Monday, May 19, 2008

Digital-only Lenses Part III: Sony Minolta DT

Just one "D" away from being toxic, the Sony Minolta digital-only lenses are part of the "DT" family of lenses of both companies. We will present them separately, starting with the current Sony DT lenses, and then taking a short trip down memory lane to the Minolta branded DT lenses.

This post is part of a digital-only lens series. To find out more, be sure to read the introduction.

The Sony digital-only lenses (DT)
The versatility star of their line-up is the 16-105mm DT f3.5-5.6, aka SAL-16105, with a 35mm equivalent of 24-160mm. Not a bad range to work with, providing you look into the lens and adjust your expectations considering the zoom range. The price is about $550.

You don't have to be an rocket optics scientist to realize that wide-angle is one of the biggest negatives for the smaller lenses found in most of today's DSLRs. So each manufacturer has to come up with at least one wide-angle alternative for their users. Sony's choice is the 11-18mm f4.5-5.6 DT, aka SAL-1118, going for about $600.

Give me liberty or give me Zeiss! The former should be free, the latter costs about $700 in the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 16-80mm f3.5-4.5 T* DT lens, aka the SAL-1680Z. Oh that magic "Z" :) The 35mm equivalent is about 24-120mm, and something to consider for people considering the 16-105 DT lens.

But the sensation that is sweeping the DSLR nation is superzoom digital-only lenses, and Sony's flavor is the 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DT, aka SAL18250, going for about $500. No IS here since all Sony DSLRs come with sensor-shift stabilization.

And we complete the Sony DT lenses with the obligatory kit lens duo, the 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 DT at around $200 and the 55-200mm f4-5.6 DT for about $230. And following on the tradition of Minolta of offering more, the 18-70 DT kit lens is slightly longer on the tele end than the kits of the other manufacturers.

The Minolta digital-only lenses (DT)
As you can recognize from the Sony DT lens list above, a number of the Minolta lenses were "ported" to Sony. Minolta had the following lenses, the wide-angle DT 11-18mm f4.5-5.6 DT, the 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DT superzoom, and the obligatory kit lens, the 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 DT. And to keep the Minolta fans happy, these were Maxxum, Dynax or Alpha lenses, depending on where you bought them :)

Sony, Minolta and Zeiss digital-only DT Lens Reviews
Alpha Mount World has reviewed the 18-250 DT super zoom lens. Alpha Mount World is a site that specializes on all things Minolta mount. They also have a nice article on the Alpha Advantage, for those who might be interested or considering or looking for reasons to be convinced in the ways of Minolta and Sony Alpha.

Photo Club Alpha has reviewed the Carl Zeiss 16-80 DT lens. You may have also heard of Photo Club Alpha in PhotoWorld, a quarterly magazine covering the world of Sony Alpha Minolta.

Super Lens Review site, yes, did you just realize what acronym we just spelled out? SLR :) Okay, back on topic, lens review site has reviewed the 11-18 DT wide zoom, the Zeiss ZA 16-80 f3.5-4.5 DT, and the 18-70 DT kit lens. To find them, look for the Sony Minolta segment, underneath the avalanche of Canon and Nikon reviews.

Dpreview's newly launched lens review department has reviewed the 16-105 DT and the 18-70 DT kit lens. To locate them, search for "DT". By search we mean search on that page using your browser's search function, not using the search engine.

Meanwhile has tested just about all the major Sony DT lenses, including the 16-105, 11-18 DT wide, Zeiss 16-80 DT, 18-250 DT superzoom, 55-200 DT, and many more. Search for "DT" on that page and you will find them all.

If you find this post or the whole series useful, be sure to bookmark it and share it with your photographer friends.

1. Sony lenses and Minolta lenses
2. B&H Photo

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