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07-18-2013, 07:24 AM   #226
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Now it's hot stuff.
Though their raw processing software developed for those cameras isn't so hot.

07-18-2013, 08:02 AM   #227
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Though their raw processing software developed for those cameras isn't so hot.


Very true; I speak from experience.

I was referring to the large-sensor fixed-lens compact market in general. Sigma's cameras are not so hot. I, personally, love them, but they're too niche to ever become popular, unless they add video, decent write speeds, low-light performance, 3rd party support for raw files, decent battery life...

Last edited by scratchpaddy; 07-18-2013 at 08:07 AM.
07-18-2013, 08:54 AM   #228
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I am simply saying any optical company with enough resources could do this.
You keep repeating saying this (which is funny because Sigma actually (aside Tamron and Tokina) is the smallest of the pack).

And I am just pointing out that you are not the expert to say so.

If you think this kind of statement through, all products will eventually be made in China. I consult some companies in direct competition with Chinese ones and all I can say is that there are many products the Chinese in most such cases still lack the finesse to copy properly. E.g., Samyang has a long way still to go to imitate Sigma. So far, they stick to simpler optics. And while Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Minolta, Zeiss and Leica may be similiar, they are because of their similiar heritage (and in some cases, shared or hunted engineers).

It is a bit like Mercedes, BMW and Audi which many still have problems to imitate properly but which are similiar to each other (for the same reason, and they are all located within 1h drive (from Ulm), not unlike Tokyo for the camera industry).
07-18-2013, 09:08 AM   #229
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
there are many products the Chinese in most such cases still lack the finesse to copy properly. E.g., Samyang has a long way still to go to imitate Sigma.
Samyang is not Chinese. It would be more appropriate to compare them to Tamron, as both are heavily invested in the industrial/commercial optics industry, which are generally simpler optics. Sigma just makes consumer cameras and lenses.

07-18-2013, 10:04 AM   #230
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1. Samyang competes on price, not quality. And they are not Chinese.

2. Engineering is fungible depending on resources. I work on National Building Code Committee work right now and see literally dozens of architects and engineers in that work, all of them eventually interchangeable. I do market and risk analyses.

3. There's no magical optical engineer at Sigma who designed something no one else could. Instead Sigma saw an opportunity to use their cross-platform market reach to make a lens no OEM could and that is a 900g monster with a constant fast aperture for APS-C, that MSRP's at US$1160 but because it is a halo product they are offering it at US799. It won't drive DSLR sales (too large) but it will keep Sigma relevant as long as possible.

4. Sigma is entirely dependent on reverse engineering and I suspect that in-lens 'chipping' (starting with Canon and then Nikon) will reduce or eliminate on-preferred third party offerings in the future. In which case Sigma's patents and expertise in design will be their commodity. Many new mounts cannot be reverse engineered without permission form the originator (E-mount, CX-mount, X-mount, and maybe even the Q-mount). There are whole swathes of new camera sales to which the door for Sigma is barred. I suspect Sigma is putting huge resources into this lens to stay relevant in an era when kit lenses have become so good many people never venture beyond.

5. Once upon a time Japan Inc. was seen as invincible in consumer electronics and other industries. Now their competitors are eating them up or made entrenched expertise irrelevant. It's happening in autos and phones and consumer electronics and appliances. Moral of the story: no industry is safe, so don't assume optics is. Photography is a small, quirky industry, but it is not immune to these pressures. Japan now has an official macro-economic and tax-favourbale R&D policies rolled out in the last year to try and stem the bleeding.

The slippage of Japan Inc. is leading to less cooperation or respectful tolerance between Japanese companies and now they are hunting and raiding, and poaching and offshoring and not cooperating on joint ventures as they scramble to maintain gross revenues. You could never get JPEG started now as they realize that tied systems and close networking are the lifeblood of the consumer experience (like an app store or Adobe subscription or other cloud service). So they are forced to adopt DNG as opposed to earlier attempts at a universal RAW. They now have to play nice with mobile OS's they had no input into designing or selling (ITMS for example). There's a long list of areas of expertise that sell product where Japan Inc. is no longer more than a bit player, and I suspect their optical pedigree will also be nibbled at until vulnerable.
07-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #231
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Kudos to Sigma for innovating a market niche. However, it is a niche. Look at sales data and what is telling is either a FF large system camera or a small DSLR or mirrorless system camera. The middle is being gutted (seen a D400 on the horizon?). So a large expensive lens for a smaller than FF sensor with a limited FL range would never survive as a Pentax or Canon or Nikon-only offering. .
The Nikon D400 at $1800 is rumored for September. It was delayed due to the flooding in one of Nikon factories (cheaper APS bodies got priority) according to rumors. The Canon 7D MkII is also on the horizon. Canon have said that they will make more APS lenses and I would not be surprised of they make fast and professional ones. To distinguish APS from 35mm you can either make small and light lenses something Pentax have done to a large extent, or make faster lenses cheaper something Sigma has done with this one. I suspect more will follow the example.
07-18-2013, 11:00 AM   #232
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I [...] see literally dozens of architects and engineers in that work, all of them eventually interchangeable
That's the point I am trying to make. I wonder if you have a technical education. Of course, there are plenty of mediocre engineers who are, indeed interchangeable. But the few at the very top are not. And it's them who make industries fly, who bring true innovation. The ones who follow are irrelevant because it is redundant anyway. You seem to work with the ones who follow though
OTOH, I am no optical engineer and I cannot decide if it required an outstanding engineer to do the 18-35/1.8 with its record-breaking performance (similiar to Nikon's 14-24/2.8 which was never replicated). But nor do you ...
07-18-2013, 11:52 AM   #233
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

2. Engineering is fungible depending on resources. I work on National Building Code Committee work right now and see literally dozens of architects and engineers in that work, all of them eventually interchangeable. I do market and risk analyses.
The first quoted sentence is simply not true in the general case. Perhaps in the building code domain it is more so than not. But in software or product design. including optics design I suspect, as examples, some engineers can do what others are not capable of, regardless of what budget you give them. You give yourself an out with the "eventually" disclaimer, but we should exclude the irrelevant case where it's been so long that there is no commercial value anymore.

07-18-2013, 11:54 AM   #234
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
The Nikon D400 at $1800 is rumored for September. It was delayed due to the flooding in one of Nikon factories (cheaper APS bodies got priority) according to rumors. The Canon 7D MkII is also on the horizon. Canon have said that they will make more APS lenses and I would not be surprised of they make fast and professional ones. To distinguish APS from 35mm you can either make small and light lenses something Pentax have done to a large extent, or make faster lenses cheaper something Sigma has done with this one. I suspect more will follow the example.
The other rumour is that it as delayed because it was too close in spec to the 7200, where the real difference is the frame buffer.

I think Canikon are taking a big pause on any new APS-C until they see where demand is headed and at what price points. Their FF prosumer products are eating away at their higher-end APS-C, so any D400 or Canon equivalent is not going to have anywhere near the sales of a previous models, not in a stagnant market.

The problem for the Sigma lens isn't its price or its aperture. It's the size of the thing. It's a pushing 1kg on camera bodies 2/3 the mass. Followed by the very limiting FL zoom range. That's probably the real reason no OEM has made such a lens when the consumer thrust has been away from big glass in APS-C (but willing to buy it on FF). Far better for Canikon to aim their big glass customers to FF (and more DOF play to boot). This Sigma lens takes away any APS-C advantage in body size. Again, why only Sigma could make this lens.

Apparently Canon's SL1 has been selling gangbusters and it goes in the opposite direction from such big glass. EOS-M has flopped (they will re-design a rebound...and it's also designed to replace Canon's handy cam video market), so we'll have to see if the race for smaller DSLR's is on to combat sales lost to mirrorless.

And that's where Pentax shines. Smaller bodies, small glass. OVF retained in a DSLR. I'm not saying the Sigma's not great, just big and limiting and going upstream in market where the downstream waters are getting faster.

I hope Pentax is designing the tiniest DSLR ever because, frankly, the K-30 looks a bit silly with a DA40 and barely non-comical with a DA21. I saw an SL1 with a Canon pancake and it looked...normal, and infinitely more holdable than the Sony NEX it was positioned next to. In fact, the SL1 compared in size favourably with the 2x more expensive Olympus OM-D which frankly requires its grip to be useful (and markings on the inscrutable controls...I cannot figure that camera out, but it's beautiful). I would buy a non-WR K-30/50 that was 20% smaller as a second camera paired with the Ltd's and never, ever, ever, look at another mirrorless again (unless it is a deeply discounted RX-1). Keep the K-30 for APS-C "big glass", nit right now the Pentax bodies don't really line up with their flagship prime glass.

