Sony AF DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II A-mount lens review by MinoltaMaxxum

reviewer#11657 date: Feb-1-2014
sharpness: 2
color: 4
build: 2
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 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 used to own this lens
compared to:* Sony 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM
* Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM
* Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT SAM II
* Minolta 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 (Original)
* Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (Beercan)
* Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX-II
price paid:Kit lens
positive:* Excellent colour contrast and flare control
* Light and small size for focal length
* Cheap on used market
* Compatible with in camera lens correction on some Sony camera bodies
negative:* Soft image quality, especially towards wide angle, would not recommend for large prints and does not come close to showing the potential of more recent Sony camera body sensors
* Slow autofocus speed
* Cheap, plastic build quality
comment:This lens is built to a price and it shows both in build and image quality. It is average in every respect and if you are looking to show the potential of the sensor this would not be the lens to do it with.

Image quality is soft at all focal ranges, even when stepped down to f/5.6-8, and this is easily apparent using the Zoom function in Live View when reviewing on some of Sony cameras.

Some zoom lens come close to primes in quality when stepped down, however this is not one of them with details of the same scene appearing mushy especially comparing to the 50mm f/1.8 or similar used price of the 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 when set at same focal range and apertures.

Contrast and flare control however is very good and like most modern Sony lens has a "punchy" and colourful look.

This lens would suit beginner or casual DSLR users, those who are only interested in small prints or can get it cheaply as part of the kit lens package and are on a budget.

For those wanting a sharper lens, I would suggest either avoiding or selling this lens if in kit and upgrading to one of the following whether new or used:

* Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

Or if you can purchase a wide angle or live without it as a focal range:

* Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
* Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5 (original)
* Minolta 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 (original)

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 19
  • sharpness: 4.42
  • color: 4.47
  • build: 3.53
  • distortion: 3.95
  • flare control: 4.26
  • overall: 4.13 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania