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Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN for Mirrorless CamerasWe’re told Sigma may be developing a Micro Four Thirds, mirrorless interchangeable lens DP camera with Foveon sensor.

The camera would benefit from the rather large MFT lens choice and mounting possibilities, as well as Sigma’s own optics (like the 60mm f/2.8 DN on the left). The company is willing to stir up more interest in the abilities of a Foveon sensor.

A few years ago, Sigma told they had no plans to make MFT cameras. So this would be an unexpected but smart (albeit late) move, considering Sigma’s fixed-lens cameras have a hard time gathering market share.

Providing good overall speed and swift AF, a Micro Four Thirds ILC would be less of a niche camera than the DP Merrills. Nevertheless, Sigma would have to come with a solid product to compete with The King.

Yet this is certainly not be be taken for granted.

  • Drew

    Larger would be better than smaller me thinks. I have a DP3m and would like to get the DP1m as well, i can forgive most things on those cameras as the Image quality is so nice at low iso.
    I would have bought the Sd1 one but no live view is such a pain without accurate focus its a waste of a good sensor and lens. I really hope they make some worthwhile improvements to that camera. Battery Power is also a joke on there cameras.

  • Jason Tan

    The great thing about the M43 market is the enthusiasts in that market are already used to considering two brands Oly and Panny.
    Mount loyalty is quite strong, but brand loyalty is not nearly as strong as Canikon users.
    An Oly user is more likely to be a Panasonic or Sigma M43 camera than an APSC or FF from any other company, simply because they don’t have to lose as much money on selling and replacing everything.
    So it is easier to get an M43 user to move to a new brand of M43 camera, because he does not have to replace all his kit.
    If you compete against Cankikon in APSC or 35m market, you’ll find it much harder to get people to switch because they ‘ll take a hit on nearly all the gear they need to sell.
    I.e. the barrier to change is less in M43.
    Shit keep your existing Pany or Oly body and get a Sigma too. No problem it’s just a new body, not a new system.

    What’s more Sigma has not a great deal of chance of taking on Canikon in terms of pure feature set and price.
    M43 cameras are getting up there now in terms of features, but they aren’t quite up there in things like AF tracking. I think an M43 Foveon maybe able to compete on IQ – thus negating the feature set of the existing M43 cameras, which it self is not quite up their with the Canikons.
    I.e. the gap between a Sigma camera and most M43’s is likeley to be narrower than with DSLRs.
    In addition at the mid-higher end, M43 is moderately expensive. It’s not Leica, but and EM1 or GH3 is right up there in price with a D7000 or a 70d. So sigma can’t compete on price/performance against Canikon.
    They are much closer wth Panny/Oly.

    What’s more they may well be able to take some of the existing designs and modify it with an M43 mount, modify the firmware to suit the M43 mount protocol, and off you go.
    Sin’ce you’d be throwing away some of the pixels to conform to the M43 image circle,
    you’d lose a few megapixels. So say off the top of my head 36MP M43 down the the existing 45MP?
    Ok I’d prefer they built a new camera, but I’d be happy to have a relatively dumbed down cmaera like the DPs. No art mode, PASM, maybe auto and auto no flash.

    I’m not an engineer, but I’d also imagine you could get higher yields with smaller sensor.

    Lastly M43 shooters are more open minded, more likely to adopt new technology.
    After all they have already done so.
    Else they’d still be shooting Canikon.

    So for all sorts of non technical reasons, an M43 Sigma camera is a much easier sell than APSC or FF which you can only access by taking on the 2 biggest incumbents with what? 70-85% of the DSLR market.

    M43 and mirrorless is far easier to break in to.

    If they can manage to put decent video in it… well, the skies the limit.

