10 June 2009

Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) - a short encounter

Following the footstep of its competitor or rather keeping up with the competition SONY introduced the first few motorised lens labelled SAM. SAM stands for Smooth Autofocus Motor 'in-lens' auto-focus motor for more lens specific AF Speed improvements.

I had a brief encounter with the Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) about a week ago ... When i first hold the Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) in my hand I got this WTF?!! kinda feeling ... this lens is LIGHT!!! as light as a stack of papers!!! WTF indeed!

Lets see WTF they packed into this little wonder shall we?

coverage: APS-C
production: 2009
max. aperture: 3.5-5.6
D type lens: Yes
min. aperture:22-36
focal range: 18 - 55 mm
elements/group: 8/7
aperture blades: 7/circular
minimum focus distance: 250 mm (less than a ft)
filter rotate when focusing: No (great for CPL)
filter rotate when zooming: No (internal zoom)
max. magnification: 0.34x
filter diameter: 55 mm
hood: Petal (not present at that time)
weight: 210 g
color: black

Enuff of technical craps, technical craps dont tell you how good the lens is ... the photos will tell you how good the lens is! Time for some photos!

The unit I tested with does not come with any hood, initially i suspect flare would be an issue but man! I really under estimated this light weight lens!

All photos below taken with Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) on my Alpha A200 with settings stated below the photos.

1/40Sec | F5.6 | ISO : 400 | Flash : Fired | 55.00(mm)

This photo is taken with very bright sunlight at the back and the object remained sharp with no sign of flare, color is nice too!

1/60Sec | F3.5 | ISO:400 | Flash : Not fired | 18.00(mm)

Bokeh is not bad either! I still prefer the kinda bokeh thats produced by my minolta lenses compares to the Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) .

1/10Sec | F5.6 | ISO : 400 | Flash : Not fired | 55.00(mm)

The above shot is taken indoor without flash at ISO 400 picture without flash photo still turn out sharp without visibe noise.

1/60Sec | F3.5 | ISO : 400 | Flash : Not fired | 18.00(mm)

Thats a A330 with a Carl Zeiss 2470 f2.8 minimuffin is holding. look at the color and sharpness of the photo even tho half of the photo is actually overexposed.

1/40Sec | F5.6 | ISO: 400 | Flash : Fired | 55.00(mm)

This is how close this Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) can go to. Way better than the old kitlens SAL1870 with 380mm MFD.

1/40Sec | F5.6 | ISO:400 | Flash : Fired | 55.00(mm)

Last one for the road ... chick test! LOL

In a nutshell :

  1. Lightweight
  2. Sharp througout focal length & great IQ
  3. Decent Bokeh
  4. Fast Autofocus! Even in medium-low light condition!
  5. Great colors
  6. GREAT flare control! Even without hood! Very advance coating on the lens.
  7. Non rotating Front element (great for those who loves to use CPL)
  8. Cheap (comes free with body lol!) Altho i do not have the published price for this lens but i do foresee this lens to be in the region of one of the few "pretty affordable" range.
  1. Plasticky build quality, abit too plastic to be categorised as "solid"
  2. Plastic/polymer lens? this might be good at the present time, but will the plastic elements in the lens hold up against time? Will this lens will still be usable 20 yrs down the line (like how the old minolta lens)?
  3. Shorter focal length compared to SAL1870 (the old kitlens)
  4. SAM is not really as "silent" as you expect it to be.

My question is .... Its as light as a stack of papers (210grams) with a motor inside plus internal focusing, will all the moving mechanism be able to last with all that light weight parts inside the lens?

The few cons put aside, this new kitlens Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM (SAL1855) indeed a great improvements over the older kitlens SAL1870 in all aspect (other than losing about 15mm of focal length). Great IQ, amazing flare control, fast autofocus plus value for money lens all in one little light weight package!

This is one of those lens with a "worth owning" label onnit! Thats of coz ... coming from me la! Erm no .. Sony no pay me komisen on your purchase wan!

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