Review of Sigma MC-11 Adapter – Using Sigma Brand Canon-Mount Lenses on Sony E-Mount Cameras – Part 1
As mentioned in earlier posts I rented the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Canon EF and the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro for Canon EF to use on my Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 adapter. I had heard on a “The Camera Store” video that the MC-11 paired with Sigma Canon mount lenses was practically equivalent to native e-mount lenses with respect to autofocus on A7 cameras. The only caveat was that the Sigma lenses for which this was true were restricted to three series, the Art Series, the Sports Series and the Contemporary Series. Unfortunately for me I was interested in the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 macro lens which is not in any of these series. So I rent ed this lens and the 150-600mm sports Series lens to compare how they performed with the MC-11. I can now confirm that the lens series that are specified by Sigma for use with the MC-11 do indeed autofocus with Sony A7 cameras utilizing all the various capabilities of the autofocus system of the Sony A7 III (at least as far as I was able to determine). And unfortunately, I can also confirm that lenses that aren’t in those sanctioned series of lenses have much less autofocus capability than those that do. Many functions such as autofocus while remaining in magnified view don’t work at all. As far as the accuracy of the autofocus it’s not as clear whether the capability of the lenses differ that much because I was using it as a macro lens and that type of lens usually doesn’t autofocus as quickly as normal lenses. My sense is that it is less capable. It feels like the autofocus that was available on the first generation of A7 cameras.
But the main message of this post is if there are Sigma lenses that extend the lens range for the A7 cameras in one of these three lens series (Art,Sports, Contemporary) you can expect to get near native autofocus capability with the Canon mount versions on the MC-11 adapter.
Shooting Sigma Canon Mount Lenses with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter on the Sony A7 III – Part 2 – Sigma 180mm f\2.8 Macro
Because it’s been raining and cold for weeks here I took the Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon to a “butterfly conservatory” to get in some macro shooting.
This was a fairly challenging environment for the auto focus because the light level was low. What I found was that the autofocus works but it is far from fast and because it is a macro lens it can get lost in the focus wind up if the light level is low or the subject contrast is low. Several times I switched the lens to manual to reset it after it lost its mind. But as I said it was a fairly challenging lighting situation. My take on this is that the 180 mm Macro is an acceptable autofocus lens on the MC-11 but far from state of the art. The lens itself takes excellent macro and other photos. I am seriously thinking of getting it either in the Canon mount or possibly the amount for use with the LA-EA3. I’ll have to rent that mount version soon to check it out and see if it’s any better.
By the way, the turkey vulture wasn’t at the butterfly place. It was in a tree pretty far from my spot on a road side. It’s a pretty extreme crop so the autofocus was working well when the lens was used as a telephoto lens.
Where I work there is a formal, company sponsored photo club. They have a budget and they have funded events where they go together to an arboretum or a museum and talk about equipment and techniques. They have a charter and code of conduct. They include everyone and value everyone’s contribution. They give out tee shirts at the end of the year.
I don’t belong to that club. Life’s too short. I get together with about four or five guys who work there at lunch time. We’ll go to a park or walk down the street or try to find a building that’s interesting. We also occasionally take over a conference room during the lunch hour and throw our personal off hours photo results up on the big screen that usually features power point presentations of diversity training or unconscious bias hectoring or whatever else Big Brother needs us to absorb that week.
And some of these guys are pretty good. It’s spring, and from a photographic point of view there’s finally a reason to live. Normally we would already have gone out on a lunch time jaunt to see the dogwoods and weeping cherry trees in bloom. But this year several of these guys have been shanghaied into a shift change to work on a big engineering project. All of that ends on Friday, May 11th. To celebrate my brethren’s release from bondage I’ve scheduled an outing for the next Wednesday to a park that we hope will feature birds and bees and flowers and trees. Maybe even a few butterflies. And to make it interesting for me I’ve reserved a few lenses from a rental company for two weeks starting May 11th. I’ve rented the Sigma MC-11 EF to E mount adapter and the Sigma EF mount version of their 150 – 600 Sports zoom and their 180mm f\2.8 macro lens. I watched a video that the The Camera Store guys made testing out the MC-11 with Sigma EF mount lenses on one of the modern (A9 or third generation A7 cameras) Sony full-frames. They rated the autofocus performance almost exactly as good as Sony native glass. Now there is a catch. It’s only warranted to be that good with certain lenses. The Art and Sports series are covered. So the 150-600 is in that group. The 180 macro is not. I spoke to the rental company and they didn’t know one way or the other. But they did say I should try it. Of course I’m the one paying for the privilege but I figured it was worth a shot. So in about two weeks I’ll have something to say about the A7 III, the MC-11 and birds in flight. Sony has never allowed me to even try such a photographic feat but here we are, a brave new world. And with any any luck the 180 macro will prove to be good for butterfly shots. Currently my only long macro is the Minolta 200mm f\4. But it’s screw drive and if I want autofocus I have to use LA-EA4 with its “translucent mirror.” For me that’s something of a compromise. If the 180mm and the MC-11 combination turns out to have pretty good autofocus I will most probably buy those two items and retire the 200 mm to static macro and short telephoto opportunities with the LA-EA3.
So this is just me salivating in anticipation of the opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks. To say that I’m impatient would be the greatest example of understatement since Jack Swigert said “Houston we have a problem.” So stay tuned. If you’re a Sony shooter these tests will give you information on options that aren’t currently available in the native Sony e-mount ecosystem. And, even if they were, the cost would be prohibitive even to someone with my gear obsessed psyche.