Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Review

October 9, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS is the first Sony G Lens created specifically for E-mount cameras. This versatile lens covers approximately a 6x zoom range with a constant F/4 aperture. With a complex optical formula comprising 16 lens elements in 12 groups – including 3 aspherical and 2 extra-low-distortion elements - an Optical Stabilisation System plus a seven-bladed iris diaphragm, the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens weighs in at 427grams and measures 78mmx110mm. The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS retails for around £370 / $600.

Ease of Use

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens measures 11cm deep and weighs 427g, making it much bigger and heavier than many compatible camera bodies, such as the new Sony A5100 that we tested it with. Build quality is very decent for a (relatively) low-cost constant aperture zoom.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A5100 camera body

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A5100 camera body

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A5100 camera body

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A5100 camera body

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens has a power zoom control on the left side of the barrel (when viewed from the rear). This allows for a very smooth and even zoom action, perfect for video. In front of this control, one finds a more traditional focus ring, which can also be used for zooming when the camera is in auto focus mode.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Front of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Front of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens has quite a wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 72mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Front of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Rear of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS zoom is a quick performer, taking about 0.2 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A5100 that we tested it with.

We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time, and it's also a quiet performer thanks to its in-lens motor, ideal for HD movie shooting.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Side of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Side of the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens in-hand

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens takes large 72mm filters. The filter thread does not rotate on focus, making the use of polarisers and graduated neutral density filters that much easier.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

While the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS has a plastic barrel, the lens mount is, thankfully, made of metal. Note that Sony does not claim any degree of weather sealing for this lens. A large plastic petal-shaped lens hood is supplied in the box.

Focal Range

At the 18mm end, the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS power zoom lens offers an angle of view of 76 degrees, which is comparable to that of a 27mm lens on a 35mm film camera.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Field of view at 18mm

At the 105mm setting, the angle of view tightens to 15°, which is equivalent to a 157.5mm lens on a 35mm full-frame body.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Field of view at 105mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are a bit of a problem with the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS, though not more so than with most other zooms of this kind.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS

Distortion

At the wider end, the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS has some very slight barrel distortion and obvious corner shading, as you can see in the photo below.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS

Macro

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS is not a macro lens. Sony quotes a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.11x and the minimum focus distance is 45cm at the 18mm focal length. The following image demonstrates how close you can get to the subject.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In our opinion, the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS has a fairly pleasing bokeh for a zoom lens – but realising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a number of crops for your perusal.

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS
   
Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4G OSS

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, samples, test, images, lens, zoom, standard, alpha, f4, kit, nex, power zoom, power-zoom, 18-105mm, 18-105mm oss, Sony E PZ 18-105mm f4G OSS Review, Sony 18-105mm review