Sigma USB Port

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ed_farmer, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. I just ordered a used Sigma 135f1.8 ART lens, used, from Adorama. Does anybody have the accompanying USB port to upgrade firmware and, I guess, do other things? Do you recommend the lens without?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have exactly one Sigma lens, a 35mm/f1.4 Art. In fact, that is my only non-Nikkor F-mount lens, and I don't have the Sigma dock.

    I understand that if you use the Sigma dock to make AF fine tune, the value of tuning is stored inside the lens, since Sigma has no access to the body, be that a Nikon or Canon. That is different from Nikon AF fine tune, whose values are stored inside the camera body for each lens (up to 10). That is not an issue if only use that Sigma lens on one Nikon body. If you have 2, 3 different Nikon bodies, I am not sure you can fine tune that Sigma lens for each Nikon body with the Sigma dock. Of course you can fine tune on the camera side.

    But the dock is useful for lens firmware updates. It is probably worthwhile if you have multiple Sigma Art lenses.
  3. I have the dock. I tried to use it with the 35mm f/1.4, which I think had the same issue with variable telecentricity as the old 80-200: it was very difficult to persuade it to focus consistently at f/1.4 (at least mine, at least on my D800). It didn't hugely help, but that may have been user error. If the error had been smaller, it might have been easier to arrange - it would probably also have helped if I'd been better able to hit the various expected distances. I think my 85mm and 40mm have been close enough that I've not bothered with the dock for them.

    My biggest issue with the dock is that you have to take the lens off the camera and plug it into the dock (which has a lens mount built in). Since you then need to update it, put it back on the camera, then see how accurate the result is, it's a bit of a tedious cycle to do for multiple focus distances (and worse if you have a zoom and want to do multiple focal lengths). If there had just been a (rubber-sealed) USB port on the lens so that you could do the update while the lens was on the camera, that would have been appreciably less annoying - I assume it would also have been better for those who switch systems and want to take advantage of Sigma's lens mount switch service, since they wouldn't need a new dock.

    I believe Tamron's works similarly. Still, it does allow more than the one-distance configuration that Nikon does. Nikon took forever to allow live view to automate the process (I don't know why); putting multi-distance, multi-focal-length and multi-AF-point (which the dock can't do) tuning in there was on the "dear Nikon" feature list. As Shun points out, the dock only lets you tune for one camera, which isn't ideal. (I'm sure Sigma would just like you to buy a new set of their lenses for each body...)
  4. No harm in trying out the lens before you get a dock.

    If the lens does not meet your expectations out of the box, I would consider returning it. I would check the AF accuracy very carefully upon receipt. My experience with a Sigma 35/1.4 is similar to AG's. Using a dock, I was able to make the lens fairly accurate at various distances on the D800 I had. But, at the end of the day, the 35 and D800 pair I had just did not reliably nail focus, so the Sigma was sold.

    To be fair, I think more recent Nikons have more consistent AF systems than the D800. The amount of AF fine tune "work" required by the D810 I had was much less than the D800. Maybe the Sigma AF accuracy is less of an issue now.
  5. Yes - I kept my 35mm (and added a 50mm), and they were certainly usable on a D810, although I'd still use live view in iffy lighting. I think they were better still on the D850, but I traded both for my 40mm. I thought my 85mm needed a little AF tuning, but I now wonder whether it was the 3D tracking issue that I reported elsewhere; I should re-check. I'm reasonably happy with both. I'd expect to be happy with the 135mm too. I'm a little torn, though - I'd like a fast 135mm, but I do like the look of the 105mm's lack of cat's eye vignetting at f/2... They're below some other glass in my lust list, though.

    When the 35mm nails focus, it's very sharp, especially in the centre. I used to think the same about the 50mm (more so at f/2), but recent advances like the Tamron 35mm, Sigma 40mm and Nikkor Z 50mm make it look less good; I'd actually have liked Sigma to update the 50mm rather than make a 40mm, but hey. Since they're not all that modern in design (I exclude the 58mm, which isn't really designed for absolute sharpness) I've been universally unimpressed by Nikon's 50mm offerings - which is why I have a load of cheap f/1.8 variants rather than a more expensive f/1.4. It does mean that when they try to show how good their 50mm Z lens is, they have a pretty low bar to hit if you only look on brand. Don't get me started on my 135DC...
  6. The 135 is the only "ART" lens that I have. I've been shooting with the Sigma 35f1.4 and 85f1.4 with a Nikkor 50f1.4 in-between. I'll shoot with this lens for a while before deciding on a dock. I don't expect to trade the other two for ART lenses anytime soon. I thought about selling the 30 and replacing with a 35f1.8 Nikkor (smaller and cheaper) but I love my 50 and 35 just isn't that different. That's how I ended up with the 30 in the first place.

    Thanks for all the great information, all of you!
  7. I'm lucky in that the main use I have for the 40mm 1.4 is studio based stuff where I can use LV AF or Zoomed MF LV.... often by tethering on a decent laptop screen.

    However, I've never had to AF fine tune my 135mm ART, although to be fair, I only use it on my D850. It may not play nicely with my other bodies.
  8. I have the dock for a couple of lenses that I bought. No update. A total waste of money.
  9. I guess you mean Firmware Updates to let you use your Sigma lenses with new(er) bodies and offer different functionality.

    I seem to remember there was a quick and dirty OR slow and accurate 'option' regarding AF focus speed. Not sure which lens it was for? 500mm f4 maybe?

    There's gotta be a handy list somewhere...??
  10. I meant I bought the USB dock to "update" but there was nothing to update on the lenses I had: Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG and 20mm f/1.4 DG> Now I don't remember if it's supposed to be compatible with my Sigma 150mm Macro with Optical Stabilizer. Anyhow, there was no further updates on these lenses. This was supposed to be good news, I guess. The Sigma lens descriptions are confusing. Now I can't remember what their "Contemporary Lenses" mean.
  11. I'd only get it for updates if I needed it; likewise, I'd probably only get one if I knew I was having fine tuning problems. Which, of course, I was with the 35mm.

    Sigma's site suggests the 150mm is too old to work with the dock. (I have one too - I was out shooting flowers with it over the weekend.) "Contemporary" shares the same first letter as "Cheap" - I believe it's equivalent to the lenses they didn't used to slap "EX" on, although "cheap" is relative once you're looking at a 150-600mm. What exactly distinguishes "sport" from "art" I'm unsure. All the manufacturers have their own names for various lens features; I really wish they'd standardise, even if there are subtle differences in the technology (to avoid patent infringement). USM/SWM/HSM and IS/VR/OS/VC spring to mind as particular offenders.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  12. If it's the list I could find, the Sigma 60-600mm S isn't on ANY list...?

    Mind you, their website (Sigma UK) is a UI mess.

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