Sigma 70-300mm Sony/Minolta mount lens - a warning

Discussion in 'Sony' started by Calvin Sambrook, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. I post this as a warning for anyone researching this lens before purchase.

    I have a Sony a200 and recently bought a Sigma 70-300mm zoom. The reviews
    say it makes great pictures and I agree, the optical performance is great,
    especially for a cheap-ish lens. What the reviews don't tell you is that
    this lens was designed before Sony started fitting more powerful focus
    motors to their range of bodies. The extra torque from the newer motor is
    clearly too much for the plastic gears in the lens and mine lasted just two
    months before failing with stripped teeth. Subsequent research shows I'm
    not alone.

    Sigma appear to be in denial as emails to them have either been ignored or
    in one case I've simply been told they will repair it under warrantee.
    Remember that's a two month old lens - I elected to get a refund from the
    retailer instead but that's another story for later.

    So if you're in the market for a telephoto zoom for a Sony alpha body which
    has their "fast focus" motor be warned that the Sigma is just not up to the
    job. If you decide to buy one anyway please remember to post a note on
    usenet if/when it fails so as to warn others.
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 23, 2009
    #1
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  2. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <hbsj1s$nm9$-september.org>, Calvin Sambrook
    <> wrote:

    > I post this as a warning for anyone researching this lens before purchase.
    >
    > I have a Sony a200 and recently bought a Sigma 70-300mm zoom. The reviews
    > say it makes great pictures and I agree, the optical performance is great,
    > especially for a cheap-ish lens. What the reviews don't tell you is that
    > this lens was designed before Sony started fitting more powerful focus
    > motors to their range of bodies. The extra torque from the newer motor is
    > clearly too much for the plastic gears in the lens and mine lasted just two
    > months before failing with stripped teeth. Subsequent research shows I'm
    > not alone.


    that's actually a common failure for sigma lenses, not just on sony
    cameras.

    > Sigma appear to be in denial as emails to them have either been ignored or
    > in one case I've simply been told they will repair it under warrantee.
    > Remember that's a two month old lens - I elected to get a refund from the
    > retailer instead but that's another story for later.


    good move.

    > So if you're in the market for a telephoto zoom for a Sony alpha body which
    > has their "fast focus" motor be warned that the Sigma is just not up to the
    > job. If you decide to buy one anyway please remember to post a note on
    > usenet if/when it fails so as to warn others.


    just avoid sigma lenses

    <http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.12/the-sigma-saga>
    <http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.20/lens-repair-data-20>
     
    nospam, Oct 23, 2009
    #2
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  3. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, John Navas
    <> wrote:

    > >just avoid sigma lenses

    >
    > Amen. You tend to get what you pay for.


    generally true but some sigma lenses are not cheap. for instance, the
    sigma 300-800 is $10k and the 120-300 is $3200 (b&h). the 120-300
    aspires to be #1 for being unreliable, with an 84.6% failure rate. you
    just can't get failure rates like that when you pay less!

    <http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.20/lens-repair-data-20>
     
    nospam, Oct 23, 2009
    #3
  4. "nospam" <> wrote in message
    news:231020091224233264%...
    > In article <>, John Navas
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> >just avoid sigma lenses

    >>
    >> Amen. You tend to get what you pay for.

    >
    > generally true but some sigma lenses are not cheap. for instance, the
    > sigma 300-800 is $10k and the 120-300 is $3200 (b&h). the 120-300
    > aspires to be #1 for being unreliable, with an 84.6% failure rate. you
    > just can't get failure rates like that when you pay less!
    >
    > <http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.20/lens-repair-data-20>


    I'm deeply shocked. For a commercial rental company to openly criticize a
    major supplier in the way that lensrentals have done is almost unheard of.
    They must be absolutely certain of their position. And what a position, of
    Sigma they say:
    "Our techs coined the phrase "Sigma'd" to describe any lens that didn't
    function."
    "[Sigma's] repair turnaround time was, to be charitable, leisurely."
    "Sigma was about 5% of our rentals but almost one-third of our customer
    complaints."

    I wish I'd known about that site before buying.


    So any recommendations for a cheap-end (ie. sub £200, it's a hobby after
    all) tele zoom for a Sony? My current thoughts are to buy a Sony brand lens
    as surely that must be matched to the body, but they get poor optical
    reviews. Are Tamron any good?
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 23, 2009
    #4
  5. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <hbt6p3$l7s$-september.org>, Calvin Sambrook
    <> wrote:

    > So any recommendations for a cheap-end (ie. sub £200, it's a hobby after
    > all) tele zoom for a Sony? My current thoughts are to buy a Sony brand lens
    > as surely that must be matched to the body, but they get poor optical
    > reviews. Are Tamron any good?


    some are and some aren't. it depends on the lens. the tamron 90mm macro
    is outstanding, and one of the best macro lenses made. on the other
    hand, the tamron 200-400mm was horrible, truly horrible.
     
    nospam, Oct 23, 2009
    #5
  6. In rec.photo.digital nospam <> wrote:
    > In article <hbt6p3$l7s$-september.org>, Calvin Sambrook
    > <> wrote:


    >> So any recommendations for a cheap-end (ie. sub 200, it's a hobby after
    >> all) tele zoom for a Sony? My current thoughts are to buy a Sony brand lens
    >> as surely that must be matched to the body, but they get poor optical
    >> reviews. Are Tamron any good?


    > some are and some aren't. it depends on the lens. the tamron 90mm macro
    > is outstanding, and one of the best macro lenses made. on the other
    > hand, the tamron 200-400mm was horrible, truly horrible.


    Same goes for Sony lenses. Their 18-250mm zoom for example is a
    rebadged and slightly improved version of the highly respected
    18-250mm Tamron. It's a rare manufacturer that makes no good
    lenses. And despite the weak focus gear teeth on some of their heavier
    long zooms, some of Sigma's lenses are very good too.

    --
    Chris Malcolm
     
    Chris Malcolm, Oct 23, 2009
    #6
  7. Calvin Sambrook

    me Guest

    On Fri, 23 Oct 2009 11:58:04 -0700, John Navas
    <> wrote:

    >Amen. You tend to get what you pay for.


    Not a 100% rule to follow. I'm happy with my Tokina AT-X 124 DX Pro
    12-24mm f4 lens, which is substantially cheaper than the Nikon
    equivalent. Yes, it's not and AF-S lens, but I couldn't justify the
    delta cost for that.
     
    me, Oct 24, 2009
    #7
  8. "Alan Browne" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Calvin Sambrook wrote:
    > > I post this as a warning for anyone researching this lens before purchase.
    > >
    > > I have a Sony a200 and recently bought a Sigma 70-300mm zoom. The reviews
    > > say it makes great pictures and I agree, the optical performance is great,
    > > especially for a cheap-ish lens. What the reviews don't tell you is that
    > > this lens was designed before Sony started fitting more powerful focus
    > > motors to their range of bodies. The extra torque from the newer motor is
    > > clearly too much for the plastic gears in the lens and mine lasted just two
    > > months before failing with stripped teeth. Subsequent research shows I'm
    > > not alone.
    > >
    > > Sigma appear to be in denial as emails to them have either been ignored or
    > > in one case I've simply been told they will repair it under warrantee.
    > > Remember that's a two month old lens - I elected to get a refund from the
    > > retailer instead but that's another story for later.
    > >
    > > So if you're in the market for a telephoto zoom for a Sony alpha body which
    > > has their "fast focus" motor be warned that the Sigma is just not up to the
    > > job. If you decide to buy one anyway please remember to post a note on
    > > usenet if/when it fails so as to warn others.

    >
    > This has been a known problem for some time but it is good to raise it
    > as a reminder.
    >
    > Further reading:
    > http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.12/the-sigma-saga



    When I first read that link last year - the most interesting question
    to me apart from the inordinate lengths they're going to blacken Sigma's
    reputation, is the fact that the company in question is based in Cordova
    Tennessee. Which with all due respect to Tennesseans is surely hardly
    anyone's idea of the lens hiring capital of the US, or of the world for
    that matter.

    Other than this outfit most of the big lens hirers appear to be over the
    counter outfits in big cities linked top retailers which branched out into
    mail hire with the growth of the internet.

    I'm surprised that nobody has ever stopped to question any of this.


    None of the other - mostly OTC big city - hirers websites who I checked both
    in the US and UK appear to have any problem with Sigma lenses at all. And from
    memory one big seller in the UK offers all lenses including Sigma on 2 weeks
    approval prior to purchase.


    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Oct 24, 2009
    #8
  9. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, me
    <> wrote:

    > >Amen. You tend to get what you pay for.

    >
    > Not a 100% rule to follow. I'm happy with my Tokina AT-X 124 DX Pro
    > 12-24mm f4 lens, which is substantially cheaper than the Nikon
    > equivalent. Yes, it's not and AF-S lens, but I couldn't justify the
    > delta cost for that.


    that's a very good lens, and there's also a new version of it with a
    built-in motor.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #9
  10. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, Alan Browne
    <> wrote:

    > Yep. Whatever grudging acceptance I've had for Sigma has been reduced
    > to "avoid" with the lensrentals saga.


    agreed, along with their blatant lies about their cameras.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #10
  11. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, michael adams
    <> wrote:

    > When I first read that link last year - the most interesting question
    > to me apart from the inordinate lengths they're going to blacken Sigma's
    > reputation, is the fact that the company in question is based in Cordova
    > Tennessee. Which with all due respect to Tennesseans is surely hardly
    > anyone's idea of the lens hiring capital of the US, or of the world for
    > that matter.


    what difference does that make? it's a mail order operation. the only
    thing that matters is that they have inventory to meet demand and near
    a shipping facility (i.e., not in the middle of montana).

    > Other than this outfit most of the big lens hirers appear to be over the
    > counter outfits in big cities linked top retailers which branched out into
    > mail hire with the growth of the internet.


    there's plenty of opportunity for more than one lens rental service.

    > I'm surprised that nobody has ever stopped to question any of this.


    there's nothing to question, that's why.

    > None of the other - mostly OTC big city - hirers websites who I checked both
    > in the US and UK appear to have any problem with Sigma lenses at all. And from
    > memory one big seller in the UK offers all lenses including Sigma on 2 weeks
    > approval prior to purchase.


    maybe they would just assume take your money rather than being honest.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #11
  12. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, Alan Browne
    <> wrote:

    > Were I in lensrentals shoes I would simply drop them completely from the
    > catalog and get rid of the inventory. Less hassle = happier company and
    > happier customers, even if they can't rent the Sigma garbage, er, product.


    they *have* done that when there's a non-sigma option. however, there
    are some lenses that only sigma makes, so they stock them.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #12
  13. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, John Navas
    <> wrote:

    > >>Amen. You tend to get what you pay for.

    > >
    > >Not a 100% rule to follow. I'm happy with my Tokina AT-X 124 DX Pro
    > >12-24mm f4 lens, which is substantially cheaper than the Nikon
    > >equivalent. Yes, it's not and AF-S lens, but I couldn't justify the
    > >delta cost for that.

    >
    > If it's good enough for you, that's all that matters, but I've
    > personally yet to see a case where a good OEM prime didn't significantly
    > outperform cheaper non-OEM lenses.


    perhaps you need to get out more, and he's not talking about single
    focal length lenses anyway.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #13
  14. "Alan Browne" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > michael adams wrote:
    > > "Alan Browne" <> wrote in message
    > > news:...
    > >> Calvin Sambrook wrote:
    > >>> I post this as a warning for anyone researching this lens before purchase.
    > >>>
    > >>> I have a Sony a200 and recently bought a Sigma 70-300mm zoom. The reviews
    > >>> say it makes great pictures and I agree, the optical performance is great,
    > >>> especially for a cheap-ish lens. What the reviews don't tell you is that
    > >>> this lens was designed before Sony started fitting more powerful focus
    > >>> motors to their range of bodies. The extra torque from the newer motor is
    > >>> clearly too much for the plastic gears in the lens and mine lasted just two
    > >>> months before failing with stripped teeth. Subsequent research shows I'm
    > >>> not alone.
    > >>>
    > >>> Sigma appear to be in denial as emails to them have either been ignored or
    > >>> in one case I've simply been told they will repair it under warrantee.
    > >>> Remember that's a two month old lens - I elected to get a refund from the
    > >>> retailer instead but that's another story for later.
    > >>>
    > >>> So if you're in the market for a telephoto zoom for a Sony alpha body which
    > >>> has their "fast focus" motor be warned that the Sigma is just not up to the
    > >>> job. If you decide to buy one anyway please remember to post a note on
    > >>> usenet if/when it fails so as to warn others.
    > >> This has been a known problem for some time but it is good to raise it
    > >> as a reminder.
    > >>
    > >> Further reading:
    > >> http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008.09.12/the-sigma-saga

    > >
    > >
    > > When I first read that link last year - the most interesting question
    > > to me apart from the inordinate lengths they're going to blacken Sigma's
    > > reputation, is the fact that the company in question is based in Cordova
    > > Tennessee. Which with all due respect to Tennesseans is surely hardly
    > > anyone's idea of the lens hiring capital of the US, or of the world for
    > > that matter.
    > >
    > > Other than this outfit most of the big lens hirers appear to be over the
    > > counter outfits in big cities linked top retailers which branched out into
    > > mail hire with the growth of the internet.
    > >
    > > I'm surprised that nobody has ever stopped to question any of this.

    >
    > The business model is different. Lensrentals started as a couple guys
    > with a few lenses lying around that they simply rented out - the
    > important distinction being that they do it by shipping. In fact you
    > put the finger directly on _why_ they started the business: if you live
    > away from a large city then it is hours if not full days away from a
    > city with a decent (or any) lens rental store.
    >
    > As to statements like the "inordinate lengths they're going to blacken
    > Sigma's reputation" I suggest you look at it from their point of view:
    > all the trouble that is caused by dealing with Sigma's denial of issues
    > ("lens broken by user" - on a lens that is brand new out of the box) and
    > very slow turn around). That trouble of simply dealing with the problem
    > costs them more than the lenses themselves.
    >
    > It is unusual for a company to dedicate a page or two of webspace to
    > detailing their issues with a supplier. OTOH, they do try to rent out
    > these lenses to people who want to rent them. Those customers deserve
    > to know why lensrentals are having such issues with Sigma products.
    >
    > Were I in lensrentals shoes I would simply drop them completely from the
    > catalog and get rid of the inventory. Less hassle = happier company and
    > happier customers, even if they can't rent the Sigma garbage, er, product.



    But don't you find it rather strange that no other lens rental company appears
    to have had similar problems with Sigma Lenses ? Certainly not to the extent of
    publishing entire web pages running them down. But even by simply imposing
    specific conditions when hiring Sigma lenses ? Which none of them seem to do.

    From reading their website they clearly seem to think that they're God's gift
    to photographers - and streets ahead of anyone else. And quite possibly some of
    that arrogance rubs off when it comes to their dealings with suppliers.

    Again your own opinion doesn't seem to be entirely based on your own personal
    experience but also on what you've read on this web page -

    " Yep. Whatever grudging acceptance I've had for Sigma has been reduced
    to "avoid" with the lensrentals saga."

    What's interesting is that, whether its true or not in this instance, is the credence
    which people are willing to place on whatever they happen to read on the internet
    on a web page published by an outfit hardly any of them will ever have dealt with,
    certainly to the extent of being sure its actually even exists. Simply because
    that web page will have been referenced by enough other people. Again very few if
    any of whom, will actually have ever dealt with lensrental.


    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Oct 24, 2009
    #14
  15. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, michael adams
    <> wrote:

    > But don't you find it rather strange that no other lens rental company appears
    > to have had similar problems with Sigma Lenses ? Certainly not to the extent
    > of
    > publishing entire web pages running them down. But even by simply imposing
    > specific conditions when hiring Sigma lenses ? Which none of them seem to do.


    what makes you think no other rental company hasn't had a problem?
    just ask any lens repair shop about sigma lenses, and you'll get a lot
    of stories, and not particularly flattering ones.

    sigma has a long history of selling crap. granted, their stuff is a lot
    better now than when they slapped lenses together with tape (yes,
    really), but their q/a is pitiful.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #15
  16. "nospam" <> wrote in message
    news:241020091221288409%...
    > In article <>, michael adams
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > > When I first read that link last year - the most interesting question
    > > to me apart from the inordinate lengths they're going to blacken Sigma's
    > > reputation, is the fact that the company in question is based in Cordova
    > > Tennessee. Which with all due respect to Tennesseans is surely hardly
    > > anyone's idea of the lens hiring capital of the US, or of the world for
    > > that matter.

    >
    > what difference does that make? it's a mail order operation. the only
    > thing that matters is that they have inventory to meet demand and near
    > a shipping facility (i.e., not in the middle of montana).
    >
    > > Other than this outfit most of the big lens hirers appear to be over the
    > > counter outfits in big cities linked top retailers which branched out into
    > > mail hire with the growth of the internet.

    >
    > there's plenty of opportunity for more than one lens rental service.
    >
    > > I'm surprised that nobody has ever stopped to question any of this.

    >
    > there's nothing to question, that's why.
    >
    > > None of the other - mostly OTC big city - hirers websites who I checked both
    > > in the US and UK appear to have any problem with Sigma lenses at all. And from
    > > memory one big seller in the UK offers all lenses including Sigma on 2 weeks
    > > approval prior to purchase.

    >
    > maybe they would just assume take your money rather than being honest.



    Sure thing. All the over the counter operations who have to deal face to face with
    their customers on a daily basis are likely to rip them off. While an outfit in an
    industrial estate right next to the airport in Hicksville Tennessee, maybe a 1000
    miles away, most definitely won't.


    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Oct 24, 2009
    #16
  17. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, michael adams
    <> wrote:

    > Sure thing. All the over the counter operations who have to deal face to face
    > with
    > their customers on a daily basis are likely to rip them off. While an outfit
    > in an
    > industrial estate right next to the airport in Hicksville Tennessee, maybe a 1000
    > miles away, most definitely won't.


    what makes you think these over the counter operations don't tell the
    customer that they should rent a nikon/canon lens instead? or that the
    sigma is 'out of stock' when it really means they're all broken? maybe
    the store stocks 1 sigma lens for every 10 nikon/canon lenses, just to
    appease the sigma fanbois who require sigma for some reason.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #17
  18. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, Alan Browne
    <> wrote:

    > I suggest you stop questioning what we believe in and start thinking
    > about the Sigma "value proposition". Go to enough groups and you will
    > find a lot of people weighing in with Sigma issues v. people having
    > problems with lenses from the better OEM's.


    on dpreview, people often go though 4-5 copies before getting a good
    one, and with more than one lens model. sometimes they just give up and
    buy something else. the fanbois, however, refuse to admit there's a
    problem.

    > More importantly there is no credible reason to doubt lensrentals
    > webpage. Certainly if they were lying about it, Sigma would have issued
    > a cease and desist letter and/or have sued by now. I would bet that
    > Sigma, instead, are in "Barbara Streisand Effect" defense mode.


    that's a good point. if sigma had proof that it was libel, they'd have
    taken action.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #18
  19. "Alan Browne" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > michael adams wrote:
    >> "Alan Browne" <> wrote in message

    >
    >>> Were I in lensrentals shoes I would simply drop them completely from the
    >>> catalog and get rid of the inventory. Less hassle = happier company and
    >>> happier customers, even if they can't rent the Sigma garbage, er,
    >>> product.

    >>
    >> But don't you find it rather strange that no other lens rental company
    >> appears
    >> to have had similar problems with Sigma Lenses ? Certainly not to the
    >> extent of
    >> publishing entire web pages running them down. But even by simply
    >> imposing
    >> specific conditions when hiring Sigma lenses ? Which none of them seem to
    >> do.

    >
    > I have no reason to doubt Lensrentals claims, and I have not seen a
    > similar report from any other co. (mainly because I haven't looked,
    > please posts links if you have found any).
    >

    [snip]
    > More importantly there is no credible reason to doubt lensrentals webpage.
    > Certainly if they were lying about it, Sigma would have issued a cease and
    > desist letter and/or have sued by now. I would bet that Sigma, instead,
    > are in "Barbara Streisand Effect" defense mode.


    Well, as the OP, I came at this from the viewpoint of a pissed-off customer.
    So although I'm not a lens rental company and I simply don't handle enough
    lenses to get data for a statistical sample myself I do have direct, first
    hand, experience of Sigma's quality. Not only that but I'm an engineer and
    having experienced the failure I trawled around a bit and found plenty of
    data, including detailed strip-downs with photos, to support the view that
    this particular Sigma lens is simply not made of sufficiently durable
    materials to withstand the forces from the Sony motor. Put simply it's just
    not up to the job.

    Knowing what I now know about one particular Sigma lens design and having
    exchanged emails with Sigma's "service" department I read the
    lensrentals.com report and it rings true. As I said somewhere else in this
    thread, it's very unusual for a rental company to openly criticize a major
    supplier. They must be pretty confident of their position and indeed they
    publish numbers to back it up.

    I certainly won't buy Sigma again.
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 24, 2009
    #19
  20. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    In article <>, John Navas
    <> wrote:

    > >In business it can be an error to try to please everyone.
    > >
    > >Hell, that's a good rule in life too.

    >
    > Just the opposite, actually.


    wrong. you'll go broke trying to please *everyone*.
     
    nospam, Oct 25, 2009
    #20
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