Home Lenses Micro four-thirds: Sigma halts development of lenses as demand falls

Micro four-thirds: Sigma halts development of lenses as demand falls


Sigma has announced that it will stop the development of micro four-thirds lenses because of the lack of demand for its products in that format. The company also stated that the APS-C market is in decline as photographers home in on the full-frame sensor.

Speaking at the CP+ show in Japan, Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki told Phototrend.fr that the company will continue listing several micro four-thirds lenses but will not be designing new optics for the time being. It is not all gloom for the small format, however.

Mr Yamaki said that he believed that the system has many advantages, including its compactness: “Personally, I really like this system. But currently, the trend is clearly in favour of full-frame format, alongside APS-C, which, by the way, is also in decline.”

He went on to express his hope that the arrival of new OM-System bodies will stabilise demand in the sector, and he was pleased to see that the reception from the market had been positive.

Read the full transcript of the interview with Mr Yamaki here at Phototrend.fr.

The future of micro four-thirds

As a photographer, I have always had a soft spot for micro four-thirds, perhaps more so than APS-C, which is often considered to be ‘twixt and between format. However, MFT has moved away from its original objectives, and camera bodies, in particular, have become larger and heavier.

For instance, in terms of weight and dimensions, there is little to choose between flagship micro-four-thirds cameras such as the Lumix GH6 and the company’s full-frame S5. The range of lightweight micro four-thirds lenses does help redress the balance, but the fact is that the smaller format is growing in size and blurring the decision process.

Nevertheless, there is still demand for the format, particularly in the video sector, where Panasonic Lumix has created a strong reputation. There are rumours that hybrid autofocus, recently introduced on the new Lumix S5 II, will soon be adopted for some Lumix micro four-thirds bodies.

Leica’s decision to pull out of APS-C last year offers support to Mr Yamaki’s belief that this format is in decline, with more photographers choosing to replace their crop-format sensors for the rapidly developing full-frame mirrorless designs.

What do you think? Is APS-C really in decline, or will manufacturers continue to develop the format? And what is the future for micro four-thirds? Could heavier micro four-thirds bodies and lighter full-frame bodies squeeze APS-C out of existence?

Read more on micro four-thirds

Stefan Daniel and the end of the Leica CL


  1. It appears Fujifilm is still all-in on APS-C, and they have demonstrated that this format can successfully complete with “full frame”. Even Nikon is still pushing the format with the DX Z cameras. Those are the only two systems I am familiar with, but those two will keep APS-C around for the foreseeable future.

    I have used Nikon 1 CX format for over a year now. Yes, I was really late to the game since Nikon discontinued it in 2018! Those cameras are capable of some really great results, and are particularly useful for video and fast-action. The other great attribute of that system is the compact size. The Nikon 1 V3 paired with the superb 70-300 lens is a bird photographer’s dream outfit. just look at the work of Thomas Stirr. That said, he has switched to Micro 4/3.

    I can see why the growing size of MFT gear would lessen its appeal.

    • Agree. I used the Nikon 1 about 10 years ago and appreciated both the small size and the results. And the Sony RX100, also with the one-inch sensor, produces some great results.

      While we are at it, we shouldn’t overlook the humble smartphone. I can only speak for the iPhone 14, but it punches above its weight in terms of results. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t assume that larger sensors are better in every respect.

      It all comes down to what you need from your photography. For instance, if this blog wasn’t about photography and simply needed illustrations for articles, the iPhone would probably be all I’d need.

      After all, every image you see on Macfilos is reduced in size to under 500KB (essentially to cut down on server costs), even though it probably started life at 40-60MB. Horses for courses, of course, and I think it’s too soon to write off either MFT or APS-C.

      • For me my RX100 Mark 6 is “the best travel camera on the planet” and suits my current needs extremely well. It is just so convenient being small and light. However over the few months I have been contemplating an upgrade to full frame, but I haven’t reached any conclusion. I feel I may be being seduced by marketing hype by terms such as “creamy bokeh” etc. I might also be seduced by “pixel peeping” given the detail available by high resolution sensors. My primary interest is in landscape photography.

        However I do admit there is something special in the quality of images from the various Leica cameras/lens I have seen here on Macfilos. What term would one use to describe it? The word “glow” seems to be used.

        So in my case the jury is still out on whether to raid my “piggy bank”.

        • If you are tempted to take the plunge, Chris, I would recommend the Leica Q as the best all-rounder at a “reasonable” price. It’s reasonable because the package includes that lovely Summilux lens. The M route is obviously much more expensive, with the body alone costing more than the Q2 and a 28mm Summilux-M lens itself costing nearly as much as the Q2 (if not more, I haven’t checked recently).

          After the 24-200 zoom on the Sony, however, you would have to live with one fixed focal length and sacrifice a touch of width. But the Q2 acquits itself well at a 70mm-equivalent crop. For landscape, however, I think the Q2 is a great tool.

          When to buy? Well, there are rumours of a Q3 coming in a few months, possibly even before Q3 (as in Quarter 3). This is likely to have a 60 MP sensor which would mean that crops up to, say, 90mm or even 100mm equivalent would be feasible. Inevitably, however, there will be a price increase and the arrival of a new model is perhaps the best time time go for a used Q2 from a reputable retailer such as Red Dot Cameras in London.

          As for the Leica “glow”, the jury is out. Many Leica enthusiasts claim to recogise this special Leica signature but I am not so sure. If you detect it, and it works for you, then go for it!


    • Thanks. I don’t know how that crept in but will change now. I had picked it up in a final proof read but somehow the previous version wasn’t changed. All ok now and thanks.

  2. A lot of this speculation depends on the growth or decline of the overall market. The last three years have to be seen somewhat as an anomaly due to Covid and supply chain issues.

    Growth or lack of it in the market also requires knowing whether new owners are coming in or whether the existing pool of owners are trading up through different formats to Full Frame.

    Without sight of more data it might appear that Sigma’s response is short term only. The designs, technology, and plant capacity are all still there and it surely wouldn’t be that hard to switch production back on for MFT lenses if the market rebounded.

  3. As MacFilos readers know, I took the demise of the CL very hard and “upgraded” to a full-frame Canon RP. But I was quickly disillusioned by the scarcity, sizes, and costs of the RF lenses. After about eight years away from the brand, I returned to Fujifilm, which had remedied all the difficulties I had experienced with the new Canons and the Leica CL. I now have an X-T5 and five lenses (23, 35, 50, 10-24, 18-135), and for the first time in over two decades, I’m not thinking about any more “upgrades” except, perhaps, a small second body. That body will be an APS-C format that uses the Fuji X system. Dare I wish for a new X-100 that accepts Fujinon interchangeable lenses? That would be much better than a small MFT body and duplicated lenses.

  4. “Dare I wish for a new X-100 that accepts Fujinon interchangeable lenses?”

    No. That would defeat the purpose of the X100 series. Anyway, such a camera already exits. It is called X-Pro3. [:-)

    How about, instead, an X100H (hex for sixth version) with a non-interchangeable zoom, with say 28-85mm equivalent?

    • I’d buy an X100H in a heartbeat. I’m using an X-E3 but I’m lacking a nice compact zoom. F1.7 -2.8 would be nice ….

  5. As far as I know Sigma made their APS-C DC DN lenses also available in m43 format. I am not sure whether they were ever very successful doing so. This decision might say more about Sigma and m43 than about m43 itself. Panasonic recently acknowledged that there is a huge demand for compact full frame cameras but as long as there hardly are any compact full frame cameras (and lenses) I believe people will keep on buying m43 and APS-C.

    • I see only three Sigma lenses with MFT mount on the website. All appear to be identical externally to the APS-C versions. So I tend to agree with you that the decision probably says more about Sigma than about the general MFT market.

  6. It is a truism that compact zoom and fast speed cannot be had in the same lens. And probably the range I suggested (28-85 equivalent) is not even possible in a compact zoom. Realistically, for the X100 series, the best we might expect, if Fujifilm would even consider it, is a 28-50 or 35-70. I think either are doable in a really compact lens, if the aperture is around f3.5. Maybe f2.8.

  7. Why not just buy the smallest Fuji body you like and add Sigma’s 18-50 lens? An X100? with the equivalent lens would likely be no smaller and would lack the over all flexibility you get with an ICL camera.

      • An XT 30 looks and feels a bit like an X100 in terms of controls. Worth a look and it shouldn’t break the bank.

    • The Sigma lens is huge. Fuji 15-45mm seems to be the smallest X-mount zoom. On a X-E4 body, might make a nice kit.

      I have moved away from Fuji now. But at one time I compared X-E1 to X100S, and the E was decidedly inferior in build quality. Don’t know if that has changed since then.

  8. Naturally, but the original point was seeking something akin to X100 series but with a compact zoom.

  9. Sigma has to make choices. They only have so many resources and have now entered the Nikon mirrorless market. The m43 system has endless amazing glass choices and I have actually used them and been more than delighted. Idiots, that do not use the system, criticize that some of the high performance cameras are reaching the size of lower end full frame cameras. Duh. Have they compared the minuscule glass size of telephoto and telephoto zoom glass of M43. Have they enjoyed the advantages of M43 for macro photography? Have they enjoyed the advantage of M43 for video?

    M43 users, go out and enjoy yourselves.

    • A personal preference, for size, or anything else for that matter, does not make one an “Idiot”. Just sayin’.

  10. By the way, the full frame sensor is probably coming in 2024. I will be delighted to get whatever he delivers. I cannot believe that this was not mentioned by my favourite site owner😉.

    • I’m at a loss to follow this, Brian. Who is “he” and who is delivering a full-frame sensor in 2024? Obviously I’ve missed the point…


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