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Thread started 21 Oct 2008 (Tuesday) 16:44
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Thinking of buying Sigma?

 
radiohead
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Oct 21, 2008 16:44 |  #1
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http://www.lensrentals​.com …2008.09.12/the-sigma-saga (external link)

'Since day 1 the Sigma brand has always been a bit of a money loser for us: they broke more frequently than the other brands. Our techs coined the phrase “Sigma’d” to describe any lens that didn’t function. When they did break, the repair turnaround time was, to be charitable, leisurely. We knew to buy a replacement, it would usually be several weeks and often a couple of months before we got the original copy returned repaired.

In the last year, however, things have gotten much, much worse. One third of the Sigma 150-500 and 120-400 lenses we bought were defective out of the box and had to be exchanged. Several more broke during their first and second rentals. New copies of other Sigma lenses showed up with high defective rates out of the box. Repairs have become even slower and now even our routine in-warranty repairs are being refused and billed as ‘customer damage’, even though we’ve never rented them out, simply tested them.

Several weeks ago we placed warnings on a number of lenses that they were ‘high risk’ of failure. All but two of these were Sigma, despite the fact that Sigma is less than 7% of our lens inventory. When we looked at our actual numbers things were even more bleak: Sigma lenses failed at a rate of 30% per year, compared to less than 5% for Canon, Tamron, Nikon, Tokina, and Zeiss. We weren’t losing a little bit of money anymore, we were losing a fair amount. More importantly, far more importantly, we had customers who rented lenses for important shoots and the lenses failed to work properly. Sigma was about 5% of our rentals but almost one-third of our customer complaints.

We aren’t going to stop renting Sigma entirely but we are going to close out two lines (the 150-500 and 120-400) that have developed so many problems as to be unusable. We will not stock Sigma when there are better alternatives (70-200 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8 for example). We will continue to carry those Sigma lenses that are unique and where there aren’t more reliable options (120-300 f2.8 for example), at least for now, but we are not going to offer our “2 in 2” guarantee on Sigma products any longer. The reason is simple: we’re happy to buy a new copy for you to rent, but in the case of Sigma we may have to buy 2 or 3 new copies to get one that passes inspection. There isn’t time to do that in two weeks.

We’ll monitor the situation and hope that someday soon Sigma gets their quality control back to “below average” from its current “worse than imaginable” and we can stock them like the other lenses in our lineup.'

Not impressive.


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The_Camera_Poser
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Oct 21, 2008 17:05 |  #2
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Do you carry the 17-70? Any word on it's return rate? How about the 24-60/2.8?

Wow- very telling indeed. I had thought strongly about getting a few different Sigma lenses, but have ruled them out. I have two, a 10-20, which is fine,and a 70-300 macro, which I know is a terrible lens, but I've never been able to get a useable shot out of it- I wonder if it's defective too?

Their service is supposed to be terrible in Australia too.

Amazing how the global down-turn in product quality is taking it's toll on the camera market- I used to think it was just Canon and Sigma, but Nikon certainly seems to have it's problems too. It's hard to get anything quality anymore.

Ohhhh.... if film was just cheaper to develop. All those lovely FD lenses sitting in my cupboard, calling to me.....




  
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ed ­ rader
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Oct 21, 2008 17:05 |  #3

radiohead wrote in post #6536439 (external link)
http://www.lensrentals​.com …2008.09.12/the-sigma-saga (external link)

'Since day 1 the Sigma brand has always been a bit of a money loser for us: they broke more frequently than the other brands. Our techs coined the phrase “Sigma’d” to describe any lens that didn’t function. When they did break, the repair turnaround time was, to be charitable, leisurely. We knew to buy a replacement, it would usually be several weeks and often a couple of months before we got the original copy returned repaired.

In the last year, however, things have gotten much, much worse. One third of the Sigma 150-500 and 120-400 lenses we bought were defective out of the box and had to be exchanged. Several more broke during their first and second rentals. New copies of other Sigma lenses showed up with high defective rates out of the box. Repairs have become even slower and now even our routine in-warranty repairs are being refused and billed as ‘customer damage’, even though we’ve never rented them out, simply tested them.

Several weeks ago we placed warnings on a number of lenses that they were ‘high risk’ of failure. All but two of these were Sigma, despite the fact that Sigma is less than 7% of our lens inventory. When we looked at our actual numbers things were even more bleak: Sigma lenses failed at a rate of 30% per year, compared to less than 5% for Canon, Tamron, Nikon, Tokina, and Zeiss. We weren’t losing a little bit of money anymore, we were losing a fair amount. More importantly, far more importantly, we had customers who rented lenses for important shoots and the lenses failed to work properly. Sigma was about 5% of our rentals but almost one-third of our customer complaints.

We aren’t going to stop renting Sigma entirely but we are going to close out two lines (the 150-500 and 120-400) that have developed so many problems as to be unusable. We will not stock Sigma when there are better alternatives (70-200 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8 for example). We will continue to carry those Sigma lenses that are unique and where there aren’t more reliable options (120-300 f2.8 for example), at least for now, but we are not going to offer our “2 in 2” guarantee on Sigma products any longer. The reason is simple: we’re happy to buy a new copy for you to rent, but in the case of Sigma we may have to buy 2 or 3 new copies to get one that passes inspection. There isn’t time to do that in two weeks.

We’ll monitor the situation and hope that someday soon Sigma gets their quality control back to “below average” from its current “worse than imaginable” and we can stock them like the other lenses in our lineup.'

Not impressive.

they'll be out howling in full force now, blaming the "canon fan boys" for the L lenses in their signatures :D.

ed rader


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Medic1
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Oct 21, 2008 18:51 |  #4

Interesting......I had historically always steered clear of third party lenses and I had just started looking at a couple sigma lenses for the near future. Gives you pause to reconsider.....maybe that Tokina is looking like the long and away front runner for my fisheye choice now for sure! I had read some older posts about Sigma problems but they seemed to become fewer recently, I thought thier quality control had started improving! Guess I assumed wrong....


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changes13
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Oct 21, 2008 19:13 |  #5

Ouch. I am so intrigued by the sigma 30mm and 50mm options. On paper, and in real life they outperform their canon and nikon counter parts. But only when AF is not considered. I picked up the sigma 30mm for the nikon body i just got, it seems "ok." AF isnt horribly wrong, however, it isnt dead on every time either. Seems 1 in 2 shots are slight out of focus. This post scares me.




  
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runninmann
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Oct 21, 2008 19:13 |  #6

The_Camera_Poser wrote in post #6536547 (external link)
Do you carry the 17-70? Any word on it's return rate? How about the 24-60/2.8?

Wow- very telling indeed. I had thought strongly about getting a few different Sigma lenses, but have ruled them out. I have two, a 10-20, which is fine,and a 70-300 macro, which I know is a terrible lens, but I've never been able to get a useable shot out of it- I wonder if it's defective too?

Their service is supposed to be terrible in Australia too.

Amazing how the global down-turn in product quality is taking it's toll on the camera market- I used to think it was just Canon and Sigma, but Nikon certainly seems to have it's problems too. It's hard to get anything quality anymore.

Ohhhh.... if film was just cheaper to develop. All those lovely FD lenses sitting in my cupboard, calling to me.....

i don't believe radiohead is from lensrentals. I believe he is quoting from their site.


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RPCrowe
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Oct 21, 2008 19:19 as a reply to  @ Medic1's post |  #7

My only Sigma experience...

Sigma reverse-engineers their Canon mount lenses. In other words, when Canon comes out with a new model camera, Sigma will purchase one of these and will, when necessary, modify their lenses to work with the new generation of camera. For the Sigma lenses already in the hands of private owners, the Sigma folks will rechip (modify) the existing lens to conform to whatever electronics a new camera will require. Sigma will do this free of charge.

This all sounds good and perhaps it is a reasonable solution to the problem; EXCEPT WHEN SIGMA HAS DISCONTINUED THE LENS OR REPLACED IT WITH A NEW MODEL.

Then the owner of the older Sigma lens has no alternative except to continue to use the offending lens on the older camera. Sigma will not or cannot modify a lens not in current production.

I have a Sigma 28mm f/1.8 lens in a Canon EOS mount which, because Sigma has issued a new model, cannot to be upgraded for use on any camera later than the 10D. This includes cameras such as the 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D as well as the 350D, 400D and 450D plus any new cameras Canon will issue in the future.

Fool me once Sigma; shame on you! Fool me twice Sigma, shame on me!

IMO, buying a Sigma is akin to entering a lottery betting that Sigma will not discontinue a lens before you want to use that lens on a new model Canon camera.

I have one Tamron and two Tokina EOS mount lenses which work on all my cameras from the D60 (which I modified for full-time IR) through the 40D.


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Medic1
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Oct 21, 2008 19:32 |  #8

RPCrowe wrote in post #6537329 (external link)
Sigma reverse-engineers their Canon mount lenses. In other words, when Canon comes out with a new model camera, Sigma will purchase one of these and will, when necessary, modify their lenses to work with the new generation of camera. For the Sigma lenses already in the hands of private owners, the Sigma folks will rechip (modify) the existing lens to conform to whatever electronics a new camera will require. Sigma will do this free of charge.

This all sounds good and perhaps it is a reasonable solution to the problem; EXCEPT WHEN SIGMA HAS DISCONTINUED THE LENS OR REPLACED IT WITH A NEW MODEL.

