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

reviewer#21422 date: Nov-12-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 1
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24mm f2.8
Nikon DX 35mm f1.8
Minolta 35-70mm f4
Minolta 50mm f1.7
Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6
price paid:£120
positive:Focus mode switch, light, bigger focus ring for those used to Maxxum lenses, deep colours, sharp, low distortion, pleasing bokeh
negative:PLASTIC, plastic mount, plastic barrel, plastic motor, probably plastic elements. Whiney SAM motor too. Focuses past infinity. Purple fringe goo.
comment:This lens is the one to go for if you are looking to replace the shoddy kit lens that Sony likes to bundle with your DSLR / SLT bodies.

I used it on my a100 and a37. Sold after switch to FF.

It probably delivers the most visually pleasing results of any normal prime on APSC, with deep saturated neutral colours, decent sharpness from f1.8, no light fall off, little distortion and beautiful bokeh.

Within 60 seconds of mounting it, my 18-70 kit lens was listed on the bay.

One major negative is the construction. It appears to be all plastic to save Sony some pennies. I doubt it would survive a drop from eye level height as my Minolta 50mm has. You won't be seeing many of these in 30 years time like Maxxums.

I felt like one minor knock would see the lens break at the mount when I used it.

The hood is substantial, sturdy and effective, but is also a scratch magnet and unfortunately bayonets to more plastic on the lens body.

Also the focus motor is rather annoying. It sounds like a nervous Marge Simpson so I manually focused when it was on my a37 thanks to focus peaking.

All things considered this makes a nice standard prime for your APSC bodies, just don't buy it for more than £100. For less than £100 you get the same thing as the £900 35mm f1.4 in plastic. The other alternative Minolta 35mm f2s are rarer than flying pigs.

Having compared to the Nikon DX 35mm on a d3100, this may have a terrible build but the images (the things that actually matter) put the Nikkor to shame. The crisp, clear and saturated photos produced by the Sony lens make the Nikkor images look muddy in comparison.

The results of this lens make it one of the better short Sony primes available. It would be nice if they made a FF version for a similar price.

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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