There are still lots of questions about what Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter (shipping April 2016) can do for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras such as “How did Sigma find the ‘Secret Sauce’ that unlocks all native AF functions of Sony mirrorless cameras that other Smart Adapters can’t?”
Here’s an explanation of what MC-11 can – and cannot – do.
What the Sigma MC-11 CAN do
When tested with pre-release firmware and supported lenses the MC-11 adapter offers fast and accurate PDAF and provided full AF functions for stills including focus tracking and Eye-AF. It also enables video AF with Sony mirrorless cameras that offer PDAF – including Sony a7, a7II, a7RII, a6000 & a6300.
Sigma reps told me that the final release firmware for MC-11 will support all 15 Sigma Art, Contemporary and Sport lenses listed below when the adapter is released. There is an USB port in the adapter that allows users update MC-11 when future Sigma Art, Contemporary or Sport lenses are released.
Sigma’s list of Sigma EF and SA lenses supported on MC-11:
Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art Lens
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens
Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens
Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM Art Lens
This is very good news for Sony E-mount users (or potential users who’ve been on the fence) waiting for fast telephoto lenses like the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens, fast wide angle primes like Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens or Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens, fast APS-C zoom lenses like Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens or Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens or a telephoto super-zooms like Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens.
It also opens up 15 additional lenses for filmmakers who need video AF that is impossible with most other lens adapters. (Sony’s LA-EA4 is the only other lens adapter that offers reliable video AF.)
What Sigma MC-11 CANNOT do
MC-11 is not compatible with teleconverters.
Don’t expect MC-11 to work with Canon EF lenses or other previously released Sigma lenses not on the above list. When I tested MC-11 with unsupported lenses, the LCD and EVF either went very dark (as in nearly black) or totally blown out (nearly white) making them totally unusable.
And if you’ve hoping for a MC-11 for Nikon F mount Sigma lenses don’t hold your breath. Sigma seems to be wisely avoiding that demon known “Nikon AF” that causes most lens adapter makers to run for the hills.
Sigma can convert the current mount of your Sigma Global Vision lens to another of your choice. Sigma lenses currently from the Contemporary, Art or Sports line, in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax mounts can be converted to Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony or Pentax. In the USA, the price for this conversion ranges from $80 to $250 plus shipping and handling between $25 to $100. Please note: this service must be performed in the country or region the lens was originally sold.Click Here for Details.
Why MC-11 Works Better Than Other Lens Adapters
The biggest question is: how did Sigma find the “Secret Sauce” that unlocks all these native functions when other Smart Adapters from Metabones and even Sony’s own LA-EA3 adapter can’t?
I have a theory on this. Unlike native Sony A-mount, Canon EF or Nikon F lenses, Sigma designs universal DSLR lenses and changes the mount and firmware depending on the camera they are designed for.
While other Smart adapters act like “translators” re-interpreting the AF commands of the lens, I believe that MC-11 firmware actually REPLACES the AF commands of the lens with AF commands for Sony E-mount lenses.
Please note this only my theory and I don’t expect Sigma to confirm or deny, but it would explain why it only works on the latest Sigma EF and SA lenses.
The Bottom Line
Will this adapter replace Metabones Smart Adapter IV for Canon EF lenses? Nope. Don’t buy it if you’re hoping it will work with unsupported lenses not listed above. But if MC-11 is compatible with lenses you already own (or plan to buy) it should be your best solution.
MC-11 Mount Converter allows Sigma can support E-mount without actually making E-mount lenses. Sigma keeps costs low by making single lens barrel for various DSLR lens mounts and simply swapping the mount and firmware.
This is fairly easy to do as the since all these mounts have nearly identical Flange Focal Distances, but E-mount versions of these 15 lenses would require a Sigma make new lens barrels that were 26mm longer than their existing lenses.
This is a rather brilliant way to get users to pay the cost of the mount converter rather than expecting the modification for free. Nicely played Sigma…nicely played…