Sony AF DT 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#17338 date: Aug-18-2015
sharpness: 3
color: 5
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM
Sony CZ 16-80
Sony DT 16-105
Sony DT 18-55 SAM I/II
Sony DT 18-135 SAM
Sony DT 18-200
Tamron 18-250
Minolta AF 25-50 F4
Minolta AF 24-85
Minolta AF 28-80 D
Minolta AF 28-100 D
Minolta AF 28-105
Minolta AF 28-135
price paid:32 USD (used)
Wide zoom grip
Slightly less distortion at 18 mm than other zooms
Less vignetting than the other DT zooms
negative:Quite long when zoomed to 70 mm.
Soft corners
Noisy zoom action
Noisy AF screw drive
Very short focus throw
Long MFD compared to 18-55
Not as wide as other 18-x zooms
No lens compensation
No sealing
comment:This lens is a spitting image of the slightly older Minolta 28-100 D kit lens. Originally branded by Konica-Minolta as the kit zoom for the Alpha 5D. "CHINA"

Image quality is similar to the 18-55 SAM lenses. Both kit lenses are rather poor in the widest 18-20 mm range. The 18-70 has heavy blue/red CA like most cheap older lenses, while the 18-55 has quite good CA control at the long end but heavy purple fringing at the short end.

The build is practically identical to the older 28-100 D. It is slightly worse but similar to the 16-105 though made with lighter materials. The plastic zoom ring was cracked near the front on my first copy. There are some metallic sounds while operating the zoom mechanism. It is quite noisy and cheap feeling compared to the smooth operating 18-55 SAM II. The front barrel wobbles a half millimeter or so even when fully retracted. The entire front barrel including the filter threads and hood rotates while focusing but not when zooming.

All of the kit lenses need to be manually focused for any accuracy at close distances which is difficult with their poor manual focus control. The 18-70 has barely any focus throw. The narrow focus ring is just a hard textured plastic ridge on the end of the barrel that is effectively blocked when the plastic lens hood is installed. Once carefully focused by hand the center is sharp wide-open at the shorter focal lengths. Both copies were quire soft wide-open at 70 mm.

This lens actually covers full-frame over much of its focal range. The full-frame corners are not as good as the 18-55.

There is a lot of sample variation with all the kit lenses, but there is no reason to choose this lens over the newer 18-55. The Sony DT 18-135 F3.5-5.6 SAM is a much better performing alternative.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 222
  • sharpness: 3.57
  • color: 3.70
  • build: 2.98
  • distortion: 3.47
  • flare control: 3.63
  • overall: 3.47 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania