Towards the end of February, Sigma announced a very intriguing product, the MC-11 Mount Converter. The MC-11 allows the use of Sigma Canon EF Mount and Sigma SA Mount Global Vision lenses to be used on the Sony’s mirrorless cameras. In an instant, this expands the lens selections for these wildly popular cameras to now include nineteen Sigma lenses!
I have long been lured by the promise of aftermarket adapters to make all of the wonderful Art Lenses work on my Sony mirrorless cameras, but there was always a let down of some type. Until now.
For example, on my Nex-5n, the autofocus was so slow that I could manually focus much faster and the same was true when I had an a7r and a7s. Much of this changed with the release of the a7r mk2. Suddenly, I had a fast autofocus system with my EF-mount Art Lenses when combined with adapters from Metabones and Fotodiox. However, other issues would arise. I would get random errors, the camera would lock up, the most innovative autofocus modes wouldn’t work, and some lenses just didn’t work properly at all. I dealt with these issues because I loved the images created when pairing Art Lenses with my a7r mk2.
So it was with a great deal of excitement that I made my way to WPPI 2016 where I could get my hands on a preproduction sample to try out. I was completely overwhelmed with how well the adapter worked. Since it was running beta firmware, our show sample was only compatible with the 50 f1.4 Art and 18-35 f1.8 Art, and these two lenses worked flawlessly. Anyone that has dealt with the usual frustration of adapting lenses can appreciate that it worked in every aspect that I could think to test.
Usually, with any other Canon to Sony adapter, items like Eye-AF, Lock on AF, and DMF are greyed out in the menu system. This is even the case for Sony’s own A-mount to E/FE mount adapter the LA-AE3. The camera simply won’t let you use them. This was not the case with the MC-11; all the different AF modes worked, and worked like I had a native E/FE mount lens on the camera.
Sitting around the trade show booth playing with it is one thing, but this needed a real world test. So, I took the 18-35 f1.8 Art and an a7r mk2 out for a night on the town in Vegas. It seemed appropriate to start out at the Sony party to put it through its paces. I was in low light bar conditions and the AF worked great. I used Eye-AF several times to perfectly nail shots of the bartender. As the party was breaking up, I headed to Freemont Street to do a little street photography. I was able to use lock-on AF several times to capture the action of the street performers. The most important thing to me though was I didn’t have any error message, camera lock ups, sudden hunting for AF, or anything just plain weird happen. By the time I was an hour into shooting, I had stopped thinking about the adapter and lens combo and just enjoyed shooting Vegas through Sigma Art lenses on the Sony A7r mk2.
I spent a lot of time with the adapter on Sony’s current flagship, but not everyone has an a7r mk2. How did it perform on older cameras? This was a huge question for me because until Sony’s second edition of their full frame cameras, AF speed on adapted Canon Mount lenses was, to put it kindly, glacially slow.
On the a7, it autofocused like a native FE mount lens. It was fast in good light and took advantage of the hybrid AF the a7 didn’t default to a very slow contrast detection AF. The A6000 used all of the AF points and was able to track a fast moving subject. Even the Nex-5n’s older AF system performed well giving quick and accurate results.
How is Sigma able to do this? The MC-11 has firmware built into the adapter to provide optimal performance with lenses from the Sigma Global Vision lineup. And Sigma was one of the first companies to endorse and adopt the E-Mount open source standards in partnership with Sony. This pairing of Sigma’s lens expertise and Sony’s specifications allows us to do things other adapters can’t. We are not trying to be a universal solution to all Canon lenses. We are out to make the experience with our own lenses as good as we can possibly make it. Since we make the lens and adapter, we can access the firmware of the lens and make sure it is performing optimally. For these reasons, the MC-11 only officially supports Sigma lenses from the Sigma Global Vision Lineup. There is a LED light on the side that lights up to lets you know that the adapter recognized the lens and has loaded the proper firmware. The MC-11 also allows you to update the firmware with a USB cable, so when new lenses get released it’s a quick update to your adapter to get them working properly.
I am looking forward to trying out some of the unique Sigma lenses like the 120-300 f2.8 and the 150-600 Sport on the A6300 and a7r mk2. I am confident that they will perform as well as the 18-35 f1.8 Art and the 50 f1.4 Art. While the term ‘Game Changer’ is thrown around too much, I truly believe the MC-11 is a game changer that opens up a whole new world of lenses the Sony user was missing.