Old Sigma lenses and EOS digital

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by alastair_beswick, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Hi all, new to the forums but a long-time lurker!
    I have an old film-era Sigma 500mm f/4.5 AF APO with EF mount, and I'd like to know which digital Canons (if any) will work with it.
    There seems to be some conflicting information in this regards, but the general consensus seems to be that all DIGIC II and later models are incompatible with old Sigmas. More specifically, any aperture other than maximum (e.g. f/4.5 on the 500mm) will result in an err99 error.
    All fine so far, however there are conflicting accounts about compatibility with earlier Canons, which I've surmised below.
    1. All pre-DIGIC II DSLR's are compatible with old Sigma lenses (i.e. 300D, 10D, 1DS (Mark 1), 1D (Mark 1), D60, D30)
    2. All pre-10D models (i.e. 1DS (Mark 1), 1D (Mark 1), D60, D30)
    3. Only non-DIGIC models (i.e. 30D and 60D)
    4. No digital at all.
    If anyone has first-hand experience with using old Sigma lenses with these models, please post your findings below. I'm especially interested in hearing from 1D and 1DS owners.
    Thanks! :)
  2. I think it's a lens by lens and body by body thing. I'm not sure anyone ever came up with a 100% reliable formula for what would work and what wouldn't.
    Worst case, you can shoot at full aperture on any digital EOS body (using manual focus) if you tape over the electrical connections.
    Sigma were known to rechip lenses for later EOS bodies when a lens was still in production. Many lenses are out of production of course like the 400/5.6 lenses. However the 500/4.5 APO is still a current production Sigma lens, so I guess there's a small to miniscule chance that the older lens might be rechipable by Sigma. It's worth asking I guess. It all depends on how different the current lens is from the old one.
  3. Hi Bob, thanks for replying. I'm aware that Sigma sometimes offer a re-chip service, however due to the size and weight of the lens, posting it would be a challenge. In any case, I believe this lens is around 20 years old now and so I have my doubts that Sigma (who are known for being somewhat reluctant to perform this task) would accept it.
    At this point I'm just looking for as much anecdotal evidence as possible for which legacy Sigma lenses work with which Canon bodies. There is such a dearth of reliable information on this subject that I hope this thread might shed a little more light on things.
  4. I think the only way you can tell for sure if your lens would work on any particular camera would be to try it. Even with the lenses designed for film based bodies there were often several firmware versions. Sometimes lenses would stop working when a new film body was introduced, so it's not just a digital problem!
    Anecdotal evidence is just that, anecdotal. You can't tell if the lens in question has the same firmware as yours. I don't know if it's possible for anyone but Sigma to read what firmware version a Sigma lens has.
    With the 500/4.5 APO it would probably be worth shipping the lens to Sigma if they could rechip it. I agree it's highly unlikely they'd be willing and able to do so, but it doesn't hurt to ask. They probably have some data on which EOS bodies it might work on, but whether they'd give out that info I don't know.
  5. My experience has been consistent with (1) and (2) and inconsistent with (3) and (4). I have successfully used a variety of older Sigma lenses on a D30 and a 1Ds. They also work with old Kodak EF-mount DSLRs (DCS 560 and DCS Pro SLR/c).

    Here is a DIY modification to convert the lenses: http://www.martinmelchior.be/2013/04/conversion-of-old-sigma-lens-to-work.html
  6. Thanks Ed, that's music to my ears. I've heard others say the same about those models, and none so far that have reported incompatibility issues, so there seems to be a growing consensus that they are broadly compatible with old Sigmas. In fact, of all the models mentioned in my first post, from what I've gleaned so far only the 10D seems to be problematic. This leads me to believe that (2) is the surest bet of those 4 options. I'd love to hear from some 10D owners that can corroborate this.
  7. I believe that the 10D is where the trouble started, yes. A friend had a 10D and my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 needed rechipping to work with it, even though on my bodies it worked fine.
  8. That's good to know, to my mind there's a clear pattern emerging now. To recap, the pre-10D models are 1DS, 1D, D60 and D30. From the sparse reports I've found on the web, all of these models have been reported to work, and I have found none to the contrary. This is encouraging to say the least!
    Bob may or may not have a point on firmware, but in the absence of Sigma releasing an official compatibility chart (don't hold your breath), user reports like these are the best we can hope for. At least, for those who aren't in a position to have their lens rechipped. The more the better, so please keep the reports coming in guys.
  9. I have the old (and rather poor) 14 F3.5 which works on film bodies including 1V but not on digital although me digital are all DIGIC. You can use it on newer bodies by switching it from a old body to a new but you only get one shot before you can only shoot wide open. Since the lens is bad wide open I never bother.
  10. Hi Philip, which digital bodies have you tried it on?

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