Made in Aizu

Introduction | Interview | Masthead



All of SIGMA’s products are created in one single place, our Aizu factory, and then reach our customers all around the world. In this video, we focus on the people that create our products, the people that use them, and the environments that surround them. Scene by scene, we introduce some of our Aizu employees as well as their families, the beautiful nature of the Aizu region, and artists of different fields from all around the world.
It is our goal to match the passion driving artists to create new works with our own passion towards our products. With this video, we would like to present both an essence of our philosophy as well as the showcase the creative fervor of everyone who helped create it.

(5 minutes)

Director Interview

Thoughts and memories about the shoot

What impressed me most when I visited Aizu were the children shouting in unison, “Bet you’re jealous of our beautiful nature here!”, and the love everyone at SIGMA seems to put into their products. On many occasions, I had the impression that SIGMA is one of the prides of the Aizu region.
And then everything I saw exists within these almost shockingly beautiful landscapes.
With the film, I wanted to capture SIGMA’s products as they are, the environments in which they are created and how they are received around the world.

In order to reflect the temperament and the sensibilities which the Aizu region stimulates in the video, I decided to ask musician Haruka Nakamura – himself born in Japan’s Tohoku region – to create the soundtrack.

Almost all the videos were captured using SIGMA lenses. The color balance and the sheer expressive force of the lenses were just as brilliant as I had expected. For one part of the video, I used SIGMA’s 14mm fixed-focal lens, and the footage captured by this perfectly rectilinear lens are simply astounding.

Six years ago, while I was working as a website developer, it was a film about SIGMA’s Aizu factory which gave me the chance to start creating videos.
I am very thankful that, after all this time, I had the chance to work on a video together with SIGMA.

Yuichiro Fujishiro / Video creator, director
Born in Tokyo in 1984. In 2016, he joined Tokyo-based creative agency Drawing and Manual.
Fujishiro’s portfolio includes music videos (Sekai no Owari, Sambomaster, Suiyoubi no Kanpanera etc.), commercials (JA Bank Aichi, Mercedes Benz, karimoku, Yoyogi Seminars etc.) as well as directing NHK’s “Japangle” program and the credits scenes for prestigious NHK jidaigeki series “Etchan”

Composer Interview

About “Made in Aizu”

I have held concerts in Fukushima before, at Shokudo Hitoto and for the Fukushima bank.
When I recalled the happy, friendly faces of the many friends who had helped create these events, the sounds just came into existence on their own. I composed the music impromptu, while revisiting all the memories I have made in the region.
I am proud, both as a musician and as a Tohoku-native, to have had the chance to participate in this project.

haruka nakamura
Born in Aomori Prefecture. Nakamura’s music features in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Odawara Art Foundation”; the Calorimate commercial “Susume, Calorina”; NHK BS Premium’s “Gaudi’s Testament”; a CITIZEN commercial, and more. Starting in 2018 and lasting for a year, the Tokyo Skytree Planetarium holds weekly string quartet live performances of Nakamura’s music.
In a collaboration with clothes brand “evam eva”, he created the album “Yukusaki”.
Nakamura played live music during a series of reading events by literary translator Motoyuki Shibata, which have been recorded and published as the album “Windeye”. Nakamura collaborates with Japanese artist Machiko Miroko on an ongoing live painting series.

Cast’s Interview

Jeff Hargrove

Photographer / Cafe owner / SIGMA France Ambassador

As self taught photographer who wanted to experience the world through my lens, I was fascinated by people and their environment. My foray into photography has brought me across the globe where my journey started from my birth country, the USA, to Paris, and the ever so busy Asian cities of Dubai, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. Many of my fine artworks have been published and exhibited in cities around the world. I have also worked on countless advertising campaigns in many different countries for major consumer brands.

The unending search for the unknown or the uncommon in different subjects, whether they be portraits or landscapes, is the basic motivation of my fine art photography. However, it is not about showing something that hasn’t been seen before. It is about bringing to light some unknown meaning or truth, as I see it, about someone or something and especially about myself. Time therefore nurtures my photography, not only in its creation, but also in its viewing.

In 2014, I decided to place more importance on craft in my photography and discovered in SIGMA’s cameras and their FOVEON sensor a way to do this. Craft is at the center of SIGMA’s philosophy and therefore we share a common vision. I used their cameras to shoot the photography for my self-published book about the rising Parisian specialty coffee scene, called “Paris Coffee Revolution”. And I have not looked back since.

It was very interesting to be filmed for the first time as it is so different from still photography. From my point of view, each filmed scene was like a phrase of a poem, but one cannot understand the phrases until the final cut puts the phrases together into an extraordinary poem!


Jeff Hargrove
Photographer / Cafe owner / SIGMA France Ambassador
Born in Santa Fé, USA. Currently resident in Paris. After studying linguistics and teaching, became a photographer focusing mainly in portrait photography. Also runs a cafe “Fringe” in Paris. Most recent work is ‘Paris Coffee Revolution’ covering the specialty coffee scene in Paris. Uses dp Quattro series.
Jeff Hargrove | Scenery | SEIN | SIGMA
Paris Coffee Revolution – Anna Brones, Jeff Hargrove – specialty coffee paris
Club Foveon #9 – Jeff Hargrove – SIGMA France

Karl Holtby


Photography has always been a part of my life as my parents were photographers, although it wasn’t until my thirties that I picked up a camera with serious intent. I’d been studying for a degree in conservation when I started to take pictures again, initially to document the various habitats that we were studying. However, I found that I really enjoyed making images and I’ve lived and breathed photography since 2011, turning professional in 2016. I have a deep love of the natural world, I feel most at ease when surrounded by nature and exploring wild places. It’s the peace I find in nature that I try to portray in my imagery, the pictures that I make are quite minimal, a simplification of the scene before me which I call my ‘visual mantra’. I lose myself in the moment, composing my image I feel at one with nature.

I was introduced to SIGMA in 2014 when SIGMA UK contacted me. Since then I have predominantly shot with SIGMA cameras. I like to keep things simple, SIGMA cameras have an intuitive menu system which I find a pleasure to use. Also, it’s the little touches such as been able to compose in my ratio of choice, such as 1:1 or 4:3. This ease of use helps me to concentrate on what’s really important, composing the image and enjoying my time outdoors. Additionally, the foveon sensor really suits my style, the images have so much depth and produce wonderful prints. SIGMA cameras, especially when paired with the Art range of lenses are a unique tool that really suits the artistic photographer.

Of all the photographers in the world, I find it a huge honour to be part of this film. I love how the film starts in Aizu and represents the passion of the people who work at the factory, right through to the end user, that is of course, the photographer. I’m looking forward to the future with SIGMA, my aim to continue to support this dedicated team and make images that showcase the potential of their products.


Karl Holtby
Having being introduced to photography at a young age, some of Karl’s earliest memories are of developing black & white images with his father in their darkroom. Karl is now a professional landscape and fine art photographer with a particular interest in the natural world. With a degree in conservation, it is often the ecological detail that intrigues and that is equally important as the stunning vistas. Of additional importance being to evoke emotion and capture the mood of a location.
Karl Holtby | landscape & fine art photographer
Karl Holtby | Scenery | SEIN | SIGMA

Pauline Chardin

Photographer / Fashion designer / Art director

For me, photography started as a mean to an end. I work as a trend consultant and need to constantly be curious of the world around me, collecting, compiling and curating. This goes hand in hand with a passion for traveling. This made sense that photography was going to be a way to keep track of everything that inspires me.
That’s why I started the Voyageur, a website that is as much about photography as it is about travelling with a creative eye. I like my pictures to have an intimate quality and to show what can easily be overlooked. I enjoy creating series that shed a new light on a particular place or reveal unexpected aesthetic links between things.

I really appreciate that such a compact camera could deliver high quality images, I take it everywhere in my travels without thinking twice about its weight and size. The Foveon sensor really gives life to the textures and colors I’m constantly trying to capture. It has a way to dramatize the most fleeting lights and reflections that keep surprising me.

I’m very proud to be the French face of the Sigma user! It was fun to walk around Paris with a Japanese team and see the city through their eyes. I’ve been living here for more than ten years and I sometimes forget how great it is!


Pauline Chardin
Photographer / Fashion designer / Art director
Based in Paris, France. Loves to travel and find good design. Shares the small corners of the world that feel unique, inspirational and surprising on her blog “The Voyageur”. User of SIGMA DP2 Merrill, SIGMA dp1 and dp2 Quattro.
The Voyageur | An invitation to travel

Hitomi Nakano

Aizu Factory - Quality Assurance Department

I started working at SIGMA 11 years ago. In my job I am usually responsible for the final inspection of our manufactured lenses, and selecting samples to be checked. I think the most important aspect of my work could be summed up with the word “cooperation.” I know that I have had many people help me in my years of working here. I think if it is easy to say “let’s work together on this one” or “let’s help each other,” then that kind of communication helps create a good workplace environment.
Being part of a video shoot was a very rare special experience for me, and the children and I enjoyed it a lot. I was very moved to see many familiar places and environments from my daily life captured so beautifully in the video. After my daughter had seen the finished video, she said “I want to work at the same company as Mom one day!” That made me very happy.


Hitomi Nakano
Aizu Factory – Quality Assurance Department

Chie Inoue

Aizu Factory - Optical Elements Processing Division No. 1

I have been working at SIGMA for 16 years now. I cut and process glass elements, manage and oversee the forwarding of glass parts to other divisions, and I also inspect the quality of processed lenses. My job asks for a highly precise finishing, and each time my efforts pay off – fewer mistakes and meeting demands – I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I pay attention towards creating an enjoyable environment and a smooth workplace.
I was very happy that I could show my child a real movie set thanks to the video and have them see some of the cameras and lenses I have helped create. When I saw the video, I was incredibly moved; and not only because my child is in it.


Chihiro Obara

Aizu Factory - General Affairs Division

I joined SIGMA 3 years ago. I work in the personnel section of our general affairs division, which means I am engaged in recruitment, ISO regulations, workforce management, preparations for special events and so on. I put a lot of value on humility and gratitude in my work. There are many things that I have accomplished for the very first time only thanks to the help of my superiors and seniors. In such moments I feel that my efforts really do pay off. Every time I get to hear ideas and opinions by many other people, it helps me grow.
The video shoot itself was a great adventure for my 8 year old son. “I shot a MOVIE in my summer break!” he says. He walked the same footpaths as always, but he did it – perhaps a little embarrassed – holding his little sister’s hand, and he also tried ascending more difficult slopes. Because of the camera, he felt like the star of a movie, and you could see it in his face. I was happy to see my son excel himself like that. Even though the kids loved it, I think it is us parents who are the most thankful for this experience.


Chihiro Obara
Aizu Factory – General Affairs Division



Production Manager
Production Assistant
Lighting Assistant
Location Manager
Online Edit
Director / Cinematographer / Offline Edit



14mm T2 FF, 20mm T1.5 FF, 24mm T1.5 FF, 35mm T1.5 FF, 50mm T1.5 FF, 85mm T1.5 FF, 135mm T2 FF