Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#16281 date: Jun-27-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
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:Tamron 18-250
Sony DT 55-200 SAM
Sony 70-300 G SSM II
Tamron 70-300 USD
Minolta AF 75-300 "Big Beercan"
Minolta / Sony 75-300 D
Minolta AF 100-300 APO
Minolta AF 100-300 APO D
Minolta AF 100-400 APO
price paid:149 USD (Refurb)
positive:Accurate AF
5.5x zoom
Longer than other 300mm zooms
negative:Slow focus and hunting
Focus mechanism is loose
Zoom mechanism is a little stiff
Busy, ugly bokeh
Moderate distortion
Focus breathing
62 mm filter
comment:This lens is just an amazingly sharp, affordable, long zoom lens. It has the best center sharpness at the long end of these telephoto zooms. It is more prone to focus hunting than the 55-200, but it covers a rather broad 5.5x zoom range. Both Sony SAM zooms focus more accurately than the screw-drive Minoltas, but this one is very accurate. "MADE IN CHINA"

It focuses alright on the LA-EA1 and LA-EA3 on recent E-mount cameras.

It has less distortion than the DT 55-200 but more distortion than the Minolta 70-210 f/4. It is slightly larger and heavier than the 100-300 APO but considerably lighter than the 70-210 F4 or the two 70-300 full-frame zooms.

It is even sharp on stacked teleconverters. This lens supports the faster communication introduced with the A77 and DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM and subsequently added SSM II lenses. This allows for 10 FPS AF-C tracking rate on the A9 when mounted on the LA-EA3. It also means the focal length and aperture will not be corrected when it is used with a Kenko DGX teleconverter.

The lens extends but does not rotate while zooming. The front element extends and rotates while focusing. Focus breathing decreases the angle-of-view at close focus especially at the short end of the zoom range--the lens maintains its focal length with closer focus unlike the Sony G zooms which maintain angle-of-view.

I am very happy with the center sharpness of this lens. The focus plane is not as flat as the more premium zooms. The focal range is great for covering motorsports. 55 mm is very useful compared to the zooms that start longer. The frequent focus hunting at the long end is annoying. Highly recommended!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 18
  • sharpness: 4.67
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.11
  • distortion: 4.67
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.49 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania