Nikon has recently released an updated firmware for the D610 and while there’s no mention of any major features being added or improved, I went ahead and installed it. Maybe there are some under-the-hood performance improvements. Installation went fine and a brief check of the camera after the update showed no problems. All was well.
At a shoot today, as soon as I attached my Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 APO DG HSM lens, I realised something was amiss. The autofocus label on the screen (AF-A in this case) was flashing on and off repeatedly and the camera wouldn’t autofocus. After checking all the settings, cleaning the contacts, replacing the battery and doing everything else I could think of, the problem persisted. I switched over to a Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the problem disappeared. This is a good sign, it means the problem is with the lens and not the camera. Maybe it got damaged during my recent trips abroad, I wondered. Luckily the job today was a short video piece so I used manual focus to get through.
Back at my desk, I tried all the same fixes with no result and then I remembered I’d upgraded the firmware. Could that be it?
A quick search for “D610 1.01” found the older firmware and I’m pleased to say that downgrading the firmware removed the problem. So there’s something in the C1.02 firmware that’s not happy when talking to this lens. Whether it’s just this specific lens or all Sigma lenses I’ve no way of testing. I’ve logged the problem with Nikon so hopefully there’ll be an update coming soon.
In short: don’t upgrade the D610 to C1.02 if you use a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 APO DG HSM lens.
UPDATE 21-08-17: Nikon won’t help out here, but Sigma will update the firmware on the lens for a nominal fee, as long as you have a purchase receipt. Head over here and follow the instructions. I’ll be sending mine off this week.