SIGMA CEO Kazuto Yamaki paid a visit to the New York office of SIGMA America, and took a few moments to sit with us and discuss the company’s challenges and progress over the past few years, how SIGMA is taking advantage of mirrorless technology, some of the benefits of the fp and fp L cameras, progress in developing three-layer sensor technology, how Kazuto-san got started at the company, what subjects the CEO likes to photograph, his preferred gear, and more! (captions available)
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What a great interview! Sigma is built with quality and pride. Kazuto Yamaki seems to be a very good leader of Sigma, very classy and intelligent. I use Sigma lens with my Canon cameras, now I want to look into Sigma cameras. If the their cameras are anything like their lens, lookout Sony, Nikon and Canon!
I’m a researcher and practitioner in stop-motion animation. I’ve got interest in Foveon X3 sensor in the first decade of this century, when digital SLR photography started sounding promising for stop-motion animation. Likewise, I would like to point some conditions where the upcoming Foveon X3 Full Frame camera can be a game changer to our application.
In feature films, it all started with Canon 1DMkII in Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” (2006) because of its low electronic noise, avoiding the harm on the shadows and the large availability of Nikkor manual glass by those pioneers.
The possibility of mounting cheap and manual lenses in a then new full frame DSLR may seem awkward, but the greater distance from the sensor to the lenses in Canon allowed the thickness of the adapter to be used. And why manual lenses? Even setting the camera to manual operations to prevent light flickering in the frame sequence by variations in focus, the blades of the iris may be moved between shots for exposure metering. Even coming back to the “same” aperture, there is a possibility of a minor mechanical backlash difference in position, again, causing flickering. Since then, this has become the stop-motion industry standard. But yours Cine Lenses should be a great choice, paired with the upcoming Foveon X3 Full Frame camera.
But back in 2006, that Canon DSLR (more suitable also because they don’t heat up like the Nikon) still lacked live-view, needing a surveillance camera looking through the viewfinder to provide movement checking with video frame-buffers.
Then came the live-view on DSLRs and remote shooting via tethering that allowed two stop-motion animators to create the “de facto” standard in camera control for stop-motion: the Dragonframe software by the Caliri brothers.
Since then, Canon has earned a reputation in the stop-motion community, culminating with the company’s perception of the use of its equipment in this niche by implementing a specific firmware for the RP and R mirrorless cameras to improve its integration with Dragonframe. But Canon, like the other big brands, dedicate themselves to unnecessary attributes for stop-motion, such as autofocus, high ISO sensibility and speed in continuous shooting.
But why pay for these attributes? Would there be a camera that focuses on what really matters to us in stop-motion photography? Better for shoots with static objects, in close focus and with controlled light? In other words, image quality? Or even more, personality of the image acquisition? That lends us to your amazing SD Quattro and SD Quattro H.
Due to the advantage of Canon mirrorless in its specific attributes brought by the firmware, we were even interested in combining the use of two cameras: Sigma for the final image with Canon for checking and controlling the movement.
But now comes the news that a Foveon X3 Full Frame will be released, maybe this year. We also imagine that without the mirror, that only gets in the way when we attach certain lenses for stop-motion.
If this camera has a Full HD live-preview like Canon’s (or greater), lens control (which prevents the diaphragm from moving), and you develop a plug-in to import the X3F files in queue on platforms like Adobe and DaVinci Resolve, we’ll have a new standard in stop-motion image acquisition.
Please, watch the trailers of the new feature films from Guillermo Del Toro (Pinocchio), Henry Sellick (Wendell & Wild), Aardman’s Chicken Run sequel (still in pre-production) and many others, like the ones from Laika (from Coraline to Missing Link) and many series and shorts to understand the size of this market.
I will even get this new camera from you. With or without stop-motion implementations. But I can clearly see a revolution in our art as an opportunity for Sigma.
Thanks for your attention!!
Leonardo Rocha Dutra, PhD.