How Good is Sigma’s MC-11 Smart Adapter?

Sigma-MC-11-Introduction

I’m getting lots of questions about conflicting reports about the performance and compatibility of the newly announced Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter ($249 pre-order for Canon EF or Sigma SA Mount).

First off, I want to be clear that while I was aware that this adapter was in the works, but I have not had one in my hands to test. I’m hoping to have a chance next week at WPPI in Las Vegas. In the mean time…

DP Review Raves:

DP Review’s Deputy Technical Editor Rishi Sanyal raised a few eyebrows with these comments:

“Given our recent finding that Sigma’s new adapter can confer full AF functionality to a Sigma lens attached to an a7R II, including continuous Eye AF, Lock-on AF, and phase-detect AF in video, I’m having a hard time understanding why Sony can’t do it with their own lenses on their own adapter on their own camera!

“This also means that Sigma’s adapter is far better than the Metabones adapter in some way, since it supports all AF functions for Sigma lenses on E-mount (we haven’t tried Canon EF lenses on the Sigma adapter yet though).

“In fact, I’m understating my excitement at essentially being able to use a Sigma Art lens and have it act like a native FE mount lens on an a7R II, in almost every way. We haven’t confirmed this, but it’s certainly what it appears like trying out the combination for a few minutes in my hands! Will be curious to see if a 35L II also worked like this attached to a Sigma adapter.

“That’d predict we’d be one step closer to a real hybrid camera.”

Sigma Manages Expectations:

On the other hand, Sigma’s own Introduction Video for MC-11 Mount Converter tells a much different story. Is Sigma just trying to manage expectations of did DP Review tumble upon something Sigma didn’t know?

The video explains that MC-11 adapters are specifically designed for 15 Sigma Art, Sport and Contemporary Sigma EF and SA mount lenses. When a supported Sigma Art, Sport or Contemporary lens is mounted on MC-11, the lens is no longer operates using the original lens firmware. It instead operates using the MC-11 Control Application which controls aperture, image stabilization as well as correcting for chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Sigma’s list of Sigma EF and SA lenses supported on MC-11:

FULLFRAME:
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

APS-C
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

Notes: MC-11 is not compatible with teleconverters. The MC-11 mount converter has a USB port that allows adapter firmware to updated for compatibility with future Sigma lenses.

Sigma-MC-11-Lens-Compatibilty-Chart

So who is right?

If Rishi is correct (and he is a really, really bright guy) this a huge leap forward for Smart Adapters – even if only in regard to the 15 supported lenses. Plus it would also mark the only time I can recall a camera or lens manufacturer actually under-hyping a product….

Sigma-MC-11-lens-adapter-2
Sigma Mount Converter MC-11 for Sony E-mount ($249 Pre-Order for Canon EF | Sigma SA Mount)

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38 thoughts on “How Good is Sigma’s MC-11 Smart Adapter?”

    1. Rishi of DP Review makes it sound like a Ferrari. Sigma makes it sound like a bike with 2 flat tires. Never heard such varied reviews where the manufacturer was the negative one…

  1. Hopefully this thing works. I love my Sigma 24-105 but it constantly loses contact with the Metabone IV T and you have to un-connect and the re-connect it all the time. The F-stop info gets lost and then the lens drops into Manual mode.

  2. I’m just waiting more news from Rishi Sanyal to buy the sigma art 35mm F1.4 in EF-mount to my A7M2. He wrote this later in DP, but until now no more news:

    “Yes, oops, I think I did announce groundbreaking news in the comments, probably violating a hundred journalism tenets in the process. 😉

    I’ll publish a separate piece on this shortly, hopefully a video showing it in action, if we can get some access tomorrow.”

    🙂

    Brian If this is true, will be for sure best option than the sigma art in A-mount with the LA-EA3.

    Come on Rishi give us some fresh news soon! 🙂

      1. Like you said ” Rishi of DP Review makes it sound like a Ferrari. Sigma makes it sound like a bike with 2 flat tires.” I could not agree more…

        Is that the reason i still no ordered the sigma…
        If the MC-11 is like sigma claims… maybe the A-mount with LA-EA3 have better performance in AF.

      2. Fresh news by Rishi Sanyal at Preview:

        “While photographing and filming our way through Sigma’s booth this year at CP+ 2016 in Yokohama, one rather understated product may have just stolen the show for a number of Sony shooters, as well as our Technical Editor Rishi Sanyal.

        Put simply, the Sigma MC-11 adapter allows the use of Sigma-mount and Canon-mount Sigma lenses, such as the excellent Sigma Art 35mm F1.4, to be adapted to Sony bodies with no autofocus compromises whatsoever. That means Sigma is the first brand of DSLR lenses to support Eye AF and Lock-On AF modes on Sony cameras, as well as smooth phase-detection in video. What’s more, they work really well.

        Don’t believe us? We didn’t believe it at first either. Watch the video and see for yourself why this is a huge step forward in realizing truly hybrid camera systems: where you can pair the best lens with the best camera body – for you – without severe compromises. Rishi has been so impressed that he intends to convert his Sigma 35mm Art from Nikon mount to EF mount (it’s a good copy), to use with the MC-11 EF-E adapter. Why? Because the combination will be the world’s first to combine the sharpness of the 35mm Art with the accuracy and convenience of Sony’s on-sensor phase-detect Eye AF.”

  3. I saw a video auto focus with this adapter on Youtube already, and this is how this adapter make: Sigma Lens -> MC11 translate everything to Contrast AF E-Mount -> Sony Body / All Cameras.
    So, it work as Native E mount use Contrast AF ( not hybird, and not phase ), it a little bit slower than normal E Mount use Dual AF method. Like 1 second for each focus on the video I see. Slower than Phase, but I think it will be accuracy more than the Techart III, because Sigma have their focus logic for their lens, and they made lens for E mount before too.
    And yes, AF-C will work, but will trash, like Techart III, Eye-AF work, everything is work, AF-C work too, but it kind dumb when Contrast doing AF-C , basiclly , u can’t continue focusing because it always give you missing hit. Just forget about AF-C on contrast focusing. But for still, portrait, lenscap, this one will be good, Eye-AF works, I can confirm it, since Eye-AF work with Contrast AF only. The only camera can use Phase AF + Eyes AF right now is A6300, and with A6300, u don’t need this adapter, any cheap Phase Adapter work with it already. And again, A7II, A7RII, A7SII, don’t need this adapter too.

  4. I could develop a theory of what’s going on here, based on what Sigma says and what Rishi says. The Canon lens/camera protocol (which is also used for the Sigma mount, at least in some re-engineered form – the Sigma mount is essentially K-mount mechanicals and EF mount electronics) includes all sorts of camera lens commands, some of which do very basic things, like move the focus an increment and report current focus position, and some of which do more complex tasks like move focus to s specified position, essentially, the more complex ones are designed so that the lens takes over most of the work from the camera, but they are designed for conventional PD-AF, which is why they never work so well on mirrorless cameras with adapters like the metabones. Now, Sigma has just release mirror less cameras using the Sigma mount, to do that they will have been working on how to use the existing protocols for CDAF and sensor PDAF. Very possibly that entails the camera taking on much more responsibility, using only the very basic ‘move an increment’ commands and stringing lots of them together to get the required effect. Possibly, it’s this knowledge which has now been built into the adapter. The problem with doing this is that strictly its a misuse of the protocol, and its success would depend on the lens executing each of the simple commands fast enough, something it wouldn’t usually have to do, because big moves are done with the big move command. So, for it to be successful, you’d have to know that the lens was fast enough moving. Also, the Canon protocol comes in at least 3 versions, each getting faster (lens and camera negotiate up the protocol stack which is why legacy compatibility is maintained) and its possible that only newer protocol lenses work fast enough. I can imagine with a situation where reliable operation had to be validated lens by lens, that Sigma would be quite wary of giving a blanket approval.

  5. Fresh and great news from Rishi!!!

    “While photographing and filming our way through Sigma’s booth this year at CP+ 2016 in Yokohama, one rather understated product may have just stolen the show for a number of Sony shooters, as well as our Technical Editor Rishi Sanyal.

    Put simply, the Sigma MC-11 adapter allows the use of Sigma-mount and Canon-mount Sigma lenses, such as the excellent Sigma Art 35mm F1.4, to be adapted to Sony bodies with no autofocus compromises whatsoever. That means Sigma is the first brand of DSLR lenses to support Eye AF and Lock-On AF modes on Sony cameras, as well as smooth phase-detection in video. What’s more, they work really well.

