Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS E-mount lens review by Aavo

reviewer#44045 date: Apr-16-2018
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
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:Sony 18-105/4 G OSS PZ
Sony 16-50/3,5-5,6 OSS PZ
price paid:640€
positive:Sharpness, color, contrast
Small and lightweight, well built.
Max magnification 0,29
AF/MF switch on the barrel
negative:No weather sealing
comment:Great centre area sharpness over entire focal length at max aperture and over the frame when littlebit stoped down. Nice colors and contrast. Optically same or few better than PZ 18-105/4 G OSS. I have replaced my PZ 18-105/4 G OSS with this newer one.

Max aperture on my copy:
Up to 20mm F3,5 (30mm full frame)
About 20-27mm F4,0 (30-40mm)
About 27-40mm F4,5 (40-60mm)
About 40-60mm F5,0 (60-90mm)
Over 60mm F5,6 (90mm)

135(202)mm edges and corners are algready very good at F5,6. It means in normal light this lens can be used as constant F5,6 lens over whole zoom range. It is impressive. I agree with Reinhold_1 - for every day and travel use this lens can be highly recommended. Thank you, Reinhold_1! I bought this lens based on your No1 opinion here at Dyxum.

Added day later:
After whole day shooting outdoor I have changed sharpness rating from 4,5 to 5. If to think, that this is 7,5x zoom from wide angle to long enough tele, and to think about the cost of this lens, then this zoom deserves sharpness rating 5.

Added few days later:
I have made 2 shots with 135(202)mm FL for extreme task. You can find these at Random shots (59), April 18, 2018. It is impressive for me, that light gray text with 1,5mm height on the blue lable is fully readable from 5,0m distance, if located in centre area of the frame even at max aperture F5,6 for this FL. And these are not test shots - these are real world shots - handheld, stabilisation on and no PP.

Added final thoughts after 2 weeks use:
Highly recommended for every day use and travelling, if you have at least 1 fast prime (proper for your needs) to compensate not fast enough max aperture (compared to 16-70/4 and 18-105/4).

After my first longer trip with this zoom in Sept 2018:

The main reasons I keep it, is sharpness with nice color and 7,5x zoom. It is smaller and lighter compared to PZ 18-105/4 G OSS.

After my last trip to Spain I found, how much easier is to carry a6500 + 18-135 combo compared to a6500 + 18-105 combo, including to keep lens safely mounted. Hood can be left in the bag, as one hand shooting is very much ok and other can hide lens from the sun.

If there is no idea to make movies lot (PZ is not mandatory), then 18-135 is just fine and more fun. Direct mechanical zoom makes stills shooting more precise and quicker.

Happy with this new compaion.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 7
  • sharpness: 4.79
  • color: 4.71
  • build: 4.86
  • distortion: 4.14
  • flare control: 4.71
  • overall: 4.64 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania