Sigma CEO Yamaki says they still don’t know when they will release the new Foveon camera

Imaging Resource published a very interesting interview with Sigma CEO Yamaki. Here are some interesting points:

Foveon:

So we continue the development of the sensor, but we cannot commit [to] when we will release the product. There are two issues. The first one is there are some design errors in making the full-frame Foveon sensor. We already have several generations of the full-frame Foveon sensor prototypes. But none of them work properly because of the design error. So we have to correct the design error. The Second problem is a challenge in manufacturing.

Starting from this project, we started working with a new sensor vendor. Yes, a new foundry in the US. They are based in a small city called Roseville (California), which is close to San Francisco. They were the subsidiary of NEC, a Japanese company.

[Ed. Note: Some quick Googling suggests this is TF Semiconductor Solutions, previously TSI Semiconductors (2012-2014), and Renesas Electronics America (2010-2011). As Yamaki-san says, the foundry was originally built in 1998 by NEC. Please note, though, that this is just my guessing, based on a Google search :-)]

FP sales

We are doing extremely good in Japan. The sales here are quite good. But in other markets, sales are not as good as I expected.

24-70mm lens:

We still cannot catch the demand. Because the price is half of the Somy version and it’s also one of the top performing lenses in this category, f/2.8 standard zoom lenses for Sony E-mount and L-mount. I believe it’s the top performer, but to be fair, [I should say] it’s one of the top performers. But the price is half that of the Sony 24-70mm.

APS-C L-mount lenses:

we will probably develop brand new lenses for Leica L-mount APS-C cameras.

Sigma APS-C cameras:

No plan to make APS-C L-mount cameras yet. If we continue the fp concept, probably we will stay with full-frame. But this is just an assumption. We don’t have such a plan right now. But just making an assumption for the future, if the sensor has large pixel numbers like 50, 60, 75 megapixels, you can take a very, very good image using APS-C with a crop mode. So in this case, you can use a very compact lens.

Future of the market:

I guess the market would shrink in 2020, even if we didn’t have coronavirus. Probably the coronavirus issue will escalate the problem. Without coronavirus, I assumed that the market would shrink but probably toward the end of this year to next year, I expected it to hit the bottom, and then level out.

Last year, the quantity of interchangeable-lens system cameras sold in the market was 8.5 million units. But actually, the peak time was 17 million units. So last year was about half. But before digital cameras, film SLR sold about four million to five million units. So it was originally a very small market. So I think it was kind of a boom economy starting from mid-2000 to the beginning of 2010, and then it’s going down to the normal level.

I think probably five to six million is a good number to be stable. Thanks to smartphones, more people are interested in taking better pictures, and some of those people would like to buy high-end cameras. So probably, I think the market size for digital interchangeable-lens system cameras would be higher than for film SLRs. And also because the learning cost is very low compared to the film camera.DE: Oh, yeah, much lower costs than film, that’s a good point. Because now, you can see your picture right away. I remember I would shoot a 36-exposure roll, and sometimes none would come out.

But now my feeling is we’re coming back to more like a five-year cycle maybe, for people getting cameras.

RUMOR: Sigma unhappy with the progress of L-Mount and Panasonic might make APS-C L-mount cameras to attract more customers

This info is from trusted sources that shared many correct rumors in the past. So I am 99% confident it’s true. This is what they said:

  • Sigma is very, very unhappy with the progress of L-Mount. They are urging Panasonic to focus much more on this system
  • They are really thinking of an APS-C entry level system based on L-Mount
  • They now see Canon as biggest competitor in Video segment

Panasonic stated a couple of times they do not plan to make an APS-C L-mount camera to not cannibalize the MFT system. Well…they might change their mind soon enough and it would be bad news for the MFT folks.

Panasonic is going to restructure the Lumix brand?

Nikkei has posted an interesting “rumor” about Panasonic plans with the Lumix camera brand:

  1. Because of the difficult environment Panasonic plans to do a “structural reform” of the business.
  2. Nikkei writes that this could end in a “collaboration with other companies“.

Sounds like there is a chance they might separate the Lumix brand into a new company with partners (like Olympus is doing). But I guess it might be a different solution: Right now the L-mount partners are allied with separate businesses and ideas. Some kind of more advanced partnership with Leica and Sigma to cut costs and develop L-mount gear together makes sense.

via 43rumors

Last minute leaked S5 info: Future update will come to support anamorphic shooting

In a couple of hours Panasonic will officially announce the S5. I got some more tidbits (Thanks to Lexpxrd!):

– An update will come later this year for the S5 to give support to 5,9K 29,97p/4K DCI/3,5K Anamorphic via Atomos Ninja V recorder
– 2 new picture profiles: L Monochrome S and L Classic Neo
– V-Log and V-Gamut are included, no additional fees
– Panasonic will announce 7 (!) “affordable” lenses: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm et 85mm ( available in November < 1000€) with F1.8 aperture, a 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 zoom and a bright wide angle lens

Panasonic S5 spec sheet leaked

A Japanese spec sheet leaked via Nokishita. This is the google translated text:

-It is equipped with a full-size 24.2M CMOS sensor and Venus engine equipped with “dual native ISO” that responds to original color reproduction and suppresses noise to achieve excellent high-sensitivity image quality.

-While equipped with the high video performance of the S series, such as 4K60p video recording and unlimited recording time, it has achieved a highly mobile body size.

・Smooth and flexible 4K60p recording, and expressive power of 4K/FHD 10bit recording with abundant color gradation. Equipped with various video recording formats optimized for various video expressions.

・If you set 4K 60p/30p/24p 10bit, you can record a movie for about 30 minutes, and under the recommended environment, you can resume recording immediately. With 4K 30p/24p 8bit and FHD settings, you can record without time limit (with temperature limit) and support long-time uncut shooting.

・14+stop cinema camera class wide dynamic range and V-Log / V-Gamut realize high level color reproduction from highlight to shadow.

・By strengthening AF tracking and adding new “head recognition” to “face/pupil recognition”/”human body recognition”, we will continue to capture the movement of the subject while responding to the expression intention of the photographer.

・With 6.5 steps of image stabilization performance, “Dual I.S. 2” strongly assists the expression of photos and images in various shooting scenes.

-High S/N ratio and regular ISO sensitivity of 51200 provides excellent high-sensitivity endurance. The high-sensitivity image quality that can be achieved with the full-size CMOS sensor and Venus engine, beautifully depicts the subject even in the dark.

-A super-high-definition world of high-resolution mode (equivalent to 96 million pixels) that allows you to pursue details. Realizes an amazing resolution that cannot be obtained with a single shot. You can get a new photographic expression.

-Live view composite that records natural phenomena that occur in front of you with beautiful light trails. You can leave it as a photographic work without leaving the passage of time.

-Photo style that allows you to create a picture that matches your expression intention. Equipped with 9 color styles and 3 monochromes, you can seamlessly set color settings from still images to movies.

-The slow & quick mode (S & Q), which can be quickly accessed from the mode dial, can record up to 2.5 times slower at 4K, slower (60 fps), and up to 5 times slower (120 fps) at FHD while tracking AF. It can record up to 7.5 times slower (180fps).

-Equipped with a newly developed compact mechanical shutter with a maximum of 1/8000 seconds.

・About 1.84 million dot free angle monitor ・About 2.36 million dot OLED finder.

-Dustproof and splashproof specification-Robustness of magnesium alloy frame.

-Supports a new battery (DMW-BLK22) for long-time shooting and a battery grip (sold separately) (DMW-BGS5).

Panasonic S5 Full Specs and Additional Images Leaked

The full specs of the Panasonic S5 have as well as product images have leaked by nokishita.

LUMIX S5 full-frame mirrorless camera is designed especially for content creators. Latest advances in image resolution, image stabilization, and autofocus all in this compact camera that is the signature of LUMIX. Experience extraordinary video recording in 4K 60p, 4:2:2 10-bit. It also offers a Full HD 180fps Slow Motion option as well as 4:3 Anamorphic support. This is what makes S5 perfect for use when talking still photos or as a vlog camera.

With 24.2MP 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor, the LUMIX S5 boasts a wide dynamic range and high sensitivity performance. The adopted Dual Native ISO technology enables the LUMIX S5 to record maximum ISO 51200 crystal-clear high sensitivity video. Dual Native ISO minimizes noise in high sensitivity. V-Log/V-Gamut compatibility offers a 14+ stop dynamic range to capture every detail.

The improved autofocus detects head as well as eyes, face and body. The powerful Dual Image Stabilization with 5-axis enables 6.5-stop slower shutter speed.

The compact nature of the S5 is one of the signature features of the LUMIX series. To make sure that your camera withstands tough field use, the S5 comes with a dust and splash resistant construction. Optimized heat dispersion ensures a stable, continuous video recording without interruption.

One of the expanded features of LUMIX S5 is the Live View Composite mode which instantly creates a stunning image out of several live shots; the shutter releases at designated intervals of exposure time to merge the bright parts into a single image. Useful for shooting fireworks or a starry sky.

Full Specs & Images

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