Sigma Kazuto Yamaki Interview: Lens Design, The Industry, Growth, GFX, and More

Phototrend interviewed Sigma’s President Kazuto Yamaki about the new lenses they launched. Below are bullet points from the translated interview that you can find in full here.

  • France is Sigma’s fifth or sixth-largest market
  • The Sigma 10-18mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary is Sigma’s third wide-angle zoom
  • Sigma took a while to develop the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG DN OS Sports because they didn’t want to just release a lens like others at a lower price point
  • The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG DN OS Sports has three characteristics it is light, has fast AF, and has great optical stabilization
  • During COVID many consumers invested in high-end equipment and many professionals switched to mirrorless, but since inflation people have been looking for a balance of price and performance so a lot of value for the dollar is now a key concern
  • The 10-18mm f/2.8 could have been an ART lens but then it would have been bigger and more expensive, but as a contemporary lens there is a balance between performance, weight, and compactness
  • The 10-18mm uses in-camera correction which is why they were able to bring it to market quickly
  • In-camera correction keeps getting better, especially when dealing with distortion
  • In-camera corrections only really become noticeable if you blow an image up
  • If this lens was an Art lens it would use less correction or none so the distinction between art and contemporary makes sense
  • Sigma’s three new Z-mount lenses have been well-received
  • Sigma is excited for Z mount and excited to make retro lenses for retro Nikon bodies
  • The I Series pairs well with Z cameras
  • It is easy to use E and L mount designs on Z mount bodies especially since E mount has a smaller diameter than Z, but doing the opposite would be hard
  • Can’t comment on discussions with Canon
  • Sigma currently has no plans to make GFX lenses but they are ideal customers since they are professionals and high-level enthusiasts.
  • Kazuto Yamaki wishes they could do something for GFX but Sigma’s engineers are busy and resources are limited
  • It is a possibility in the future, but as of now there are no plans
  • Even though Sigma built a new building it hasn’t helped them increase supply because mirrorless lenses are getting better and require more elements
  • Sigma’s biggest advantage is they produce almost everything themselves and they take their time to assemble lenses in-house which gives them high-quality control
  • Sigma licenses L mount from Leica so they do not have much say in who joins
  • If you want a traditional camera you can go with Leica, Panasonic, etc… if you want something unique you can go with Sigma
  • Sigma thinks the alliance provides flexibility to L mount owners
  • AI is already used in cameras for autofocus, but Kazuto Yamaki is concerned about excessive AI adoption and the confusion it can lead to
  • Sigma hasn’t made much progress with its full-frame Foveon sensor and progress has been slow since the semiconductor industry is very busy
  • Sigma isn’t giving up they want to make a full-frame Foveon sensor

Sigma 10-18mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary:
B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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