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

reviewer#5475 date: May-31-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4
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:Beercan 70-210
Little Beercan 100-200
Big Beercan 75-300
75-300 “New”
Sony 55-200 DT
price paid:211
positive:Pretty sharp

Can't get in too much trouble with flare, fringe, CA's, or ghosting
negative:Images are technically sound but alas boring - flare sometimes adds...well - flare!
comment:I did a somewhat formal shootout of these 5 lenses; prices are with shipping/tax/all costs included:

Beercan 70-210 paid $140
Little Beercan 100-200 paid $85
Big Beercan 75-300 Paid $180
75-300 “New” Paid $120
Sony 55-200 DT Bundle lens (The Tamron re-labeled) included with my A350

I went through a bit of trouble in doing this but am not sure there is really enough differences to report or if those differences are just due to my copies. That said, here are my results shooting on a tripod at f5.6 and 250 shutter on a new Alpha 350:

1. Big Beercan won for Bokeh and took 2nd place in sharpness
2. The “New” 75-300” surprised as noted around here a few times…1st in sharpness and 2nd in Bokeh. Nice and light, the sensible choice but…you got to admit the beercans have that beercan “thing” about them…Also – I paid $120 for this lens so…they’re not the big bargain they once were.
3. The Beercan came in 3rd in sharpness, but it must be said that the top 3 lenses were nearly identical in sharpness. This lens took best photo “feel” and color though – and strangely – it may be the one I keep, go figure. I know, not very scientific : ( This lens really does live up to its hype. Mine is all beat up and looks like hell but WOW – those dings did NOT touch the IQ!
4. Little Beer Can…after reading here I guess this lens is soft at f5.6 so….take what you want from this. Still, I did plenty of shooting and this lens marked the only consistent and true drop off from the pack. You could almost take your pick of the top 3 and maybe never know the difference. This is the only one I’m sure to sell. It’s small size doesn’t do me much good – if I’ve busted out the camera bag and the a350 then I’m committed to being encumbered – and I certainly, certainly wouldn’t pick THIS lens as my walk-around shooter…hah.
5. Well, the SONY DT is obviously outmatched here but…it’s sharp really. My main issue with this lens is how cold it’s photos are. Yeah modern lenses kill flare and fringe and tweak the light around but…unless you’re a soccer Mom (I’m a classically trained armature photographer) the best results from this lens are just ho-hum. That’s tantamount to preaching to the choir on a site like this, I know ; )

That’s it….take what you want from this and feel free to contact me. I’m selling off a few of these because it’s kind of expensive owning them all (and a bit greedy since they overlap) so I won’t be able to do this again probably.


rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 35
  • sharpness: 4.33
  • color: 4.40
  • build: 3.71
  • distortion: 4.43
  • flare control: 4.40
  • overall: 4.25 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania