Sigma Needs a Full-Frame Foveon Sensor Now More Than Ever

A Full-Frame Mirrorless camera with a Foveon sensor makes more sense than the new Sigma FP-L.

The Sigma FP-L is a confusing camera. Its pricing is a bit high. It has presumably the same sensor as the Sony A7RIV. The original FP is a much better cinema camera. Also, the aforementioned Sony is a much better stills camera. I believe a Full-Frame Foveon Sensor camera in L-mount would make much more sense. Read on after the break to find out why.

The Foveon Sensor Is Great for Landscape and Studio Work

Foveon X3 sensor
Foveon X3 sensor

I feel that Sigma should introduce a camera with more direction. The new Sigma FP-L is a jack of many trades but a master of none. A Foveon Sensor in a Mirrorless camera aimed at landscape and studio use makes sense. Foveon sensors forgo the traditional Bayer array. They instead use a verticle stack of photodiodes. Each layer in this stack corresponds with a different RGB color. As a result, this produces unmatched color reproduction. Some say that these cameras produce the most film-like images around. A Foveon sensor also typically provides a higher resolution. It’s possible that this camera could produce a higher resolution than the Sony A7RIV. To sum up, these traits mesh together to produce an awesome landscape or studio camera. What photographer isn’t chasing perfect color? This sensor could go a long way towards reaching that landmark.

A More Focused Camera Would Fit Nicely in the L-Mount Alliance

Bringing the Foveon sensor to Full-Frame would shake things up a bit. Most existing Full-Frame cameras use similar sensors. I’d love to see more variance in choice out there. Furthermore, this new camera would pair well with the FP or perhaps a Panasonic body. The FP-L fell short of being an excellent hybrid camera. A focused photo-centric camera in L-mount makes sense here. If paired with something like a Lumix S5, there is little that one would be lacking. Being in the L-mount alliance would make using two cameras less painful. Also, the ability to share lenses between bodies would go a long way. For the hybrid photographer, I feel this solution is more sensible than the FP-L.

Sigma Needs to Get the Ergonomics Right

Sigma has a history of designing quirky cameras. The ergonomics in all of their Mirrorless models leave something to be desired. However, Sigma did produce a DSLR called the Merrill. That camera was much more traditional. Sigma should either look back to that camera or something like the EOS R6 when designing their next body. Foveon cameras of the past have been slower to work with. Keeping that in mind, a slightly bigger body would be okay. A camera that spends a lot of time on a tripod doesn’t need to be tiny. Give us good customizable controls. Give us a comfortable grip. Some type of articulating screen would be great. Just please, Sigma, don’t give us another small box with a smaller grip. I’m looking at you, sd Quattro.

New Tech Could Make a Full-Frame Foveon Sensor Camera Amazing

Former Foveon Mirrorless cameras had a reputation for being slow and clunky. The autofocus was rather slow and simple. They weren’t blazing fast in terms of fps. You bought one of them for the sensor. However, there have been leaps in technology since the Quattro H was introduced. Also, Sigma being in the L-mount alliance could prove helpful. Perhaps they could use more tech from their partners. Imagine those beautiful Foveon sensor colors used for sports and wildlife. It would be amazing if Sigma could stuff good autofocus, reasonable fps, and better ISO performance into this camera. It’s also worth noting that Sigma has had a lot of time to perfect this camera. In a statement by Sigma, they mention it has been in development since 2018. Hopefully, they haven’t been resting on their laurels in the time since.

In Conclusion

Sigma could have a real winner on their hands. A Full-Frame Foveon sensor camera could be just the niche to fill. This camera could satisfy a photographer looking for ultimate image quality. Particularly if they weren’t interested in Medium Format. There’s really nothing else quite like a Foveon. If Sigma can build a rugged, weather-sealed, and ergonomic body to go with it, all the better. Then, I’d love to see them include better autofocus and increased fps to round out the spec sheet. Pair this camera with an FP or an S5, and you could handle nearly any job. Furthermore, the L-mount lens line-up keeps getting better. Let’s hope that Sigma knocks this camera out of the park.

John Bradford

John is an Arkansas based landscape and outdoor photographer. Originally from the Texas Panhandle,he grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in NW Arkansas with his wife and two pups. John shoots mountain bike events, landscapes, and nature/wildlife primarily, but enjoys shooting portraiture and cityscapes as well. He has multiple years of experience working in camera sales. John is also passionate about shooting film. When not working with cameras, John spends his time on the trails hiking and mountain biking. He also maintains two small YouTube channels, one for mountain biking, and one for photography.