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

reviewer#15255 date: May-22-2015
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:Canon EF 28 F1.8 USM
Sigma 28 F1.8 HS & EX DG
Sony FE 28 F2
Minolta MD & AF 28 F2
Canon EF 28 F2.8 IS USM
Minolta/Sony AF 28 F2.8
Neewer 28 F2.8
Sigma 30 F1.4 DC DN C & EX DC
Sigma 30 F2.8 DN Art
Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM
Neewer 32 F1.6
Zeiss Touit 32 F1.8
Neewer 35 F1.2
Fotasy 35 F1.6 APS-C & Mini
Kaxinda 35 F1.7
Minolta MD 35 F1.8
Sony E 35 F1.8 OSS
Tamron SP 35 F1.8 USD
Minolta AF 35 F2
Rokinon AF FE 35 F2.8
Minolta MC 35 F2.8
Vivitar 35 F2.8
Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
price paid:58 USD (used)
positive:Small and light
55 mm non-rotating filter threads
negative:Barrel distortion
Chromatic aberration
Curved focus plane
Small, loose focus ring
Variable quality
Noisy, rough AF
Busy foreground bokeh
comment:I placed an order for this lens with my local shop, but Sony didn't have any in stock. I found a used copy for $155 on Amazon. I bought a second used copy of this lens without hood for $58. This copy was much sharper wide-open. The previous copy was my first prime lens experience. I've revised my ratings in light of broader comparison especially in light of the Tamron SP.

This lens was originally $200 when released in 2010 with a few sales at $175. The retail price increased to $220 in 2012 with sales at $190. Sony has stopped offering discounts. "MADE IN CHINA"

It's field of view is comparably to a 52.5 mm full frame lens, but it does not equal the total light gathering of a 50mm f/1.8 on a larger sensor. It is similar to a 135 format f/2.8 lens in light gathering and depth-of-field. It can still produce some lovely smooth background blur. The second copy is much sharper in the center wide-open, but the corners are a bit softer. Both lenses had direction glows wide-open on high contrast edges indicating alignment problems.

The focus plane curvature makes this more of a portrait lens. It does have less optical issues than the stabilized Sony E 35 F1.8 OSS that I tried.

The barrel distortion is a little annoying for raw capture without a lens profile. The
zoom lenses have similar amounts of distortion at 35 mm.

It can focus fairly closely for semi-macro work, but the Tamron focuses closer.

The included ALC-SH111 circular hood is smaller than it could be. The much deeper ALC-SH102 hood from the 55-200 lenses fits perfectly and doesn't vignette on an APS-C camera. The hood bayonet doesn't rotate so an even larger petal hood could be used.

Overall a decent inexpensive prime lens especially at current used prices. There are better lenses optically like the Tamron SP 35 F1.8 USD or even the Vario-Sonnar 16-80.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 107
  • sharpness: 4.71
  • color: 4.63
  • build: 3.42
  • distortion: 4.49
  • flare control: 4.36
  • overall: 4.32
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