cameras (Sigma or ??) made with Foveon
sensors should be ready for market soon. I don't know if you have
seen Foveon test photos shot by a famous digital photographer,
Stephen Johnson, or not. His home page is ,
but Stephen's photos using the Foveon X3 prototype sensor can be
seen on . His photos
are really impressive!

Are all of these seemingly innocent Foveon "news" posts the work of
Foveon marketing or something? There have been an awful lot of them
lately, as if to keep the name alive and rumors rolling.

Gary Eickmeier

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