Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM DT - Review / Lab Test
Lens Reviews -
Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2010
The Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is the standard kit zoom lens sold with Sony Alpha cameras. It covers the range from classic wide-angles to a moderate tele settings with an equivalent field-of-view of a 27-83mm full format lens. It replaces the old Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DT which was a rather mediocre lens at best.
"Kit" zoom lenses have a rather bad reputation regarding their build quality due to the use of cheap plastic down to the mount and a rather "laissez-faire" clearance between the inner lens tube and the outer lens body. The Sony lens is not be the worst example of this but generally it fits to the rules here. The inner lens tube is somewhat wobbly which get fairly obvious when using the tiny albeit at least rubberized focus ring located at the front of the inner tube. It is probably best to simply avoid using the manually focus altogether – and the typical target buyers probably won’t mind anyway. The zoom ring is actually pretty tight and smooth so there's nothing to complain about here. The Sony lens has a rather odd zoom characteristic - it actually has its shortest physical length in the middle of the range and extends towards the two ends. There's nothing really wrong with this, of course. The front element does rotate during focus operations so using a polarizers is a rather annoying experience.
The Sony lens features a "Smooth Autofocus Motor" (SAM), an internal lens motor, so it does not rely on the old screw-driven AF operated by the camera. The AF is reasonably fast combined with a fairly low noise level. DMF ("Direct Manual Focusing") is not supported so you've to use the AF switch on the lens for manual focusing.
|Optical construction||8 elements in 7 groups inc. 1xED + 2x aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.25m (max. magnification ratio 1:3)|
|Filter size||55mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped, bayonet mount (optional)|