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Sigma striptease lenses

Discussion in 'Sony Chat' started by SqueamishOssifrage, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    T'interwebs are full of horror stories of Sony cameras stripping the gears of some Sigma lenses, but I can't find a definitive list anywhere. Does anybody know which lenses are most prone to stripping?

    The reason I ask is that I have several Sigma lenses, and when my A850 turns up, I don't want to destroy any lenses that I might continue to use on my film Dynax's.

    I have an eight pin 28-200mm aspherical 'Compact Hyperzoom', circa 2002, which is a good walkabout job, and a 75-210mm 3.5-4.5 APO, circa 1995, which is my favourite lens of this type, out of the three that I have. I am not too worried about the 28-200mm as I also have the 28-135mm 4.0-4.5 Minolta, but the 75-210 is a different matter. My concerns lie in the fact that, according to AP, who reviewed it in 1995, it shares a lot of 'body parts' with the 70-300mm of that era, and I believe that this is one of the lenses prone to shedding it's gear teeth like an Essex girl on a Saturday night getting rid of her ....er, no, not let's go there. :eek:

    So, if anybody has any opinion on this, I would love to hear it.

    Pretty please! :D
  2. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member


    I own the Sigma 70-300 APO Macro lens. My original had its gears stripped within two weeks of purchasing my A100, nearly 4 years ago. I must admit that that lens was second hand and had had its gears stripped before by my Minolta Dynax.

    I bought a new one and when I purchased my A350, that got its gears stripped as well. I had it repaired and haven't dared try it on my A550. However, it does seem to be OK on my A100, though I rarely use it as I have the 70-400mm G lens and the 70-200 F2.8 G lens as well.

    I have only heard about Sigma gear stripping on just this lens. As far as I am aware, all the other Sigma lens' are OK.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

  4. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have done a thorough search over there, and then expanded it to the whole web, and there are a huge number of references to the problem. However, they nearly all refer to the 70-300mm DG APO red ring version. I suspect that my 70-200 APO, which I now find was introduced in 1994, was better built than the later models. There are no web references to this model failing.

    For the 28-200mm Hyperzoom, I found one, and only one, reference to possible gear stripping, but it could easily have been failure of the drive connection to engage.

    As a result, I shall try both lenses when I get the camera (coming from Germany, so sloooooow, as I think it goes via Austria). If it all goes pear-shaped, I only paid €80 used for the 70-200mm and €100 for the 28-200mm new, so not exactly a major financial disaster.
  5. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the information, which appears to be spot on. If you look at my reply to Dorset_Mike, in a very extensive search the data support that only the early to mid noughties lenses were affected, and then just the 70-300mm, apart from very occcasional references to other lenses which could just be a standard failure rate on low cost lenses.
  6. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    I have four Sigma lenses

    105 Macro

    It's happened twice, to the 105 ad 24-70. The4 last time was the 24-70 2 years ago and, when Sigma repaired it (under Warranty), they said they had replaced the gears with new ones which eat it couldn't happen again. I'm hoping that they have done similar to all new lenses,
  7. wossit

    wossit New Member

    I have had the same problem with a Sigma 70-300mm APO that was only month old. I was using it on a Sony a55 but i sent it back to sigma who repaired it. Now here is something you should note i was using it with a Kenco Pro 300 1.4x tele-converter, this has a reduction gearbox of approx 2:1 thus increasing the torque of the drive motor by 2x and stripping the focusing ring when it hits the end stop.
    I have now converted the tele-converter to 1:1, but it did take some specailist machining of the drive spigot and since i have had no problems. When i was in the camera shop someone also brought in a Sony 75-300mm that had suffered the same fate after being used on a Kenco tele-converter (i,m not sure if all tele-converters have a reduction gearbox)


  8. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member

    I'm waiting for my Sigma 24-70 F2.8 to come back after it had its gears stripped by my A550 (though it could also have been done by my A350). It was bough in 2009.
  9. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Geeze - you would think Sigma would have wised up to the problem by then. Anyway, thanks for your input, which, together with the others, has persuaded me that the only Sigma lens I will use on my A850 is the old 75-200mm/2.8-3.5. It has all-metal gears, and is a pretty solid piece of kit.
  10. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    The Nikon F5 had a reputation for doing the same to all lenses which were not made or approved by Nikon.
  11. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member

    Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro £172 (from Microglobe)
    Sony 75-300 F4.5-5.6 (alpha) £244 (same company)

    Cost of getting gears repaired when stripped (out of warranty) about £85.

    IMHO, buy the Sony.

    However, another tip, is to send your camera back to Sony, stating it is stripping Minolta gears. They will then de-torque it FOC, or so I was informed by a nice man at Microglobe;).
  12. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    My A500 chewed up & spat out the supposedly best cheap 70-300 (Sigma APO DG MACRO) within 10 days.

    Sigma wanted in excess of £75 to correct something that, bluntly they screwed up on.

    That was sold and since then I avoid anything Sigma; Sigma's silence and inability to correct a problem that they created has probably cost them dear, strange isn't it that my much cheaper Tamron 70-300 should be fine after 18 months useage ;-)

    Apparently all Sigma HSM lenses should be ok on higher torque Alpha's, I personally haven't tried it and prefer to buy decent minolta glass, which ironically maybe getting on a bit (20+ years old), but at least doesn't break because of cheap naff materials..
  13. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    Very wise Dave if I may say so.All the glass I use on my A100 is Minolta except a Konica Minolta 18-70 kit lens which frankly is superb.
  14. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    The only Sigma I have is the 600/f8 mirror which doesn't have AF (but does have AF confirm) all the others are either Tamron (17-50, 55-200, 70-300 & 90 macro) Tokina (80-400) or Minolta (50/1.8, 35-105, 18-70) plus some Tamron Adaptall and M42 fit manual lenses.

    I think there are enough lenses on the market to be able to avoid Sigma yet not break the bank.
  15. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Or maybe not!

    I did use the Sigma 70-210/3.5-4.5 APO for a while, and it started to develop a lot of backlash in the gears, so that has gone into the Dynax 7 bag. I found the 75-200/2.8-3.5 was a bit iffy - sometimes it worked, and sometimes it had to be mounted and remounted several times to get it recognized by the camera. I am now using my third choice, the Cosina 70-210/2.8-4.0, which is pretty good (same lens as the Vivitar APO version). The only slight annoyance is that the Sony reports it as an 'unknown lens'.

    As proof of the old adage 'a fool and his money are soon parted', recently, when there was an 'new/old stock' sale at the local Sigma dealer I went slightly mad!

    15-30/3.5-4.5 EX DF Asp (D)
    28-70/2.8 EX DF Asp
    70/2.8 Macro EX DG (D)
    24-135/2.8-4.5 Asp (D)
    28-135/3.8-5.6 Asp (a walk-about for the Dynax 7)

    I got the lot for well under €1,000, and they are all new unused, boxed and warrantied. The first three are excellent on the A850, and in all the reports on stripped gears, I have yet to see any EX lenses mentioned. As only the 70 macro is a current lens, the rest having been discontinued, it will be rather interesting to see how Sigma handle any warranty claims, should I have to make one.

    One of the attractions of this collection is that I only have to carry a 77mm and 62mm CPL, whereas before I had to have 55mm (Minolta 50/2.8 macro), 58mm (Sigma APO), and 67mm (KM 28-57/2.8). It also means that I can get camera+grip, wide angle, standard and tele zooms, macro lens, filters and flash into my Kata H-16 holster - easily my favourite bag. NOTE - I am sure you all realize that this is just a pathetic attempt to justify my reckless abandon, but hey - new lenses are NICE! :cool:

    Anyway, should any of the new toys die ignominiously, you guys will be the first to know, so you can all chant in unison 'WE TOLD YOU SO'! :D
  16. Theskinny1

    Theskinny1 Member

    Can some one please explain what you mean by stipping the gears as i think this may be what has just happened to me...

    I have a sigma 28-70 f2.8 ex apherical lens and all of a sudden the focus ring locked up and then freed itself, but no longer focuses!

    I bought the lens 2nd hand a few months ago so i know it is one of the slightly older models, but was on a budget. and can anyone recommend a repairer or give me and idea as to how much it is likely to cost as i only paid £100 for the lens to start with.
  17. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member

    The gears in the Sigma lens are usually plastic. What happens is that the torque of the camera motor is too strong and so breaks the teeth on the focussing ring. I think this is happening on your lens (it happened on mine as well) using the higher end Sony's (A350, 550 etc).
    I must admit that until now, the only Sigma I had read about with this problem was the 70-300mm. Its a pity cos I've had soe good results with the 24-70mm F2.8 lens (I've since upgraded to the Carl Zeiss). As the lens is 2nd hand, the cost of repair is gonna be about £80 (contact Sigma).
    What you can do is contact Sony and tell them that your camera is starting to strip the gears on your Miolta lens. They will de-torque the camera FOC, or so I was told by a nice an at Microglobe where I originally bought the lens from.
  18. simonhodge

    simonhodge Active Member

    All i seem to read is horror stories about Sigma lenses, apart from what SqueamishOssifrage says about EX models, so i tend to stay well clear. I know they can be fixed and many of them under warranty but to be honest whats the point in all that hassle. I do have a 28mm F2.8 Super Wide Sigma, but i got it cheap second hand so it doesnt own me anything much really but does give brilliant macro shots.
  19. bio

    bio Well-Known Member

    My Sigma 70-300 lens is making a horrible grinding sound. I have a Sony a200. I assume, like many n here, the camera has stripped the gears.
    Does this description match that problem?

    If so, will continous use of the lens (on manual focus) damage my camera body?

  20. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member

    Yep. That sure does sound like gear stripping to me (I've had it twice on the 70-300 and once on the 24-70mm F2.8). I dont think you'll damage the camera using manual focus, but I'd advise against it.
    If you return the lens to Sigma, it'll cost about £100 to repair. One thing to do is contact Sony and tell them your A200 is stripping Minolta lens gears. They may de-torque the camera for you. Of course, you will still need to repair/replace your Sigma lens.

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