  • Peter Lee

    I see Sigma has just announced 150 pound cashback on Merrill cameras – as I indicated sales have dropped right off and this is a great concern for me.Sitting out on a limb with only one raw converter (SPP) is a worry.
    Hopefully I will be proved wrong

  • Peter Lee

    I agree with many of the comments – an interchangeable lense with a smaller sensor would be a financial distaster for Sigma as it would simply not have the flexibility of bayer sensored cameras.I seriously doubt Sigma will bring out such a camera and may well drop the Sigma SD1 and Merrill cameras – sales have slowed considerably. Now that neither Adobe, DXo or Camera One will be providing RAW support going forward , the days of Sigma cameras are numbered (in my opinion).There have been no updates to SPP for some time nor has their been any firmware updates for my DP2 and DP3 Merrills since July 13 .To be honest the last firmware updates for both my cameras has resulted (for me)in noisy (100 ISO)in good light and textured cloudy images compared to my earlier images- has to be the firmware.In an effort to reduce the crunchy textures I have knocked the sharpening in SPP back to -0.8 to -1.00.Happy ot share examples (through DropBox) of what I am talking about with any interested parties.I shoot only RAW 100 ISO , use a tripod all the time and eveything set manually. My love affair with these cameras is waning through lack of meaningful support from Sigma.They should stick to making great lenses as I suspect they will shortly.Great article of workflow processing in SPP and great review of the DP3.These cameras are great cameras let down by siftware and firmware limitations.
    Perhaps Sigma thinks everybody shoots JPEGs

  • zielske

    I would literally sell all of my Canon gear and lenses and if Sigma announced a full-frame Foveon camera. I would switch immediately.

    • Drew

      Me to,i would only keep my Canon stuff for the Tilt/Shift lenses. A FF Foveon (with hopefully a few next generation improvements would be an awesome landscape camera.

  • Larry Z

    I IN!!!! Where you BUY!!!! I know foveon is not the best low light solution…. BUT IMAGINE!!! Combining the LENS TURBO or Speed booster and a Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens, or 85mm 1.4 AIS!!!!! WOW!!!

  • I agree. In addition to sales on new lenses for MFT, they could design lenses specifically for the Foveon sensor. It would seem that most of the design work from the DP Merrill series could be leveraged to work on the MFT camera.

  • Jimmy

    I would think that Sigma, being a lens manufacturer, would want to introduce a system where you need to buy all new lenses. It is not going to help them sell lenses if it is a standard 4/3 system. I don’t think that they will make very much profit on a camera body, but if they can get everybody to buy more lenses, that is where their profit will be.

  • I tend to crop my images to approx 4/3 ratio. The APS-C sensor in the DP Merrills when cropped to 4/3 is only slightly larger than mFT (253 sq mm compared to 225), so little resolution will be lost when so cropping.
    What I’d like to see is Sigma design lenses specifically for their sensor, much like what was done for the DP Merrills.

  • Andy Pandy

    When Sigma launch a mirrorless system next year it will more than likely have a APS-C sensor, anything smaller would be madness. There is an outside chance it could be FF, now that would be a killer camera

  • Wayne

    I am interested in 4k video with 2k, fullhd, 720p sub resolutions. I like the 3 layers nearly 100% fillfactor concept on m4/3rds, but video features is progressively a deal breaker. If they can get noise down and low light up, with 4kp25/50/30/60p video with high data rate it would be a killer. Having p30/60 mode only is a deal breaker though, as when you hit nighttime shoots in 50hz lighting either it flickers badly or the shutter shortens so much noise goes way up.

  • Gobet

    Point taken about the Merrils having a larger sensor than the earlier Foveon cameras. I forgot about that. Still, not a big difference from MFT and given that Sigma has never built a FF Foveon sensor, I imagine there are challenges in building larger sensors using Foveon technology – a slightly smaller MFT sensor might be easier to produce and improve and would get Foveon technology to become mainstream. Sigma would not even have to build lenses for the format – they could just gauge the interest in a MILC Foveon and figure out whether it makes sense to build their custom system around a larger sensor format. I doubt they could use E-mount as that is proprietary, so starting a new system from scratch would get them back to being a niche player – that is why MFT makes more sense anyway.

  • S-R

    The Foveon sensor of the SD1(M) and the DP Merrills is APS-C: 23.5×15.7mm (1.5x crop).

