by Sean Setters
On October 21, I was using the Sigma USB Dock to dial in focus adjstments on my 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens. I made several different focus adjustments and tested the lens after each one. After about four cycles of adjusting values and focus testing, I connected the lens to the USB dock and Sigma's Optimization Pro software told me there was a firmware update for the lens. I thought to myself, "What a coincidence that Sigma would release a lens firmware update during the hour I'm adjusting this lens."
Sigma had not just released a firmware update. Even though my lens had been updated with the newest firmware a month earlier, Sigma Optimization Pro was insisting that my lens wasn't up to date. Every time I would connect the lens to the USB Dock, the software would insist on upgrading the lens's firmware. If I chose not to update the firmware, Optimization Pro would make the focus adjustments button inactive. And every time I chose to "update" the firmware, the autofocus adjustments were reset to "0."
For some reason, the lens was reporting that it had the original stock firmware installed. After several failed attempts at getting the firmware update to stick, I called Sigma's technical support.
Sigma's technical support adviced me to send the lens in for repair. On October 22 I packed up the lens (including the appropriate repair forms with contact and warranty information) and shipped it to Sigma's Repair Center in Ronkonkoma, New York. They received it on October 24.
The Issue of Communication (or lack thereof)
Sigma never sent me an email to confirm that they had received my lens (I got the delivery confirmation from FedEx). They never sent me an email to let me know they were processing my repair. There was no way for me to check the status of my repair online (that I could find). Sigma never sent me a return shipment notice.
[queue crickets here]
All's Well that Ends Well
On October 30, I had an entry in my calendar to give Sigma a call and ask for a status on my lens repair. Before I gave them a call, however, a FedEx truck arrived with an unexpected package – my lens. The paperwork with the lens suggested that a circuit board had been replaced and the firmware had been updated by the Service Center.
Thoughts on Sigma Service
On the one hand, Sigma's turnaround time was fast - very fast, in fact. Considering that they received my lens on the 24th and had it back in my hands on the 30th suggests that Sigma has invested a significant amount of resources in making service and repair orders a priority. A recent "rush" repair order to Canon Professional Services took longer.
But Canon's Repair Service trumps Sigma's in a big area - communication. When I send an item into Canon Service, I get an email showing that they received the item. They send me an email when they begin processing my repair. Then they send a shipment notice with tracking information when my item leaves their service facility. And at any time, I can also check the status of my repair on their website.
But with Sigma – crickets.
But when the crickets are chirping, you can rest assured knowing your item is very likely being repaired and returned in a timely manner. ;-)
Update: Site visitor Don let me know he had a similar experience - a fairly quick turnaround with no formal communication. However, when he called Sigma to inquire about the repair, Sigma gave him very detailed information on what they had done. So if you're curious, you may want to go ahead and give Sigma Service a call.