Anyway, these new forms of camera are really not amendable to such big glass as the Sigma. It's kind of like an elephant rising a horse.
07-18-2013, 11:59 AM   #235
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QuoteOriginally posted by cfraz Quote
The first quoted sentence is simply not true in the general case. Perhaps in the building code domain it is more so than not. But in software or product design. including optics design I suspect, as examples, some engineers can do what others are not capable of, regardless of what budget you give them. You give yourself an out with the "eventually" disclaimer, but we should exclude the irrelevant case where it's been so long that there is no commercial value anymore.
The whole "talent pool" is limited argument is so....10 years ago. Sure there's only 1 Jony Ives, but he has Apple's massive bankroll. There are equal designers with lesser resources. I do't place a whole lot of faith on an elite talent corps because I have seen so many people placed in that category more easily replaced than one might expect.

Sorry, not an argument I buy. I think talent is as much inherent as tapped or drawn out by the resources surrounding them. And the opposite happens where great inherent talent (and a lot of hard work) is stymied by poor working culture. Sigma's hungry and they have to be. The next gen cameras could be shutting them out of reverse engineering opportunities.
07-18-2013, 12:25 PM   #236
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QuoteOriginally posted by cfraz Quote
The first quoted sentence is simply not true in the general case. Perhaps in the building code domain it is more so than not. But in software or product design. including optics design I suspect, as examples, some engineers can do what others are not capable of, regardless of what budget you give them. You give yourself an out with the "eventually" disclaimer, but we should exclude the irrelevant case where it's been so long that there is no commercial value anymore.
But lens designs isn't rocket science. This is well known technology (Pentax designed a 300/2 lens almost 40 years ago). Designs are done in software and you get the glass with neccessary properties from an optical glass supplier. I don't think there are any secrets or magical formulas here. It is a question of how much money you are willing to throw at it....

Last edited by Pål Jensen; 07-18-2013 at 12:35 PM.
07-18-2013, 12:34 PM   #237
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I think Canikon are taking a big pause on any new APS-C until they see where demand is headed and at what price points. Their FF prosumer products are eating away at their higher-end APS-C, so any D400 or Canon equivalent is not going to have anywhere near the sales of a previous models, not in a stagnant market.

The problem for the Sigma lens isn't its price or its aperture. It's the size of the thing. It's a pushing 1kg on camera bodies 2/3 the mass. Followed by the very limiting FL zoom range. That's probably the real reason no OEM has made such a lens when the consumer thrust has been away from big glass in APS-C (but willing to buy it on FF). Far better for Canikon to aim their big glass customers to FF (and more DOF play to boot). This Sigma lens takes away any APS-C advantage in body size. Again, why only Sigma could make this lens.
Obviously, if you offer several models at the same or nearly the same price point you are going to sell fewer of each one of them. However, I think that as usual the cheaper overall solution is going to prove the most popular. The pressure usually come from below....

I don't think that size of Sigma makes it less relevant. I mean, several FF lenses are larger than medium fomat lenses but it hasn't stopped them from selling. APS bodies aren't primarily bought because they are smaller than FF, but because they are cheaper, meet the customers image quality demand or simply that the user likes working with this format. The Sigma lens offer a neat package (if it performs) being many fast lenses in one.
07-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #238
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I cannot decide if it required an outstanding engineer to do the 18-35/1.8 with its record-breaking performance
It more than likely involved a group of them - R&D would have come up with the specifications and the engineers job was to make it a reality.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Designs are done in software and you get the glass with neccessary properties from an optical glass supplier. I don't think there are any secrets or magical formulas here.
Software optical calculations can only do so much - have you ever wondered why Leica produce such outstanding lenses? their optical engineers are absolutely top rate, and as one of them told me when I visited the Leica in solms several years ago "software is only a tool, there is no substitute for experience and knowledge". That is why there are good optical engineers who made the FA31 and there are the engineers responsible for abomination that is the FA28-80mm f/3.5-4.7
07-18-2013, 06:24 PM   #239
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The other rumour is that it as delayed because it was too close in spec to the 7200, where the real difference is the frame buffer.

I hope Pentax is designing the tiniest DSLR ever because, frankly, the K-30 looks a bit silly with a DA40 and barely non-comical with a DA21. I saw an SL1 with a Canon pancake and it looked...normal, and infinitely more holdable than the Sony NEX it was positioned next to.
That's because the DA40 is smaller than the Canon pancake.. which isn't so much a pancake as it is a biscuit. The k-30 is barely larger than my k-x. I've seen them next to each other. And the k-x is practically the same size as the SL1.
07-18-2013, 06:34 PM   #240
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
.... The APS-C market is going to hit very turbulent times as FF goes downprice and mirrorless steals chunks of the middle. ... FF is chewing the higher end to pieces .
Stealing a page from my songbook?

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