Old Sigma lenses on Canon digital bodies

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by iolair, Dec 10, 2009.

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  1. iolair
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    iolair New Member

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    I recently got a Canon 20D from eBay, and bought new a lovely 50mm 1.8.

    I also acquired/borrowed two EF fitting Sigma lenses which date back to film EOS cameras:Sigma Zoom - 28-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 DL Hyperzoom Macro and Sigma DL Zoom 75-300mm 1:4-5.6.

    Unfortunately, these virtually never work on my camera, giving "Err: 99". After a lot of googling and reading, I've read this is typical for Sigma lenses of this age on newer Canon bodies. The reason is that Canon update their protocols with full access to technical material (so their older lenses would be fine), Sigma reverse engineer to fit. This means Sigma lenses may not always work on future Canon bodies.

    It was, apparently, possible to get a lens rechipped to work with the newer Canons. I need to contact Sigma to see if this is still possible, but some posts I've seen online indicated that they've run out of the replacement chips.

    Another alternative might be to put a component (such as a cheap extension tube) in between the camera and the lens which prevents communication completely between the camera and lens. Obviously, this would stop the lens from operating at infinity and disable the autofocus, so it's far from ideal.

    Anyone else dealt with this issue?
  2. icassell
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    icassell New Member

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    Not all lenses could be re-chipped. Contacting Sigma is your best approach. Unless the old Sigma lenses have an aperture ring, you will find yourself shooting wide-open if you shoot manually.
  3. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    My opinion is that unless you have a really good lens, don't bother. A new 70-300mm lens from Canon, Sigma or Tamron will work just fine and isn't very expensive.
  4. iolair
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    iolair New Member

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    After a certain amount of experimenting, I've persuaded both the lenses to behave consistently. The caveat is that I can ONLY shoot with the aperture wide open in aperture-priority or manual modes, and I have to adjust the aperture or shutter speed setting before I shoot. It then avoids the error 100% of the time. (If I try to use a smaller aperture, or don't adjust the setting in some way before I take the first shot at a focal length, the error returns, and stays until I power cycle the camera).

    For shooting in natural light, it's not too bad, but with a flash it's hard to stop it being too bright at 1/250s and ISO-100 (my flashes are older ones without any power adjustment). The autofocus works fine, though.

    It's not possible to get it rechipped - so until I can afford new glass it'll have to do.
  5. iolair
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    iolair New Member

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    The 28-200 is very sharp, actually - better than the reviews suggest. I guess I'm just lucky with the copy I have.

    The image quality of the 75-300 is, well, meh ... but the reach will occasionally be useful. On the other hand, I don't need long telephoto often enough to justify replacing it.
  6. icassell
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    icassell New Member

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    You might see if you can get hold of some ND filters to use with it to cut the light when you're shooting wide open.
  7. alinez
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    alinez New Member

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    Hi iolair, I have exactly the same problem! I inherited some old cameras and lenses from my mother and I'm just starting to get more into photography. I tired using an old sigma 70-300mm and kept getting "error 99". What aperture and shutter speed did you use exactly? Did you configure it before you put the lens in? Mine does that as soon as I turn it on!
    thanks
  8. Jon_Baker
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    Jon_Baker New Member

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    It is apparently an issue with older sigma lenses not being compatible with newer Canon bodies.
    I just completed [link removed]the modification described on this site[/URL] and it seems to work quite well for now.

    Has any of you guys tried it as well?
    Jon
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2014
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