SIGMA History 1961-2010

We believe that SIGMA products embody the high technology, experience and thoughtfulness of each of our staff members.

The products have been manufactured with our consolidated power at Aizu Factory equipped with the latest facilities. This plant utilizes a process production system as an “Intelligent Factory” on which all steps of production, sales and technology are focused. Now the plant has become our base of production where quality and high performance products are manufactured. We deal in a wide variety of image devices around the world. We have decided to contribute through our business achievements to the improvement of communication and the future living standards of the people in the world.


Company Development

Product Launches


September 1961:
Sigma Research Center was established in Setagaya-kuThroughout the 1960s the YS (Yamaki System) interchangable mount was developed.
November 1965:
A new office building was completed at the existing building site in Komae-shi.
March 1968:
Corporate organization was officially changed into a stock company.


The history for this era is not currently divided; products will be placed in order as information is gathered.Users are welcome to suggest entries based on articles/past adverts in the Forum!
November 1970:
Trade name was officially changed to Sigma Corporation.
November 1973:
The primary construction of Aizu Integrated Factory was completed.




  • 18mm F2.8 XQ Filtermatic
  • 70-150mm F3.5 Compact Zoom XQ
  • 70-230mm F4.5 High Power Zoom XQ
    70-230mm ƒ4.5


  • 16mm F2.8 XQ Filtermatic
    16mm ƒ2.8 with internal filter
  • 28mm F2.8 Mini Wide
    28mm ƒ2.8
  • 300mm Pan Tele
    300mm ƒ5.6
  • 400mm Super Tele XQ
    400mm ƒ5.6
  • 80-200mm High-Speed Tele-Zoom XQ
    80-200mm ƒ3.5
  • 80-200mm High Speed Zoom
    80-200mm ƒ3.5
  • 120-300mm F5.6 Zoom-Lambda
    120-300mm ƒ5.6


November 1979:
Sigma Germany was established.

  • 21-35mm F3.5-4 Zoom-Gamma
    21-35mm ƒ3.5-4
    World’s first wide-angle Zoom.
  • 75-250mm F4.5 Zoom-Delta
    75-250mm ƒ4.5
  • 100-200mm F4.5 Zoom-Kappa
    100-200mm ƒ4.5
  • 300mm Tele-Photo
    300mm ƒ5.6


  • 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye
    Launched February 1980, later updated with Focus Aid
  • 35-80mm F2.8-4 Mini-Zoom Alpha
    35-85mm ƒ2.8-4
  • 70-150mm F3.5 Zoom Beta
    70-150mm ƒ3.5
  • 600mm F8 Mirror Tele
    600mm ƒ8
  • 2x Tele Macro



  • Zoom Theta 28-80
    28-80mm ƒ3.5-4.5
  • Standard Zoom 35-70
    35-70mm ƒ2.8-4
  • Zoom Beta 70-150
    70-150mm ƒ3.5-4
  • Mirror 600mm
    600mm ƒ8
  • Zoom Theta II 28-85
    28-85mm ƒ3.5-4.5
    Announced October 1982


February 1983:
The secondary construction of Aizu Integrated Factory was completed.
March 1983:
New head office building was completed.
May 1983:
Sigma Hong Kong was established.

  • Zoom Master 35-70
    35-70mm f/2.8-4
  • ZoomAlpha II 35-105
    35-105mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Zoom Kappa II 70-210
    70-210mm f/4.5
  • Zoom Delta II 70-250
    70-250mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Fisheye 8mm
    8mm f/4
  • Mirror 400
    400mm ƒ5.6
  • Mirror 1000
    1000mm ƒ13.5


  • Zoom·Alpha 35-135
    35-135mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Apo Zoom Eta 50-200
    50-200mm F3.5-4.5 APO
  • Zoom·Lambda 75-300
    75-300mm F4.5-5.6
  • Zoom Theta III 28-84 F3.5-4.5
    Wide to Telephoto Zoom
    Announced October 1984
  • SA-1 ”Zoom-man”


Minolta releases the 7000 AF SLR, the first autofocus SLR camera, quickly followed by Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Olympus and Yashica with AF cameras of their own.Sigma makes a massive investment in R&D, plant and expertise, ceases development of interchangeable mounts, and crosses the point of no return to develop for the new breed of AF cameras.Most independent lens manufacturers went out of business.


May 1986:
Sigma America was established


  • 28-80mm F3.5-4.5
  • Zoom·Beta 55-200mm F4-5.6
  • Zoom·Kappa 70-210mm F4-5.6
  • 75-200mm F3.8
  • 500mm F4.5 APO
  • 2x-Tele Macro
  • AF35D-TF ”Tele Flash”
    Compact 35mm “Time, Place and Occasion” Concept with Tele converter.




May 1991:
Sigma Benelux was established


May 1992:
Sigma Singapore was established.


February 1993:
New factory was completed.

September 1993:
Sigma France was established.

Sigma Lens Catalogue – 1993
This catalogue has been scanned and reproduced as a PDF – click here.






  • 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Mini-Zoom-Macro
  • 28-80mm F3.5-5.6
  • 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 UC
  • 70-300mm F4-5.6 DLMacro
  • 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 APO RF
  • 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO RF
  • 28-105 F2.8-4 Aspherical
    Compact fast ƒ2.8-4 zoom announced October 1996
  • 800mm F5.6 APO
    Fast telephoto aimed at Canon EOS system


Sigma begins to release HSM – Hyper Sonic Motor – AF lenses.

28-105 F2.8-4 offered with EF-430 ST Flash


Sigma launches the first EX designation lenses.

  • 28-70mm F2.8 EX
  • 28-105mm F4-5.6
  • 70-200mm F2.8 APO EX
  • 70-200mm F2.8 APO EX HSM
  • 14mm F2.8 EX / EX HSM
  • 50mm F2.8 EX Macro
  • 105mm F2.8 EX Macro
  • 1.4X AF APO-TeleConverter-EX
  • 2X AF APO-TeleConverter-EX
  • 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO Macro
  • 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro
  • 500mm F4.5 EX HSM




January 2001:
Sigma U.K. was established.


Sigma launches their first digital SLR – the SD9 – using the Foveon X3 sensor.This 3.3 x3 (9 Megapixel) DSLR is unique in providing full RGB capture at every pixel location, and the output file resolution compares well with contemporary professional digital systems.



Wedneday 3rd March:
Sigma announce colaboration in 4/3rds system, the first announcement from anyone other than Olympus.
Tuesday 3rd August:
Sigma UK advert cleared by Advertising Standards Agency following disputes over the claimed resolution of the x3 Foveon sensor.


January 2005:
Four new lenses for Konica Minolta (now Sony) Mount are announced.

February 2005:

Sigma announce 10 new DG lenses.

March 8th 2005:

Sigma UK introduces 2 year warranty for EX series lenses.

July 2005:

New head office building was completed.

October 2005:
Foveon wins the 2005 Royal Photographic Society Progress Award.

December 2005:

Firmware issue with some Nikon D200 models confirmed, the fix involves changing the lens firmware.


1st September 2006:
SigmaUser site launched.

Tuesday 26th September:
Preview sites for two new Foveon x3 based digital cameras are launched following Photokina announcements. The Sigma DP1 will be a compact camera of exceptional optical quality using an APS-C format sensor in a point-and-shoot size body.

The Sigma SD14 continues the tradition of Sigma’s Foveon based Digital SLRs, but brings consumer-friendly features like built-in flash, UDMA CF card support, JPEG file compression in camera and compact standard battery packs.


March 2007:
Sigma announce the 200-500mm f/2.8 EX HSM at PMA

April 2007:
SD14 available worldwide.

June 2007:
SD14 price drops by 20% worldwide

August 2007:
Sigma Macro 70mm f/2.8 EX DG awarded EISA best product 2007-2008

November 2007:
Sigma UK announces £200 cash back deal on SD14, to run until February 2008

Mr. Yamaki is awarded “Person of the Year 2007” by the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association


February 2008:
Sigma UK preview the latest products at Focus on Imaging including the newly announced DP1 camera.DP1 digital compact camera with APS-C Foveon sensor available in the UK – early production units on show in February, general sale begins in April. Photokina sees previews of DP2, SD15 and 24-70mm HSM lens.

May 2008:
The DP1 is given TIPA and GCP 2008 Editors Awards

November 2008:
Sigma aquires Foveon Inc.

December 2008:
Mr. Michihiro Yamaki is awarded “Annual Hall of Fame” by International Photographic Council of the U.N.


Sigma 150-500mm wins “Gear of the Year” award.


Sigma UK launches 3 year warranty for all Sigma lensesSigma’s third major evolution of the Foveon sensor is announced at Photokina 2010, with the new 46Mp (15Mp x 3) sensor the first to be announced following the acquisition of Foveon; the Foveon logo is not visible on the SD1, the first Sigma digital camera not to carry the brand.


February 2011
Sigma Founder Michihiro Yamaki honoured with “Golden Photokina Pin” award.

March 2011
Japan is shaken by a massive earthquake, affecting many manufacturers and companies as well as countless individuals. Sigma’s facilities escape with no human casualties, many smaller suppliers are affected.