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Sigma issues advisory on lens compatibility with Nikon Df

By dpreview staff on Dec 3, 2013 at 15:21 GMT

Sigma has posted a statement on its website regarding incompatibilities between its lenses and the Nikon Df. As with the D5300, both autofocus and image stabilisation may not work correctly; however lenses without built-in focus motors are also affected when used on the Df. The company says it will provide free lens firmware updates to fix the issue, but this may not be possible with discontinued models.

Sigma's statement:

Information Regarding Nikon Df Cameras

Thank you very much for purchasing and using Sigma products.

We have found that the current firmware of our Nikon fitting interchangeable lenses may not work properly with the Nikon Df camera's OS and Auto Focus functions.

This is similar to the phenomena described in "Information Regarding the Nikon D5300 Cameras" that we have announced on November 19th.

However, for the Nikon Df cameras, it includes those lenses that do not have an internal AF motor, and the following products will require a firmware update.

For those customers who use Sigma lenses in Nikon mount with the Nikon Df camera, we are going to provide a free firmware update.

Please note that all the products we dispatch from the factory will have the latest firmware.

Phenomenon

Without the latest firmware, the OS and Auto Focus functions do not work properly when it is used with the Nikon Df.

Concerned Products

Nikon fitting interchangeable lenses not yet updated for the Nikon D5300 camera.
* It includes the following lenses that do not have an internal AF motor:

  1. 8mm F3.5 EX DG CIRCULAR FISHEYE
  2. 15mm F2.8 EX DG DIAGONAL FISHEYE
  3. 20mm F1.8 EX DG ASPHERICAL RF
  4. 24mm F1.8 EX DG ASPHERICAL MACRO
  5. 28mm F1.8 EX DG ASPHERICAL MACRO
  6. MACRO 50mm F2.8 EX DG
  7. MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG

* For some discontinued products, we may not be able to offer the firmware update due to the discontinuation of related repair parts. Please contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for further details.
* Please refer to the link below for further information on the firmware update for the Nikon D5300.
http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/new/new_topic.php?id=402

Support

For those customers in need of the latest firmware, we are going to provide free firmware update from December 4th. For discontinued products, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for the further details.

For lenses that are compatible with the SIGMA USB DOCK, it is possible to update them via SIGMA Optimization Pro.

For detailed information on the SIGMA USB DOCK, please find it from the below link;
http://www.sigma-global.com/en/lenses/cas/product/usb.html

For the detailed information on the SIGMA Optimization Pro, please find it from the below link;
http://www.sigma-global.com/download/en/index.html

Local Service Center

You can contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for the firmware update. Details of your nearest authorized Sigma distributor can be found on the following web page.
http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/network/index.html

Compatibility Sticker

We are going to put the sticker to all Nikon fitting lenses that we will dispatch from the factory from now on.

Source: Sigma

Comments

Total comments: 67
C0rnholio
By C0rnholio (4 months ago)

I currently own a Sigma 35 1.4 on a Nikon D3 body. I think this is quite frankly the best lens I have ever used/tried ( and I've tried quite a few ). I have been a Nikon die hard fan for years, their QC issues lately, the whole D600 problem and HOW they managed it, the whole D800 AF problems got me worried. I also have some issues with colors and WB results from the D4 but that may be another discussion.
In my country the Nikon 35mm 1.4 costs exactly DOUBLE the money that Sigma is charging for it's 35. Taking into consideration that Sigma seems to be better than Nikon optically - these news can only make me EVEN MORE ANGRY.
It's very clear that this is a DELIBERATE thing. Otherwise, older Nikon lens would be affected - and they are not. Body reads lens brand and ACTS ACCORDINGLY. I wish there was an option of "recording" a Nikon chip info into a Sigma lnens :) Hopefully the hackers are working on it, and considering the Sigma USB adapter - things could be resolved very easy :D

0 upvotes
BillFS
By BillFS (4 months ago)

Thom covers off this matter better than I ever could: http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-nikon-sigma-kerfuffle.html

Explains why Nikon are bl00dy stupid with regard to third party lens manufacturers...

1 upvote
Paphios
By Paphios (4 months ago)

OK. So I just tested the Sigma 15mm f2.8 fisheye (one of the listed lenses) on the Nikon Df and it autofocuses just fine. What's going on here?

0 upvotes
Nick Jones 08
By Nick Jones 08 (4 months ago)

This is why Sigma is a junk brand.

0 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (4 months ago)

I think you are dumb. I bought Sigma lens for my Sony Nex 7 and they are excellent in quality compare to Sony lens that is not as good as Sigma. Sigma is much sharper in corner and edge than Sony lens.

