Digital Rebel, Sigma f/2.8 lenses, Error 99 issue

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Todd H., Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest


    Just need to throw another log on the dreaded Canon Digital Rebel
    "Error 99" fire.

    This weekend I first started using my Canon DS6041 Digital Rebel with
    my pair of f/2.8 Sigma lenses (1994ish Sigma 70-210 f/2.8 APO, 1993ish
    Sigma 28-70 f/2.8). What I found was that I encountere "Error 99"
    after taking most (but not all) photos using the Sigma lenses. I was
    not able to localize what made some photos fail and what made others

    It's EXTREMELY disappointing to me that I can't reliably use either of
    these wonderful Sigma f/2.8 lenses that I've been using flawlessly
    with my EOS Elan for over 10 years now (Sigma 70-210 f/2.8 APO, Sigma
    28-70 f/2.8).

    Most of reason I opted for the Digital Rebel was in hopes of being
    able to transfer this lens investment into the digital realm. Lesson
    learned here is that I should've done research into the lens
    combination before getting the camera, but I didn't think to do it
    given the years of flawless workings with the original Elan.

    More thoughts on the rebel in another thread. I haven't yet ruled out
    something wrong with the Camera or my 550EX speedlight since I'm not
    seeing consistent flash metering results even with my Canon EFS
    18-55mm lens that came with the kit.

    Any thoughts on the Sigma lens issue would be welcome. Are these
    older lenses capable of the "rechip" mod I've read about, or will
    Sigma tell me to go fly? These were lenses purchased in 1993 and

    Best Regards,
    Todd H., Sep 19, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Todd H.

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    The problem is Sigma's. Instead of licensing Canon interface data, they
    reverse engineer it. No similar issues with old Tamron lenses and such.

    Call Sigma. They may or may not be able to rechip them -- but, in my
    opinion, they owe you a fix.

    Phil Wheeler, Sep 20, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Todd H.

    GT40 Guest

    Don't buy junky 3rd party lenses, stay with your cameras manufatures.

    They are the only one that have the "codes" so the lens and the camera
    can talk to each other correctly.
    GT40, Sep 20, 2004
  4. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest

    Hey Phil,

    Thanks for an informative and reasoned response. :)

    I took your advice and dug up this from their web site FAQ:

    Q: Are Sigma lenses compatible with my new Canon Elan 7 camera?
    The Digital Rebel? How about EOS 10D.

    A: All current production Sigma lenses for Canon autofocus cameras
    are fully compatible with the new Elan 7, Digital Rebel or EOS 10D
    camera. If you have a question about a particular lens, please
    contact Sigma's service department (in the U.S.) at (631) 585-1144
    or via email at .

    I talked to an informed, helpful guy at the number listed above, but
    alas, he confirmed that I'm 90% screwed. :) But hey, there is that
    10% of non-screwed at least.

    Evidently Canon modified the firmware interface with the Elan 7 and
    beyond--around 1998ish such that Sigma lenses manufactured before that
    time won't respond to aperture closure info from the camera, hence
    leaving them at their max aperture state (f/2.8 for my lenses). My
    lenses of 1994 vintage would require an upgrade, but they're so old
    that no parts are available for such an upgrade.

    The Sigma rep did give me a very useful bit of info though--he
    suggested trying to shoot the lenses wide open at f/2.8 and "you'll
    probably get away with it." I just tested it, and by damn, in
    aperture priority mode at f/2.8, all is well. This explains why some
    of the shots I was taking didn't elicit the dreaded "error 99" and
    most others (notably with flash, probably at f/4.0 and smaller) did.

    For available light and sports photography where I'm typically parked
    at f/2.8 anyway, I'm very encouraged that I can get a lot of mileage
    out of these still with the new body. For the rest of the
    functionality of the lenses, I'll just do the feel-good math of the
    interest I've made in the $1600 additional I would've had to spend in
    1994 to get this pair of f/2.8 lenses in their Canon equivalents...and
    start eying some of those sweet Canon IS lenses. :)

    Thanks again!

    Best Regards,
    Todd H., Sep 20, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.