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: 4
overall: 4.3
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:Sony Distagon 24 F2 ZA SSM
Discover & C-mount 25 F1.8
Sigma 28 F1.8 HS & EX DG
Minolta MD & AF 28 F2
Sony FE 28 F2
Minolta/Sony AF 28 F2.8
Neewer 28 F2.8
Sigma 30 F1.4 DC DN C & EX DC
Sigma 30 F2.8 DN Art
Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM
Neewer 35 F1.2
Fotasy 35 F1.6 APS-C & Mini
Kaxinda 35 F1.7
Sony E 35 F1.8 OSS
Minolta AF 35 F2
Minolta MC 35 F2.8
Vivitar 35 F2.8
price paid:58 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
Sharp wide-open in the center
55 mm non-rotating filter threads
negative:Mild barrel distortion
Chromatic aberration
Curved focus plane
Small, loose focus ring
Variable quality
Noisy, rough AF
Busy foreground bokeh
comment:I placed an order for this lens with my local shop, but Sony didn't have any in stock. I found a used copy for $155 on Amazon. Then I bought a second copy of this lens without hood for $58. This copy was much sharper wide-open. The previous copy was my first prime lens experience. I've revised my ratings in light of broader comparison. This lens was originally $200 when released in 2010 with a few sales at $175. The retail price increased to $220 in 2012 with sales at $190. Sony has stopped offering discounts. "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 both size and light gathering ability. 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 first lens had a glow wide-open on high contrast edges indicating an alignment problem.

The Sigma Art lens and the Minolta F2 primes have flatter focus planes. The focus plane curvature makes this more of a portrait lens. It does seem to have less optical issues than the stabilized Sony E 35 F1.8 OSS.

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

The included ALC-SH111 circular hood is 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.

Overall a decent, inexpensive prime lens especially at current used prices. There are better options for landscape including the Vario-Sonnar 16–80 zoom.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 105
  • sharpness: 4.72
  • color: 4.63
  • build: 3.42
  • distortion: 4.49
  • flare control: 4.35
  • overall: 4.32 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania