Sigma’s 60-megapixel Foveon full-frame sensor camera may never appear

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Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki has posted an update on the progress of their long-awaited full-frame Foveon camera, first announced during the initial L-mount alliance announcement at Photokina in September 2018. It had an initial release date of 2019, which later was pushed back to 2020 in March 2019. In February 2020, it was announced that it was suspended indefinitely, but they were working on it.

Later the same year, Sigma confirmed that they were still working on it, but they still have no idea when it would be ready for prime time, which was later confirmed again in February 2021 with a release. “maybe 2022” turning into “at least 2022”. Now the new update suggests that a full-frame Foveon camera may never arrive if they don’t find a company to manufacture the sensor at their satisfaction.

The latest update reads:

Dear SIGMA Customers,

First of all, thank you very much for your continued support and interest in our products.
SIGMA would like to share the development status of the three-layer image sensor from February 2022 with the following.

The development of the three-layer image sensor is currently underway under the leadership of SIGMA headquarters in collaboration with research institutes in Japan. The stages of development can be roughly divided as follows:

  • Step 1: Repeat design simulations of the new three-layer structure to confirm that it will perform as intended.
  • Step 2: Evaluate the prototype using a small image sensor with the same pixel size as the product specifications but with a reduced total pixel count to verify the performance characteristics of the image sensor in the practice.
  • Step 3: Final evaluation of the prototype using a full-frame image sensor with the same specifications as the mass products, including AD converter, etc.

We believe that these three stages are necessary in development, and we are currently creating the sensor prototype for Stage 2.

Based on the results of the prototype sensor evaluation, we will decide whether to proceed to Stage 3 or review the design data and re-prototype “Stage 2”. When we go to step 3, we will check the mass producibility of the sensor with the research institutes and manufacturing suppliers based on the evaluation results, and then make a final decision whether to mass produce the sensor or not. image sensor.

Although we have not yet reached the stage where we can announce a specific schedule for the mass production of the image sensor, we are determined to do our best to achieve a camera that will really appeal to our customers who use it. waiting, as soon as possible.

Once again, I want to thank you all for your continued support of SIGMA.

We will continue our technological development efforts to meet your expectations and your trust.

Kazuto Yamaki
President and CEO, SIGMA Corporation

Sigma has not only restarted development of the Foveon X3 1:1:1 sensor several times, but they have also changed chip makers at least once since the initial announcement in 2018 to find someone who can manufacture it according to the specifications. They require.

Based on the latest announcement, we probably shouldn’t expect a full-frame Foveon camera to arrive soon, if ever.

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