Sigma’s CEO Wants to Make Lenses for Medium Format Cameras

Medium Format Digital Cameras

Sigma’s CEO Kazuto Yamaki says that he is “very much personally interested in supporting medium format,” and now that the company has filled out its support of full-frame mirrorless, perhaps the time to expand to larger sensors is nigh.

Medium format cameras have grown in popularity in recent years due to the combination of more affordable camera bodies and lenses. It also helps that Fujifilm has grown as a major player in a space that was for a long time dominated by Phase One and Hasselblad. The company’s involvement has pushed the price of medium format products down and encouraged greater innovation in the cameras that previously relied, basically, only on resolution and color accuracy.

Now that medium format has proven its wider appeal, it should come as no surprise that third-party lens manufacturers see a future there as well.

In an interview with PetaPixel at the Japanese camera exhibition CP+ in Yokohama, Sigma’s CEO Kazuto Yamaki expressed interest in expanding his company’s support for lenses beyond full-frame cameras, specifically saying that he would like to see Sigma make glass for medium format options.

“I [am] personally very much interested in supporting medium format. Again, it’s a small market, but I have some interest,” he says.

Sigma has been occupied with filling out its lens library for full-frame mirrorless over the last few years, but that is all but done now.

“Up until now, we have been very busy to have the range of lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras. So we have to have some kind of regular stuff, like a 24-70mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4, or 50mm f/1.4, but now we have these lenses,” Yamaki explains.

“That’s why we started releasing such unique products, like the 500mm f/5.6 or 15mm f/1.4 fisheye,” he continues, referencing both of the optics Sigma debuted at CP+ last week.

“So from now on we can expand our road map.”

Yamaki does temper expectations however, stating that while he would personally like to see Sigma start supporting medium format, it isn’t currently part of the company’s plans.

“So right now we don’t have such plan, but if Sigma wants to be a master of optics, I think we need to support medium format. But that’s just personal hope. But I need to carefully look at the market and demand,” he explains.

PetaPixel pointed out that Yamaki is the boss and as such, asked if the decision could ultimately be his. He responded, “yes.”

In addition to the company’s leader expressing desire to support medium format, there are signs that Sigma is willing to take a flier on products that aren’t guaranteed to sell hugely well. The 15mm f/1.4 diagonal fisheye, for example, is very niche and not expected to be a big seller, even by Yamaki’s own admission. But for Sigma, that clearly doesn’t always matter.