CineD: Sigma CEO Yamaki-San Interview: Seriously Looking At Making Fujifilm Fans Happy

CineD interviewed Sigma CEO Yamaki-San about Sigma’s 60th anniversary and during the interview, he confirms that they are seriously looking at how to make Fujifilm photographers happy so I am covering the full interview. You can read the excerpts below:

  • Sigma turns 60 in September
  • Yamaki-San’s father founded the company at 27
  • His father passed away a few years ago and Sigma has grown a lot since he passed, but Yamaki-San’s father would still want them to do more
  • Yamaki-San isn’t sure if he is as ambitious about growing the company as his father was but he is more into quality
  • Things always have positives and negatives including the pandemic
  • The pandemic has reduced Sigma’s activity in terms of marketing sales, development, etc…
  • The pandemic has been good for Sigma because they couldn’t have events so they had to come up with other ways to communicate with customers directly
  • Sigma now has more ways to directly communicate with customers than they ever had before
  • Sigma introduced a new fpl camera a few months ago which is not easy for a comparatively small camera company with limited resources so they had to design based on the priorities of the customers
  • Sigma is in the middle of the process of finding its nitch for customers
  • The fpl was designed for flexibility as a new camera
  • Sigma is figuring out what to do next with its fp line
  • Sigma acknowledges that there is some confusion about the fp and fpl among customers
  • More and more people are interested in photography and even film
  • Sigma’s production capacity is the same, but they added a new building to increase the precision of their assembly and quality control
  • Sigma’ also added a new logistic center for shipping and customer support/repair because customer support is very important
  • Sigma is always trying to make their lenses as small as possible, but they cant develop a pancake lens with acceptable quality yet
  • Pancake lenses require compromising quality
  • Sigma has been getting a lot of requests to make anamorphic lenses and Yamaki-San is interested in developing one, but they do not currently have plans for one, but would like to explore making one
  • It’s hard to make anamorphic because everyone wants “character” and it is hard to tell what the majority would want
  • It’s easier to make it perfect than it is to figure out where the “character” line is drawn
  • The still photo market also has a huge variety of desires
  • Many anamorphic users are sophisticated buyers which makes it even harder
  • Sigma is aware there is a demand for Fujifilm cameras and Sigma is now seriously thinking about how to satisfy Fujifilm customers
  • Sigma believes that healthy competition helps everyone’s capabilities and is better for the industry and customers
  • Sigma is still doing FOVEON research and video capabilities are within the scope of that research
  • The full-frame FOVEON design they came up with wasn’t good enough to go to mass production so Sigma started from scratch
  • Sigma’s first priority is to obtain the best still quality with FOVEON
  • Sigma can make good video in terms of quality with FOVEON but the readout speed is challenging
  • Sigma needs 3x faster readouts for FOVEON video

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