Sigma Is Done Developing Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Sigma Is Done Developing Micro Four Thirds Lenses

While micro four thirds is still seeing development from a few companies, one manufacturer is throwing in the towel. In a recent interview, Sigma's CEO indicated that due to a decrease in demand for micro four thirds lenses, the company will no longer be developing new options for the format, though they will maintain their current lenses. 

In an interview with Photorend, Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki discussed the company's relationship with the micro four thirds mount. Yamaki indicated that "demand for this format is decreasing very sharply, and therefore, it is quite difficult for us to develop completely new optics for this ecosystem."

Yamaki went on to note that current demand is mostly centered on full frame, with APS-C demand also declining along with micro four thirds, but that he hoped new micro four thirds cameras would stabilize demand. It is important to note, though, that Sigma did not invest as deeply into the micro four thirds system as other companies, so this should not necessarily be seen as a more general indication of the state of the mount, though with advanced full frame and APS-C cameras available at lower prices than ever, I would imagine micro four thirds is feeling pressure both from above by larger formats and below by smartphones. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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This is a bummer. As someone who still heavily shoots with Sony and Panasonic cameras, I find the M4/3 Panasonics do better for hand holding; their stabilization is simply better. The autofocus and low light is worse than Sony full frame cameras but it's not that big of a difference in image quality.

Although I appreciate Mr. Yamaki's typical candor, Sigma has never been heavily involved nor invested in mFT. Of course, that in and of itself is also telling. Neither Sigma nor Tamron have ever shown much interest in mFT. That may have been partly due to their legacy of 35mm SLR lenses making neither company keen to make the R&D investments necessary to support a format with zero cross-over to SLR/DSLR moutns. Just like Canon and Nikon, they likely viewed mFT as a stepping stone to full frame.

APS-C lenses that share mounts with full frame spread the R&D and production costs more evenly. mFT requires wholly separate designs. I'm not surprised that Sigma is stopping development. I am surprised they actually told anyone so bluntly. That is very atypical in the camera business where systems are abandoned quietly and left to fade away.

The lack of development in mFT compared to other formats is more concerning. Perhaps the new GH6 and OM-1 sensors indicate that at least a couple more generations of mFT cameras will come to market. Given that historically 2 or 3 generations of mFT cameras recycle the same sensor, this might be a plateau for the next 7-8 years. Meanwhile, full frame and APS-C designs are getting new sensor tech every 2-3 years.

I parted with my mFT gear before the Olympus debacle and have no plan to buy back in.

I am a M43 user. Sorry to hear Sigma say this, but as Jeff B noted, Sigma has never made lenses exclusively for M43. All their M43 lenses have been adapted APS-C mounts. What their statement means is that they won't actively adapt new lenses for M43. Given that their only M43 lenses are the 16 f1.4, 30 f1.4, and 56 f1.4 which also available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fuji, and they never adapted their zooms to M43, means that they were never very deeply involved in M43 to start with. They are rumored to have designed some lenses for Olympus or Panasonic, like the renowned Olympus 75 f1.8, but not produced them under their name. Yes, they produced quite a few lenses for Four-Thirds, and I have their 105 f2.8 macro which is a fine lens. They discontinued all their 4/3rds lenses, but still sell that lens (and others) for Canon, Nikon, and Sony. At any rate, I'd like to see Sigma come back to M43, but hope they'd be more serious about it if they do. Nonetheless, their "departure" from M43 doesn't leave us at a great loss because we frankly have a very rich catalog of lenses to choose from.

Have they ever even developed m4/3 lenses? All the lenses they've released have been designed for APS-C (just look at the focal lengths). And the same director said the exact same thing 9 years ago too:

If you look at Sigma's meeger M43 offerings, they are repurposed APS-C lenses. Sure, way better than repurposed FF lenses, but if they don't at least redesign the columnating lens group for a m43 vs APS-C image circle, the quality on m43 will be worse.

That is perhaps why Sigma only made "Contemporary" lenses -- their consumer line -- rather than pro ART lenses.

Here's the problem. Neither Canon, Nikon, nor Sony produce pro-grade lenses for APS-C. Signa does, and that has made APS-C profitable. They are doing a bit with Fujifilm X-Mount, but where are the bulk of their existing designs? They are strategically targeting glass tgat Fujifilm does not offer yet.

There are dozens of companies making M43 glass, but unusually, two big dogs in OMDS and Panasonic. In a market smaller than Canon or Sony. They can go into the consumer market, but pro glass needs to be better.

"the sales of lenses we never bothered developing was really slow so we're going to continue not developing the lenses we weren't developing. thanks for listening"

That Sigma Guy is talking rubbish

Sigma NEVER produced any MFT lenses...

Only good quality but OVER SIZED APS-C

Lenses any onl 3 of them got an MFT mount

So who cares🤔

OM systems Panasonic Laowa etc are bringing out fine new or renewed lenses

So bye bye Sigma

"Due to a decrease in demand for m43 lenses" and due to a decrease in demand for sigma m43 lenses are two different things. They disingenuously state the former, but the reality is the later. Really a cheap shot when sigma has never taken the format seriously as their only effort has been to add m43 mounts to an APSC optic.

Their best lenses were adapted from Ap-C anyway.