2 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

I have 2 more points to add:
1) Sigma lenses aren't that much in competition with Nikon lenses. Simply because Nikon doesn't make many such lenses at all.

I hope we know that lenses are more important than bodies. Therefore, if I'm choosing lenses for my future system and most of them end up to be Sigma (because of focal lengths, speed etc.), then what is the most reasonable choice? Well, pick a system that is future proof toward my lenses.

If I pick a particular brand of bodies to go with my Sigma lenses, it means the body manufacturer gets to sell more bodies to me, but also that I might buy more 1st party lenses in the future.

Ergo the 1st party can gain more by working with 3rd parties, because lenses are more important. Just look at m4/3.

2) 3rd parties reverse engineer imperfectly because they also need to not break existing patents and copyrights. I.e. they can't just dig out and copy the existing firmware code, they need to do something 'similar enough' but not identical.

2 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

It is lovely conspirational thinking that Nikon does everything to break 3rd party compatility when bringing out new cameras. If that were the case, old AF Nikkors would also have problems. But specifically on the DF they will work with full satisfaction.
Fact is, pure and simple, Sigma reverse engineered the lens/camera interface and did so imperfectly. Otherwise these lenses would still work. Note that not all Sigma lenses have issues, if Nikon were really conspiring than all those other Sigma's, Tamrons, Tokinas would have problems as well - and as I mentioned older Nikkors too.
The question should rather be: is a camera manufacturer obliged to open source it's camera/lens interface specs so that reverse engineering is not necessary? legally, oviously not. Morally? I don't think so either.

1 upvote
Zdman
By Zdman (4 months ago)

Very easy for the camera to recognise an old Nikon lens and revert to an old protocol and not do the same for Sigma. If Nikon didn't change anything there would be no breakage. I'm sure that when they made the changes it was for the best but at the same time they could easily revert for sigma lenses as they probably do for their old ones. Balance of probability is that Nikon did this on purpose (which is their right but its not nice)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (4 months ago)

DF ..... Dumb focus ?

1 upvote
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (4 months ago)

This is what happens when you buy third party lenses.........

0 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

I used the same lens on my D200 and was always disappointed with it. IT was simply not sharp enough at 1.4 - why buy 1.4 lens if it is not reasonably sharp then. Perhaps it was a focus issue, I now realise. I had a much better experience with their EX10-20mm lens, slow aperture but good results.

0 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

Sorry the above was meant as a reply to another post.

0 upvotes
VIRTWO
By VIRTWO (4 months ago)

Please roll out a fix for D7100 as well.

1 upvote
Rjansenbr2
By Rjansenbr2 (4 months ago)

And for the D610 too!

0 upvotes
DezM
By DezM (4 months ago)

My Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens works just fine on the D610

0 upvotes
Hugh Paterson
By Hugh Paterson (4 months ago)

Sigma lenses have had problems before with some Nikon SLRs.
The original Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM prime was a disaster on the Nikon D300. The hopeless focus inaccuracy with this combination, could not be fully eliminated even with the camera's focus fine-tuning option because it was not consistent over the entire focus range. It also overexposed for most of the aperture range by at least one stop.
My conclusion, at the time, was that the design of the lens was the culprit when paired with this DX-sensor camera. I suspect that this lens's very wide rear element sited so close to the small reflex mirror of the DX-format D300 meant that much of the light from the periphery of the lens, when focusing/metering at full aperture simply bypassed the outer edges of the reflex mirror and did not reach the focusing screen. In other words, more light reached the image sensor during exposure, than reached the reflex mirror during focusing/metering.
Maybe something similar here?

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

That's a DX-only lens, so more likely your lens had a faulty aperture which wouldn't close down properly.

1 upvote
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

I used the same lens on my D200 and was always disappointed with it. IT was simply not sharp enough at 1.4 - why buy 1.4 lens if it is not reasonably sharp then. Perhaps it was a focus issue, I now realise. I had a much better experience with their EX10-20mm lens, slow aperture but good results.

0 upvotes
MacPham
By MacPham (4 months ago)

Really? My Sigma 30mm f1.4 was one my favourite lenses on my D300.

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (4 months ago)

If Nikon are adding code that deliberately sabotages Sigma lenses could that be regarded as anti-competitive and be subject to damages claims (class action) from Sigma users?

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (4 months ago)

Sounds likely they are trying to sabotage third party lens. Its a deliberation. Not a good way to.

3 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (4 months ago)

I don't see tamron or tokina posting any issues.

1 upvote
sandy b
By sandy b (4 months ago)

Think before you type people. Nikon has NO responsibility to help a competitor sell more lens in direct competition. Their job is to sell Nikon lens, not Sigma. If Nikon updates its lens, and Sigma can't keep up, tough. Sigma makes a LOT of money selling reverse engineered Nikon compatable lens. Nikon would be stupid to help them. AFAIK, neither Pentax, or Canon allow licensing of their lens either.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
David Pastern
By David Pastern (4 months ago)

Wholly agreed, but our governments are useless. The best thing for industry would be the complete abolishment of software patents and trademarks. Industry would flourish and benefit us, the consumer. I don't really give a crap about big business.

2 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (4 months ago)

SOunds like sandy b works for Nikon. lalala *Im not listening to this crap* Everyone are entitle to buy third party lens whatever they like. Customer choice. Not company choice. My piece of advice to some company, PLEASE STOP SCREWING CUSTOMER UP! They are angry customer as angry bird, you fix it or else they won't buy from you again. Simple as piece of cake. Think about the consequence.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

And Nikon strikes again. So much for the 3rd party ecosystem.

3 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (4 months ago)

I'll think twice before updating my D800e's when the next firmware update comes out. It seems probable that Nikon is deliberately trying to make things difficult for Sigma and it's customers.

7 upvotes
Paphios
By Paphios (4 months ago)

Agreed. Firmware updates should add functions to a camera, not remove them.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (4 months ago)

Sigma has some excellent lenses in its lineup, but in general, I didn't buy a Nikon body to slap Sigma and Tamron lenses on it. I have in the past, but lately I've been using all Nikon lenses. Rock solid AF and excellent color/contrast that Nikkors are known for.

It was the same when I shot Canon. Mostly, I didn't skip L lenses to go to shopping at the Sigma and Tamron counter at B&H. On DX, Sigma and Tamron have some sharp, compact and reasonably priced f/2.8 standard zooms. And Tokina has a few great UWA zooms. There are some great values in Sigma, but on FX, I mostly stick with Nikkors.

For the Df, I'll likely use a mix of G and AIS Nikkors.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Excuses, excuses.

1 upvote
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (4 months ago)

Yeah, isn't it a lot safer and convenient to be able to spend a whole lot more money on stuff? Well, now Sigma is bringing out some of the best lenses around, only reason to pass them up is the lack of weather sealing, though in marike6's case it's about brand loyalty

1 upvote
Shamael
By Shamael (4 months ago)

With a Sony A7 or any camera you use in MF, those problems do not exist. I MF only, so I care a clue about all your AF problems.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Patco
By Patco (4 months ago)

Dear Nikon,

Please exert less effort on engineering 3rd party incompatibilities, and more effort on creating a high-end DX D300 replacement.

Thank You

13 upvotes
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

Very strange comment. A camera brand has no responsibility towards third party makers, they can evolve their cameras without informing these companies. Companies like Sigma etc have always been reverse engineering lens interfaces which was of course much simpler in the good old days of manual focus film cameras. Personally since I alsmost completely switched to Nikon lenses I have only good experience: quality and compatibility. I was recently tempted by a Samyang 35mm f1.4 to put on a recently acquired Nikon F3 film camera but it was so big that I stayed with a Nikon 35mm f2 AF lens on it.

1 upvote
chaos215bar2
By chaos215bar2 (4 months ago)

If, as Patco and others are implying, Nikon engineered this incompatibility intentionally, then people have every right to be upset (even if Nikon does arguably have every right to do what they did). That would mean Nikon was intentionally devaluating people's existing lens collection, which sounds like a great reason to think about switching to another system.

Even if this wasn't intentional, Nikon has to be aware that breaking computability with existing lenses, even third party lenses, isn't exactly an encouraging move for people who've bought into the system or are thinking about doing so.

2 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (4 months ago)

Nikon does everything since more than 10 years now to get people away from the idea to buy Nikon. I have quit the brand when D300 came out, and the D3x / D4 scam started. simply when Nikon identified themselves with a Red Dot system where you pay a lot too much for nuts, or almost.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Paphios
By Paphios (4 months ago)

I have the 15mm f2.8 fisheye and on the D800e I have found that manual focus is more consistently accurate than autofocus with this lens. I will probably use it the same way on the Df so I probably won't send it in.

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (4 months ago)

"The focus ring is nicely damped and operates smoothly. It rotates in "Canon" style, however, which is the exact opposite of how the focus ring works on Nikkor lenses. If you're used to the Nikon way of manual focusing, the Sigma lens may be a challenge for your muscle memory. And you'll also have to remember that the focus assist in the viewfinder assumes a Nikon lens and consequently suggest the wrong direction of focus ring movement."

This is a direct quote from Photozone's review of the 35/f1.4 Sigma Art lens

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

I know the 1st party manufacturers aren't under any obligation to provide support for 3rd parties. But do they really think that if they don't make their own lens such as 50-150/2.8 or 18-35/1.8 for DX, and break the support for such a 3rd party lens, I'll buy a 70-200/2.8 VR and 24-70/2.8 instead? And maybe a FX body to boot? Really?

Because the answer is no, I won't, and I also won't buy any more bodies from Nikon. If my existing bodies get way too old to still be useful, I'll rather just switch to a brand that 1) offers the lenses I need, 2) allows me to use 3rd party lenses without being too worried about the future.

Fortunately I'm in no hurry. Let's see which of the DSLR/MILC manufacturers get their sh*t together the best.

10 upvotes
AlexRuiz
By AlexRuiz (4 months ago)

Friend, camera manufacturers do not willingly support third party lenses. That applies to past and present. It is the responsibility of third party lens (and accessory) manufacturers to provide compatibility patches and ongoing support so that their lenses/products work on the most current camera bodies. So instead of cmplaining about Nikon, you should demand Sigma to address the issue accordingly. Nikon's concern should be that their camera bodies work with Nikkor lenses....and the DF works with lenses from decades ago.

3 upvotes
NAwlins Contrarian
By NAwlins Contrarian (4 months ago)

Sigma lenses have at times had functional problems with newer Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Minolta cameras, and maybe others. Older Tamron and Tokina lenses seem to present less of a problem. So this appears to be more a Sigma issue than a Nikon issue. The word was, at least at one point, that Tamron and Tokina paid the camera manufacturers to license the lens-mount specifications, and the resulting lenses were fully compliant; but Sigma refused to pay to do so, and instead reverse-engineered the mount specifications--and occasionally got it slightly wrong in ways the prevented lenses from working on subsequently-introduced cameras.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 57 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (4 months ago)

> But do they really think that if they don't make their own lens such as 50-150/2.8 or 18-35/1.8 for DX, and break the support for such a 3rd party lens, I'll buy a 70-200/2.8 VR and 24-70/2.8 instead?

Why would Nikon make a 50-150 when they offer have 3 70/80-200 lenses in their lineup? And why would you waste your time with a 50-150 f/2.8 when you could have a sharper and more future proof 70-200 f/2.8 or f/4 VR lens? The Sigma weighs the same. Depending on what you shoot, a FF 70-200 on a DX camera is extremely useful, i.e. a 105-300 f/2.8 that works well with Nikon's 1.4 and 1.7 TCs.

Is the focal range from 70-100mm really so important?

And by the way, Nikon is not purposely breaking anything. Sigma reverse engineers Nikon's AF protocols which do change. Nikon is trying to improve their cameras, and they have their own lens lineup to worry about. Besides, AFAIK, Nikon does not get a dime from Sigma lens sales so Nikon's priority is Nikon, not third party lens support.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
bossa
By bossa (4 months ago)

The new Sigma 50-150 is sharper than all of those other zooms you mentioned as well as being a dedicated APS-C lens. I'll agree that it's heavy though, and, as such, you lose some advantage. The Pentax 50-135 is very light and is the same optical formula as the Tokina 50-135 although the Tokina doesn't have the weather seals, construction or great coatings of the Pentax..
I have a few Sigma lenses and will be monitoring how future FW updates for the D800e work via other people's experiences b4 installing them on my cameras.

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

In my OP I was referring to the non-OS 50-150 EX II which I've owned for a couple of years now. Small, light, fast, got it cheap (new), replaced my old 80-200/2.8. I needed smaller.

I just checked and the OS version is a gigantic brick and actually quite expensive so if I'd be buying one now I might prefer the NK 70-200/4 (70-200/2.8 is something completely different entirely).

As it is, my EXII is irreplaceable, same as many other 3rd party lenses.

0 upvotes
3LPC Photography
By 3LPC Photography (4 months ago)

I appreciate that Sigma steps up so quickly to announce an issue and offers to fix it. I've never seen Nikon, Caoin do anything like this.

3 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (4 months ago)

Nikon may have some unused or hidden features in their lens chips just so they can trip up third party lens manufacturers from time to time.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

Sigma really has no choice, other than to say "not compatible". Even that response complicates things for people who own more than one Nikon model.

0 upvotes
skogredd
By skogredd (4 months ago)

A non-issue. Who gets the Nikon Df and puts Sigma lenses on it??

4 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

I would.

3 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

I thought the same thing but I suppose somebody might buy the 35mm.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

it is an issue that Sigma should not make noise like this. I think it's should be more reasonable not releasing such notices until the affected users exceeds, say, 1%.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (4 months ago)

I've been using my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 on the Dƒ with great results.

0 upvotes
MrSkelter
By MrSkelter (4 months ago)

I am still surprised at this. Does Sigma not have an official license to Nikon's lens communication protocol? Even if not and it's reverse engineered why would the Df break compatibility?

What am I missing here...?

1 upvote
Marcos Villaroman
By Marcos Villaroman (4 months ago)

I would be surprised if Sigma had an official license to Nikon's lens communication protocol.

As for reverse engineering, it looks like Sigma hadn't perfected it if Nikon can maintain backward compatibility with very old Nikon lens while Sigma can't with its old lens.

4 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

Nikon does not license its lens communications protocol to anyone !!!

Neither Sigma, nor Tamron nor Tokina. The only mounts that have officially allowed third party lens developers to make lenses is Sony NEX mount, m43 mount and maybe Fuji X mount.

For all lens mounts like Canon EOS and Nikon F, 3rd party manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma have to reverse engineer the lens protocols to work with the mount.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (4 months ago)

That's not true. You can license it from Canon and Nikon. Tamron and Zeiss officially license the mount specification from Nikon and Canon. The difference is that Sony's E-mount there is no licensing fee.

Sigma reverse engineers the mount and that's why they always have these problems. Sigma lenses had the same incompatibility problems with Sony A-mount.

Tamron lenses have no issues.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (4 months ago)

I suspect Zeiss actually don't license the protocol from Nikon. They don't need it for AF or VR since Zeiss F mount lenses don't have those features - and the chips on some ZF2 lenses don't work perfectly on some Nikon cameras (you get wrong EXIF data). The latter wouldn't happen if they had a licence and access to the full API.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

ET2: Tamron lenses do have issues as well. Always have. The 17-50/2.8 was legendary with its problems in Nikon mount. So has 70-200/2.8. And that's a company that used to (maybe still does) licence their designs to Nikon. So if they have a licence to the F-mount, historically they haven't been making very good use of it.

As for Zeiss, I don't know, but considering they don't offer AF in F-mount, that's another bad use of the licence, if they have it.

0 upvotes
Peter A. Stavrakoglou
By Peter A. Stavrakoglou (4 months ago)

ET2, it is true. Canon and Nikon do not license their protocols to anyone. There have been issues with Tamron and Tokina lenses not being "forward" compatible, not just Sigma lenses. Canon has states it right here on the bottom of page 2 http://media.onecall.com/Image_Products/Canon/3rdPartyLenses.pdf

"The makers of third-party accessory lenses are not given this information when Canon
introduces new features or improves the performance of its cameras and lenses. It’s up to
them to continue to “reverse-engineer” their equipment to enable it to continue to work
on new EOS bodies as they’re developed."

Chuck Westfall of Canon has stated that Canon does not license the EF mount to anyone.

0 upvotes
LukeLT63
By LukeLT63 (4 months ago)

This news comes to me new. I use for my Nikon D90 lens Tamron 17-50/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 and I've never had any problems ......

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (4 months ago)

That's not fair NIKON ...

4 upvotes
four under
By four under (4 months ago)

Why is it not fair?

1 upvote
tech_head
By tech_head (4 months ago)

This is why I started buying Canon glass. I had to dump a load of Sigma lenses when I moved to a 50D, then a 7D. Now I just buy Canon. More expensive but I don't have these issues anymore.

1 upvote
Toshik
By Toshik (4 months ago)

Great solution at least a year ago. But now Sigmas' latest lenses are better optically/less expensive than Nikon/Canon ones. So why do pay more for less quality?

3 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (4 months ago)

I tried switching to Canon glass, but it's hella hard to get those suckers to mount onto my Nikon bodies!

1 upvote
Tom_A
By Tom_A (4 months ago)

Why is it not fair? Nikon has no responsibility. They introduce and evolve their cameras and have no obligation to inform 3rd party lens makers. Companies like Sigma etc have always re-engineered the camera/lens interface. Of course in the old days of manual lenses that was not so difficult as now.

1 upvote
Graham Serretta
By Graham Serretta (4 months ago)

Why don't you all read this - again!
http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-nikon-sigma-kerfuffle.html

0 upvotes
Total comments: 67