Canon EOS M Camera Lens Err 01 Problem with a Sigma EF Mount Lens

This blog post provides a bad solution that works for me with my Canon EOS M camera when I experienced the Err 01 message problem with an old Sigma EF mount lens.

Warning: I’m not saying that the solution below will work for you!

A Sigma lens on a Canon EOS M camera


Even though I’ve been taking photos for many years and sold photos, I view myself as a novice and so you should take this into account, when reading my blog post.

I do own a lot of cameras, both digital and film and I’ve been building a lens collection, mainly focused on low cost vintage lenses. Many of these old lenses, I use on a Canon EOS M with adapters.

One of the lenses I’ve purchased is an old 1993 Sigma AF Zoom 75-300mm and the version I own uses a Canon EF mount. I’m not sure you can refer to this lens as vintage, but I like it.

When I attach the Sigma lens to the Canon EOS M via an adapter, I run into the error one message when I try to take a photo using anything other than the 300mm. Very frustrating!

What the problem might be

I tried gently cleaning the electronic contacts on the lens and using an extension tube (which didn’t use electronic pass-through), both of which didn’t solve the problem.

However I think I’ve run into a common issue that occurred when Canon made changes and some third-party lenses ran into compatibility problems.

I think (but don’t know for certain) at one stage Sigma were kindly replacing chips in lenses and I’ve seen a solution where people have purchased boards and then modified the lenses.

The solution that works for me

It’s a simple, but bad solution that works with my camera and lens. I’ve simply placed my Canon EOS M camera into video mode, don’t record any video footage, but just take photos.

An edited photo of a part of a camera with an arrow pointing to the video mode

Both the manual and auto-focus on my Sigma lens are working and I’m not stuck only with the 300mm.

I’ve only played around with this for around five minutes before sitting down to write this blog post! I know it’s not a good solution, but it’s how I’m probably going to use the lens with this camera for a while.

With the settings I’m currently using a photo taken whilst in the Canon EOS M camera’s video mode is 5184×2912 pixels, compared to a photo usually being 5184×3456 pixels if not taken in video mode.

Final thoughts

I’m not sure if I will revisit this topic again and this problem might deter me from buying some older non-Canon EF lenses in the future.

I also have a Canon EOS 20D camera and on the 20D, the Sigma lens shows an error 99, which I couldn’t solve, so for the time being I will stick to using the lens with my M.

I hope somebody finds this post helpful.

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