Sony E 18-105mm f/4 Lens Review: A versatile lens for stills, but pro videographers should take caution


posted Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM EDT


Sony E-mount photographers looking for a versatile, lightweight zoom lens for still photography that can also double as an ideal lens for video recording, should take note of the Sony 18-105 F4 G PZ OSS lens.

Sony announced the 18-105 F4 G PZ OSS lens back in August of 2013, an APS-C E-mount lens with a constant f/4 aperture, a healthy 27-158mm equivalent focal length range, and their power zoom function. We've just published our review of this APS-C wide-to-tele zoom lens over on SLRgear, and for the most part it's a good quality lens, though it has it a fair share of issues.

The design of the lens is wholly electronic; unlike conventional lenses which couple the zoom and focus control to gears, turning a ring adjusts the settings electronically. As with other Power Zoom lenses from Sony, there's a slider switch on the side for controlled, smooth zooming, making it an excellent choice for NEX-based videographers.

Performance and image quality with this lens is decent, with good center sharpness, though it's noticeably softer in the corners. Chromatic aberration and vignetting are also stronger than we like to see, though not severe. However, distortion has been a controversial topic with this lens. Sony's digital cameras do a lot of heavy lifting in correcting deficiencies created by its lenses, and it's definitely happening with this lens. In fact, it's some of the strongest distortion we've ever seen from a lens. The NEX still cameras do a great job of correcting distortion, but here's where pro videographers -- particularly users of Sony NEX-FS100 and FS700 camcorders -- should take a moment of pause. With the current firmware on these cameras, neither camcorder corrects for distortion. Sony mentioned at NAB 2014 that a firmware update to the FS700 is coming that should address distortion correction, though no word on an FS100 update.

Head on over to SLRgear to read the full Sony 18-105mm F4 G PZ OSS review, complete with our in-depth report, final conclusion as well as our full range of test results and sample images, including before and after images of Sony's distortion correction.

The Sony 18-105mm F4 G PZ OSS is currently available now for $598, and can be purchased at one of our trusted affiliates: Amazon, Adorama and B&H. Purchasing this lens, or any other item, at one of these retailers helps support this site and keeps the reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray using the Sony NEX-7. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

NEX-7: 24mm, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 100
NEX-7: 91mm, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 125
NEX-7: 45mm, f/5, 1/500s, ISO 100