Sony E 18-105mm f/4 G OSS ( SEL18105G ) - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Sony NEX

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published November 2016


In recent years Sony managed to make a big comeback thanks to their highly successful full-format mirrorless system. Unfortunately they neglected their traditional APS-C user base due to the ramp up efforts on the full format side. Their native APS-C mount lens lineup is slim to say the least and it also doesn't really shine with many high quality options either. You can, of course, use Sony's full format lenses on APS-C cameras but the price tags are correspondingly high and this doesn't really help when it comes to standard zoom lenses. There's one Sony standard zoom lens that we hadn't tested to date - the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 G OSS. It is primarily marketed towards movie makers so we were a bit reluctant to have a closer look. However, recently the lens gained quite some popularity so ...

Ahem ... sorry for the small product images ... forgot to switch the camera to bigger image sizes ... mea culpa.

The build quality of this affordable lens is surprisingly high. The lens body is made of metal based on a metal mount and not only that - it does not extend during focus/zoom actions which is pretty much unique considering the very long zoom range (equivalent to "28-162mm"). Size-wise it's not a small lens but the package still reasonable compact relative to its range and the constant max aperture of f/4.

One of the special features of the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 G OSS is the zoom mechanism. Regardless of whether you are using the dedicated zoom lever or the zoom ring - you are actually driving a zoom motor. Smooth, silent zooming makes sense when taking movies but it's just fine for still photography as well. Manual focusing also works "by-wire". Some may not like the slight lag between turning the zoom/focus ring and the actual focus operation but we didn't have an issue with this. As the name implies, the lens features an optical stabilizer (OSS). We haven't found any official statement about its efficiency but we'd rate it somewhere between 2-3 f-stops. The AF speed depends heavily on the used camera but even with our old NEX-7 test camera, it felt quite snappy.

Equiv. focal length"28-162mmmm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/6.2" (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction16 elements in 12 groups inc 3x aspherical and 2x ED element
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.45-0.95m (1:9)
Dimensions (L x W)78x110mm
Filter size72mm
Hoodpetal shaped, supplied
Other featuresmotorized zoom mechanism, image stabilizer, zoom lever