Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#15255 date: May-22-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma AF 24 F2.8 II
Sigma 30 F2.8 DN Art
Sony AF 28 F2.8
Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony AF 85 F2.8 SAM
Minolta AF 24 F2.8
Minolta AF 50 F1.7 RS
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Kaxinda 35 F1.7
Fotasy 35 F1.6
Tamron SP 60 F2 Macro
price paid:58 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
Very sharp from f/3.5 to f/8 peaking around f/5.6
Fairly flat focus plane
Minor lateral CA
55 mm non-rotating filter threads
Cheapest 35 mm prime
negative:Noticeable barrel distortion
Small, loose focus ring
Variable quality wide-open
Busy foreground bokeh
comment:After enjoying the first copy of this lens for $155. I bought a second copy of this lens without hood for $58. Sony should make this the default kit lens. It likely is cheaper to make than the DT 18-55 SAM II. "MADE IN CHINA"

It's field of view is comparably to a 52.5 mm full frame lens, but it does not equal the total light gathering of the old Minolta 50mm f/1.7 on a larger sensor. It is more similar to an old f/2.8 lens in optics size and behavior. It can still produce some lovely smooth background blur. The second copy is much sharper in the center wide-open, but the corners are a bit softer.

The minor barrel distortion is a little annoying for raw capture as there is no profile for this lens in the Capture One for Sony conversion software. The zoom lenses have similar amounts of distortion at 35 mm. It has higher quality image quality at f/2.8 than any of the zooms have at any aperture. The $45 Fotasy 35mm F1.6 C-mount is actually a bit sharper wide-open.

It can also focus quite closely for semi-macro work. And it works well with extension tubes and teleconverters higher magnification. The focal plane is curved at 1:1 unlike the Macro primes.

The included ALC-SH111 circular hood is much smaller than it could be. The much deeper ALC-SH102 hood from the 55-200 lenses fits perfectly on this lens and the 85 f/2.8 SAM and doesn't vignette with either lens on APS-C cameras. The hood bayonet doesn't rotate so an even larger petal hood could be used.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 103
  • sharpness: 4.72
  • color: 4.62
  • build: 3.41
  • distortion: 4.48
  • flare control: 4.37
  • overall: 4.32
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