    Don’t believe us? We didn’t believe it at first either. Watch the video and see for yourself why this is a huge step forward in realizing truly hybrid camera systems: where you can pair the best lens with the best camera body – for you – without severe compromises. Rishi has been so impressed that he intends to convert his Sigma 35mm Art from Nikon mount to EF mount (it’s a good copy), to use with the MC-11 EF-E adapter. Why? Because the combination will be the world’s first to combine the sharpness of the 35mm Art with the accuracy and convenience of Sony’s on-sensor phase-detect Eye AF.”

      1. But from what I have read they are completely disabling all Canon software and the sigma software is in the adapter. No canon protocols are used?

          1. So Nikon shouldn’t be any harder than Canon then. It’s just a mount or am I missing something. BTW this is Marshalltown….

  6. Thanks for the shout-out, Brian. I’m flattered, coming from you – I’m a big fan of your work.

    Our video does show all the functionality I claim in action with a 18-35mm F1.8 Canon EF mount Sigma lens – continuous Eye AF, Lock-on AF, and phase-detect AF in video. I also verified this works with two different copies of the 50mm F1.4 Art. So hopefully that puts some fears/doubts to rest.

    So at the very least, one thing is for sure – Sigma’s claims are underhyped (if not technically incorrect) for the 18-35 and 50 Art lenses. That said, I haven’t tested every single Sigma lens, of course, but will try my best to as soon as I can.

    Note Sigma US’ official press release does hint at advanced AF functionality: “The new Sigma MC-11 mitigates complications with a purpose-built lens control data system engineered for maintaining superior AF functionality.”

    My guess is that a native FE lens is somehow emulated. Even the Canon 35/2 lens has all functions *available* (eye AF, Lock-on AF – albeit without any actual phase-detection), which means this adapter is distinctly different from any other adapter we’ve tried (all of which flat out do not offer these features). We used to think it was a Sony thing, but apparently there’s more to the story.

    It’s exciting times, for sure. Cheers!

    1. Thank you my friend. I appreciate your reporting on this one. That’s truly great news. We missed you in Miami at the a6300 press event. But Dan Bracaglia did DPR proud!

  7. Sorry, Rishi, for being straightforward, but I’d like to know what happens if I connect a CANON EF lens, e.g. a 100-400 EF IS USM f/4-5.6 (not a SIGMA lens with EF Sigma mount) to a Sony A7RII via the MC-11. Will it work with all AF functions available?

  8. So, still no AF-C and no phase detect. In other words, still no AF for anything moving faster than a snail. Still no long glass available for wildlife, still no…..well you get the idea. Just when I was about to jump on the sony bandwagon. The taming down of the AA/Low-pass filter in Canon and ability to have it removed in Nikon is making Sony not as attractive as it was 2 years ago. The EFC shutter in Canon and now Nikon will only add to sharpness in stationary subjects. Wish we had the semi-global shutter/silent shutter of mirrorless in the DSLR though to keep the shutter from moving and the mirror locked safely away. When will manufacturers clue in to the needs of wildlife photographers and put what we need in a single body.

    1. In terms of AF-C and PDAF it depends who you ask. DPR has shown that Sigma is wrong (at least with regard to the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art lens)

      As for a “semi-global shutter” – I believe there is no “semi” when it comes to global shutters. Sony has a global shutter in their F55 CineAlta 4K Digital Cine Cameras – but the cost to produce one is currently higher than the mirrorless camera market would support. So you won’t see one until production cost drops dramatically…

  9. I preordered the lens adapter the day it was announced along with the sigma 35. The unsupected news from Rishi that it supports all focus modes has got me drewling with anticepation. Cant wait until it arrives!

    1. The MC-11 is only available in April but in advance i ordered and already received my art 35mm F1.4… now i desperately need the MC-11. I shoot some photos with Fotodiox, it makes AF, poor but makes, but the worst thing, and i already new it, is the crash problem. The A7mk2 crashes and i need to take the battery off to take more photos… but i bought the art lens to work with the MC-11. But until i can get one MC-11 i gonna use the Fotodiox. By the way … what a lens!!! I think the lens is as good as it’s reputation.

  10. Well, it has been tested and the verdict is out by J Lanier at WPPI 2016. The video is up on youtube and just in time for my Sigma 20mm ART purchase. Yes eye auto focus and all of the other focus points of native lens!! This will be a winner!!

    1. I tested it as well. The adapter had ore-release firmware that only supported the Sigma 50/1.4 Art and 16-35/1.8 Art APS-C lenses, so I can’t verify that it will work with the 20/1.4 Art lens but I would expect it to work when it ships with final firmware.

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