Exclusive: Interview with Sigma’s New CEO Kazuto Yamaki at 2012 CP+

Interview with Sigma's New CEO Kazuto Yamaki at 2012 CP+

Jeff Chen (left), Kazuto Yamaki (right)

Interview with Sigma's New CEO Kazuto Yamaki at 2012 CP+

Interview conducted by Jeff Chen, co-founder of xitek.com.

Jeff Chen: Yamaki San, I am sorry to hear the passing of your father, he has been instrumental not only to Sigma but also to the Japan photographic equipment industry. We wish you well in your new position to lead the company.

Mr. Yamaki: I will never be as good as him.

JC: I am sure you will. Let's turn our attention to the CP+ event. Just yesterday I read that Sigma will cut the price of the SD1 dramatically with the new model SD1 Merrill. Could you tell us how you are able to achieve that?

KY: Well, the new price is actually what we were aiming at when we launched the SD1 but due to low yield of the sensor we knew we wouldn't be able to meet our price target. In the past year engineers from Sigma and Foveon have been trying very hard to improve the yield of the sensor. Now we are confident that we will be able to meet our original price target, hence the price reduction.

JC: What about the customers who have bought the SD1 already?

KY: We consider these loyal customers very important to us. They are truly behind us and bought the camera regardless the price. We will have a program to compensate the price difference and the details of the compensation will be announced later this month.

JC: I also learn that there will be two DP series cameras using the same sensor from SD1. Could you tell us more that the two new cameras?

KY: Now that we are able to reduce the cost the sensor, we want to put that into the hands of more customers. The two new DP cameras not only will have the new 46mp sensor but also a dual CPU processor to handle the huge amount of data generated by the sensor. They will also have the 92k dot 3" TFT LCD screen and new lenses will be also resigned.

JC: With the dual CPU processor will users be able to experience faster interface?

KY: The amount of data created by the 46mp sensor is huge and will tax the the processor heavily.

JC: Let's change subject a little bit and talk about lenses, specifically Sigma lenses recently introduced for the Micro 4/3 and Sony NEX mirrorless cameras. Could you share your thought on what new lenses will be for mirrorless cameras?

KY: Obviously I can't get into the specific details as we are still in the process of putting together a final plan for the mirrorless market. What I can say is that our philosophy of lens development has been always to fill the gap of the camera manufacturers like Canon, Nikon and Sony, so we will keep continue doing the same in the mirrorless market. What we are committed to right now are the Micro 4/3 which we are a member of and the Sony NEX. We probably won't offer products for the Pentax Q and we are not sure about the Nikon 1 yet.

JC: It's interesting to note that Sigma is a company that has a long line of lens products and also camera products like the SD and DP series. One would wonder when Sigma is going to enter the mirrorless camera market by offering its own camera as well as lenses, either in the Micro 4/3 mount or other mount?

KY: I am personally very much interested in this market and obviously we have the know-how. It's all about the timing. Right now we want to serve our SD series customers the most as they are our early adopters and the DP customers as they are the customers helping us to broaden the market. When we are ready to enter the mirrorless market, we want to make sure that we serve these two camps of customers well before we go after the third one.

JC: That's very nice of you to value your customers. Thank you very much for spending time with us and we wish you good luck.

KY: Thank you!

PS: A senior Sigma executive points out the similarity the lens specification of the two new DP1's and the two mirrorless lenses, namely the 19mm/2.8 and 30mm/2.8. It's not a coincident obviously.

Special thanks to Jeff Chen, co-founder of xitek.com, for providing us with a coverage of the CP+ show in Japan.

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  • CRB

    I guess the new DPs will be as slow as the SD1…1 minute wait to take a photo after the buffer is full.. but theres hope it wont…fingers crossed.

    • Harold Ellis

      so the Jorge and Anthon, the only two guys who bought the camera, will get free disneyland tickets?

      • CRB

        LOL…ther are more than 2 guys who bought the camera..maybe 3…lol. The very rest of them got the camera for free, in exchange of writing good things about it on every sigma forum possible…(IMO)

    • http://twitter.com/ZDP189 ZDP-189

      If Sigma managed to put the same Dual True II processor inside the DP2m as the SD1 then how long is the small battery going to last? If the SD1 writes so slowly, what’s it going to be like writing onto a SD card instead of the fastest available CF cards? This camera will be like Forrest Gump reading War and Peace.

      More on the Sigma Disneyland 1 tickets from an announcement on dpreview: “During this period, we have seriously considered how we can express our appreciation for our Sigma SD1 customers. Currently, we have a plan to offer a support program for current Sigma SD1 owners. This support program will provide points that can be exchanged for our products. This program is expected to be valid after the release of Sigma SD1 Merrill and it will last until the end of this year, 2012. It will be applicable for all Sigma products including both current and new products to be released this year. More details will be available soon; we appreciate your kind understanding as we finalize this program. ”

      Given the difference in street price, that’s the equivalent of seven consecutive years of Disneyland tickets or 5 years including DisneySea. Sadly you would no longer be able to meet their former mascot, Michi Mouse.

  • http://lepidi-photo.blogspot.com/ PPL

    There are videos which show the AF speed on the new DP.

    ;-)

    • CRB

      where?

    • CRB

      Out of curiosity, what did you think about AF speed and overal operation?..thanks.

      • Harold Ellis

        he is still uploading the video with AF speed demonstration.
        try to ask in few days again?

  • Grayscale

    A 46mp M4/3 camera would sell like hot cakes!

  • MB

    We are all very well aware that these are actually 15Mpix cameras right?

    • Harold Ellis

      15,20,50, how does that matter when it is APS-C and even worse, Sigma

      • Captain Cook

        You should try Foveon. It’s a real find for landscape photography.

        • Harold Ellis

          no thanks. even cheapo medium format film slides do better.

        • CRB

          It really depends on large do you print…my D300 with 16-85mm gives me much better natural results than both DP and SD14 cameras…compared sdie by side….

  • Narretz

    I wonder why Sigma ut such slow lenses in front of the DP cameras. I know they are special (and apparently slow), but such lenses make an odd impression in front of such a special sensor.

    Too bad Sigma will have another proprietary mount for their mirrorless camera. It’s inevitable.

    • http://twitter.com/ZDP189 ZDP-189

      They are slow because they want a large sensor with AF lens in a small package.

  • Zed

    Arrogant know-it-all CEO dies, cedes control of multinational corporation to son. What could possibly go wrong?

  • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

    Nikon should also follow Sigma, do the noble thing and give money back to D3X users or at least give them a free D800/D800E of their choice.

    • Harold Ellis

      why? D3x has been for sale 4 years and already paid for it self many times in hands of most those pros.
      besides, the price will never drop as much as sigma did.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        D3X is for small-time pros and hobbyists…

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