Sony AF DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM A-mount lens review by craig66

reviewer#11173 date: Jun-2-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 SP
Pentax 50mm f1.4 SMC Takumar (M42)
Sony DT 55-300mm
price paid:Kit Lens
Decently Sharp
Reasonable CA Control
negative:Poor build quality
Mediocre colour/contrast
Rotating front element
No lens hood
comment:First the good part. Sharpness is decent and perhaps just behind the Tamron and 55-300 DT at it's short end. But sorry Tamron and Sony, the 40 year old Pentax lens beats the lot of ya at f2.8 and smaller apertures.

CA and purple fringing is mild and easily corrected. Big barrel distortion at the short end, but this is typical of standard zooms.

Ever since I bought my A65 with this lens, I felt that images were a bit dull and lacking any real "pop". Having just bought the Tamron 17-50 my feelings have been vindicated. The Tammy produces images of significantly better contrast and more saturation. I was a little surprised at the difference. My rating of 4 for colour for the 18-55 may be a bit kind.

And so to build quality. I really don't care about metal vs plastic even for lens mounts. This lens is all plastic, but that doesn't concern me. I do care about usability and whether bits wobble around. The 18-55 is pretty poor. Movement of the zoom ring is far from smooth, the focus ring is tiny and horrible to use. There is wobble in the barrel when fully extended. It's all a bit too cheap and nasty for my liking.

I suppose the 18-55 is quite decent for the price, but the extra cost of say the Tamron 17-50 or even the Sony 16-50 will, I think, be justified for most people in terms of better image quality, speed and usability. Not really recommended.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 103
  • sharpness: 4.20
  • color: 4.30
  • build: 3.40
  • distortion: 3.88
  • flare control: 4.14
  • overall: 3.98 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania