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I've bought a cheap used package of a Nikon D3100 and some lenses, including a Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 (not 4.5, and not contemporary). After several tests I can tell that this 17-70 has a problem. Here it is :

  • on any body : stabilisation behaves strangely, like "punching" hard the image to the side instead of a gentle adjustment

  • on D3100 : when the lens in mounted, horizontal scanlines (like old TVs) appear, in low light globally and bright light on dark-colored regions, in live view and on pictures taken. When half-pressing the shutter button to autofocus, the screen glitches with weird colors and huge scanlines. Last but not least, the camera shows a low-battery indicator even when fully charged, and when mounting another lens a full battery is shown

  • on my main D5500 : autofocus does not work at all. The display flickers between M and AF. And I talk about 7-8 swaps a second. No scanlines here, no glitching screen when half pressing in manual.

  • on my dad's D5200 : no problem at all except the stabilisation problem ! AF works fine, no glitch, no low-battery warning.

I'm lost there as the problems are inconsistent from a body to another. I feel like the stab could be the culprit. I would like to sell it back and have no budget to send it for a repair (it's worth 160€ used at best...), so if someone has a clue what could be going on, I'd be very interested to read about it !

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the scanlines, I don't think that's a lens problem: photo.stackexchange.com/q/21710/9161 If you bought the used package at a shop perhaps you can make use of their warranty? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2022 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately it was a C to C transaction and I didn't notice the problem while testing. The thing is that the scanlines occur only with this lens on the D3100, each and every other lenses work just fine (7 tested in total). Only my main Sigma 17-50 2.8 does scanlines while focusing in live view, but nothing appears on the picture taken. That's why I excluded the D3100 as the culprit, after being that close to throw it to the trash ! \$\endgroup\$
    – MaxSxB
    Nov 24, 2022 at 21:16

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Owner of two Sigma 17-70/2.8-4, your model and it successor (aka "Comtemporary") for Canon.

The symptoms make me think that the lens is drawing too much power, and on the D3100 too much power for an aging battery (if the battery is still the original battery you should replace it anyway). But power over-consumption could be the symptom of a more serious problem (stuck motor or defective electronics)

The "jerk" when the stabilization clicks in could be normal (my Sigma tele does it, but none of my 17-70...).

This said,

  • my original 17-70 (bought for a 450D, fairly contemporary to your 3100) started developing problems after 7 years (on mine it's a "jerk" when zooming around 22m)
  • IIRC at least Canon considers that the stabilization components of a lens have a limited life.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx for the answer ! The very first thing I had in mind was a voltage problem, but overconsumption seems to be more logical. Seems to be a D3100 thing, because I put my healthy EN-EL14a (after updating the firmware) and it didn't solve the problem. The "jerk" seems really abnormal. I have a Tamron 70-300 VC USD that jerks quite hard when moving (but man how it works well !) but nothing comparable. The jerk happens in every direction, even when standing still, or purposefully moving very slightly. Could it be a dislocated axle ? If yes, it could well be the cause of the glitches as well ! \$\endgroup\$
    – MaxSxB
    Nov 24, 2022 at 23:39

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