Sigma AF 75-200mm f2.8-3.5 lens for a Sony alpha
This is my first post on here so please bear with me and my newbie ways.
I have a Sigma AF 75-200mm f2.8-3.5 lens with a Minolta/Sony mount, Serial number 2024767, that not work with my Sony a55 camera. The lens works fine when used with the later models of 35m Minolta STL cameras. Although it mounts to my Sony, it does not communicate with the electronic internals of the camera. I get the No lens attached message when I try to use it.
I have read on some of the on-line forums that there are electronic adapters for this lens that will essentially "re-chip" it to work with digital Sony cameras. This lens is quite fast as it has a maximum aperture of f2.8-3.5 and a minimum aperture of f22, with a constant aperture of f2.8 between 75 -135 mm and f3.5 thereafter to 200mm focal length. Some folks rate it as a best buy and I guess it is if it works on their alphas. If I can get it working it will fit the low light niche in my equipment as I really can't afford a modern f2.8 zoom in this focal length range.
It sure is a beauty with its all metal construction and looks nearly brand new. However, I think that I can dispel the "rumor" about these lenses with serial numbers beginning with 200XXXX working on the Sony digital camera bodies. I have an a100 and a55 that don't even seem to be making any electrical contact with this lens. In my research I have found folks reporting serial numbers beginning in 100XXXX working on these cameras. There seems to be some Sony alpha models that these Sigma lenses will work on and some that they will not, and a disparity among this same model Sigma lens, regardless of the serial number, that will work. Results seem to be all over the place. It is a nice looking lens and I hope that I can make it more than an expensive paper weight.
Can anybody explain the physics of what is going on with this lens and the apparent disparities of whether it will work on alpha bodies or not? I can't seem to see a pattern here. I am looking into buying the chip sold by James Lao as suggested on another forum. First, I would like to know what the technical problems are that caused my lens not to work on the alphas, because I don't want to drop any more cash on something that may not make it operational. Does any one have any experience with this issue and /or re-chipping this lens? So far, Mr. Lao has not returned my email inquiries. This is what I am looking at:
M42 M42-MAF/SONY alpha Adapter With Focus Confirmation
An unfortunate side-effect of technology is that "early" SIGMA lenses had issues with several SONY bodies. It was one of the reasons I stuck with TAMRON up until around 2009. TAMRON was the indirect manufacturing source for many Minolta zooms.
Frank got his Quantaray (SIGMA manufacturing) 70-300mm f/4-5.6 focusing gears chewed right off by the SONY a100. Others have experienced similar problems... and that's a shame, but these early builds were not designed for the impressive torque the new screw post provided.
As far as the early model SLT cameras go... they are even more picky about what goes on them, especially from SIGMA. People have had to send their entire fleet of even recently manufactured SIGMA lenses in to get them to work.
Hearing that you experiencing issues with this is no surprise, but you may be able to address it with SIGMA, as they are keenly aware of the conflicts between their lenses and these cameras.
I would not be so quick to dismiss using the TAMRON SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 LD IF lens.
It is fairly priced, in this market and if you can get one, you would be way ahead of the problems you are now... encountering.
The one thing I have gone through, trying to make use of MANUAL lenses (lenses with no electrical contact to the body) is the constant "tricky" struggle to get them to expose correctly. The camera's exposure calculator WANTS that lens information... and when you do not provide it to these advanced computer-based units, they get a little wacky by substituting default values into their calculation stream and providing you with a rather annoying control setting fight.
If you are new to the photography game... this will not be a fun encounter. Oh, you will learn what to do to correct it, but you have to ask the salient question... WHY? It is not like there are no lenses available, out there. They easily exist... in spades. Make your life and your photography a little less "challenging" and eliminate this battle for control. Just give the camera what it wants. Old glass rarely can, these days... and to be honest, the manufactures don't give a crap. If anything, it is getting worse.
Remember: SONY has a vested interest in selling new lenses with their new cameras. They are not going to go out of their way to assist a third-party competitor to snap on, just because the mounting ring fits. In fact, the NEX camera bodies have no screw drive in them, they require electrical focusing motors in the lenses. That, is a major change. Half my lenses will not work under those conditions.