  • Gobet

    Dudes, the Foveon sensor is not APS-C – it is smaller than even Canon APS-C with its 1.6X crop factor! The Foveon sensor is in fact as tall as the MFT one, only wider because of the 3:2 factor. And don’t tell me that you never cropped a Foveon image because the IQ went downhill! Jeez!

  • Xaver

    Would be nice, but they have to build a Sigma-SA to M43 adapter if they do so… At least i hope they will…

  • Eric

    A very welcome addition to the CSC market if this rumour is true.

    This is something I have wanted for a while. Ideally with an EVF and a silent shutter (option; such as with the Panny GX7).

    If the Sigma DN range could then be extended to include longer primes and maybe a couple of useful zooms …

    I actualy would welcome this CFC whether its micro 4/3rds or Sony NEX compatible and don’t mind if it’s full frame or not.

  • NancyP

    The holy grail would be a Sigma Foveon sensor full frame camera. That would be a medium format killer. Of course, the price of a FF Foveon sensor might be considerable.

  • Vaards

    maybe , becouse in mirrorles world m4/3 has a much much better choice of lenses than fx. sony nex with apsc size sensor , so sima joins the market where lenses is not a problem

    • dennis

      with Sigma’s support of the NEX system will there be support of the fuji X system in the near future.

  • chris witzgall

    There were rumours as far back as 2007 of an Olympus 4/3 body with a foveon sensor. I will believe it when I see it.

    Chris

  • Andrea, why would it be bad if the rumor is true? Doesn’t it make sense for Sigma to expand? I think they should add a new smaller 4/3 sensor and a new higher resolution full frame sensor to their stable of sensors, so they would be making three sensors instead of just one. THAT would be very cool, and it would show people that Sigma is serious about the camera business. (Not that intelligent people don’t already know that fact. After-all, they have been making cameras for a LONG time now.)

  • madmax

    Bring it on!
    That would make MFT the most interesting system ever…
    Now that we have RAW video with Blackmagic, this would make the whole system even more special…
    Can’t wait to put some 0.95 Voigts on this thing!

  • Andrew

    I do not understand. Most of the reasons for using the sigma cameras are not for the software or hardware, other than the sensor. Claimed and is unique for it’s light gathering. Why be negative about it being used across other platforms. All platforms. Surely to broaden the market for such a sensor be it in mFt , FF or digital backs is a good thing. I cannot understand this negativity. Of course a mFT sensor is not for everyone, but if it increases the market and new innovation from partners, this can widen the appeal of the Foveon sensor. What Sigma does need is collaboration with the rest of the hardware, be it from mFT innovations, or where ever positives can come from.

  • ME

    I don’t get it either. Why go smaller? Sigma’s current DN lenses are available for MFT and (!) for Sony e-mount (APS-C). The current Foveon sensor is APS-C; why would the next generation of Foveon sensors be smaller???
    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  • PrebenR

    I don’t get it. I don’t believe ni a mFT DP camera. The sensor is too big.

  • Andrea

    I hope so. Sigma does not have the resources of Nikon, Canon or Fuji, so I’d rather they focused on improving existing technology at existing sensor size, or on making it bigger.

    On the other hand, they could license the sensor to Olympus and Panasonic. If m43 users are happy with it, they may even consider buying into Sigma cameras. From my point of view, this would be preferable to Sigma building an m43 camera from scratch.

  • S-R

    The current APS-C Foveon is a 3-year-old chip. Even if it is smaller, a new sensor would likely benefit from some kind of technological advancement to improve noise control. Anyway, this doesn’t preclude the arrival of an FF Foveon sensor sometime in the future.

  • Andrea

    Why make that sensor even smaller? The problem with the current foveon generation is noise at (not so) high iso. A larger sensor would give us a few more stops making color images at 800 or 1600 iso useable. Also, a full frame SD camera could tempt owners of full frame Sigma lenses for Nikon or Canon to buy the new foveon body and have the lens mount switched by Sigma (if the lens qualifies). I hope this rumor does not turn out to be true.

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