Sigma Founder Dies at 78

January 30, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | General | 1 Comment |
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Sigma has announced the passing of Sigma Corporation’s founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki. He died of liver cancer on 18th January at the age of 78. In 1961, Yamaki developed the first-ever rear attached lens converter and founded Sigma to commercialise the product. At that time, most photo enthusiasts believed that a lens converter could only be attached to the front of a camera lens and the 27-year-old optical engineer turned conventional optical theory on its head. In the next five decades, Yamaki grew the family-owned organisation into a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of lenses, cameras and flashes. The company is now known as the largest, independent SLR lens manufacturer in the world, producing more than 50 current lens models. Sigma Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 with Yamaki still at the company’s helm.

Sigma Press Release

Sigma Corporation of America Announces the Passing of Michihiro Yamaki

Imaging manufacturer’s pioneering CEO, founder led company for more than 50 years

RONKONKOMA, N.Y.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—With great sadness, Sigma Corporation of America today announced the passing of Sigma Corporation’s founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki. He died of liver cancer in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 18 at the age of 78.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Mr. Yamaki was an industry visionary, and his leadership and enthusiasm has been the driving force behind our company’s innovation for more than 50 years. We’re sending our deepest condolences to the Yamaki family, and our entire Sigma family around the world, during this very difficult time.”

Yamaki founded Sigma Corporation on Sept. 9, 1961 with the development of the first-ever rear attached lens converter. At that time, most photo enthusiasts believed that a lens converter could only be attached to the front of a camera lens and the 27-year-old optical engineer turned conventional optical theory on its head. Sigma Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 with Yamaki still at the company’s helm.

Throughout his years in the photo industry, Yamaki has been focused on producing high-quality, high-performance photographic technology at moderate prices. His goal for the company has always been to make outstanding image quality accessible to all photographers. To this end, he grew the family-owned organization into a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of lenses, cameras and flashes. The company is now known as the largest, independent SLR lens manufacturer in the world, producing more than 50 current lenses that are compatible with most manufacturers, including Sigma, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony.

In 2008, under Yamaki’s direction, Sigma Corporation purchased Foveon, a California-based company that’s renowned for developing the X3 image sensor technology. This patented, three-layer image sensor captures all primary RGB colors at each pixel location arranged in three layers to deliver outstanding, high-resolution, high-definition images with impressive three-dimensional detail and rich gradation. Last year, the company announced the arrival of its SD1, a groundbreaking, 46-megapixel direct image sensor camera, offering more megapixels than any other DSLR currently on the market. Sigma Corporation continued its theme of addressing gaps in the industry and the needs of photographers by kicking off 2012 with the launch of its new, Digital Neo (DN) line of lenses for Micro Four Thirds and E-mount camera systems.

In addition to his inventions and photographic foresight, Yamaki made many other contributions to the industry in his 78 years of life. He served organizations such as: the Japan Photographic Enterprises Association, Japan Machinery Design Center, Japan Optomechatronics Association, Photographic Society of Japan, and Japan Camera Industry Institute. He has also been honored with the “Person of the Year” award from The Photoimaging Manufacturers & Distributors Association (PMDA), the “Hall of Fame” award from the International Photographic Council (IPC), and the Golden Photokina Pin for his longtime contribution to the imaging industry.

About Sigma Corporation
For more than 50 years, Sigma Corporation’s expertise and innovation has driven the company’s core philosophy of “knowledge, plus experience, plus imagination,” with an emphasis on producing high-quality, high-performance photographic technology at moderate prices. This family-owned organization is the largest, independent SLR lens manufacturer in the world, producing more than 40 lenses that are compatible with most manufacturers, including Sigma, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax. Sigma Corporation also produces digital SLR cameras and high-definition digital compact cameras. The company is headquartered in Japan, with offices strategically located throughout Europe, Asia and North America. For information, please visit http://www.sigmaphoto.com.



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#1 Patrick Watson

A few years ago at Photo Expo in NYC I stopped by the Sigma booth to look at a few lenses(I already owed several of their lenses). Many of the reps were busy but one gentleman came over when he saw me waiting and took several mintues to help me. He was very personable and never rushed my time with him or the equipement. I asked for his card and was quite surprised to CEO, Michihiro Yamaki. Sorry to see you go Mr. Yamaki.

5:56 pm - Wednesday, February 1, 2012