Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 15   
reviewer#38897 date: Jul-8-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT18250, Minolta 75-300
price paid:200 CAD
positive:Sharp, lovely colors, nice bokeh, excellent for many uses such as portraiture, birding, close-ups and macro (up to a point for macro). Price.
negative:Slow focusing speed, hunts a lot, must switch to manual a lot. Many missed opportunities. Not for sports.
comment:Love this lens in spite of its shortcomings. Made a silver paint mark on the front ring so I can easily put the hood on. I don't shoot sports events, so I won't complain considering the price. I still have the 18-250 if I think I need better auto-focusing. Even the Minolta 75-300 does a better job of focusing, so it's disappointing considering the 55-300 is newer.
reviewer#23456 date: Dec-25-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 55-200mm
Minolta 75-300mm
Minolta 100-300mm
Cosina/Soligor 60-300mm
Various MF primes in the 300-500mm range
price paid:£100 after cashback
positive:Another very sharp DT lens from Sony.
Extremely sharp
Low CA, distortion, etc, especially with in-camera correction.
Very solid build, metal camera mount
Zoom lock
Lovely wide manual focus ring
Decently large lens hood provided
Not far off constant aperture (f4.5 - 5.6)
SAM AF works well.
negative:filter thread turns while focussing
Longer than the 100-300mm or the 55-200mm
MFD isn't as close as the 55-200mm
comment:I started off my Sony A-mount telephoto collection with a Minolta 75-300mm lens, which I like a lot for its shape and handling but found was not sharp enough for birding and had significant CA in ksy shots at 100% crop, I next tried the Minolta 100-300mm (non-APO) lens, which was conveniently shorter but no better at 300mm. At about this time I got a M-AF adapter for a few older M42/T-mount MF primes (the long preset ones) which were a lot more awkward to carry; these were maybe a tad sharper with maybe a trifle less CA. The Cosina/Soligor 'licensed to Minolta' 60-300 I acquired next was a great deal sharper at full-stretch and showed pretty good CA even at full aperture, but was heavy and AF was very slow.

This Sony is better at 300mm than all of them - my own outdoor tests show it to be extremely sharp (even on 100% crop) just as the SLRgear test shows, and it is useable at full aperture and excellent one stop away over the whole focal range. Unlike most of the other DT lenses, manual focus is good to use with focus peaking set, as the wide knurled ring and low friction make MF quite easy. If you're not getting sharp results with this in either AF or MF then you're not focussing on the right place!

If we forget the older lenses and judge it on its own merits, it is a high-quality and well-designed lens despite being a DT model. It has a zoom lock at the short end which would be very welcome on the Minolta lenses but is hardly needed here. Despite the plastic body it is very solid with a metal rim at the front and a metal body mount (see Kurt Munger review) and gives the feel of a high-quality lens rather than a cheap one.

Optically, it is very good indeed, hugely sharp and shows very little CA (essentially none even at 100% crop on the A58 with lens corrections on).
As a 300mm lens I cannot fault it, except to say it is quite a lot longer than the 100-300mmn which might be an issue if you wander around with the camera around your neck.

Comparison with the Sony DT 55-200mm lens is more interesting, because despite the simnilar sounding specification they are completely different lenses. The 55-200mm is much smaller and lighter, more plasticky, though is nicer to leave on the camera when you're going for a walk, and it focuesses much closer too which often it makes it a better lens for butterflies and flowers. Both lenses are very sharp at fiull stretch, though I have trouble getting my copy of the 55-200mm to focus exactly at the long end as I mention in my review. I've not had the same issue with the 55-300mm.
I got a really good deal on this lens new in 2015, and it does everything I expect (unlike all the other lenses I mention which disappoint me in some way or other when I use them). However if I don't need the long end I will be as likely to take out the Sony 55-200mm due to its dinky size.

EDIT: since getting a nice copy of the Minolta 100-300mm APO and doing some more testing, I've downgraded the sharpness of the Sony. The APO is sharper wide open, as well as being smaller and lighter, and now tends to be my go-to 300mm zoom rather than the Sony (and it does FF as well which is useful). And when I don't need 300mm, I tend to pick the Sony 55-200mm is a lot shorter and lighter.
reviewer#23453 date: Dec-23-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:- SAL18135
- Sigma 150-500
price paid:250€ (new)
positive:- very good sharpness
- not to heavy
- very good connection with sony slt cameras (-> comment)
- bokeh
- 55mm start range (-> comment)
negative:- rotating front element -> connect lens hood moves af drive -> it's only a time then it goes wrong ...
- slow af / sam
comment:I nice lens, the focal range at the short end ist very useful. so in fullframe 75mm-450mm .. its nearly as short as the 70-300 but at the long end much longer.
On my SLT-A58 the jpg's are a dream. The internal postprocessing does a really great job. The contrast, colors - and much more important the noise reduction by high iso. iso 1600 and i have very good pictures, glare, no noise, colorful.

Sony 18-135 is a bit faster, much better AF SAM Drive. Don't understand why Sony didn't produce an APSC lens in that range with it, it's a pitty.

reviewer#16330 date: Jul-29-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF Xi 100-300
Minolta AF 75-300 Big Beercan
Tamron SP 300 Adaptall
Sony AF 75-300
Sirius (Cosina) AF 60-300
Tokina AT-X AF 400
Sigma AF 170-500
Sigma AF 150-500
Tamron AF 200-500
Minolta AF 50mm Macro (1st gen)
Vivitar (Tokina) Series-1 90mm F2.5 Macro (Bokina)
Vivitar (Komine) Series-1 135mm F2.3
Porst (Tomioka) MC 55mm F1.4
price paid:200 GBP used
positive:Very very sharp. Even at long end and full open. At shorter focal lengths, it's even sharper...almost as sharp as the sharpest prime lenses I own like Minolta AF 50mm Macro and Vivitar S-1 90mm Macro (Bokina) (btw, both of these are ranked among the sharpest lenses ever built by any manufacturers at least up to year 2000.) Really amazing!

Bokeh is not bad for such a sharp lens either.

55mm at the short end is really useful. It doesn't sound a big difference from 70 or 75mm but in reality it DOES make a big difference.
negative:Blueish colour. This must suggest the improper coating, which is a bit surprising for a modern lens. What a shame! The original lens hood doesn't seem to be effective to cut the stray light. With it images get really blueish under the blue sky. So I use a narrower hood, but the images can still be blueish under some situations. They sometimes get blue/green fringing as well. 3 points in colour and flare reflect these issues.

SAM has no benefit at all. It makes the lens much fatter than older lenses of this class but AF speed is probably slower than traditional shaft drive AF. It sometimes resets the AF to the minimum focal distance. So next time it has to start from there and focus a long way to the actual distance which is most likely near the infinity. This is really annoying.
comment:Sharpness is really amazing. Bokeh is not bad either. The range starting from 55mm is very useful. It's light weight but fat. SAM has absolutely no benefit to the traditional AF. Blueish colour can be a problem but using a narrower lens hood helps here.

Overall this must be the best lens I have ever had in this range but I still miss my stolen Big Beercan which produced solid images more like those from a prime lens.
reviewer#16326 date: Jul-25-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 4,5-5,6/75-300mm (new),
Sony A 4,5-5,6/70-300 mm G SSM II
price paid:269,00 €
positive:Relatively light, sharp as measured by the reasonable price, useful zoom range, caps lock prevents "Zoom Creep", AF on the A77II sufficiently quickly and accurately.
negative:SAM-drive, AF speed in low light, rotating front element.
comment:At the A77II a great combination for animal and nature shots thanks to the large zoom range. Unbeatable price/ performance ratio. Except for the naturally slower SAM-drive hardly worse than the four times more expensive Sony A 4.5-5.6/70-300 mm G SSM II. Sharper than the Minolta AF 4,5-5,6/75-300 mm (new). Highly recommended!
reviewer#16281 date: Jun-27-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony AF 85 F2.8 SAM
Sony DT 18-200
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Minolta AF 135 F2.8
Minolta AF 35-200 Xi
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6 BBC
Minolta AF 100-200 F4.5
Minolta AF 100-300 F4.5-5.6 APO
Minolta AF 100-300 F4.5-5.6 APO D
Minolta AF 100-400 F4.5-6.7 APO
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Sigma 150-500 F5-6.3 DG APO HSM OS
Tamron AF 18-250 F3.5-6.3
Tamron SP 70-300 4-5.6 Di USD
Tokina AF 35-200 F4.5-5.6 SD
price paid:149 USD (Refurb)
positive:Accurate AF
5.5x zoom
Sharpness
Contrast
Flat focus plane
Parfocal
negative:Slow focus and hunting
Focus mechanism is loose
Zoom mechanism is a little stiff
Busy, ugly bokeh
Moderate distortion
62 mm filter
comment:This lens is just an amazingly sharp, affordable, long zoom lens. It has the best image quality by far of these telephoto zooms. It is more prone to focus hunting than the 55-200, but it covers a rather broad 5.5x zoom range. Both Sony SAM zooms focus more accurately than the screw drive Minoltas, but this one is very accurate.

I tried this on an A6300 with the LA-EA1 adapter and the AF was faster than on the A65. I also tried it on an A68 and the AF was still poor. Sony really needs to update SAM to stepping motors like Canon STM, Nikon AF-P, and mirrorless lenses use.

It has less distortion than the DT 55-200 but more distortion than the Minolta 70-210 f/4. It is slightly larger and heavier than the 100-300 APO but considerably lighter than the 70-210 F4.

It is very sharp throughout its range, sharper wide-open than the many of the prime lenses at any aperture. It is even decently sharp when attached to a Kenko 2X MC7 teleconverter. It will AF decently with the 1.5X DG and 1.4X DGX Kenkos, but neither of those adjusts the focal length or aperture reported to the camera.

Lens extends but does not rotate while zooming. The front element extends and rotates while focusing. Focus breathing increases the focal length at close focus especially at the short end of the range.

I am quite happy with the sharpness of this lens. Even wide open it is quite sharp across the frame. The focal range is great for covering motorsports. 55 mm is more useful to have than 300 mm. The frequent focus hunting at the long end is annoying. Highly recommended!
reviewer#11930 date: Jul-29-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony SAL75300 75-300mm kit zoom lens
Tamron 18-270mm PZD hyperzoom
Sony 16-105mm zoom
price paid:£250 (new)
positive:Compact & lightweight design
Effective lens hood which can be reverse-mounted for storage
Damped zoom action, seems to be more resistent to lens creep
Focal range (55-300)
Snappy AF in good light.
negative:Noisy SAM motor (why not SAM II?)
Hunts a fair bit in low light conditions & can have issues locking onto a moving target
APS-C only; this may be an issue for some, but not so for me
comment:I've been looking to upgrade from my original SAL75300 75-300mm kit zoom lens for some time. After much reading, viewing reviews and looking at example pictures I finally decided on ordering the SAL-55300 through Amazon. I snapped this up at a pretty good price and the lens arrived a full day ahead of schedule which was a great start!

This lens certainly has an edge in build quality over the previous SAL75300. It feels heavier, tougher and the quality is also much improved. I dare say its even better than the 16-105 although that lens is also considerably older too. In terms of weight, this lens is just over half of the weight of either Sony's 70300G or Tamron's 70-300 USD lenses but still packs quite a punch.

Recently I've been playing around with the on-camera HDR and have been using this lens for some of that. The optical quality produced is great, even shot at wide open. I have not yet noticed any softness at either 55 or 300mm but I don't tend to pixel peep that much.

I guess you can't read a review about this lens without hearing about its SAM in-lens motor. Well its true, it is pretty loud really, certainly louder than the SAM primes like 35mm or the F1.8 Easy Choice lenses. While I'm not one that shoots video, this may well be offputting to some. Perhaps the SAM II motor would have made it a little quieter & faster to focus?

While the AF is snappy on stationary subjects and objects moving towards or away from the camera, it has trouble locking onto subjects moving across its field of view. I have not noticed this being the case with the Sony 16-105 however.

Flare control is uncannily good! So far I do not have any filters for this lens but when I have caught the sun in the frame, it tends to produce a straight vertical line effect rather than the blobs that I'm used to seeing with some lenses. In sunrise/sunset scanarios, I have noticed far less flaring from this lens which really impressed me; hence the 5* rating.

I have to say that so far at least, I'm very happy with the lens and what its produced thus far. Its a little bit of an awkward focal range for me but I'm doubling it up with the 16-105 at the moment! Its only major flaw is locking onto sideways moving subjects but just perhaps I can get around that with technique.
reviewer#11893 date: Jul-6-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron DI 55-200
Tamron 70-300mm F4/5.6 DI LD Macro
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG APO Macro
price paid:249GBP
positive:Low cost
Excellent sharpness
Handy range
negative:Could be SAM2
Rotating front element
comment:Very pleasantly surprised b this lens. Its by far the sharpest I've ever used in this range. It's not actually that slow at focusing but considering it's a fairly recent lens I am surprised it is not at least a SAM2 lens wit DMF. I haven't really used it for sports or wildlife so can't really comment on its abilities in these areas.

Suits my needs just fine. Great value for money it's not stunning but solid optically.
reviewer#11467 date: Nov-11-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-75mm D 2.8
Minolta 28-105mm 3.5-4.5
Sony 50mm 1.8
Nikon 55-200mm
price paid:200 (CDN) used
positive:SHARP, fast focus (in good light), light, inexpensive, solid build
negative:slow focusing in low light (but it's accurate), 300mm wide open is not as sharp as 200mm but still very good.
comment:Using this on an a57. Very impressed with the sharpness. Wide open is sharp and stopped down a bit is tack sharp. I read that this lens has slow focusing and tends to hunt a bit but that's not the case in good light. It's quick. I had it hunt once so far and, when it did, it was slow. But other than that, it's maybe a hair slower than my Minolta glass (which is pretty fast). Only difference is my Minolta lenses focus fast in low light as well.

Colors are very nice. Bokeh is excellent. It's mostly plastic but it does't feel or look cheap. Smooth zoom and focus ring. Only real downside is you have to up your shutter speed to at least 1/400 if you have it at 300mm. On a cloudy day I'll be at 400 ISO, 1/400, wide open at F/5.6. Otherwise, camera shake starts to show. But at around 200mm you can get away with 1/200.

With the zoom range, this will probably be my main outdoor walk-around lens...for now. I don't see much of a difference between 200mm and 300mm so I'll probably end up getting a 70-200mm when I go full frame. I'd rather have the F2.8 available but this does a darn good job for what it is. Very happy with it.
reviewer#11346 date: Sep-22-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 70-300 USD
Minolta 70-210/4
price paid:320.- SFR
positive:sharp, even wide open
negative:nothing
comment:I am very happy with this lens.
reviewer#10875 date: Jan-26-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:16-50 Sony SSM
18-135 Sony SAM
135 2.8 Minolta
70-300 Sigma (oldest)
200-500 Tamron
70-400 Sony G SSM (not owned)
price paid:260 CAN (new)
positive:Exceptionnally crisp in the center, even wide open.
Also quite good resolution in the corners, when stopped-down a little bit.
Very light weight for the 55-300 range (APSC only).
Low-priced but much better than most cheap old 70-300's and 100-300's.
A modern lens, with the best modern technology this money can buy.
Build is OK, half-metal, half-plastic. In that regard, not far from superb Sony 16-50.
negative:AF may hunt in low-light, low-contrast situations.
comment:A fantastic new lens on the market. Got it for next to nothing in a big Montreal store. Kurt Munger writes that its resolution (center) is almost at par with Sony 70-400 G, which costs seven times as much !!! Resolution seems as good or better than old Minolta 135 2.8 and new Sony 18-135 (which I also just bought).

AF is fast with both my Sony Alpha 77 and Alpha 700, provided there is good light. For birds (not my specialty), should be as good as Tamron 200-500, although late afternoon, during an overcast day in the woods, it won't focus immediately (but then, what lens will?).
reviewer#10865 date: Jan-22-2013
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 18-270mm PZD.
price paid:340€ (new)
positive:Very sharp.
Cheap.
Relatively small and light.
negative:Can be slow to focus at times.
comment:I bought this lens to replace my Tamron 18-270mm PZD on my A77. The sharpness of this lens is much better than that of the Tamron especially over 200mm. This lens wins hands down. The focus speed is a bit of a mixed story. Usually it focuses fast. Faster than the tamron. I would almost say that it is as fast at the Sony 16-50mm. However it slows down a lot when there is a lack of contrast and it needs to start searching. It's slow to go through its focus length and that is a big minus. So when you lose focus or when you suddenly focus from far to near the lens can take some time to extend/retract. IMO this lens would have benefited from a focus limiter. However since it doesn't have one it makes fast moving photography a little challenging. BIF, sports and children might be a challenge with this lens. However considering the price this is a great lens and well worth it.
One more thing. The focus is very loud. You won't want to use this to record video.
Focus Peaking works fine for me when the lens is set to MF.
reviewer#10770 date: Dec-10-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-200 f/4.5
Таmron 24-135 f/3.5-4.5
price paid:350 USD
positive:- focal range
- size and weight
- sharpness
- price
negative:- focusing is not very fast
comment:Nice compact lens with great focal range for good money
reviewer#10567 date: Oct-6-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 70-300G has much nice colors.
Tamron 70-200 f2.8..faster aperture, but very soft wide open at f2.8
price paid:$300 USD
positive:lightweight. and size are great for my lowpro slingshot bag.The range is great too.
negative:the colors on my copy seem a lil less vivid than what i like, but its not a major problem. AF isnt super fast,but then i wasnt expecting it to be :)
comment:Overall im very happy with this lens, the range works great on the A77 to reach far when needed. lightweight and compact, i would recommend this inexpensive zoom to anyone who has a budget for a nice zoom lens.
reviewer#10566 date: Oct-6-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:SAL1650
Tamron SP70-300mm Di USD
SAL18135
price paid:300 USD
positive:Light weight
Sharp images at 300mm
Good Color, contrast

negative:No DMF - must switch AF-MF
Does not focus peak !
comment:Received this lens a week a go and am currently testing this lens against the Tamron 70-300 USD I received two weeks ago trying to decide between the two. Originally biased towards the Tamron, but after shooting a few hundred comparison shots I am conflicted. I tried and returned the SAL18135 due to lack of reach and do not recall difference in motor noise or speed between the 18135 and 55300. The Tamron is definitely faster focusing though not as fast as the 1650 which is instantaneous.

On my a77 the SAL55300 appears easier to get sharper shots at 300mm (450 eq) - my main focal length. I attribute this to the a77 lens correction for the Sony lens and I have upgraded firmware to version 1.05. I got the lens for outdoor shots from my deck - BIFs, AIFs, lunar... Even with that downside for the Tamron, I will probably keep it and return this SAL55300 due to lack of DMF, slower autofocus and no focus peaking - I tried reseating the lens several times with no luck. The Tamron and 1650 readily focus peak on the same settings.

The form factor (size and weight) is not as much an issue with me. If it were, the choice would be the SAL55300.

reviews found: 15   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 15
  • sharpness: 4.70
  • color: 4.47
  • build: 4.07
  • distortion: 4.73
  • flare control: 4.53
  • overall: 4.50

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