Sony 18-105mm F4 G PZ OSS E-mount lens review by Aavo

reviewer#11633 date: Jan-23-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:E-mount AF Sony 18-55/3.5-5.6 OSS, 16-50/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS, 24/1,8CZ
A-mount AF Sony 16-80CZ, 35/1,8SAM, Minolta 70-210/4.5-5.6
FD-mount MF Canon 35-105/3.5 Macro, Soligor MC 19-35/3.5-4.5
M39-mount MF Jupiter-9 85/2
price paid:540 €
positive:Sharp, great colors, OSS, well built and light weight, very familiar and pleasant handling.
negative:In-camera distortion correction needed for familiar JPEG use. RAW distortion can be easily adjusted in post.
comment:I am not photographer as lot of Dyxum members.

I am recording my life time memories like family, friends, business, travel, so for engineering and spatial planning as my favorit work. I have used for this mid-level cameras and some very basic lenses over 50 years and going to do so furter. My ratings and comments are presenting such a point of view.

18-105/4 is sharp, has great colors and very acurate AF, is well built, about 110 G less weight than a-mount 16-80CZ + adapter EA-1, about the same size like named combo, so not much to worry about; nice and stable to hold NEX-7 with this lens; with smoot zoom and MF rings; power zoom works nicely for video and acutally for stills too; manual focussing for seldom use is pleasant enough; this lens feels in hand like longer prime.

OSS works great even with 1/20s at 105 (157) mm (3...4 EV stops because of very light camera). From carefully hand-held shot with about 1/40s, 1/4 of scene centre area can nicely be croped out for heaving still great pic for smaller prints and Full HD screen, almost adequate to the shot with non-expensive 210 (315) mm zoom lens. Compared to shot with my Minolta 70-210/4.5-5.6 at 210 (315) mm and 1/320s, 1/4 crop form shot with 18-105/4 G at 105 /157) mm and 1/40s looks sharper. If my recollection is correct, the hand-held results with A700 and Minolta 70-210/4.5-5.6 or Tamron 55-200/4-5.6, with in-body stabilisation off and on, have not been so impressive.

Distortion is heavy, so in-camera distortion correction is needed for familiar use of this lens. In-camera distortion correction is ok for me, because I mostly shoot jpeg and leave edges for croping. Because of no problem at all after 1 year use and Sony's jpeg IQ is growing up, I have rerated it from 4 to 5 in January 2015 - seriously, there is no problem at all.

A have rerated flare control from 4 to 5 after one season use. Flare can be avoided nicely.

A have used a-mount 16-80CZ with NEX-7 about 1,5 years, and this lens was the main rival here to accept replacement or not. Comparing this lens with 18-105/4 G I can say I am ready to replace old one with-out regret. Sharpness and colors of 18-105 are as good as of 16-80. 18-105/4 G is much easyer and more pleasant to handle. The biggest problem for me, lack of NEX in-body stabilisation, is now compensated with OSS. And of course, MF with a-mount 16-80 via EA1 was littlebit painfull as 16-80 MF ring is not so smoot.

Great lens for everyday use and specially for travelling light: 1 zoom + 1 fast prime. No need to switch lenses in daylight outdoor, because of OSS it works nearly as 27-230mm FF travel lens.

This lens needs more power, even you do not use power zoom, so extra battery is good to have for longer shooting sessions. About 150 shots for one battery is good to count.

For lot of NEX users this lens can be littlebit large, but not for me. NEX + this lens are still "jacketable", as the NEX body is low (rangefander stile). One just need the jacket/coat with deeper pocket to put this combo lens down, actually mostly without hood.

Not expensive for

- sharp and nice color
- 18-105 (27-157) mm
- constant F4
- constant barrel length
- pleasant and easy to use, incl PZ for shooting stills!
- light weight
- build quality
- "jacketable"

Lens for me, really well done. My favorite zoom for NEX-7.

After more than year use I have get rid of all my other zooms within this range. The only I kept at the reviewing time, is small PZ 16-50/3.5-5.6 OSS as easy for everyday carring, when the need for shooting is unclear or the IQ is good enough for shooting presumed.

This one can be your only zoom, even your only lens.

Added after replacing NEX7:
With a6500 the preview has correction before you shoot. So, you do not see (do not know :)) about distortion any more.

Added: I have replaced this lens with newer 18-135/3,5-5-6 OSS.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 12
  • sharpness: 4.42
  • color: 4.92
  • build: 4.83
  • distortion: 3.83
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.50 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania