This is a very good lens for the price. Sony's higher end version sells for $1500, and doesn't offer 7 times the performance.
Physically, this is a small lens that's made of plastic. The mount is plastic and that may be a turn-off to enthusiasts. This makes it super light weight.
As for image quality, it's not so great at f/1.8 because of the soft corners and minor light fall off around the edges. But once you stop down to f/2.8, it's heaven. Great overall sharpness there and no light fall off at all.. That's still plenty good for low-light situations. My Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 needs to stop down to f/4 to match this lens. Distortion is minimal.
The AF motor makes a fair amount of noise. It's not bothersome at all, but it's obviously not good for video. Focus speed is good.
It doesn't work on Full Frame, but that's a good thing because this would probably be horrible on a FF camera.
If you're using a Full Frame camera, you probably wouldn't be looking at a $200 lens.
September 18, 2012
Fantastic images at low cost (comparatively)
I purchased this lens for my a35 camera after it was recommended that I add a fixed focus prime lens in my bag. I read a number of reviews and I'm extremely happy with my choice. The level of performance is fantastic. Hand held pictures remained clear in low light and the bokeh is awesome (the pics I posted don't do it justice). I highly recommend this lens.
Note, I'm not sure whether a 35mm combined w/ a camera with an aps sensor is the equivalent of a traditional 50mm film lens, but I chose this lens over the 50mm despite many people saying that 50mm are almost mandatory. In any event, I love this lens.
September 1, 2012
Purchased this lens for some low light live performance work and it is excellent! Also had the chance to go shoot some landscape and nature and produced some fo the sharpest images I have yet to capture. Great lens for the money. Like someone else mentioned, if you don't have the bucks for the 35mm f1.4 G lens, this is definitely worth the asking price. One star deducted for not fitting full frame sensor.
April 27, 2012
Amazing Little Lens
This little lens can produce fantastic images (in terms of sharpness, CA, light fall off, bokeh, etc); all despite of its very affordable price.
That said, it's made of plastic and feels rather cheap and fragile in your hands, but if you think about its retail price... it's really not that bad, and definitely worth every penny when you see the images it can produce! I only wish there was a window for the scale, but those only appear on higher priced lenses.
Being a prime lens, the sharpness in its images are fantastic and if you don't need the SSM, definitely save yourself over a grand and buy this lens instead of the G series 35mm.
January 28, 2012