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Author Topic: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3  (Read 2508 times)

Hydrogen

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« on: March 16, 2013, 12:06:52 AM »
So two “Siggy” 85's freaked out my 5D3...  Has anyone had a similar experience?

Should I be concerned that either Sigma damaged my 5D3 or do you think this is some fluke?  Either way, I sent both Sigma’s back to B&H and Amazon respectively.  Sad because the IQ from that lens was nice for the money.

It was working fine just through general shooting then I decided to order a second copy to have something to compare the first against along with a single copy of the Canon EF 85 f/1.8 USM and started testing (USAF 1951 resolving chart - mostly for element misalignment and also FoCal for focus and sharpness).

First thing that went wrong was FoCal would continuously crash regardless of which Sigma lens copy I used (I Google’d and a few others are experiencing this with FoCal + Sigma 85).  It would require a full power down of the camera to get FoCal to work again without crashing.  If I mounted the Canon 85 1.8 *without* powering down after a Sigma freaked it out, even the Canon would cause FoCal to crash.

Then it gets more interesting…  USAF test shots – 10 second timer, manually de-focusing lens before each shot.  Canon 85 1.8 – no problems, Sigma – if I manually de-focused TWICE *consecutively*, the 10 second timer "turned into" a 2-second timer (no joke) EVEN THOUGH the top LCD on my 5D3 showed it as still being in 10-second timer mode.  Have you EVER seen this?  So get this – even if I switched to one-shot drive mode and BACK to the 10-second timer it was STILL behaving like a 2-second timer!  If I powered down and back up, all was well 10 second timer again.  This was repeatable with BOTH Sigma copies without fail.  The Canon 85 1.8 (if I restarted the camera before mounting it) worked 100% fine.

Needless to say, I personally may never purchase another Sigma again.  Other posters in various forums have had FoCal crash and other odd experiences with Sigma lenses on Canon bodies.  Forbid one of these lenses damaged the 5D3.
5D Mark III | 1D Mark III | 20D | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 28 f/1.8 | 35 f/1.4L | 50 f/1.4 | 85 f/1.8 | 580ex | 430ex | 420ex

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« on: March 16, 2013, 12:06:52 AM »

zim

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 04:42:45 AM »
If I mounted the Canon 85 1.8 *without* powering down after a Sigma freaked it out, even the Canon would cause FoCal to crash.

A side issue, but I thought you shouldn't ever do this as it can damage your camera?

ecka

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 05:57:46 AM »
Why are you so sure that it is Sigma's fault? Why not FoCal? or Canon? or the combination of all three? My bet is on FoCal :).
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Sporgon

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 07:35:26 AM »
If I mounted the Canon 85 1.8 *without* powering down after a Sigma freaked it out, even the Canon would cause FoCal to crash.

A side issue, but I thought you shouldn't ever do this as it can damage your camera?


I always thought the reason you should power off a digital camera when changing lenses is that when power is on the sensor is charged and will draw dust to it.

However when we use a zoom such as the 24-105 this pulls air in and out of the camera - which is probably why if you just use primes your sensor gathers less dust. Just a thought.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 07:44:01 AM »
Why are you so sure that it is Sigma's fault? Why not FoCal? or Canon? or the combination of all three? My bet is on FoCal :).

I'd be inclined to blame FoCal's crashes on FoCal, but it sounds like the timer issues were encountered when FoCal wasn't part of the mix - and in that case, I'd be inclined to blame the Sigma lens...
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Hydrogen

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 11:36:33 AM »
Warning: long post.  :D

Just to make clear from my original post, I want to clarify that even if I powered OFF the camera body and removed the battery itself, upon powering back up, both of the Sigma 85 lens copies that I was testing caused the erratic timer-mode behavior on my 5D3.  None of my Canon lenses exhibited this.  Therefore, it is my belief there is something wrong with (certain) firmware revisions of Sigma lenses that, at least in this case, affects the 5D3 (in specific shooting scenarios).

FoCal has told me that they believe certain firmware versions (based on serial numbers of the lens) of the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG seem to have problems with FoCal while others do not.  I'd be interested to know what the first three or four digits of the serial number of a lens is/was for those of you who have FoCal and have both had success or failures with this lens.  The two that I tried and both failed miserably started with 129xxxx and 133xxxx.

Allow me to disclaim the following analysis as a "prosumer" of nine years, turning part-time pro photographer...  so I don't know all there is to know by any means about our subject, but what I can apply is my engineering experience as lead technology architect for a Fortune 500 company.

There are a few key points mentioned in various replies that I want to address and also welcome for further comment from everyone:

1. Whether there is a need to "turn off" a Canon camera body when changing lenses.

2. Whether third party lenses, which have been reverse-engineered without licensed technology from Canon, are safe to use on a Canon camera body.

3. Whether FoCal has any part in this.

To start, regarding #1 - turning off a camera body when changing a lens.

     Maybe full time Canon professional photogs here can tell me otherwise, but I have been using EOS DSLRs for nine years and have up to this point never turned off a camera body for the sole purpose of changing out a lens.    In fact, I've never seen anyone else do it other than my overly cautious father.
     Referring to pages 39 and 40 of the 5D3 manual, there is absolutely no mention about needing to do so, even in the foot notes.  Researching further, one discovers that of the contacts on the body which mate to the lens, the contact which brings power to the lens from the camera body, is the last contact to "short."  Thus, the lens is without power until the absolute final point of rotation when mounting a lens.  Similarly, when removing a lens, it is the first contact to "open" removing power to/from the lens to prevent power from crossing into or out of the lens.
     One should then consider whether turning off the camera should be done for installing/removing a hotshoe flash, or plugging in the USB cable, etc...
     Additionally, have you noticed that when you turn OFF the camera body using the main "power" switch, since the 40D or so, there is the sensor cleaning that takes place?  Therefore, the camera body still has power running through it and the power toggle switch is not a true "analog" power switch, fully removing power from the camera body, instead it is simply a digital action, disabling the controls and upon sensor cleaning completion, placing the camera into a very low power state.
     Similarly, when you open the CF/SD  compartment door, an interlock is broken and power to the camera is removed.  In fact, I have seen this to completely remove power - nothing works whatsoever, because removing and inserting memory cards COULD lead to a short.  They weren't designed the same as the lens barrel contacts.
     If you truly want to be safe then, one would presumably have to remove the rechargeable battery pack from the battery compartment before changing a lens, or mounting a flash.

With respect to #2 - third party lenses being reverse-engineered.
     It is well known that third parties have to reverse-engineer the autofocus interactions between a lens and the camera.  Additionally, the lens mounts must be as well.  They do not license these technologies from Canon.  It is known also that because of this, future Canon camera bodies *may not* work well with previously released Sigma (or other third party lenses) because at the time of the lens design and manufacture, the third party was only able to reverse engineer up to that point with the Canon bodies that were in the marketplace at the time.
     Canon on the other hand, can ensure backward compatibility with their previously released lenses in future bodies because they can place logic into the camera bodies' firmware to do so.  They have no desire, need or motivation to do same for any third party lens.
     After wanting so bad for the Sigma 85 to work for me (due to budget) and having had such an experience with two copies of it, it is my personal opinion that it could downright be more dangerous to mount a reverse-engineered third party lens to a camera body (even with turning the power switch OFF prior to changing lenses) than it is to change Canon OEM lenses with the power switch in the ON position.
     For two Sigma lenses to cause such odd timer mode behavior within my 5D3 and cause FoCal to crash repeatedly, when none of my other Canon lenses (I have eight) ever did, is incriminating.  I believe the two Sigma's I tested and their reverse-engineered "communications" with the 5D3 (in this case), caused the firmware/OS within the 5D3 to enter an unstable state.
     I personally will never mount a non-Canon (OEM) lens to my camera body again.

With respect to #3 - FoCal's role in this
     As a software engineer and I.T. professional of twenty years, I personally believe FoCal needs to clean up the reliability of their application.  I do not believe FoCal is at fault here for anything the Sigma is/was doing to the camera's operation, but they could and need to do a better job...  Simple things like performing proper error-handling techniques are not being employed within the application.  For those with any software background reading this, they don't seem to bother catching and properly displaying to the user exceptions in certain scenarios while under test.  Instead, one has to look into the Windows Application Event Log to find that nasty error messages (stack traces) when the application blows up.  Instead of "catching" these exceptions (errors) and restoring a camera's settings, FoCal just blindly crashes because they haven't done their part within the code to "cleanly" exit from a bad situation.  I believe FoCal crashing on the two Sigma lenses I was testing was due to a condition (mostly during LiveView target focusing) whereby the Sigma may not have found peak focus "in time" for FoCal to be satisfied.  Instead, it threw FoCal into a tailspin nose-dive and FoCal has not been coded to accommodate this situation.

Just my two cents...
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 11:47:45 AM by Hydrogen »
5D Mark III | 1D Mark III | 20D | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 28 f/1.8 | 35 f/1.4L | 50 f/1.4 | 85 f/1.8 | 580ex | 430ex | 420ex

al2

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 02:38:11 PM »
I had a similar experience last night.  The Sigma 85mm F1.4 and 5D3 combination would crash every time I would use the Focus Peaking function in the Aperture Sharpness test.  Every Time.

I did NOT have this issue with the Sigma 50mm F1.4.

Sigma 85 serial number:  127xxxxx.

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 02:38:11 PM »

Stephen Melvin

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2013, 04:33:05 PM »


A side issue, but I thought you shouldn't ever do this as it can damage your camera?

This is a myth. First off, can you imagine a company designing a camera that you had to shut off every time you changed lenses, because doing so would damage the camera? The warranty work would be staggering.

Beyond that, the camera is never really turned off, anyway. Try changing a lens with the camera off, while looking at the "card writing" light. Notice that it turns on briefly? Turning a camera "off" really just puts it to sleep.

I always thought the reason you should power off a digital camera when changing lenses is that when power is on the sensor is charged and will draw dust to it.

However when we use a zoom such as the 24-105 this pulls air in and out of the camera - which is probably why if you just use primes your sensor gathers less dust. Just a thought.

Also myths. The sensor doesn't generate a static charge, and it's behind the shutter, anyhow.

And as a sealed lens, the 24-105 doesn't really draw air into the mirror box. You can feel it pulling through the eyepiece, but it's unlikely that much dust will come through past the focusing screen.

Hydrogen

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 04:48:42 PM »
Stephen - That is precisely what I was saying - it is a myth.   I do not know how you ended up quoting Zim as if it were I (Hydrogen) that stated it would damage a camera.  That is why I gave a long-winded explanation of the lens/body contacts.



A side issue, but I thought you shouldn't ever do this as it can damage your camera?

This is a myth. First off, can you imagine a company designing a camera that you had to shut off every time you changed lenses, because doing so would damage the camera? The warranty work would be staggering.

Beyond that, the camera is never really turned off, anyway. Try changing a lens with the camera off, while looking at the "card writing" light. Notice that it turns on briefly? Turning a camera "off" really just puts it to sleep.
5D Mark III | 1D Mark III | 20D | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 28 f/1.8 | 35 f/1.4L | 50 f/1.4 | 85 f/1.8 | 580ex | 430ex | 420ex

wickidwombat

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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 09:05:47 PM »
my sigma 85 is a 117xxxxx
no problems on any of my cameras
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Re: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG's odd behavior on 5D3
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 09:05:47 PM »