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

reviewer#16330 date: Jul-29-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 3
build: 4
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 own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF Xi 100-300
Minolta AF 75-300 Big Beercan
Tamron SP 300 Adaptall
Sony AF 75-300
Sirius (Cosina) AF 60-300
Tokina AT-X AF 400
Sigma AF 170-500
Sigma AF 150-500
Tamron AF 200-500
Minolta AF 50mm Macro (1st gen)
Vivitar (Tokina) Series-1 90mm F2.5 Macro (Bokina)
Vivitar (Komine) Series-1 135mm F2.3
Porst (Tomioka) MC 55mm F1.4
price paid:200 GBP used
positive:Very very sharp. Even at long end and full open. At shorter focal lengths, it's even sharper...almost as sharp as the sharpest prime lenses I own like Minolta AF 50mm Macro and Vivitar S-1 90mm Macro (Bokina) (btw, both of these are ranked among the sharpest lenses ever built by any manufacturers at least up to year 2000.) Really amazing!

Bokeh is not bad for such a sharp lens either.

55mm at the short end is really useful. It doesn't sound a big difference from 70 or 75mm but in reality it DOES make a big difference.
negative:Blueish colour. This must suggest the improper coating, which is a bit surprising for a modern lens. What a shame! The original lens hood doesn't seem to be effective to cut the stray light. With it images get really blueish under the blue sky. So I use a narrower hood, but the images can still be blueish under some situations. They sometimes get blue/green fringing as well. 3 points in colour and flare reflect these issues.

SAM has no benefit at all. It makes the lens much fatter than older lenses of this class but AF speed is probably slower than traditional shaft drive AF. It sometimes resets the AF to the minimum focal distance. So next time it has to start from there and focus a long way to the actual distance which is most likely near the infinity. This is really annoying.
comment:Sharpness is really amazing. Bokeh is not bad either. The range starting from 55mm is very useful. It's light weight but fat. SAM has absolutely no benefit to the traditional AF. Blueish colour can be a problem but using a narrower lens hood helps here.

Overall this must be the best lens I have ever had in this range but I still miss my stolen Big Beercan which produced solid images more like those from a prime lens.

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