Sony E 18-105mm F4 G OSS PZ (SEL-P18105G)
With the 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ, Sony has a practical full-range universal zoom for its mirrorless system cameras with e-bayonet and APS-C sensor. It thus lends itself as an everyday companion for the Alpha 5000, 5100 and 6000. In addition, this lens is predestined for video recording thanks to its internal power zoom. How the approximately expensive lens with the Sony G-label in the test laboratory and the practice beats, we have found out.
Really good universal zooms are few and far between, most of them have their nooks and crannies. Whether that is different at about expensive Sony E 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ (SEL-P18105G)? The lens adorns the Sony G label, which promises good image quality. In addition, the continuous light intensity of F4.0, the image stabilizer and the motor zoom control, in addition, zoom and focus run internally, the overall length of the lens remains the same. On paper, the SEL-P18105G promises to be a real hitout.
Unpacked and taken in hand consolidates this impression. The lens is large, heavy (425 grams) and looks very sturdy built, housing and bayonet are made of metal. In addition, the lens pleases with its simple, elegant design, here Sony makes no one before. A lens hood is included. Although it is made of plastic, but makes a decent impression. The lens is calculated for the APS-C image circle and has the Sony E connector. Since Sony now calls all cameras, whether alpha or e-bayonet, whether APS-C or full format simply “Alpha”, the buyer must be very careful whether the lens fits the camera. Sony currently offer the Alpha 3000, 5000, 5100 and 6000, these cameras are suitable in principle for the Sony E 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ. The test device used in this case is the 24 megapixel resolution Alpha 5100. At this the 18-105mm oversized acts, the combination consists more of a lens than a camera, both in terms of size and weight. In any case, the combination of the A5100’s mini-grip and the combination is hardly reasonable. On the other hand, if the left hand supports the lens, then it is quite possible to live with it.
The 18-105 has a power zoom, which can be controlled on the Alpha 5100 in three ways: First, the lens offers an electronically working zoom ring, which, if not too jerky, allows both a sensitive and fast operation of the zoom. The focal length is conveniently displayed on the camera screen. Secondly, the lens on the left side has a slide switch, which also allows a very sensitive zoom control. It automatically returns to neutral and responds at multiple zoom speeds, depending on how far the switch is pressed. Third, the Alpha 5100 features a zoom lever on the trigger. However, this controls only two slow speeds, fast zooming or a quick selection of the image section is therefore not possible.
The zoom drive works as well as the auto focus completely silent. Since they run internally, the length of the lens does not change, 72 mm filters can be conveniently used. The focus ring also works fully electronically and turns as smooth as the zoom ring. The focus ring is the front slightly narrower, otherwise the rings can not be haptic as well as the feedback is not different. However, in order to switch to the manual focus, one must strive for the setting options of the camera, since the lens has no practical focus switch. The minimum focusing distance is consistently 45 centimeters, which only allows a maximum magnification of 1: 9.1, even at full zoom. Close-ups or macros are therefore not part of the field of application of the universal zoom. Automatically, the lens focuses very fast and reliable.
The SEL-P18105G shows mixed results. First, it should be noted that the lens on 20 x 30 centimeter large prints at all focal lengths provides an almost perfect sharpness from the center to the edge of the picture. The Randabdunklung is always half a stop, which is inconspicuous with the gentle course. Electronically corrected the distortion in the wide angle is low, but at medium and long focal length, however, somewhat stronger. Interestingly, it turns out barrel-shaped and is easily visible at up to 1.5 percent. Color fringes in the form of chromatic aberrations are on average low and are visible in the maximum at most in the wide angle at the edge of the image. All this promises a good picture quality, but the Sony E 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ shows some weaknesses. First, the high resolution in the image center at 18 millimeters to praise, it reaches at the best aperture F5,6 almost 65 line pairs per millimeter (lp / mm), as can be seen from the diagram from the laboratory test below. Even with F4, the resolution is hardly lower. At the edge of the picture, however, it looks much worse, here are only about 30 lp / mm achieved. Even heavily dimmed on F11, it is not necessarily bright with 55 lp / mm in the center and 37 lp / mm at the edge of the picture, but would still be fine for a universal zoom.
If you zoom in on the lens, the resolution drops, but without getting bad. At a center focal length of 43 millimeters, the image center at F5.6 achieves just under 57 lp / mm; the edge of the image must be satisfied with 42 lp / mm. If one fins on F11, the result is a fairly uniform resolution of 50 to 48 lp / mm. In Telestellung also shows a drop in the resolution of the resolution, which does not disappear even when dimming. In practice, the high edge drop of the wide-angle resolution disturbs especially in architectural and landscape shots, but only appears when actually higher magnifications are needed, yet 30 lp / mm for sharp prints in 20 by 30 inches easily enough. Even with video recording, the marginal problem hardly bothers, here are currently only about two of the 24 megapixels that the sensor offers retrieved. Even with the coming 4K, the marginal problem should not play a big role. Incidentally, we liked the beautiful bokeh of the SEL-P18105G, as well as the backlighting and the contrast and color reproduction were inconspicuous.
In practice, the 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ proves to be a very well-made, suitable for everyday use universal lens, as long as the bulky appearance does not bother. On the test camera, an Alpha 5100, it seems oversized anyway. The lens scores with its continuous light intensity of F4.0, the optical image stabilizer and the quiet and internally running focus and zoom. The latter offers several speed levels and allows gentle zooming during video recording. Unfortunately, the wonderful lens patzt in the image quality, especially in the wide-angle resolution falls to the edge of the image enormously. But the other focal lengths do not score just with even resolution, at best with medium focal length and dimmed, the image quality can really convince. For videos, however, this does not matter, as they dissolve much less than photos anyway. And who prints his pictures no larger than 20 by 30 inches, gets from the resolution drop also with nothing. For the price from this point of view, the Sony E 18-105 mm F4 G OSS PZ (SEL-P18105G) so well worth its money.