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What's the advantage with fixed lens over vari lens

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by Keith Jones, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Quite possibly but the lens that started the process was a very early Sigma 28-70 f2.8 with a mechanical focus coupling. The intermediate one was much newer, can't remember how it focused but I only had it a week or so. I decided that, as I would be upgrading bodies at some stage, I would just buy Nikon lenses and not have the worry that one, or more, lenses might need a software upgrade in the future. Even if i were to buy new Sigma lenses there is no guarantee that they would work with a later body. Sigma lenses are optically very good but the interface puts me off.
  2. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I’ve just looked up, and the first Sigma DG lens seems to have been the 15-30mm F3.5-5.6 Aspherical HF, launched July 2001: “Sigma have just announced the launch of a brand new wide angle zoom lens. This model is specifically targeted at the AF SLR Digital market where the benefit of a zoom of this type would be fully appreciated, with an effective zoom range between 21-42mm or 24-48mm dependent on the brand/chip size of the camera it is to be mounted on. It is of course also ideally suited for conventional 35mm AF SLR systems.

    The Nikon Df was announced Nov 5, 2013, so wouldn’t even have been in prospect to discourage Sigma from giving their lens a DF (Digital Full-frame) code. On the other hand, the only full-frame bodies they were targeting their new lens at took film!

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  3. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    My view is : “Whenever possible, if buying a lens, take your camera body to the shop and try the lens on it before purchase.

    About 5 weeks after buying my D800 and Tamron 24-70mm new I tried to take a shot, but the camera didn’t respond. I found out it was because the camera had lost contact with the lens, and showed the error message for no lens being mounted. This happened periodically with my Tamron lens, but not with my Nikkor or Sigma lenses, which were all lighter except my Sigma 150-500mm, where I was careful to support the lens rather than the camera body. So I assumed the loss of contact was due to the Tamron lens mount. They replaced the mount and then the lens to try to fix the problem, but without success. Wriggling the lens on its mount usually rectified things, although sometimes I needed to switch the camera off and on again.

    In 2016 I carelessly allowed my camera bag to fall from a hook on the back of a WC door. This damaged the image stabilization of the Tamron lens, but didn’t cause any other obvious damage. Tamron said the lens wasn’t repairable, but offered me a replacement at a discounted price. I spurned their offer and paid much more for the longer, heavier Nikkor 24-70mm VR, assuming I would escape the loss of contact problems. But instead I started to get loss of contact with other lenses as well. I sent the camera to Nikon for repair, which came with a 6-month guarantee, but after 7 months the occasional loss of contact problem returned.

    At the end of 2019 I decided to upgrade the telephoto I carry in my bag from a budget APS-C 55-200mm Nikkor to the full-frame AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm. Park Cameras offered the best price of the reputable bricks-and-mortar retailers, but the lens was out of stock, so I ordered click-and-collect, gaining the post-Christmas discount and retaining the opportunity to turn down the lens if I didn’t like its handling.

    But at the store neither I nor the Park Cameras shop assistant could get my D800 to recognize it was mounted. (One of their technicians did after a struggle, and we also tried the lens on a 2nd hand D800, which, unlike mine, lacked the firmware upgrade supposedly necessary to work with AF-P, yet it auto-focused without problems, and I was happy with the handling.)

    I was tempted to end my dependence on the F mount by buying a Nikon Z7 with mid-range zoom, reasoning that an FTZ adapter for my legacy lenses would see less use, and if necessary I could probably pick up a used replacement for less than the cost of repairing the D800’s mount. But I decided that my priority was to upgrade my telephoto, and buying an F mount AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm after I had a Z mount camera wouldn’t make sense (there’s no equivalent full-frame telephoto with a modest weight in Nikon’s roadmap yet). So after Nikon confirmed that their guarantee for a repair to the D800 would cover any problems trying to mount a new AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm, I sent the camera in for the mount to be replaced again. It came back on the Friday when our first lock-down was looking inevitable. I immediately phoned Park Cameras, but they wouldn’t sell at the post-Christmas discounted price, and the best available offer was from Camera World, although they were out of stock. Having confirmed I liked the handling of the lens at Park Cameras, I rushed to the nearest Camera World store, Stevenage, and paid for the lens, partly with a trade-in, but due to lock-down my lens was only delivered 5 weeks later.

    Anyway, I think it’s well worth checking any lens works OK on your camera before buying (although you could argue that if I’d accepted the lens from Park Cameras, and chanced that my D800 would accept it after repair, I would have got my working camera and telephoto combination sooner, and at lower cost). The good news is that since that repair I’ve now gone 10 months with no D800 loss-of-contact problems.

  4. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Somewhat off topic - it was actually a 15-30mm f:3.5-4.5, although it only reported down to 16mm in EXIF data. I've got one, and it's my favourite wide-angle, despite its bulk and not taking conventional filters. Sigma stopped making it quite quickly, due, I have been told, to not being able to manufacture it for the price set by the marketing department.
  5. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I got my information from https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/sigma-15-30mm-f3-5-5-6-aspherical-hf-launched-july-2001/. Reading your post, I checked and the heading is “Sigma 15-30mm F3.5-5.6 Aspherical HF Launched July 2001”, yet I read under “Specifications” “Maximum Aperture ƒ3.5-4.5”! I don’t know whether Sigma was careless drafting the heading or what.


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