Before the world all agrees with a sigh of relief, I think that Sigma should be given adequate amount of brownie points for keeping the Sigma SA mount alive for so many years. It is a mount that dates back to the film days as the company tried to create and push their own cameras. With the transition to the digital world, we saw that the Sigma SA mount cameras on the market just really couldn’t keep up with the far less Jurassic feeling products made by a number of other companies. Sony, Canon, Nikon, and even Ricoh tended to run marathons around Sigma’s autofocus and Sigma’s battery life was just never all there. But now, there potentially is a large amount of hope.
This isn’t at all a diss to the Foveon sensor. In fact, I want to applaud Sigma for working on an L mount camera with a Foveon sensor at the heart. Though it hasn’t ever really been able to hold its own at higher ISOs, I can wax poetically about how beautiful the images are at lower ISOs and in the studio. With the L mount and with Panasonic and Leica both making lenses, the Foveon sensor output is bound to only get better. But on top of that, the help that Panasonic may be able to provide with their knowledge of sensors and cameras both will probably help Sigma be able to finally create a camera worthy of winning awards from the press.
I envision Sigma targeting a completely different type of photographer with a full frame, Foveon sensor. I imagine them pushing it to the medium format crowd with the loads of resolution and better color information on top of the fact that DNG files are now output by some of the company’s best cameras. Mix into this that Sigma already has class leading lens quality and that a photographer can take a Foveon full frame Sigma L mount camera into the studio, a Panasonic S1 into the field, and a Leica SL around to hammer nails in when they need to, and you’ve got a very competitive system. I dare say that it’s a better system than the current Micro Four Thirds world.
This system is also bound to give Sony some real competition that they’ve needed for years now. Canon and Nikon are doing an okay job with their cameras, but in the end I genuinely think that Canon may be the one to win with their lens innovation.
The only thing that I truly see giving a Foveon full frame sensor camera some major competition in studio work could be a medium format X trans sensor from Fujifilm. But we have yet to see this and even yet to hear about it.
It’s an exciting time in the photo industry as we’re now seeing that companies are banding together to survive. And it’s genuinely appreciated by the customer.