Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM A-mount lens review by robberly12
|robberly12#11681 date: Feb-5-2014|
flare control: 4
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Tamron 10-24|
Sigma 18-250 HSM
|price paid:||195 USD (new)|
Small & light
Fast accurate focusing
|negative:||Max aperture of f1.8 only available in A & M modes|
Susceptible to flare (if not using lens hood)
|comment:||I was wanting a small, fast lens capable of taking high quality indoor photos without flash. The SAL-35F18 fits the bill. Photos are tack sharp in the center and corner sharpness is very good when stopped down a stop or two.|
Auto-focus is quick and accurate. While not totally silent, the focus motor seems quieter than other SAM lenses I have owned (such as the original Sony 18-55).
For a inexpensive, all-plastic lens, build quality is good. In order to keep cost low, I suspect, this lens has a plastic mount. With reasonable care, I don't see this as a problem on such a small, light lens.
A nice lens hood is included, which should be used for all outdoor photos where flare can be an issue. The focus ring includes a distance scale, and turns easily (almost too easily) which facilitates manual focusing. Unfortunately, the ring is very narrow, making it somewhat difficult to find quickly. Auto-focus is so good, though, that there is little reason to use manual focus.
A quirk of the lens is that the full aperture of f1.8 is only available in A and M modes. In other modes, the maximum aperture available is f2. I'm not sure if this is a limitation of the camera or the lens, but all three of my Sony cameras do this. In general, it's not a big deal but worth noting.
In summary, the SAL-35F18 is a true bargain; I bought it on sale for less than $200. It pretty much matches the image quality of the $1500 Sony 35 f1.4G!
[Peripheral comment/update: As an after-thought, I tried using this lens with the Kenko DGX 1.4x teleconverter. This would make the lens operate as a 50mm f2.5 lens, which I thought could occasionally be useful. The fit was very tight because of the how much the lens mount extends into the TC, so I aborted the experiment. It was the first of a dozen or so lenses I've tried that didn't work easily with the Kenko TC.]
[Comment/Update #2: I ultimately was able to try it with the Kenko DGX 1.4x teleconverter. Unfortunately, it made no attempt at all to autofocus. My A77 immediately went into MF mode, and my A580 displayed the aperture as "--" and made no attempt to AF.]