SAM Is New

Things I spotted at Sony Style KLCC today!


The bronze Sony Alpha 330! It looks every bit as good in real life, as it looks in the picture. Which is really, really good.


And then, there is the first ever Sony lens with a 67mm filter thread… (say what?)


The much awaited Sony 28-75mm F2.8 SAM! Note that there is a Lock switch to hold it at 28mm, and the focus ring is reverse from most Sony lenses. It is noticeably smaller than the Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8.

Minimum focus distances:
Sony Vario-Sonnar T* Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 SSM ZA = 34cm
Tamron/Minolta 28-75mm F2.8 = 33cm
Sony 28-75mm F2.8 SAM = 38cm

We all know that the Sony is a rebadged Tamron – it’s obvious from the reverse focus ring and filter size. However, why is the MFD changed from 33cm to 38cm?

The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 in Canon EF mount comes with a micro-motor since all Canon EOS cameras do not have in-body motors. The Nikon F mount version also has that micro-motor. Both Tamrons can still do 33cm with a micro-motor! So why can’t Sony?

Obviously, because a Sony 28-75mm F2.8 that does 33cm MFD compared to a Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 that does 34cm MFD looks better on paper!

I have to say this, I absolutely hate SAM for lenses that are meant to be matched on higher-end bodies (A850/A900) which have the AF/MF toggle and DMF functionality, because SAM makes any on-body MF control impossible. It’s not so bad to have SAM on a kit lens but not on a lens that is targeted to full-frame users.

And yet, it is hard to write off this lens – optically, it is superb, even wide open! I didn’t bring my A900 + Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) to compare, but what I shot looks very impressive, with good corners at F2.8. Focusing isn’t very fast though, and it feels a bit slow to draw at macro distances sometimes. I guess it’s best to have a Zeiss 24-70mm owner to compare as the Zeiss 24-70mm has faster SSM (compared to other lenses in its 24-70mm range.)

Its weight is superb – it’s light enough and yet it balances very well on the A850! If the 24-70mm ever felt too heavy, this will feel miraculously matched.

Pixel peeping will come another day!

Pros:
– good balance on the A850/A900
– good optical quality wide open even on the corners
– cameras with a F2.8 sensor (A700/A850/A900) will gain more accuracy

Cons:
– SAM motor implementation makes the very useful AF/MF and DMF functions on the A700/A850/A900 useless
– focus ring turns in the reverse direction of all Sony lenses (like the Sony 18-200mm and 18-250mm)
– 38cm MFD is a downgrade from the Konica Minolta/Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 which focused to 33cm close

Personally, if I could find a good copy of the Konica Minolta/Tamron 28-75mm F2.8, I would pick that over this Sony, only for the AF/MF and DMF functionality.

And finally, some leftover lens pr0n:

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