What I am saying and I know this may be hard to hear, but if you are encountering incompatibility issues with a NEW camera... just buckle down and get a newer lens that works 24/7 on your camera body or you are going to miss photo opportunities, as you fiddle and screw around trying to get things to work with one another. Photography should be as seamless as it can be from lifting the camera and then taking the image. For goodness sake, don't try to make it harder.
Just some friendly advice from a guy who has been down this road... and curses new technology, for its "limitations." Good luck... with a new lens.
Last edited by DonSchap; 03-28-2012 at 09:00 AM.
- BFA, Digital Photography
A Photographer Is Forever
Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.
Thanks for posting and the learned advice, Don. What you are saying is absolutely correct, IMHO. I have looked at the Tamron 70-200 lens and it seems like a nice lens for $800. I am not dismissing the Tamron and if I can pick one up used, I will. Being an old retired guy, I am working on a limited budget for such things. I already have a Sony 18-200 f3.5-f6.3 lens that I bought when I purchased my a100, so I understand the advantages of new equipment. I also have a Sigma Aspherical 28-70 f2.8 lens (I found it used in mint condition) that I am using as my daily driver on my newer a55...and I love the results. I love the ability to shoot without a flash that only a 2.8 lens can provide. I continue to look for a used f2.8 70-200 modern lens to this day. They are not easy to find and bring a premium when you do.
But I am considering getting my Sigma 75-200 working as a personal challenge...it is in near mint condition too. I like making vintage things work and rehabbing this lens beats throwing it away or putting it into my antique display cabinet with my old bellows cameras. Really, I would love to be able to drop $2,000+ on a new Sony lens but that ain't in my cards right now. My garage needs a new metal roof too .
My Sigma 75-200 2.8-3.5 was discontinued in 1989 and I realize there have been huge technical improvements in lens design and technology since then. However, like I said earlier, I have read about a lot of folks getting "lucky" with these lenses and having them work fine on the modern Sony bodies with no alterations. Then I have also read where they got them to work by re-chipping them with one of James Lao's finest. The results seemed to be, in part, dependent upon the serial number, but not always. My curiosity is also peaked by the physics involved that either make them work or not. Somebody out there that is a lot smarter than me knows what is going on, and I am reaching out to them for a helpful explanation. But the common theme in all of these success stories is that the lens turns out great results for a bargain price if you can just get them to work. I think that since I already own the old Sigma, that I will keep exploring that option at the same time that I continue a search for a good used modern lens. It will come and I will buy it sooner or later.
If I really have to fiddle with it on the camera in getting it to work, I will simply retire it and put it in the cabinet with my older film cameras. I have my old M645 in there to keep it company.
Thanks again for your reply!
I think you are on a good hiding to nothing with that lens; the newer ones have been known to work Ok but you obviously have an early and problematic chip.
AFAIK, all the James Lao chips are for prime lens and of little use with a zoom. Whether Sigma can/will rechip it I don't know but the price will probably exceed the value of the lens; even so, it could be worth while.
Your lens will work wide open in MF mode if that's any consolation.
Thanks for your post, Peekayoh. Sigma will not rechip it, I checked. My lens's serial number indicates that it is one of the "newer" ones, as 2024767 is much higher than some of those that have been reported to work on alphas. It is good to know the info about Lao's chips, as I had not heard that. Although, there are reports of folks who have re-chipped these exact lenses with his chips and they worked great. Things have got to make sense to me and the hit-and-miss performance of these lenses on alphas just don't.
Here are some of the user reviews that praise this lens from another forum:
Sigma will not work on this lens as it was discontinued in 1989. I have received information from a gentleman who has successfully re-chipped one of these Sigma 75-200 zoom lenses with one of James Lao's chips. This is what Mr. Lao instructed him to order for this lens, "You can order a MDC-L4 from http://eadpt.cn/eadpen.htm. Please note that 'AF 75/2.5,90/2.8,135/3.2,200/3.5 ' in the textbox. Then we can make a chip for AF rechip that have some different in firmware inside from normal adapter chip." There may be hope yet...
Thanks for your reply and thoughts. I will keep the board posted on my progress.
Well, good luck with that James Lao chip but make sure you know what you are buying before you part with any cash.
I still say that the chip you mention, the MDC-L4 is for prime lenses. The chip contains info for 4 focal lengths but the camera has to re-initialise to change the focal length which defeats the convenience of a zoom lens. Hope I'm wrong and that JL has a new secret weapon.