In The Box
Sony Front & Rear Lens Caps
Sony Lens Hood
-Under the Warranty of Sony Malaysia for Twelve Months
Sony 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DT Alpha A-Mount Telephoto Zoom Lens (SAL55300)
The 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DT Alpha A-Mount Telephoto Zoom Lensfrom Sony is a 5.5x zoom lens, with the 35mm equivalent of a 82.5-450mm focal length. Optimized to work with their A-mount APS-C sized DSLR and SLT digital cameras, the 55-300mm lens is an easy addition to your camera bag, quickly replacing several of your current lenses that you would no longer have to swap between--no longer risking dust, damage or missed opportunities.
One of the greatest features of the lens is Sony's Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM). This provides you with both fast, smooth, and quiet autofocusing that won't disrupt the audio in your HD video recordings, nor the temperamental wildlife you're zooming in on.
An Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) lens element provides exceptional image quality all the way out to its maximum 300mm focal length--meaning your zoomed images benefit from enhanced clarity and sharpness throughout the frame. The advanced optical design of the lens, with the same elements found in the more expensive premium Sony G lenses, reduces color aberrations and provides excellent contrast to enhance your images before they even reach the camera sensor.
- 82.5-450mm (35mm Equivalent) 5.5x Optical Zoom
- This lens has a 5.5x zoom factor, with focal lengths ranging from 55-300mm, or the 35mm equivalent of an 82.5-450mm lens when attached to the cropped APS-C cameras it was designed for.
- Aperture Range: f/4.5-29
- In addition to the zoom range, the aperture varies along with the focal length as well, from f/4.5 to f/5.6 at wider angles, and f/22 to 29 when zooming in.
- For DT Alpha & Minolta DSLRs
- Optimized for Sony Alpha APS-C sensor cameras, the lens covers an outstanding 5.5x zoom range from a normal 55mm end to a 300mm telephoto zoom, which is the 35mm equivalent of an 82.5-450mm lens.
- Optimized for APS-C Image Sensors
- Its fast and quiet Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) allows you to capture fleeting moments no matter the distance, so as not miss a smile merely because the motor wasn't fast enough or wildlife because it wasn't quiet enough
- Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass
- The lens is built with an ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass element inside, usually found within the premium Sony G lenses, which improves image quality by reducing color aberrations, as well as providing improved contrast and greater sharpness throughout the frame
- Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM)
- Designed for fast, smooth and silent automatic focusing, Sony's Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) technology achieves high torque at low speed with rapid start/stop response. The AF control signals from the camera body are sent to the lens-mounted SAM unit, which drives the lens directly, helping to assure quick and accurate AF response.
- 7x Circular Aperture Blades
- Circular aperture blades produce smooth, rounded bokeh background effects when capturing spot-light sources in your pictures. Because the aperture blades form a near circle at the wide openings used for low-light shots, spot-light sources have a pleasing circular defocused effect.
Sample crops from the centers, mid-sections and corners.
Full resized imageCenterMid-sectionCornerF/4.5F/5.6F/8F/11
I see sharp centers and mid-sections at the maximum aperture of F/4.5, with the corners sharpening up at F/8. Very light color fringing is noticeable in the corner crops.
Full resized imageCenterMid-sectionCornerF/5.6F/8F/11
Contrast improves at F/8, and the whole image is pretty sharp. Diffraction softens the image slightly at F/11.
Full resized image
Sony 55 mm-300 mm @ 300 mm f/5.6.Cropped sample image.
Click (twice) on the image above for a larger version.Field of view (FOV) Sony 55-300mm @ 55mm
FOV Sony 55-300mm @ 300mm
The impressive 5.5 x zoom range of the Sony 55-300 mm gives you a field of view equal to a 83 - 450 mm zoom lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
Construction and autofocus
I was very pleased with the looks and feel of the Sony 55-300mm lens. It is well built and feels very good in daily use. The Sony 55-300 mm lens has a switch to lock the zoom lens in its shortest configuration during transport. The lens has a second switch for manual focus / autofocus. The SAM AF motor offers high-speed AF tracking capabilities for images and Full HD video. Sony claims the Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) to be "whisper-quiet." That seems a little exaggerated to me. I would say it has a noise level common for lenses in this price range, but lower than the AF noise of the Sony 75-300 mm.
In-camera Lens correction by the Sony A77
When possible, we use in-camera corrections on jpg files in our tests as much as possible, and RAW files without analyzing in-camera adjustments. The Sony A77camera in this test provides correction for vignetting, chromatic aberration, and distortion. Sometimes, no correction is available for a lens in the camera profile, especially for very old or very new lenses. Unfortunately, you cannot see if a correction profile is available for the lens you use beforehand.
Our results show that the Sony A77 has made a correction profile for the Sony 55-300 mm available. Distortion and chromatic aberration are smaller in the corrected jpg files than in the uncorrected RAW files.
Image stabilization Sony 55-300mm
The Sony A-77 camera has built-in image stabilization ("steady shot"), which has a gain of 3 stops in conjunction with the Sony 55-300 mm lens. That is very good. A hand held shot image using a focal length of 55 mm and a shutter speed of 1/50 second is as sharp as a steady shot image, taken at the same focal length and a shutter speed of 1/6 second. You cannot switch image stabilization on or off on the lens itself, unfortunately. For that, you have to dive into the menu of the Sony A77.
Vignetting Sony 55-300 mm
Vignetting is kept low for all focal lengths, both in jpg and RAW files. With the aperture wide open you might see a little vignetting in clear blue skies, but after stopping down 2 stops (lower focal lengths) or 1 stop (longer focal length), this is completely eliminated. At f/8 and higher, there is no visible vignetting at all focal length.
Move your mouse over the image for the Sony 55-300 mm vignetting in RAW files.
Distortion Sony 55-300 mm
In-camera correction of distortion by the Sony A77 yields jpg files without visible distortion over the entire zoom range. The RAW files show the true character of the Sony 55-300 mm lens, with a slight barrel shaped distortion at 55 mm and a more pronounced (~1.5%) pincushion distortion over the 90-300 mm focal range. Only when photographing buildings, the distortion in RAW files will become visible and has to be corrected by software.
Move your mouse over the image for the Sony 55-300 mm distortion in RAW files.
Bokeh Sony 55-300mm
Most telephoto 4.5-5.6 zoom lenses on an APS-C camera do not show very attractive bokeh. The Sony 55-300 mm is no exception to this rule. If its bokeh you are after, the Sony 50 mm macro lens has a lower price tag and a much nicer bokeh. Click here for an image crop of a sample image with a less attractive Out of Focus area (OOF). If you wish to use this lens as a portrait lens, you should choose your background well.
The Sony 55-300 mm comes with a hood, but if you do not use it, it is probably not a disaster. The Sony 55-300 mm seems highly resistant to flare. Only in a limited number of situations where, at a specific angle, a very bright light shines directly into the lens, green and purple ghosting may occur. This is a really good achievement by the designers of Sony. A Dikdik (Madoqua) is an antelope of 30 cm. For such an animal, a 300 mm telephoto lens comes in handy. This sample image illustrates the disadvantage of a not so fast (f/4.5 - 5.6) lens. To prevent camera shake, the Sony A77 camera was set to ISO 1600 for this image. By doing so, you will obtain a sharp picture but, because of the noise suppression, it looks less natural compared to an image shot at 200 ISO.
Sony 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DT Alpha A-Mount Telephoto Zoom Lens (SAL55300)
|Filter Thread||Front:62 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 3.1 x 4.6" (7.87 x 11.68 cm)|
|Weight||1.2 lb (.54 kg)|