Then the owner of the older Sigma lens has no alternative except to continue to use the offending lens on the older camera. Sigma will not or cannot modify a lens not in current production.

I have a Sigma 28mm f/1.8 lens in a Canon EOS mount which, because Sigma has issued a new model, cannot to be upgraded for use on any camera later than the 10D. This includes cameras such as the 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D as well as the 350D, 400D and 450D plus any new cameras Canon will issue in the future.

Fool me once Sigma; shame on you! Fool me twice Sigma, shame on me!

IMO, buying a Sigma is akin to entering a lottery betting that Sigma will not discontinue a lens before you want to use that lens on a new model Canon camera.

I have one Tamron and two Tokina EOS mount lenses which work on all my cameras from the D60 (which I modified for full-time IR) through the 40D.

Good Information to know....I did not come across this in any of my research. Thanks greatly for posting!!


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Layston
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Oct 21, 2008 19:37 |  #9

I guess I must be an exception. I have a Sigma 70-200 EX non-DG non-macro that I am the THIRD owner of. It was front focusing (I think, maybe it was back focusing) a little bit and it was reporting the wrong focal length to my XT. I sent it in for an estimate and they fixed it and sent it back for free. They re-chipped it and fixed the focus problem. It took about 5 weeks because they had to get the chip from Japan but they did it.

My understanding is that they will continue to support their lenses as long as they can. And from being in the electronics business I can say that if the manufacturer of a chip that Sigma uses in their lenses stops making that chip, Sigma will be out of luck trying to fix/upgrade lenses that contain that chip. I don't fault Sigma for this, and since from what I understand Canon will not share it's body-lens communications, Sigma has to do their best to figure it out. I have also heard that certain older Tamron lenses don't work with newer bodies. While I agree that it could be painful to lose a useful lens because it doesn't work on newer bodies, it's a risk I'm willing to take because I got my 70-200 for $600 and the equivalent Canon was far more than that.

Now, if I were a pro and needed my gear for a living and relied on it day-in and day-out, then why would you chance a third party? But for the rest of us who just enjoy shooting, spending almost twice as much or more on a lens sometimes isn't feasible.


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midget
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Oct 21, 2008 20:00 |  #10

i suppose we've all heard these sigma QC horror stories, but this one is... staggering.


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Tomi ­ Hawk
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Oct 21, 2008 20:20 as a reply to  @ midget's post |  #11

Just for the record .. I love my Sigma 15-30 .. wonnnderful lens .. :mrgreen:


  
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brecklundin
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Oct 21, 2008 20:31 |  #12

interesting info indeed. I would have loved to read more details from "lensrentals.com" as to what sort of failures their lenses are/have experienced.

I have my 150-500 and haven't issues, yet, but it's always good to know the potential point of failures for a device.


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Riff ­ Raff
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Oct 21, 2008 21:05 |  #13

Wow, one of the more annoying Internet phrases actually seems appropriate here: Epic Fail.


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Stan43
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Oct 21, 2008 22:03 |  #14

I dipped my toe in the Sigma waters with an ill focusing 50 1.4. Never again!


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Oct 21, 2008 22:56 |  #15

DigiGrin wrote in post #6537674 (external link)
Just for the record .. I love my Sigma 15-30 .. wonnnderful lens .. :mrgreen:

Seconded, I had that on my EOS-3, fricking loved that lens..

So much so I bought its Digi brother! the 10-20, and I'm IMPRESSED

https://photography-on-the.net …php?p=6538433#p​ost6538433 (Scroll up for the pics and my crop torture test)

I think I got a really good copy of this thing because its -expletive- sharp!

But that said I have heard the QC horror stories..and it makes me uneasy purchasing [Hell i was scared this 10-20 was going to be the same way!] In fact I was really considering one of those 120-400s till I read that..

As for the rechipping thing..I know it, but then again, I also bought this lens knowing I'm most likely going to full frame in the future anyways, where it will be completely useless! So I saved $200 or so now that can go towards another lens...

As another guy put it, sometimes, the honest truth is that you just cant justify the extra cash and sometimes a used sigma can be a -spectacular- deal for someone just getting into this very expensive hobby! I saw a Sigma 400 f/5.6 recently that was optically great [from how i understand the ratings, the body was dinged up a bit] this particular one I think was compatable on the Digitals as well [this retailer usually notes if its not!] Also this particular lens is regarded as being a good optical match for the Canon 400mm f/5.6L, although the focus is an old micromotor

How much do you think it was? $500? Nope, way off

$180, $180 for a 400mm f/5.6 prime at a larger camera dealer who i know would gladly take it back if it didnt work right on your body

I very seriously considered nabbing it, and if they still have it, I just might!


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Thinking of buying Sigma?
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