Sigma has bought the company that has built the chips for all of its digital compact and DSLR cameras.

Foveon became known for its three layer, X3, image sensor technology, which Sigma has used most recently in its 14-megapixel SD15 DSLR, which was launched in September.

But Sigma began working with Foveon as early as 2000.

Now Sigma has acquired 100% of the stock of the company although Foveon will continue its sensor development operations in San Jose, California, USA.

The camera and lens manufacturer said in a statement: "The acquisition of Foveon will not only enhance the development of new types of image sensors for high quality digital cameras, but will also create a synergistic effect with Sigma's camera and lens business by improving the integration between the camera and sensor".

"This will result in camera products which will uniquely meet the widely ranging functional and image quality needs of demanding photographers."

"As the digital camera market continues to expand, Foveon and Sigma will continuously evolve and improve the X3 sensor technology, thus expanding the company's photography-related business. In addition, Sigma remains firmly committed to preserving and nurturing the culture of photography."