Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM A-mount lens review by Miranda F

reviewer#11644 date: Jan-30-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
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:Sony 18-55mm DT SAM II
Minolta 28-100mm
Tamron 28mm f2.8
Various 35mm film lenses
price paid:£139 new
positive:Small, light, good aperture for low light conditions. Useful filter size shared with kit lens. very sharp, excellent flare control. No obvious distortions with in-camera corrections on.
negative:Poor build quality.
Floppy front element.
comment:Initial thoughts were very disappointing in build quality - front element is actually loose/wobbly straight out of box. I expected this lens to be sharper than the kit zoom too but it isn't, though this is perhaps because the kit zoom is also exceptionally sharp, and perhaps because both are limited by the camera resolution!
But having used it a bit more, I find this lens to be a superb general-purpose lens which is extremely capable in demanding light. In churches and cathedrals, I've got unbelievably sharp, clear pictures down to 1/10 second hand-held and at 400-1600 ASA on the A58. It copes very well with the extreme contrast too, certainly better than I ever achieved in film days.
And in twilight the lens scores as well - not just the speed of the lens but its resistance to flare; even bright modern streetlights in the field of view don't upset the picture.
Therefore, though I'd still pick the 18-55mm in bright light, if I'm going indoors or staying out late this lens is likely to be the one on my camera.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 108
  • sharpness: 4.71
  • color: 4.62
  • build: 3.42
  • distortion: 4.48
  • flare control: 4.35
  • overall: 4.32 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania