updated 02:35 pm EST, Fri January 27, 2012
Sigma founder, CEO passes away at 78
CEO of camera and lens maker Sigma, sadly, has passed away. The 78-year-old Michihiro Yamaki succumbed in Tokyo, Japan on January 18 after a fight with liver cancer. Yamaki founded the company in 1961 and was heading up the company up to 2011, on its 50th anniversary.
"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."
Under Yamaki's leadership, Sigma came up with the first rear attached lens converter in 1961. The industry at that time believed only front-mounted lens converters could be used. The company has since moved on to research and make cameras and their lenses.
Yamaki oversaw Sigma grow to possibly become the largest SLR lens maker in the world, with more than 50 available now that are compatible with SLR cameras from multiple competing systems.
Sigma purchased Foveon for its X3 image sensor tech in 2008, and more recently, it released its 46-megapixel SD1 flagship DSLR camera, priced at $9,700.
The late Yamaki also served on the Japan Photographic Enterprises Association, Japan Machinery Design Center, Japan Optomechatronics Association, Photographic Society of Japan, and Japan Camera Industry Institute. He was named as the"Person of the Year by the Photoimaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association, was placed in the International Photographic Council's Hall of Fame from, and received the Golden Photokina Pin for his contribution to the imaging industry.