Sony E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (Sony NEX) - Review / Lens Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2010


The Sony E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is the standard kit zoom lens sold with Sony NEX cameras. It covers the usual range from wide-angle to a moderate tele with an equivalent field-of-view of a 27-83mm full format lens.

"Kit" zoom lenses have a rather bad reputation regarding their build quality due to the use of cheap plastic and a rather "laissez-faire" clearance between the inner lens tube and the outer lens body. However, the Sony lens is an exception to the rule here. Surprisingly Sony used mag-alloy for the lens body as well as the focus ring and everything's just as tight here as it should be. The inner lens tube (made of plastic) wobbles a little bit though. Typical for such lenses it extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range. The front element does not rotate so it remains easily possible to use polarizers.

The AF performance is pretty good for a contrast detection system (albeit highly dependent on the base camera). AF operations are basically noiseless. Manual focusing works "by wire" so the focus ring is not directly coupled to the focus gears but to the AF motor. DMF ("Direct Manual Focusing" in Single Shot AF mode) is supported. OSS ("Optical Steady Shot") is Sony's lens-based image stabilization mechanism. It seems to be on par with the Canon and Nikon variants (better than Panasonic's OIS).

Equiv. focal length27-82.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 9 groups, 4x aspherical surfaces
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.3)
Dimensions62 x 60 mm
Weight194 g
Filter size49 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other features-

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