Sony 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM ( SAL-35F18 ) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2011

Lens kindly provided by Kai Wörner!


The Sony 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM ( SAL-35F18 ) is a member of the fairly new league of budget-oriented prime lenses made by Sony for the Alpha camera system. In terms of body design it is very related to the recently released 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM, 85mm f/2.8 SAM and 30mm f/2.8 DT macro SAM. DT ("Digital Technology") lenses are compatible to APS-C DSLRs only. The 35mm f/1.8 DT has a field-of-view equivalent to a ~53mm standard lens on full format cameras so obvious applications include e.g. portrait or street photography. Its large max. aperture makes it also suitable for low-light situations.

The build quality of the lens is about average at best. The lens barrel is completely made of plastic and that's including the lens mount. It uses a linear extension system for focusing - the, slightly wobbly, inner lens tube extends a bit towards shorter focus distance. The tiny focus ring at the lens front operates smoothly but it's not really a joy to use it. It remains coupled to the AF motor in AF mode so it rotates during AF operations. However, the filter ring does not rotate.

The SAM AF drive is reasonably fast but don't expect speed wonders here either. DMF ("Direct Manual Focusing") is not supported. Manual focusing is a bit delicate due to the tiny focus ring and the rather short focus path (~60 degrees). The min. focus distance of just 0.23m is surprisingly short for such a lens.

Equiv. focal length52.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.7 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 5 groups without special elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.23 m (max. magnification 1:4)
Dimensions70 x 52 mm
Weight170 g
Filter size55 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other features-

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