As the Japanese website hi-lows-note.blog.so-net.ne.jp reports Sigma has patented a 12mm F2.8 Art – a full frame compatible ultra-wide angle lens. According to the released image, which you can see above, the optical design of the lens consists of seventeen elements, which is quite a lot for a prime lens.
What is important to note, is that, if I’m not mistaken, the Japanese patent office publishes patents eighteen months after the application. What this means is that the development of a patented lens is done or almost done by the time the patent gets published – provided that the applicant is developing the lens at all, of course. A lot of times lens designs get patented just to make it impossible for other manufacturers to use said designs in their products. This is why as a photo enthusiast you shouldn’t get overly excited about new equipment. Just because there is a patent it doesn’t automatically mean that the lens will be developed and brought to market. I personally think that the market introduction of a 12mm F2.8 Art lens isn’t very likely. In the UWA focal range Sigma is already well positioned with its 12-24mm F4 Art, 14mm F1.8 Art and 14-24mm F2.8 Art lenses.