Sony 18-105mm f/4

Power Zoom E-Mount OSS G APS-C

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Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony Power Zoom 18-105mm f/4 G OSS (for Sony E Mount, 72mm filters, 15.1 oz./427 g, 1.5'/0.45m close-focus, about $598). bigger. I got mine at Adorama. I'd also suggest getting it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal any of their boxes, so never buy at retail or any source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, dropped, damaged or used lens, a customer return or if the warranty has already been registered to someone else online! The approved sources I use ship from secure, remote automated warehouses where salespeople or other customers never, ever get to touch your lens before you do, and they have the best prices, selection, service and return policies.

 

December 2016    Sony   Zeiss   LEICA   Canon   Nikon   Fuji   All Reviews

 

Sample Images

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Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights, California, 10 December 2016.  Sony A6500, Sony PZ 18-105mm OSS at 18mm, f/4 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 1,000, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © full-resolution file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately).

 

Christmas lights

Christmas Lights, California, 10 December 2016.  Sony A6500, Sony PZ 18-105mm OSS at 105mm, f/4 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 160, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately).

 

Palm Trees

Palm Trees, 13 December 2016.  Sony A6500, Sony PZ 18-105mm OSS at 19mm, f/8 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 160, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately).

 

Fan Sculpture

Fan Sculpture, 17 December 2016.  Sony A6500, Sony PZ 18-105mm OSS at 29mm, f/4 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 320, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately).

 

Introduction

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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

The Sony 18-105mm OSS is a very handy do-everything zoom for Sony's E-Mount APS-C cameras like the A6000, A6300, and A6500. While the Zeiss 16-70mm offers better optics in a smaller package, this lens costs 40% less, has much better sunstars and offers a much more useful zoom range.

Sharpness rarely matters in real photos, while having a long enough focal length and great sunstars make a huge difference in making a good photo. If you can handle the size, this will make better looking photos than the Zeiss lens!

This is a very handy lens, but it is on the big side. One will ask if it makes sense to carry a lens this big and heavy if the whole point of mirrorless is smaller size. With this lens you lose many points of having mirrorless in the first place; the PZ 16~50mm is much more in keeping with the spirit of mirrorless, but has no really long range. If the moderate size doesn't bother you, this lens isn't as crazy-sharp as most DSLR or Zeiss mirrorless lenses today. It's more than adequate for why we shoot mirrorless (fun), but if you're a landscape shooter who shoots raw or obsesses about his images at 100% on-screen, this isn't that exciting a lens. The samples above should show you this; if you don't see anything amiss, then cool, you'll love this lens.

What makes this lens exciting is how it focuses very fast and covers such an extremely useful range; it's more than enough lens to bring on an around-the-world trip and never have any want for any other lens.

It has a built-in stabilizer (OSS) that lets get sharp shots hand-held in dim light.

It has an electronic manual focus ring, that if activated in a camera's menu system, can allow manual focus.

Zooming is electronic only, like a camcorder or a point-and-shoot. The zoom ring has no real connection to anything other than the camera's computer system. The disadvantage of this is that you can't just twist the ring to go immediately from one end to the other; you always have to wait for it to motor in or out. The advantage to this is always super-smooth zooms for movies.

 

Compatibility & Format

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It only works on Sony's E-Mount mirrorless cameras, which are all their mirrorless cameras like the A6000, A6300, and A6500.

It's only an APS-C, not full-frame, lens.

It also works great on any of Sony's full-frame NEX cameras like the A7, A7R II and A7S II, which automatically self-crop and use the APS-C central parts of their sensors. The only silliness is that you're wasting half the camera, but you are using all of the lens.

This lens does not work on DSLRs or DSLR-style cameras like the A99.

 

Specifications

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Name

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

 

Sony calls this the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS.

    E: APS-C lens for Sony's E-mount cameras.

    PZ: Power Zoom; zooming is motorized.

    G: Expensive.

    OSS: "Optical Steady Shot," Sony's phrase for image stabilization.

Sony Part Number: SELP18105G.

 

Optics

Sony 18-105mm internal construction

Sony 18-105mm internal construction. ED and Aspherical elements. bigger.

16 elements in 12 groups.

2 ED and 3 aspherical elements

Internal focussing and zooming.

 

Close Focus

1.5 feet (0.45 meters) from the image plane.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:9 (0.11 x).

 

Diaphragm

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Coverage

APS-C.

 

Focal Length

18 ~ 105mm.

When used on an APS-C camera, it sees angles of view similar to what a 28 ~ 160mm lens sees when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera.

 

Angle of View

15.6° ~ 77.4º diagonal on APS-C.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?

No.

You have to let the AF system focus at infinity.

 

Focus Scale

No.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale

No.

 

Focal Length Scale

No.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index

No.

 

Aperture Ring

No.

 

Filter Thread

72mm.

Plastic.

 

Hood

Sony ALC-SH128 hood

Sony ALC-SH128 hood included with 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

ALC-SH128 plastic bayonet hood, included.

 

Size

3.1" (78 mm) diameter by 4.3" (110mm) extension from flange.

 

Weight

15.070 oz. (427.2 g) actual measured weight.

Rated 15.1 oz. (427 g).

 

Included

Lens.

Caps.

ALC-SH128 hood.

Paperwork.

 

Quality

Made in China.

 

Sony's Model Number

SELP18105G.

 

Price, USA

$598, December 2016.

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

 

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

 

Performance

Top   Sample Images   Introduction

Compatibility & Format   Specifications

Performance   Recommendations

 

Overall    Focus    Bokeh   Distortion

Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters

Flare & Ghosts   Lateral Color Fringes

Macro   Mechanics   Sharpness

Sunstars   Image Stabilization

 

Overall

Sony A6500

Sony A6500 dwarfed by this PZ 18-105mm OSS. bigger.

The Sony 18-105mm OSS has mediocre optics technically, but is a very useful lens at a fair price if you don't mind its size and weight on your tiny mirrorless camera.

 

Focus

Autofocus

Autofocus is flawless. It's fast and accurate, even in dim light, on an A6500.

 

Manual Focus

It focuses by wire electronically (no mechanical connection between lens and focus ring), and since autofocus is so great, I don't know why I'd use manual focus for anything other than to keep the focus locked.

 

Bokeh

Bokeh is good at the long end where it matters, and fair at the wide end where we don't care.

Here are wide-open shots from headshot distance:

Sony 18-105mm bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 18 December 2016. Sony A6500, 18-105mm OSS at 18mm at f/5 at 1/500 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display these at full resolution).

At the wide and middle ends of the zoom the bokeh can get pretty busy. Look at all the doughnuts just under the center of the weather station.

 

Sony 18-105mm bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 18 December 2016. Sony A6500, 18-105mm OSS at 105mm at f/4 at 1/800 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display these at full resolution).

At 105mm the bokeh usually looks great!

 

Distortion

As shot on the Sony A6500, the 18-105 OSS has minor to strong barrel distortion, except at 18mm where it has no visible distortion.

It corrects in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool with these factors, and most Sony cameras can be set to correct it automatically.

 
Correction Factor at 10'/3m (in-camera correction disabled)
18mm
+0.50*
24mm
+4.00*
35mm
+3.00
50mm
+1.50
70mm
+1.00
105mm
+1.50

© 2016 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Waviness remains

 

Ergonomics

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony Power Zoom 18-105mm f/4 G OSS. bigger

It feels like a thin metal vanity shell over a plastic lens.

The focus ring is ignored unless you set your camera to pay attention to it.

Zooming is inferior for still shots. You don't just grab the ring as on a real lens. Instead, you can move and hold the slide switch like a camcorder, or turn the zoom ring and the lens will electronically try to follow your input.

Zooming is much slower than a real mechanical zoom ring for shooting stills, but is much smoother for shooting video. Obviously this lens is intended for people who love video.

Zooming does run at at least two different speeds depending on how far you move the slider.

My A6500 won't zoom while shooting in Continuous shutter mode; you can't zoom while tracking a sports player. It zooms fine while rolling video, but won't zoom while shooting sequences of still images.

 

Falloff

Falloff is completely invisible as shot on the Sony cameras which correct it by default.

It's not a problem even in this extremely exaggerated case where I've shot a gray field and show it against a gray background:

 

falloff at f/4 on an A6500, default correction:

18mm
45mm
105mm
Laowa 105mm falloff
Laowa 105mm falloff
Laowa 105mm falloff

© 2016 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Filters, use with

I can use two stacked standard 72mm filters with no vignetting, and get only slight vignetting with three stacked filters.

Go ahead and use all your standard rotating grads and polarizers; there's no need for expensive thin filters.

 

Flare & Ghosts

Sony 18-105mm flare and ghosts

Worst-case flare and ghosts, with a dirty filter. 23mm at f/22. bigger.

There are few ghosts and no flare problem.

If this is a problem for you, take off your filter. Using a filter leads to about twice as many ghosts.

Note the nice sunstar.

 

Lateral Color Fringes

There are no color fringes if you leave the camera's corrections turned on, which is the default setting.

 

Macro

Macro gets about as close as any other lens:

Sony 18-105mm macro performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 12 December 2016.  Sony A6500, Sony PZ 18-105mm OSS at 105mm, f/6.3 at 1/320 at Auto ISO 160, Perfectly Clear v2.) bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display the full resolution accurately).

 

Mechanics

Sony 18-105mm OSS E

Sony 18-105mm f/4. bigger.

The Sony 18-105 OSS is a metal shell over plastic innards. The metal outside is more of a charade than a sign of durability.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Plastic.

 

Front Barrel

Metal.

 

Focus Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Zoom Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Rear Barrel

Metal.

 

Internals

Seem like all plastic.

 

Identity

Sticker on the bottom of the barrel (shown at Name).

Painted on ring inside filter threads, and on the barrel.

 

Dust seal at mount

No.

 

Mount

Chromed metal.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Serial Number

Sticker glued to the bottom of the barrel (shown at Name).

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Minor to moderate rattling.

 

Made in

China.

 

Sharpness

Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

It's the least skilled hobbyists who worry about this and who waste the most time blaming fuzzy pictures on their lenses, while real shooters know that few photos ever use all the sharpness of which their lenses are capable due to subject motion and the fact that real subjects are rarely perfectly flat.

This Sony 18-105mm OSS is sharp enough, but not as sharp as Nikon and Canon DSLR lenses if you worry about it.

It's nothing compared to the Zeiss lenses, but good enough for the reasons we shoot mirrorless.

Here are Sony's claimed MTF curves:

Sony 18-105mm MTF

MTF at f/4 and at f/8 at 10 and 30 cycles per millimeter, which on APS-C are equivalent to 6 cycles and 20 cycles per millimeter on full-frame.

 

Sunstars

In spite of the curved diaphragm, sunstars look great, even at moderate apertures.

While the spikes aren't as sharp as with straight blades, they still look much better than none at all.

These are shot without a filter, 18 December 2016:

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

Sony 18-105mm Sunstars

 

Image Stabilization

There is optical image stabilization, as well as whatever sensor stabilization your camera may have.

It works fine; I never got a blurry photo.

 

Recommendations

Top   Sample Images   Introduction

Compatibility & Format   Specifications

Performance   Recommendations

Sony's 18-105mm OSS is bigger than I'd like for a goof-around camera system, but if you don't mind carrying it, does everything I need in just one lens at a reasonable price.

The very best protective filter is the Hoya multicoated HD3 72mm UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated.

For less money, the B+W 72mm 010 is an excellent filter, as are the multicoated version and the basic multicoated Hoya filters, but the Hoya HD3 is the toughest and the best. Filters last a lifetime and never go obsolete, so don't get too cheap with your filters.

I got my 18-105mm at Adorama. I'd also suggest getting it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

Sony doesn't seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, dropped, damaged, demo or otherwise used product, a customer return or if the warranty has already been registered to someone else online. The approved sources I use ship from secure, remote automated warehouses where salespeople or other customers never, ever get to touch your lens before you do, and they have the best prices, selection, service and return policies.

Thanks!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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19~21 December 2016