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

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

    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. 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

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

    me Guest

    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. 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

    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

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

    nospam Guest

    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).
    there's plenty of opportunity for more than one lens rental service.
    there's nothing to question, that's why.
    maybe they would just assume take your money rather than being honest.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #11
  12. Calvin Sambrook

    nospam Guest

    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

    perhaps you need to get out more, and he's not talking about single
    focal length lenses anyway.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #13

  14. 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

    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. 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

    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

    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.
    that's a good point. if sigma had proof that it was libel, they'd have
    taken action.
     
    nospam, Oct 24, 2009
    #18
  19. 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

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