Sigma Users Go Agnostic

(news & commentary)

Sigma today announced a service whereby starting in September you can get a Sigma lens converted to another mount. Just send your Nikon mount Sigma into them and they'll make it a Canon version instead. Or Sony Alpha. Or vice versa.

Restrictions apply, of course. This only applies to the new Sport, Contemporary, or Art DSLR lenses, and to Sigma, Sony, Pentax, Nikon, and Canon mounts, and to Global Vision lenses for mirrorless cameras and the m4/3 and Sony E-mount (NEX). Thus, the current lenses that can be converted are:

  • 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC OS Macro
  • 18-35mm f/1.8 DC
  • 19mm f/2.8 DN (mirrorless)
  • 30mm f/2.8 DN (mirrorless)
  • 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM
  • 35mm f/1.4 DG 
  • 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS

This is, of course, a variation of the old T-mount idea for the modern era, only the complexity of the electronics means that users can't do it themselves, only the lens maker can manage the intricate changes involved. There's also a conversion fee of US$80 to US$250, plus shipping, but converted lenses will have a new six-month warranty applied.

Looks like Sigma has someone who understands marketing. 

While a lot of folk will get caught up in the conversion itself and the implied "camera mount swapping" that some customers might be able to do, this isn't about actually converting lenses for swappers. This announcement is about selling lenses. To anyone. 

For years I've been writing about "frictions." Every friction that is involved in the sales process means fewer sales or more difficult sales (which in turn may lead to discounting). One friction with lenses has always been inferred mount lock-in. (I use inferred instead of implied here because it's the user inferring that they're locked that's important here; that's the friction).

Well, that friction is now gone. As long as you buy any of the newer Sigma lenses. Obviously, Nikon isn't going to convert any of their lenses to Canon mounts for users, nor is Canon going to do the same thing the other direction. So Canon and Nikon have a friction in selling lenses that Sigma won't. In theory, that should translate into more sales for Sigma.

From the practical standpoint, very few are likely to use the service. Actually, if it catches on with users, the implication is that Canon and Nikon will have to compete harder to get the camera body sale in the first place. 

So Sigma's announcement is a win-win for Sigma and for users.     

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