Sigma’s Full-Frame Foveon Sensor Updates

In a video interview published to YouTube, Sigma’s CEO Kazuto Yamaki has revealed that the company’s efforts in making a full-frame Foveon sensor are on track to be finished by the end of the year. The 17-minute interview covers an array of topics, including Sigma’s strategy throughout the pandemic, its plans to continue supporting DSLR users and other topics. One of the more interesting tidbits, however, comes around the eight-minute mark, wherein the host asks Mr. Yamaki if there’s any update on the company’s three-layer Foveon sensor.

In response, Mr. Yamaki says ‘We are still working on it […] and are working on the prototype of the three-layer X3 sensor […] that should be available sometime this year.’ He goes on to say ‘the Foveon X3 sensor is not a very versatile sensor,’ specifically pointing out its low-light performance, ‘but if there is a good amount of light, that camera can create very beautiful and impressive photos.’

Sigma has been struggling to bring a full-frame Foveon sensor to market for years. Originally announced in September of 2018, the full-frame Foveon sensor has seen multiple delays. Back to February of 2020, the company announced that the development had been sent “back to the drawing board” and delayed for an unspecified amount of time. A year later, Yamaki revealed that the sensor had been delayed again and could not go into mass production due to a critical flaw.

In February 2022, Sigma announced that it had reached the second of three stages in prototyping the sensor and said that if stage three went well, it could start to verify its mass producibility. “When we proceed to Stage 3, we will verify the mass-producibility of the sensor with research institutes and manufacturing vendors based on the evaluation results, and then make a final decision on whether or not to mass-produce the image sensor,” Yamaki said at the time. “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 realize a camera that will truly please our customers who are waiting for it, as soon as possible.”

Yamaki’s new statements and 2022 timeline seems to indicate that the company has successfully completed that third stage, renewing hope that the full-frame Foveon sensor will see the light of day.

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