Sony AF DT 50mm F1.8 SAM A-mount lens review by Phil Wood

reviewer#44303 date: May-21-2019
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta - AF 50mm F1.4
Minolta - AF 50 F1.7
Minolta - AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta - AF 50 F2.8 Macro
price paid:44 GBP
positive:Well priced fast 50mm lens. SAM drive an improvement on screw driven alternatives.
negative:Built like a toy (seemingly), APS only.
comment:I have been reviewing all my A-Mount 50mm lenses (see list above) and left this one to last because it is the hardest one to place. 50mm is the standard lens for full-frame, it's what came on the first 35mm SLR I bought 50 years ago, it's what I use all the time on my full-frame A900 - but what sense does it make on APS-C? It's equivalent focal length of 75mm is a bit short for portraits, though that is what Sony promoted this lens for.
It is in competition with readily available full-frame 50mms from Minolta (f1.4, f1.4 RS, f1.7, f1.7 RS) and the Sony f1.4 - what does it do that they don't?
It's big positives are:
1 SAM drive (SSM would be a lot nicer, but then it probably wouldn't be a budget lens)
2 improved anti-flare coatings and CA resistant glass/plastic.
3 significantly closer minimum focus distance.
These are all good reasons to go for this lens - the build quality is not - it's a lightweight (okay another plus) plastic marvel, the marvel being that it hasn't broken yet. But it hasn't, perhaps there is a bit more to the build quality than the obvious?
If I only had APS-C camera bodies, if I didn't have all those other 50mms, I would be pretty happy with this lens, but I do have them and a FF body - so this lens gets very little use. I just love my old Minoltas too much.
In direct comparison the f1.4 has the extra speed that makes such an important difference, the macros have macro and are sharper - the real competition is with the f1.7 - FF/APS 4WD or APS only cheap sedan, take your pick there isn't a lot to choose between them optically.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 89
  • sharpness: 4.58
  • color: 4.52
  • build: 3.53
  • distortion: 4.61
  • flare control: 4.48
  • overall: 4.34 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania