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

reviewer#6686 date: Jan-5-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 3
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
Minolta 70-210mm f/4 "Beercan"
Minolta 100-200mm f/4.5
price paid:120 USD (new)
positive:Good color and image quality for an entry-level zoom.
negative:MSRP is $229; for the price and performance, why not buy the Beercan?
comment:For an entry-level telephoto zoom, this lens is good. It produces nice colors and, though a bit soft wide open, sharpens up appropriately when stopped down. The aperture is too small for fast action, but under bright conditions - say, a nice day at the zoo - this lens works well. The lens looks and feels cheap, though to Sony's credit, Canon's equivalent entry-level zoom is just as flimsy.

That being said, it is hard for me to recommend someone buy this lens new. Sony holds its vendors to constant prices, meaning this lens will always cost $229 USD (unless you catch a Going Out of Business sale). Alternately, you can buy a Beercan for $200 or less on eBay, which provides:

* a faster, constant aperture
* all-metal construction
* full-frame compatibility
* no lens extension while zooming
* equivalent or better image quality at any focal range / aperture

The only drawback is that the Beercan is, obviously, much bigger and heavier. So, unless weight is a concern or you are unwilling/unable to buy lenses second-hand, skip this and buy the Beercan.

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