My Sony E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Review

Sony E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Review

Sony offers several lenses for the Nex camera system, and in this Sony lens review I’m going to cover the Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens using both the Nex-C3 and Nex-5N. The Sony 18-55mm E-Mount Lens comes as an optional kit lens with all the Nex Cameras. The Sony SEL1855 is has 11 total elements in 9 groups with 4 aspherical surfaces so you get clear images without aberrations or distortion. This lens also has an internal motor which creates smooth and quiet autofocusing. The 35mm equivalent for this lens is 27mm – 82.5mm, which provides a very nice range!

I have over 1000 shots with this lens easily between the two of them and overall I am very satisfied with the results and performance!

The E18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Zoom Lens for Alpha NEX Cameras from Sony is designed for use on Alpha NEX digital cameras. This standard zoom lens has a 35mm format equivalent to a 27-82.5mm lens. Covering angles of view from 76 to 29 degrees, this wide to medium zoom lens is ideal for a variety of subjects including portraits and landscapes. Plus, with a short focusing distance of only 9.7″ (0.25 m), you can get in tight for interesting close-ups.

The Sony SEL 1855 is built with 11 elements in 9 groups with 4 aspherical surfaces so you get clear images without aberrations or distortion. Its internal motor allows for smooth and quiet autofocusing, which you will love even while you are capturing images in the camera’s HD movie mode.

The compact size (only 2.4″, 6.0cm) of the lens and light weight (6.9 oz, 194g) perfectly complement Sony’s Alpha NEX cameras which incorporate a huge image sensor into a very compact frame. The results are high-quality still and HD movie captures without the extra size and weight of standard DSLR cameras.

Let’s start off with some High res images of the Sony 18-55 f/3.5-5-6 Lens shall we.

Product Shots:

Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens, E-Mount
Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens, E-Mount
Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens, E-Mount
Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens, E-Mount
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 55mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 55mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens next to the 16mm f/2.8 Pancake lens
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens next to the 16mm f/2.8 Pancake lens

Here’s the 18-55mm lens mounted to the Nex-5n:

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-5n
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-5n
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-5n
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-5n
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 55mm, on the Nex-5n side view
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens @ 55mm, on the Nex-5n side view

Here it is on the Nex-C3:

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-C3
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-C3
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-C3 w/ Flash
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens on the Nex-C3 w/ Flash

As you can see this lens is pretty large in comparison to the 16mm Pancake and the Nex Camera’s themselves. Once you mount this lens the Nex camera of choice is no longer compactness of the is pretty much gone out the window. So, in that regard this lens may not be what your looking for. However, there are not that many lenses available for the E-mount Nex Cameras yet, so this lens is pretty appealing to the Nex community as a whole. Including myself!

Test Shots

All these test shots were taken with the Sony Nex-C3 and as you know if you read my reviews, I’m not a big fan of test shots at all. Don’t get me wrong, I know they serve a purpose, but how the lens performs in the real world is all that matters to me. That being said, test shots can ne useful to compare apertures, depth of field differences, sharpness etc..  I shot using the scene below comprised of  three colorful leaves in the center foreground, and a colorful flower basket and deck railing approximately 5 feet behind the leaves. The Camera was ~ 1-3 feet away from the leaf depending on the focal length I was testing. This set-up produces a pretty nice bokeh in the background which is perfect for inspection purposes.

A few Test Shots @ 18mm with the 18-55mm E-Mount Lens

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/3.5, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/3.5, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/3.5, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/3.5, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/3.5, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/11, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/11, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/11, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/11, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/11, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 18mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 18mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 18mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 18mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 18mm

As you can see from the 18mm Test shots and 100% crops above, this lens takes a nice sharp consistent photo in the center of the frame at 18mm. We can also see there is a bit distortion on the edges as the deck railing and floor are strait, but appear bowed in these images. This can easily be fixed in Lightroom 3 or Adobe ACR though if your shooting Raw!! Also note how the focus of the flowers in background changes as the aperture changes, producing more detail with each step down in Aperture. At f/16 you can see pretty clearly what the flowers look like, but at f/3.5 they look more like colorful blobs πŸ™‚

A few more Test Shots @ 35mm with the 18-55mm E-Mount Lens

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm
100% Crop, Top Right Side - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm
100% Crop, Top Right Side – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4.5, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm
100% Crop, Top Right Side - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm
100% Crop, Top Right Side – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm
100% Crop top right – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 35mm

Last of the Test Shots!!  @ 55mm with the 18-55mm E-Mount Lens

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 55mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm

Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm
Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm
100% Crop - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm
100% Crop – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm
100% Crop top left corner – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/16, 55mm

Real World Photos

Now it’s time to move on to the real photos which is all that really matters in the end anyway πŸ˜‰ I have a huge variety of shots to inspect, so be sure to click the images and get the nice large gallery style view! Also be sure to note the Exif data below each image which tells you exactly what you need to know about the photo!! In addition to all that I have a Google+ sample gallery up with a ton more photos, and it’s a great viewing experience worth checking out!! Sony E-Mount 18-55mm Sample Gallery on Google +  Why your there be sure to sign up!!

Sony Nex-C3, 18-55mm @ f/8, 54mm, 1/160sec, ISO 200, Handheld
Sony Nex-C3, 18-55mm @ f/8, 54mm, 1/160sec, ISO 200, Handheld
Nex-C3 - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 40mm, 1/250sec, ISO 200, Handheld
Nex-C3 – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 40mm, 1/250sec, ISO 200, Handheld

Shooting directly into the sun proves to be a none issue for the 18-55mm lens!

Nex-C3 - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm, 1/3200sec, ISO 200, Handheld
Nex-C3 – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 18mm, 1/3200sec, ISO 200, Handheld

 f/5.6 vs f/10

Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm, 1/400sec, ISO 400, resting on railing
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm, 1/400sec, ISO 400, resting on railing
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/10, 55mm, 1/100sec, ISO 400, resting on railing
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/10, 55mm, 1/100sec, ISO 400, resting on railing
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm, 1/125sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5.6, 55mm, 1/125sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/80sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/80sec, ISO 800, handheld
100% Crop of photo above- Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/80sec, ISO 800, handheld
100% Crop of photo above- Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/80sec, ISO 800, handheld

You can actually see me in the reflection if you look closely πŸ˜‰

Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 22mm, 1/400sec, ISO 100, handheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 22mm, 1/400sec, ISO 100, handheld
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/9, 55mm, 1/20sec, ISO 1600, leaning on the railing
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/9, 55mm, 1/20sec, ISO 1600, leaning on the railing
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/320sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/320sec, ISO 800, handheld
100% Crop of a flower -100% Crop of photo above- Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/320sec, ISO 800, handheld
100% Crop of a flower -100% Crop of photo above- Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/7.1, 55mm, 1/320sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 31mm, 1/1600sec, ISO 800, hadheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/4, 31mm, 1/1600sec, ISO 800, handheld
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 37mm, 1/1000sec, ISO 800, Handheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/8, 37mm, 1/1000sec, ISO 800, Handheld
Nex-5n - Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5, 27mm, 1/1250sec, ISO 200, hadheld
Nex-5n – Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens @ f/5, 27mm, 1/1250sec, ISO 200, Handheld

Conclusion

To conclude this review I just wanted to say that this lens is a pleasure to use, has a decent range, and is very sharp across the board. In addition to that it’s relatively inexpensive as far as glass is concerned, so for the money this is a no brainer purchase in my opinion. The lens also has 4 Aspherical Elements which pretty much eliminates Chromatic Aberrations, although sometimes you can see them on the edges when it’s super contrasty. The distortion is pretty noticeable at the wide end (18mm), but if your shooting raw you can simple apply the Adobe lens correction profile in Adobe ACR, or Lightroom. The focus is a little slow when your used to USM or SSM super fast focus, but it works well and is quite as advertised.

That pretty much wraps it up, however please fire away if you have any questions or if you want a specific test shot done etc.. I currently own this lens along with the Nex-6 if you need specific test shots done.

Price: ~$298 @ BHPhotovideo

A very good performing affordable kit lens
To conclude this review I just wanted to say that this lens is a pleasure to use, has a decent range, and is very sharp across the board. In addition to that it's relatively inexpensive as far as glass is concerned, so for the money this is a no brainer purchase in my opinion and I highly recommend it.
Bang For The Buck95
Feature Set83
Build Quality and Design83
Ergonomics83
Auto Focus System87
Real World Usability95
Video Quality85
Real World Image quality85
Lab Testing Optical Quality80
Lens Distortion Control85
Low Light Performance82
Fun Factor90
Reader Rating0 Votes0
Pros
very light weight
good build quality
sharp optics for the money
built in optical stabilzation
very quiet and smooth af system
Cons
not a pancake style lens like the current E 16-50mm powerzoom model
85
APS-C E-Mount Zoom Lenses

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