Sigma 170-500mm compatibility?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by railphotog, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. I'm looking at a used Sigma 170-500mm lens for my Rebel XSi. In checking previous posts on this forum, there seems to be mixed feelings about the lens. I was mostly searching for the possible compatibility of the lens with my DSLR. On a competed eBay auction, the seller makes this caution:
    "This lens came out around the time of EOS 1D. It's compatible with digital and film bodies, and works perfectly with my Canon 40D. I have no other Canon bodies to test it on. Sigma says it still works on many bodies after that period of time, though some settings might read errors at various F Stops/lighting levels or settings because at various points Canon updated their communication protocols between bodies and lenses in the mid 2000's which rendered various lenses to produce errors of varying degrees. This lens may not able to shoot past f/5.6 (or f/5 at 170mm) unless you have a 1D Classic, or EOS film camera. Do your homework to make sure that this lens is compatible with your camera."

    Is there a way of finding out if the lens will indeed work on my camera? I have no info on how old it is, but I could ask the seller. Of course I would hope to test it on my DSLR before purchasing, but I'm concerned that whatever I could do in a short period of time might not be thorough enough.

  2. it works but the optics are so bad it's not worth buying. See comments on a Canon forum, e.g. (do a search)
  3. Brett: Thanks for the link, found comments on the 170-500mm. Funny, some posters asked questions about this lens and some responders started talking about the 50-500mm lens. Many compared it to the 50-500mm lens, some seem to be pleased with the 170-500, others not so.
    I had seen postings re the 50-500 in the past, so when I first saw the local ad for the 170-500, I thought it was the other lens; I did not realise there were two 500's from Sigma. The person is asking $300.00 for the lens, and I don't have any interest in paying for the better 50-500; I just thought the cheaper one would be OK for my casual shooting. I bought a low end 500mm mirror lens a while ago knowing it wouldn't be all that great, and it wasn't. Can't seem to get sharp focus, but what do you expect for $50.00. Makes a nice paperweight!
  4. The firmware issue that sigma had was discovered after the 10D was released and was corrected by the time the 20D was released (although people still had issues because they were either not aware of the issue or had not yet turned in there lenses for the free repair that was offered at the time). If it works on the 40D, it should work on the Xsi or any Canon DSLR currently in production. However I believe this lens is currently out of production so a repair might not be possible.
  5. I have used the Sigma in question, first on a Canon EOS 3 film camera and on my make a long story short...I sold it, was not impressed with the optics and performance of this lens on either camera.
  6. You'll find many mixed reviews on this lens. I don't know if there are significant unit-to-unit differences in IQ or if it's a matter of people not really knowing how to use a long telephoto without IS. (I suspect the latter may be the case in a lot of instances.)
    My copy of the lens is more than adequate for casual shooting and is hard to beat for the cost.
  7. My wife has the the Sigma 170 - 500 and has used it on her 30D, 40D, 50D and current 60D. Sometimes the results she gets make my Canon "L" telephoto lenses jealous. She always use it on a tripod and image quality has never been a problem.
  8. I've used a bunch of lenses in that range of focal length before I finally picked up my 100-400L. An el-cheapo 500mm mirror lens would be pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. Then there are various old t-mount lenses that are slightly better than the mirror, but not by much. There are also crappy 100-300mm zoom lenses from various manufacturers that at least offer AF and eliminate the need for stop-down metering. All of those options are optically mediocre at best.
    There is a Sigma 135-400mm that is in a different class, and IMHO is at the entry level of what's worth having in your bag. The 170-500mm is a little better still, and not so far off a 100-400L that one can justify the price difference for casual shooting. The only reason I did upgrade to the Canon in the end was that I managed to pick one up for a song, and was planning to do a lot of sports photography at the time. Even though this has never eventuated, I haven't managed to let go of my only L lens, but in all honestly the Sigma 170-500mm would do the job for me.
    2-3 years ago Sigma still upgraded the chips in these lenses for me free of charge, and even then plenty of people on the net claimed that was no longer possible. It's definitely worth contacting Sigma about to find out for yourself.

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