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Sigma says its full-frame Foveon X3 sensor ‘ought to be’ prepared ‘someday this 12 months’: Digital Images Evaluation

In a latest video interview, printed to YouTube, Sigma Company CEO, Kazuto Yamaki, confirmed the corporate is engaged on a full-frame Foveon sensor that ‘ought to’ make its debut – at the least in prototype type – by the top of the 12 months.

The 17-minute interview covers an array of subjects, together with Sigma’s technique all through the pandemic, its plans to proceed supporting DSLR customers and different subjects. One of many extra attention-grabbing tidbits, nevertheless, comes across the eight-minute mark, whereby the host asks Mr. Yamaki if there’s any replace on the corporate’s three-layer Foveon sensor.

In response, Mr. Yamaki says ‘We’re nonetheless engaged on it […] and are engaged on the prototype of the three-layer X3 sensor […] that ought to be out there someday this 12 months.’ He goes on to say ‘the Foveon X3 sensor is just not a really versatile sensor,’ particularly stating its low-light efficiency, ‘but when there’s a good quantity of sunshine, that digicam can create very lovely and spectacular photographs.’

Sigma CEO Mr. Yamaki, pictured within the firm’s manufacturing unit in Aizu, Japan.

These ‘lovely and spectacular photographs,’ as Mr. Yamaki says, are the byproduct of the proprietary three-layer design Sigma’s Foveon sensors use. Relatively than the Bayer filter mosaic most typical sensors use, which consists of arranging Purple, Inexperienced or Blue coloration filters atop every photograph sensor, Foveon sensors seize gentle with totally different energies at three totally different depths within the sensor, then reconstruct the pink, inexperienced and blue info. This construction leads to full coloration element at each pixel, and eliminates the softness that comes from the demosaicing course of used to fill within the coloration gaps within the Bayer design.

Since first asserting its efforts on full-frame Foveon sensor again in 2018, Sigma has hit numerous roadblocks which have set again its efforts. In 2019, we spoke with Mr. Yamaki, who detailed the challenges the corporate confronted in scaling its Foveon sensor know-how to full-frame cameras. Within the interview, he defined the issue of bettering the varied elements of sensor efficiency like excessive ISO efficiency and coloration gradation within the course of of constructing the sensor bigger. It wouldn’t be till round a 12 months later that we obtained a second replace on the full-frame Foveon sensor, and it wasn’t excellent news.

In its February 2020 announcement, Sigma stated it needed to go ‘again to the drafting board’ with your entire digicam and particularly identified that it wanted to work on ‘the event of [Foveon] sensor applied sciences.’ One other 12 months later, in February 2021, Sigma printed an extra replace saying it had terminated its contract with the sensor producer with whom it had been engaged on the Foveon sensor and was ‘totally engaged in analysis and growth of the mission.’

It remained radio silence for an additional 12 months till February 2022, when Sigma stated it was on the second of a three-stage growth course of, whereby it was evaluating small-sensor prototypes with the identical dimension pixels as a full-frame model would use. The third and closing stage, based on Sigma, consisted of evaluating prototypes that use a full-frame Foveon sensor with the identical specs the mass-produced model will use, together with the AD converter. It was on this stage, Mr. Yamaki stated the place Sigma would additionally ‘confirm the mass-producibility of the sensor with analysis institutes and manufacturing distributors primarily based on the analysis outcomes, after which make a closing resolution on whether or not or to not mass-produce the picture sensor.’

Contemplating Mr. Yamaki’s statements within the video, it sounds as if Sigma is at the least within the latter components of Stage 3, if not solely by means of it. It’s unclear whether or not Mr. Yamaki is referring to having solely the sensor presumably executed by the top of the 12 months, or a totally functioning digicam, however the Foveon hype prepare continues to roll and appears extra promising than ever.

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