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

reviewer#34778 date: Feb-8-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
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:Minolta 24-105mm
Minolta 50mm
Sigma 17-35mm
et. al.
price paid:$160 used on Amazon
positive:Sharp (especially compared to the old film lenses)
comment:This was the first lens I bought for my Sony a57. After accumulating more lenses, I began to appreciate it's sharpness and colors. In some cases, it makes the subject appear almost three-dimensional in the photograph! However, like all lenses, it has its shortcomings.

First, the build. This lens is made of incredibly light plastic. It feels like, if dropped, it would shatter. The focus ring is also quite gritty, as it conveys the feelings of loose plastic gears turning each other. The SAM focus, which I did not find offensively noisy, occasionally misses the mark. It also makes switching to manual focus a pain, as you have to change the switch both on the camera and on the lens. I found no improvements with the SAM motor over regular screw-drive lenses.

Next, (and last), the flare. This lens comes with a lens hood, but will still badly flare if the sun is just out of frame. If the sun is in the frame, forget it. You will, at the least, have a large blob next to the sun, at most you'll have a train of flares streaking across your shot.

However, despite these flaws, I found the lens (mostly) a joy to use. It was light, sharp as a tack, and reliable (if it didn't feel like it). I sold it not because I disliked it, but because I simply never reached for it during my shots. For portraits, I preferred the 50 or 100mm primes. I seldom shot at 35mm for landscapes, which are my favorite subjects, and if I did need to take a shot at 35mm, either of my zooms handled it just fine. If you find yourself taking portraits at wider angles, or feel the need for a fast 50mm equivalent for APS-C, I highly recommend this lens. Otherwise, I believe another, better built, more versatile lens may suit your needs.

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