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Warning | Sigma Announces Compatibility Issues with Nikon D5300

By Anthony Thurston on November 21st 2013

You always hear the brand snobs talk about how they never use third party lenses, they give many reasons for this. Usually you hear about how brand name lenses are built better, offer better image quality or are sharper. You also hear about how you never have to worry about a brand name lens working or not on your camera.

If you have read my posts for any amount of time you would know that I am all for saving money and buying third party glass if that is what you can afford. You rarely hear about actual issues with third party glass as a whole (it does happen every so often, but not a lot in recent years). Sigma bucked that trend and recently announced a compatibility issue with the new Nikon D5300 camera and some of their lenses.


According to the Sigma release the issue arises with lenses that have built in focus motors. They say that these lenses will not auto focus correctly while in Live View and that OS (Image Stabilization) may not work correctly as well. These are obviously huge issues if you happen to own a D5300 and any of the effected Sigma lenses. The good news is that a free firmware update will be available and will fix the issue for many Sigma lenses.

The bad news here is that the firmware may not be able to be updated on lenses which have been discontinued. So those of you running around with discontinued Sigma lenses may be out of luck with your D5300. You can find out more information from Sigma’s website to learn more about the issue and effected lenses.


This is exactly what people warn about in regards to buying third party lenses. Obviously the easy remedy here (if you happen to be stuck with lenses that you can’t update) is to either sell your sigma glass and buy nikon glass, or simply don’t buy a D5300. That said, this should be a good reminder to all of us to really think about purchasing third party glass over brand name glass. It may be rare and happen somewhat randomly, but at anytime with a new camera release you could be left owning a ton of glass that is useless on new cameras – something that is very unlikely to happen from a brand name lens (the obvious exception being Canon’s switch from FD to EOS in the 1990s).

What are your thoughts on this? Does this make you think twice about purchasing Sigma or other third party lenses? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mohamed AbdulHady

    I am starting to believe in only getting brand lenses, I have a sigma 24-105mm/f4 art lens; as great and sharp it is on my Nikon D810, it does something strange, while shooting tethered to a tablet or a laptop it always gives me a shaky ghosting first image, then the following images are fine; if I wait few minutes without shooting anything then reshoot again, again it gives me a shaky image then the following ones are ok.

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  2. Anette Mossbacher

    Very interesting article. I do not own third party lenses. Had ones a thought, but ended up again with the brand lens, since I get my gear serviced by the brand. I doubt they service or calibrate a third party on my camera body!
    Will stick with brand lenses, they have served me always well, including updates.
    Thanks for this article, was very interesting to read :)

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  3. Howard Auzenne

    I’m a retired professional photographer with over 25yrs experience in the industry. I normally love your articles but I just have to comment on your article regarding Sigma. You state in the article and I quote, “That said, this should be a good reminder to all of us to really think about purchasing third party glass over brand name glass. Sigma is one of the largest Brand Name lens manufactures in the world! Some of their lenses not only outsell the OEM lenses but are in many cases better optically. EVERY manufacturer has issues with products from time to time and Sigma is no exception. Since SLR Lounge has such a large following, I would suggest that you choose your words a little more carefully.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That is why I said third party glass, and not Sigma glass. Though this specific issue was with Sigma issues crop up with other manufacturers as well.

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  4. john

    I have used the high end (24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8) Sigma lenses for several years. They are great! They are sharp! I must say they are sharper than the high-end Canon FD lenses that I had before Canon screwed everybody and made all FD lenses obsolete with a mount change. That’s why I switched to Nikon and won’t look back. A 1960s Nikkor will work fine on any of my modern Nikon cameras. Canon plays fast and loose when it comes to its customers; at least there appears to be a compatibility prob with only a single Nikon model.

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  5. fran Russell

    I am looking for a new camera. I was told the same thing about the canon 70d. the 3 party lens are not sharp. I don’t know if it was deliberate or not. do you have any info on that?

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  6. ken

    Ask Canon users.
    When Canon was updating their USM protocol every year a while back, they kept breaking Sigma’s compatibility so users had to mail lenses into Sigma for an update.
    This is pretty old news…

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  7. Frank Villafane

    I recently unloaded my last non-“brand name” lens, the Samyang 14mm f2.8 (a great lens, but manual focus only for Nikon cameras). While I have owned “other brand” lenses (and may own others in the future), there is no guarantee that they will continue to work with every new camera body that I decide to purchase.

    Initially, they served their purpose…now, I tend to buy only glass from the same camera manufacturer (in this case, Nikon). I consider the lenses an “investment”…the camera body may (more than likely) change in the (near) future…but the lenses will not. Best to stick with what will work…just my 2 cents.

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  8. Ricardo Vaz

    It is worth considering that Sigma is beggining to produce better glass than the “brand names”, like the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, and the USB dock is something really revollutionary for me. I live in Brazil and I buy my gear from US dealers, and this means that if I have AF issues with lenses I´m stuck with them. With this new sigma technology I’m able to fine tune my lenses even in focus distance, thats perfect for my situation!

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  9. Sébastien D’Amour

    I have just recently purchased my 1st third party lens since I started photography in 2007. I tried some sigma lenses in the past but I was always very disappointed in the sharpness and color of the images.

    Fast forward to 2013, sigma builds the best 35mm lens and one of the best 85mm. (I have compared with my 35 f1.4L and 85mm f1.2LII) They even took the world by surprise with the super fast zoom 18-35mm f1.8. Most will whine that the lens was not built for full frame cameras but for the price point, no one competes. The 18-35mm is my recent purchase to shoot with my Canon C100. I must say that with my 85mm f1.2LII and 100mm f2.8L IS macro, I have a fabulous interview/corporate video setup.

    I also wish it would have been built for FF since my widest lens is a 24mm f1.4LII for my Canon 5DIII’s but I can live without a super wide for my type of photography.

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  10. Adam

    I think this was a deliberate move by Nikon to discredit 3rd party lenses and protect their lens sales. Sigma are producing good glass, and with their mount swap offer they make it dramatically cheaper to swap to other manufacturers, so the brand “lock in” would be under threat too.

    It wasn’t so long ago Nikon added completely unnecessary chips to their batteries to stop people buying 3rd party batteries.

    Sure it could all be a massive coincidence that just so happens to benefit Nikon and discredit one of their competitors at a time when Nikon need to find a way to increase revenue. Awfully big coincidence though…

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