2

When using a Nikon D7100 and Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 EX DC HSM, the lens locks up or refuses to shoot. This lens doesn't have a Manual Focus or Autofocus button/switch. This lens is in brand new condition and has been rarely used. I bought it new a couple of years ago. I can fire off maybe 4 shots then change the settings, (A, ISO or speed) and it won't do anything. I'll press the trigger all the way down and nothing happens. I read online that if I take it off the camera, manually turn the focus ring in and out then remount it it will work. After trying this it does help but it freezes up shortly after. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

2

The Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 EX DC HSM is a design introduced in 2005.

Your Nikon D7100 was introduced in 2013.

Thus, Sigma had no way to test the design of that lens to see if it would work with the D7100.

This is all based upon the way that third party lens makers design lenses for other manufacturers' cameras. They do not usually license technology from the camera makers. Instead, they "reverse engineer" the camera maker's protocols by obtaining examples of cameras and lenses and measuring how they work. They measure the signals moving between the camera and lens. They may try to extract code from the camera or lens' data storage components. Eventually they try to produce a lens that can "understand" what the camera sends to the lens and can "mimic" what the camera maker's lenses send back to the camera.

They then test their prototype lens on each of the camera models available from the camera maker at that time. They have no way of testing their new lens with camera models that will be introduced in the future.

The main issue that sometimes comes up with this approach is that the camera makers may not utilize all of the code contained in their protocol with every camera and lens model currently on the market. They may have certain pieces of code included that are reserved for future use with cameras and/or lenses currently under development. They may have code intended for projects they hope to do even further into the future that may or may not ever come to fruition.

If the camera maker starts utilizing some of this "hidden" code in products produced after the third party lens was "reverse engineered" it can often have detrimental effects on the functionality of the older third party lens used with a newer camera body. Sometimes lens makers have subsequently updated the firmware for an older lens to make it compatible with newer camera bodies. This required the lens to be sent to a service center for the lens' memory chips to be swapped out or reflashed (overwritten with the new code). Newer copies of the lens made after the newer camera models were introduced may or may not have had the newer firmware when shipped, and of course older copies of the lens that have been sitting in a retailer's inventory for several years would not have the update if sold after the newer firmware had been released.

Lately, though, some lens makers have started to make it possible for the end users of third party lenses to update their lenses themselves via a "dock" that attaches to the lens camera mount and connects to a computer. These docks only work with newer lenses that are designed to allow them to communicate with the dock. Tamron calls their dock and software system the "TAP-in Console" while Sigma calls their dock the more mundane "USB Dock" and the software is named "Sigma Optimization Pro."

Unfortunately for owners of older lenses such as the Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 EX DC HSM, the new docks only work with lenses that are specifically made to be compatible with these USB docks and were introduced at around the same time or after the introduction of the docks. Sigma introduced their USB dock system in May of 2013 and it is compatible with their 'Global Vision' series of lenses that include models in the 'Art', 'Sports', and 'Contemporary' lines.

At one time Sigma offered a firmware update to the early examples of your lens (later copies made after this issue was known and resolved got the updated firmware when they were made) to make it compatible with the D5300 and similar newer Nikon cameras. They did this at no cost for lenses under warranty and for a minimal fee (about £40 in Belgium in 2016). The owner was responsible for shipping the lens to a Sigma Service Center. You should contact the Sigma Service center for your geographic location and inquire if that update is still available.

  • Michael C. I appreciate the technical and detailed answer. Thank you. – Sandi Beaudoin Oct 28 at 0:01
-1

It is weird because Sigma either make lenses whose firmware can be updated by the user or makes lenses using the lowest common denominator (in protocols) of the camera manufacturer.

And also Nikon, I would say always carries over the protocols from the oldest camera/lenses to the new bodies (backwards compatibility). One of the things that differentiates Nikon from Canon is that you can use from a slightly modified 1950 Nikkor film lenses to the latest digital ones on its newest DLSR bodies.

Does your lens have something similar to a quite big screw that camera moves to focus. If it has that you will need pro-am Nikon (old or new) to drive the autofocus, it was a system used in the first couple of generations autofocus cameras and lenses and was carried forward only for the pro-am DSLR, in most of the amateur line it was dropped due to cost constraints.

It flys with a new D500 (DX) pro-am and your body... your problem is probably that one of the few lenses that shipped with faulty firmware and it needs to be reflashed at a Sigma service center. Check DPREVIEW forums and the review of that lenses with your DSLR body in DXOMARK to see if reflashing is worth it or not.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – xiota Oct 31 at 3:01
  • The firmware was not "faulty" when it shipped. It was, at worst, incomplete for use with future Nikon cameras. It's no great mystery about which lenses can be updated by the user and which can't: Since introducing the USB dock, pretty much all of the new lenses they've introduced (which are pretty much all Global Vision series lenses) are compatible with the dock and accompanying software. – Michael C Oct 31 at 4:53
  • Nikon chose to make their "new" AF cameras back in the late 1980s as compatible as possible with their existing mount. Canon chose to make a clean break and create a new all electronic mount in 1987. By the mid-1990s Nikon had lost the market dominance they had held for decades as the capabilities of the all electronic connection became obvious. It took Nikon almost three additional decades to introduce lenses with electronically controlled apertures that are more consistent from shot-to-shot than mechanically linked/actuated apertures. – Michael C Oct 31 at 4:58
  • But it was the ability of the all electronic connection to exploit the advantages of Ultrasonic AF motors in the lens (designed to be optimal for each lens' unique focus parameters: length of travel, weight of moving focus elements, etc.) and the precision with which the focusing elements could be controlled that put Canon into the number one position in the market by the mid-1990s, where they have remained ever since. By the time Nikon introduced their first in-lens Silent Wave Motor, it was all over but the crying in terms of what brand most PJs and sports/action shooters were using. – Michael C Oct 31 at 5:01
  • @xiota It was neither a critic nor a request for clarification. It’s a proper answer that explains Nikon policy about it’s own lenses, I have D850 (which still have the mechanical screw to enable AF in lenses without an internal focusing motor and still shoot with some AI primes. Not all the Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 shipped need a firmware upgrade, only a few of them were shipped with the faulty firmware. Next none Nikon lenses are firmware upgradable by the user and all the Nikkor lenses concurrently shipped with that Sigma did not a firmware update to be compatible with newer bodies. – abetancort Oct 31 at 12:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.