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06-16-2014, 11:03 PM   #1
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differentiating between contemporary and older lenses on Ebay

I almost picked up a Sigma 17-70 on ebay yesterday for what looked like a cheap price and then realised it did not say "contemporary" in the description. I've pm'd the buyer, but I have no idea if he even is going to know whether it is or it isn't. Is there a way to differentiate between the contemporary Sigmas and the older ones?

06-16-2014, 11:44 PM   #2
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1/ the old one is 2.8-4.5 the Contemporary is 2.8-4.0
2/ ask for a picture of the mount, the old one has just screw AF, the new one has just HSM AF contacts
+ the new one has a little silver "C" sticker
06-16-2014, 11:46 PM   #3
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This is the first time I have heard about Sigma "contemporary" lenses. So, I looked it up. According to B&H -
QuoteQuote:
As part of Sigma's new Contemporary line of lenses, this lens is designed using Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) materials to help reduce the overall weight and size of the lens barrel by about 30% without compromising on optical integrity, rigidity, or overall durability.

For updating lens firmware and fine-tuning its nuances to best-suit your personal shooting, this lens is compatible with the Sigma USB Dock. The dock allows you to specify certain parameters and other settings through the Sigma Optimization Pro software, such as AF speed and focusing limitations.

Contemporary Lens Line
This lens is the first lens produced as part of Sigma's Contemporary line; deeming it lightweight and compact while still exhibiting high optical performance. This lens' wide range of focal lengths makes is suitable for a variety of shooting applications. Utilizing a smaller OS unit and an optimized distribution of optical and electronic elements, the size of the lens barrel is able to be reduced in size by approximately 30%. This reduction in weight is also afforded in part through the use of TSC materials in the barrel construction. This material offers high durability and rigidity but with less bulk than metal components.
Having said all of that, what do you look for? Is there something on the box or on the designation printed on the lens?
QuoteQuote:
Sigma's second lens in its new Contemporary series, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C" was announced at the 2012 Photokina and hit the store shelves earlier this year. Its sleek new design also incorporates a complete makeover, inside and outside: it's smaller, lighter, and definitely nicer to look at. But does its performance match its appearance? Click here to read our full review of the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C".
Apparently there is a "C" after the name, apparently on the box? On the pictures of the lens, I have not seen anything different as a designator.
QuoteQuote:
Sharpness
The Sigma 17-70mm "C" is surprisingly sharp, especially when compared to its predecessor. The "C" version of this lens uses a different optical formula - 16 elements in 14 groups, including FLD, SLD, and 3 aspherical elements - which no doubt accounts for this improvement.
According to this
- there is the word "Contemporary" on the box - and on the lens....
QuoteQuote:
Of course, as a Contemporary lens, it sports the shiny C above the newly refined Autofocus/Manual focus and OS switches. Another really nice design touch is the engraved lens information and “MADE IN JAPAN” encircling the front
06-17-2014, 12:22 AM   #4
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The easiest way is to look at the lens barrel. All the modern lenses have streamlined black designs that look a lot different. There's also a C badge on the side of the new lenses.


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06-17-2014, 01:11 AM   #5
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You can easily identify the new A/S/C lenses by their classy (IMHO ) black design. Also, there is a circular protrusion with the respective lines' letter on it.
06-17-2014, 02:18 AM   #6
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Thanks - I checked the photo of the lens here on the forums and I noted the picture of the silver 'C' for contemporary on the barrel. The one I was looking at did not have the silver C, so it was a close call, no wonder it was so cheap!! It does make me wonder though how many people may mistakenly assume these unmarked lenses are from the contemporary lens line.
06-17-2014, 03:54 AM   #7
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additional note for anyone else: if used sellers don't provide the correct photos to identify the silver "C" but do provide ADDITIONAL information about the lens, you can tell the difference between lenses by the weight and size:

contemporary lens:
470g - 79 x 82mm (width x length)

legacy:
535g - 79 x 89mm (width x length)

so keep an eye out to make sure you don't buy the wrong one!

PS. how Sigma arrived at claims of 30% size reduction baffles me by these figures

Last edited by Daniel Darko; 06-17-2014 at 03:56 AM. Reason: added post script
06-17-2014, 03:59 AM   #8
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Don't discount the older models. The first generation had very close focusing, which is why it's the one I'd get. The newer versions sacrifice a little of the close focusing ability (1:2.7 vs 1:2.3), but they are f4 at the long end, and the first generation are f4.5. The newer ones have HSM, the first gen has screwdrive. I'm not sure the contemporary is much more desirable than the older versions. Certainly if you go on IQ per dollar, the first generation screwdrive is the champion since it is so reasonably priced. All that said, all versions of the 17-70 produce very nice images, especially for a consumer level zoom.

Here's a comparison of the first two versions here

and an in-depth review of the contemporary here

06-17-2014, 04:17 AM   #9
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The easiest way to tell apart the Contemporary from the old version is the color difference. The old is black with yellow accents and writing/branding etc. The contemporary is black with white writing as well as the C designation. Pretty easy when you see thr difference.
06-17-2014, 04:20 AM   #10
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interesting. The pentaxforums legacy sigma reviews/specs showed no difference between the new and old versions of the lens for minimum focus distance, both @22cm. Although they did show a difference in max magnification, which I shall put down to my lack of understanding of lenses - 1:2.9 vs 1:2.7

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro HSM (Contemporary) Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
06-17-2014, 06:22 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
interesting. The pentaxforums legacy sigma reviews/specs showed no difference between the new and old versions of the lens for minimum focus distance, both @22cm. Although they did show a difference in max magnification, which I shall put down to my lack of understanding of lenses - 1:2.9 vs 1:2.7
Photography 101 - Lenses, Light and Magnification - Digital Photography School
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/macro-lenses.htm#calculator-magnification

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 06-17-2014 at 06:37 AM.
06-17-2014, 06:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
interesting. The pentaxforums legacy sigma reviews/specs showed no difference between the new and old versions of the lens for minimum focus distance, both @22cm. Although they did show a difference in max magnification, which I shall put down to my lack of understanding of lenses - 1:2.9 vs 1:2.7

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro HSM (Contemporary) Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
fyi, here is the review for the 1st gen 17-70 (non-HSM) - still a very capable lens, imo:

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
06-17-2014, 07:50 AM   #13
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I recently purchased the older version from eBay, myself. I was fortunate enough to have an accurate description in the listing. You can often get a feel for how accurate the listing is by the way the seller writes in his listing, and how he responds if you message them. My guy was clearly a long-time Pentax shooter who knew what he was talking about, even giving his opinions on how far to stop down for sharpest results, etc. If you are looking at that focal range, and can get the older Sigma for a good price/in good condition, I would definitely take a look. Been a winner for me since I picked it up, and next to my Tamron 90, is now my most used lens. No contest.
06-17-2014, 08:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
Is there a way to differentiate between the contemporary Sigmas and the older ones?
As noted above...they look different. Diagnostic is:
  • No red mounting dot on lens mount
  • Small white mounting dot at edge of lens base
  • Silver "C" circular insignia on lens barrel near AF/MF switch


Steve
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