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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good optics, decent price Tele-zoom lens, 10 Feb 2014
By 
Mr Baz - See all my reviews
(#1 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sony SAL55300 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SAM Telephoto Lens (Camera)
I'd been wanting to try this lens for a while as I have quite a decent range of A Mount lenses (around a dozen or so)
One area I don't really have well covered is the telephoto end and at the 300mm mark. Though I've used a fair few of them

On using the lens first off the build is very much like the recent Sony 18-135mm which is quite a good thing as I'm quite fond of that lens. The plastics are of decent quality, it has a metal mount and the top of the lens has the newer Sony metal style black ring on it (just like the 18-135mm)

I've done a bit of shooting with the lens and I'll share my quick fire pro and cons section:

Pros:
+ Decent price (about in line or slightly better than rivals on other mounts)
+ Good overall build quality with respectable plastics, metal mount too quite happy here
+ Optics are across the range from 55mm to 300mm are good usable wide open across the range
+ SAM motor is somewhat quieter than previous ones, but not silent (take note video shooters using the on-board mic) AF speed is ok but not really fast (not unexpected for a tele lens) not as fast as the 18-135mm
+ Vignetting and CA are mostly well controlled really not a serious issue at all here, some CA noted but minor really
+ Comes with a lens hood
+ Zoom lock, which is great (no sign of creep so far but it's useful to have this)
+ Above average max magnification of 1:3.7 (0.27x)

Cons:
- Bit bigger than I expected, by no means huge but it's bigger than the older 100-300mm Minolta APO lens by a fair bit
- APS-C only, if you shoot full frame, or the odd bit of film on a Minolta Dynax then you might want to look at full frame options
- Some pincushion at around 100mm and above it's fairly mild and not likely to be a serious issue
- At the 300mm mark the lens is quite good, but sharpness drops a touch from about 250mm onwards corners pick up stopping the lens down
- No focus scale, front element rotates on focus
- DMF is not supported. Unlike the 18-135mm where you can grab the focus ring at any time, you must set the lens to MF for manual focus
- Not the best "bokeh", it's ok depending on the focal length used (it gets better at 200mm and above) but can be a be hard edged at times and distracting, this is quite subjective though.

A few other notes.
Lens takes a 62mm filter thread, same as a few other lenses 18-135mm, 16-80, 18-105mm and others

Lens speed is approx as follows: 55mm to 130mm f4.5, 140mm to 210mm f5, 220mm to 300mm it's f5.6

Overall I like the lens is delivers sharp images across the range without major problem. Having used a few other lenses such as the 75-300mm, this len is better in terms of sharpness and CA. Though the 75-300mm is full frame it has CA issues but does have very nice bokeh. The classic Minolta 70-210mm f4 is another lens I compared it too again a full frame lens with wonderful bokeh and more speed, but less range.

Consider what you are looking for (ie 300mm top end or speed etc) For new full frame lenses look at the Sony 70-300mm G or Tamron 70-300mm USD lens both are solid lenses. The Tamron has a faster AF motor with full time MF possible, bokeh is a bit better (but not perfect either) lens is a fair bit bigger though overall, but costs only a little more than this lens.
Price is very fair for what you get here performance wise, quite happy with the lens overall.

If the lens had a silent SAM motor with DMF and nicer bokeh it would easily get 5 stars, as it is I think it's a good lens with a few minor flaws (as all lenses have) well worth looking at if you want a crop body zoom lens.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Lens, 15 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sony SAL55300 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SAM Telephoto Lens (Camera)
Excellent quality for the price. Great range for a telephoto zoom . Really works well with my Sony A35SLT camera.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good budget telezoom for NEX with adapter, 22 Mar 2014
This review is from: Sony SAL55300 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SAM Telephoto Lens (Camera)
I wanted a reasonable telephoto zoom for my Sony NEX. The native E mount zooms only reach to 200mm and only 2 (as of today) are telezooms ie don't start as wide angles. The Sony 70-400 A mount and Tamron and Sigma telezooms look nice but are expensive. This fitted the bill as reasonable quality with good price, and good test results from owners. 300mm at the long end means 9x magnification using an APS format camera.

Pros: good range, price, quality of photos
Cons: storing lens hood on the lens causes focus ring to move, sensitive to filter quality (don't go cheap!)
Considerations: requires LA-EA2/4 adapter for NEX, APS coverage only may not be future proof long term (vs 35mm sensor)
Good for: long tele shots, birding, sports, airplane photos

Recommended, although one might also check out the Sony G 70-300 and Tamron equivalent.
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