Sony AF DT 55-200mm F4-5.6 SAM A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#15257 date: May-25-2015
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 18-135 SAM
Sony DT 18-200 F3.5-6.3
Tamron 18-250
Minolta AF 28-135
Sigma AF 35-135 F3.5-4.5
Tokina AF 35-200 SD
Minolta AF 35-200 Xi
Tokina 35-300
Sigma 50-150 F2.8 EX DC HSM II
Sony E 55-210 OSS
Sony DT 55-300 SAM
Minolta MD 50-135 F3.5
Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM
Sigma AF 70-200 F2.8 EX DG APO
Minolta AF 70-210 F4
Minolta AF 70-210 F3.5-4.5
Minolta AF 70-210 F4.5-5.6 I/II
Canon EF 70-300 F4-5.6 IS II USM
Nikon AF-P DX 70-300 F4.5-6.3 ED VR
Tokina 80-200 F2.8 AT-X Pro
price paid:60 USD (refurbished)
positive:Center sharpness wide-open
Small and light
Fairly fast (100 mm f/4, 150 mm f/4.5)
Close focusing
Nice deep hood
Lens Compensation Support
negative:Focus control is small and loose
Zoom control is somewhat sticky and uneven
Moderate pincushion distortion at most focal lengths
Some veiling glare wide open
comment:I ordered this new with the A58 for $50 and enjoyed using it. I sold this copy after purchasing the 55-300 but missed the smaller lens. So, I ordered a second refurbished one for $60. This copy may perform better than the first one. A third copy came with a used A65 and is sharper than the second copy. The current retail price is $200. "MADE IN CHINA"

F4 up to 100 mm
F4.5 from 105 to 150 mm
F5 at 160 mm

It is small and light and reasonably fast to focus. The small rubber focus ring isn't as nice as the wider ones on the longer zooms, but it is much easier to use than the hard plastic ones on many of the Minolta AF lenses. Focus accuracy using SAM is also better than the old Minolta lenses.

The 55-200 performs similarly to the 55-300 at the longer end of their shared range. AF is slow but accurate on both DT telephoto zooms. The 55-200 hunts less than the 55-300 probably due to its more limited range. It displays a similar amount of purple fringing as the 55-300.

This lens is incredibly sharp wide-open even on a 2X teleconverter. It is much sharper than the original Minolta AF 35-105 F3.5-4.5 or even the longer macro lenses. It is also much sharper in the center than the DT 55-300, but the later has much better corners.

At close distances the 55 mm wide end is similar in angle of view to the 70 mm settings on the shorter internal focus normal zooms. At close focus there is a gap between the long end of the 18-55 and the short end of the 55-200, but they have a similar field-of-view at infinity. At close focus 200 mm on the 18-200 is close to 135 mm on this lens.

SAM works reasonably well with the chipped Kenko DGX teleconverters. It also works with the pass-through Kenko 1.5X TELEPLUS DG teleconverter. SAM does not work properly with older 8-pin chipped 2X teleconverters or the pass-through Promaster Spectrum 1.7X.

Overall great performance from such a cheap lens. It might not have the character of the older Minolta lenses, but it is much sharper in the center at least. It is definitely a good kit deal with a new camera purchase. It compliments the range of the normal zoom while performing much better than them.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 51
  • sharpness: 4.47
  • color: 4.47
  • build: 3.78
  • distortion: 4.41
  • flare control: 4.41
  • overall: 4.31 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania