Sony SEL18135

I like the little 1650 Powerzoom. Not because it’s a particularly good lens (Spoiler: It’s not), but because it’s so damn small and affordable. But sometimes a bit longer reach could come in handy. Which is a bit of a dilemma for budget oriented Sony shooters who would like to buy a tele lens for the occasional shoot:
There’s the 55-210 which is quite cheap but slow and optically mediocre at best (also severe sample variation). There are also lots of other tele options – the cheapest of these being the 70-350 at about 900 EUR… No third party zoom options, either. I don’t need long reach very often, so I’m not inclined to spend vast amounts of money on a tele lens. I already had a 55-210 but it wasn’t satisfactory to me. But for about half of a 70-350 you could get the new SEL 18-135 f3.5-5.6 OSS Kit zoom which gets raving reviews around the interwebs and gives you a handy 28-200 35mm equivalent zoom range.
So I gave the 1650 to my wife for her Nex 5t and bought me a SEL18135.

Build
For its zoom range very compact and light weight. Not cheap, but a bit plastic-y. Lens hood locks very firmly and does a good job, the lens feels very well balanced on my A6400. I like it a lot.

Autofocus
Fast and silent. I don’t know if it’s fit for motocross races but it’s fast enough for everything I need. Eye-AF works very well.

Image quality
The reviews are exceedingly good. But it’s still a midrange kit superzoom, so: Outstanding for a superzoom, but don’t expect prime territory. Distortion is severe at the short end but electronically corrected as usual nowadays. It handles flare quite well and can knock the background out of a portrait ok enough on the long end, but bokeh isn’t as creamy as I’d like (again, it’s no prime). Sharpness is also very good, even wide open at 135mm. At first I was concerned about the 18mm (Really would liked to have 16…) but I think it may be a bit wider than 18, especially if you play with the distortion correction a little (landscape images usually aren’t hurt by a little distortion).

Price
Current retail amazon price is 529,99 EUR which is no bargain but really adequate for what you get.

Conclusion
I like it’s reach, I like it’s compactness, I like the image quality. It’s no bargain but not too expensive, either. All in all a very good kit lens.

Sunset near Tel Aviv
135mm f/5.6

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