Thinking of buying Sigma?


Well-known Member - News: The Sigma Saga

'Since day 1 the Sigma brand has always been a bit of a money loser for us: they broke more frequently than the other brands. Our techs coined the phrase “Sigma’d” to describe any lens that didn’t function. When they did break, the repair turnaround time was, to be charitable, leisurely. We knew to buy a replacement, it would usually be several weeks and often a couple of months before we got the original copy returned repaired.

In the last year, however, things have gotten much, much worse. One third of the Sigma 150-500 and 120-400 lenses we bought were defective out of the box and had to be exchanged. Several more broke during their first and second rentals. New copies of other Sigma lenses showed up with high defective rates out of the box. Repairs have become even slower and now even our routine in-warranty repairs are being refused and billed as ‘customer damage’, even though we’ve never rented them out, simply tested them.

Several weeks ago we placed warnings on a number of lenses that they were ‘high risk’ of failure. All but two of these were Sigma, despite the fact that Sigma is less than 7% of our lens inventory. When we looked at our actual numbers things were even more bleak: Sigma lenses failed at a rate of 30% per year, compared to less than 5% for Canon, Tamron, Nikon, Tokina, and Zeiss. We weren’t losing a little bit of money anymore, we were losing a fair amount. More importantly, far more importantly, we had customers who rented lenses for important shoots and the lenses failed to work properly. Sigma was about 5% of our rentals but almost one-third of our customer complaints.

We aren’t going to stop renting Sigma entirely but we are going to close out two lines (the 150-500 and 120-400) that have developed so many problems as to be unusable. We will not stock Sigma when there are better alternatives (70-200 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8 for example). We will continue to carry those Sigma lenses that are unique and where there aren’t more reliable options (120-300 f2.8 for example), at least for now, but we are not going to offer our “2 in 2” guarantee on Sigma products any longer. The reason is simple: we’re happy to buy a new copy for you to rent, but in the case of Sigma we may have to buy 2 or 3 new copies to get one that passes inspection. There isn’t time to do that in two weeks.

We’ll monitor the situation and hope that someday soon Sigma gets their quality control back to “below average” from its current “worse than imaginable” and we can stock them like the other lenses in our lineup.'

Not impressive.


Distinguished Member
Looks like I was lucky with my 150 2.8 and 120-300 2.8 (bought second hand), both work perfectly :).


Distinguished Member
It would be interesting to hear what problems they've been having.


Well-known Member
I have a 33% Sigma failure rate. I bought a 10-20 which was absolutely fine. My first 100-300 f4 was rubbish and went back (thankfully I'd bought it at Jessops for this very reason) to be replaced by a 2nd copy which has been absolutely perfect.

I'm going for a 120-300 as it's a fairly unique range and max aperture, but will buy in the UK from a real shop rather than save a hundred quid by getting one from HK.


Novice Member
This is an article by a lens rental company. Perhaps the people who rent are not as careful on how they handle and store the lenses, hence they break more frequently than they should. Think of it like a DVD rental, they are always scratched to hell, whereas your own DVDs are generally spotless.


Well-known Member
This is an article by a lens rental company. Perhaps the people who rent are not as careful on how they handle and store the lenses, hence they break more frequently than they should. Think of it like a DVD rental, they are always scratched to hell, whereas your own DVDs are generally spotless.
They also give the breakdown of other manufacturers lenses, those being a 5% failure rate to Sigmas 30%.
I cant see renters being any more careful with those than Sigmas.
Plus 1/3rd of their tele-zooms were defective out of the box, therefore not even used by a customer.


Novice Member
Could be a case 'you get what you pay for', sigmas are cheaper than manufacturers branded lenses. Haven't read the article TBH so probably shouldn't be commenting on it :rotfl:


Novice Member
that has certainly made me thing twice about buying a sigma lens, though I guess a 30mm f1.4 prime is less likely to go wrong than a telezoom? I would definately only buy one of these on the highstreet now for ease of return.

Having said that in the short time I've owned a Nikon slr I've had three lenses, 18-55, 55-200 and a 16-85 and the 16-85 died on me within a couple of months - so that's not a great failure rate, especially for such an expensive bit of kit...


Well-known Member
I see that the the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR has a 10.53% failure rate at

I got a 70-200VR about a week ago. If you register Nikon lenses online ( see here ) they they now have a two year warranty.


Well-known Member
The other thing to remember here is that a lens rental company has to make money back on the lenses they purchase. It's the reason they say they're stopping carrying them. As consumers the consideration is different.

Obv the jobbing pros here have different considerations than most of us, more akin to the considerations of the lens rental company. A lens that arrives with a fault or becomes faulty could cost money on missed work.

As Tobers' experience shows, even if the first one is knacked, you can get a good copy if you're prepared to go through that hassle (reduced if bought off the high street) and then you've still saved the money on the Canon/Nikon/whatever alternative.

Sigma, and for that matter all third party lenses, are for me still about value for money. I couldn't justify the cost of a Canon 70-200 2.8 and so the Sigma was a suitable compromise. I've also had no issues with it and always recommend them, but with the VFM caveat.

It is interesting to see some quantifiable figures on the reliability of Sigma compared to others though, even other third party manufacturers. Much as it pains me to say it, it does give a certain credence to those who persistently challenge the quality of Sigma lenses. From a manufacturing POV anyway.


I,I've got to jump in here and say, other than my earwig experience on my 100-300mm all 4 sigma lens I currently own have been spot on with no issues.

However Sigma UK service department are possibly the worst company I have had the misfortune to deal with. It took the around ten weeks to get my lens back, lots of phone calls (by me) lots of promises and on occasions downright lies (by them) to get my lens back.

So provided you have a good lens they are great value and continue to surprise me, however if one goes wrong god help you. Buy from a good retailer and if it is not right at the start take it back and get another one.



Good shout Guy. I only have the one Sigma lens but had toyed with the idea of getting the 150-500.

Might cross it off the list now......

I think you might have saved several of us a costly mistake. :smashin:

Although I would like someone from Sigma to come along and use their right of reply. Sigma - over to you......

Cheers Guy



Novice Member
I bought a Sigma 30mm f1.4 and was not surprised to find that it front focussed. So that's a negative for their quality control. However, rather than sending it back to be replaced (possibly with an equally bad one) I went down the service route and about two and a half weeks later I had a perfectly working lens. So that was a relatively positive experience overall.

Obviously I'd much prefer them to improve their quality control however, for the price paid, I am happy with the final result, especially as I didn't want to spend far more to get the 35L as it's not a lens I use a great deal.

As for build quality, it seems to be good enough to me but as I said I don't exactly stress any of my kit with over use!



Novice Member
I go the 30mm and its fine with no front focus but its not a patch on nikkor for AF. Even though people may say £250 is cheap, it's not, it's a lot of money. The lenses talked about in the article are a damned sight more money so I would never buy them with those kind of failure rates.
To me you cannot put a price on memories and it was with this in mind that I manually focused with the 50mm 1.8 instead of the sigma 30mm when my daughter was being made over, as the number of out of focus shots I was getting out of the Sigma was worse than my manually focused shots I'd taken. When I consider that my 105mm macro was £500, and at whatever distance the subject you point at is, it's always in focus, the only thing to give a bad picture with a 105 nikkor is hand shake, it's 10 times the lens of the 30mm Sigma. The Sigma is rubbish at distance. So think carefully before deciding something is value for money. Ow and putting the rear lens cap on the 30 is a mare in itself.

For me, I will only get another Sigma if it's a neiche product


I have the Sigma 70-300 APO and the 17-70, both work perfectly.

I also have a Canon 17-85 and have had a Canon 24-135, both feel to be poorer build quality than my Sigmas and have chromatic aborations which I have to correct in software. I'd happily buy another Sigma.


Distinguished Member
My solitary Sigma 70-300DG APO is quite fine too. The Canon 17-85 is rattling suspiciously and the 50mm1.8 was replaced with the 1.4 when it began to rattle but it seems to be soldering on
I think the jist if this is that whilst no brand is immune from duffs, Sigmas QC is not consistent : this is not the first time they have had to be "kick in the backside" to get thier act together

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Hi-Fi products of 2020, Plus Best of the Month for TV Shows & Movies

Latest News

AVForums Podcast: 25th November 2020
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Sky agrees movie deal with Entertainment One
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Amazon Prime Video UK for December 2020
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Lypertek renames TEVI wireless earphones to PurePlay Z3
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Disney+ UK for December 2020
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom