Introducing the SEL 18200 lens, this photographic lens was designed exclusively for use with the NEX series of cameras. So it will not work on other Sony camera models. Due to that quirk, it was released as an accessory for the Sony NEX-F3 mirrorless digital camera.
Before in my Sony A6000 camera review, I used to have a single lens for all the tasks. This Sony 18-200 mm is an excellent ”all around” tool, which performs better than the medium performance lens you can find on the market.
Sony SEL 18200 Review
Due to its simplicity and lightness, it is ideal for handling it all day, every day, making it the perfect companion for traveling and taking quick photographs. It is a small zoom, with a tremendous range, which will allow you to do almost everything.
You can shoot macro from more than 1 m distance, which is a great advantage when we talk about shooting insects – for example.
This zoom model is capable of covering a wide zoom range, focusing quickly and almost silently. Besides, it has optical stabilization so that you can hold it by hand in any environment, regardless of the lighting present.
It is also great for portraits with the zoom’s handy capability instead of moving yourself forward or backward.
It is wide enough for architecture and landscape – 18 mm.
High also for wildlife, good zoom (18 – 200 mm) powerful 11x magnification range.
A plastic filter ring accompanies the structure on which the lens mount is made of metal. It has seven diaphragm elements, which are rounded, and these form the opening, thus managing to produce pleasant, unfocused backgrounds.
There is only a small control surface on the lens, which is located between the focus and the zoom rings and is only a tiny zoom lock switch since all the lenses’ functions are controlled through the camera. On top of that, there is no distance scale, depth of field scale, or infrared index marker.
A sophisticated and versatile zoom lens, the SEL18200 from Sony features Optical SteadyShot -OSS, with active mode image stabilization, which is unmatched when shooting movies as you move.
A detail worth noting is that the lens is too long, thereby causing the appearance of a shadow on NEX equipment with built-in Flash when the lens is configured at the wide-angle. The use of a parasol will solve this problem, or an external flash can be used.
The focus ring is made of plastic, accompanied by large ribs, 1.3cm wide. The moment the ring rotates, it will do so without making hard or soft stops, and when this happens, the camera will automatically switch to manual focus mode with 7X or 14X magnification.
The zoom ring may need to be adjusted at the start of product use.
This is the APS-C E-mount lens, so it matches the APS-C image sensor, do not buy it for a full-frame – professional digital cameras.
To use the most impressive performance in terms of the SEL-18200 lens, it can be configured and kept completely extended (ƒ / 3.5-ƒ / 4) to obtain sharper images, which present details of more excellent smoothness in the edges.
Stopping the initial movement does not offer any improvement for sharpness. The diffraction limit is set to ƒ / 8-ƒ / 11, but there is no noticeable decrease in sharpness until ƒ / 16.
Rather than the standard polygon-shaped lens aperture, this lens has a 7-blade circular aperture for a more natural bokeh.
In the mid zoom range (35-70mm), the lens also produces sharp images, even those that are open, although in these cases, you get a bit more sharpness when you stop at ƒ / 8-11.
As for the telephoto range (100-200mm), a smoothness in the corners can be observed when used at its widest aperture (a comparatively slow ƒ / 6.3). The 200mm ƒ / 6.3 performance is particularly smooth in the corners. You will have to stop at a very slow ƒ / 11 to get moderate sharpness.
Despite that, something that is very common in terms of lenses of this caliber, the performance, when entirely stopped, is not surprising. Not bad at 18mm, but at 35mm and above, it gets quite smooth, and anything above ƒ / 32 is best avoided.
Refined optical performance
The extra-low dispersion glass elements grant superior color fidelity, contrast, and resolution, while the aspherical lens elements minimize the distortion.
Despite the sharpness and contrast qualities of the lens in terms of its photographs, it still presents some chromatic aberration signs. To be more exact, some blue stripes can be observed in some regions of high contrast. However, this can be adjusted and minimized when shooting between 50-70mm.
The dual control rings, which are rubber coated with raised edges, are responsible for adjusting the zoom settings and manual focus. Autofocus is also available if you want to use it.
The ring offers 90 degrees as far as turning action is concerned. To travel in this way, the available range of focal lengths. There is a significant extension of the lens since, when it approaches 200mm, the glass adds 3″ to its total length, almost doubling its size.
Zoom shift is not an essential factor with this lens, but Sony performed a smart move, including the zoom lock switch, to achieve that way, placing the glass fixed in the 18mm position.
The lens has an internal focusing mechanism, which means that the lens barrel does not move and has a more compact design, faster autofocus response, and reduced minimum focusing distance.
The E 18-200mm, despite being an update of the previous version that remains on the market, this model can be differentiated because it sacrificed the Active Shot video stabilization function, therefore achieving a smaller body and light. Camera operators will habitually think of other standard models, but it manages to fulfill its objectives excellently despite its simplicity.
The lens features a black finished body, with the outer shell made of lightweight aluminum. It measures 9.6cm long and 6.8cm wide, whose weight does not reach a kilo, smaller and lighter than the previous silver and black version.
- Mount and format: Sony E-mount with APS-C format
- Focal length: 18 – 200 mm
- Minimum aperture: 22 – 40
- Maximum aperture: 3.5-6.3
- Aperture blades: 7
- 35 mm equivalent focal length (APS-C): 27-300 mm
- Minimum focus distance: 0.3 m for wide and 0.5 m for tele
- Lens groups/elements: 12/17
- Angle of view (APS-C): 76°-8°
- Image stabilization: Optical Steady Shot with Active Mode
- Filter diameter: 67 mm
- Dimensions: 75.5 mm x 99 mm
- Weight: 524 g
In the box
- Lens front cap
- Lens rear cap
Considering the three different versions of the Sony 18-200mm lens category for sale, the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS version is the most popular and sought after. It is the cheapest of the three models, the smallest and lightest model, and looks better on your camera than the first version.
I used this lens for about two years with my ex-camera – a Sony A6000. This is a compact and robust lens with high zoom and image quality. In my gallery, you can see many examples because more than 95% of those shots are taken with this lens on Sony A6000.
It is an excellent product, although it loses some quality as soon as the entire zoom is used, both in resolution and in the ability to capture light. On-camera fixes straighten the distortion automatically, and as long as you work in daylight, you can shoot with this lens all day and never have to change it for a telephoto shot.
This product is what all those dedicated photographers need, who want to have an all-in-one lens, which does not weigh much and can quickly carry out its job. The price is comparatively high, but it is the cheapest in other existing models.
… but let me show here two of them, so we keep it more uncomplicated – a landscape in the mountains near Buenavista Del Norte in Tenerife
…and a macro picture
I specifically chose a butterfly in action so you can see what Sony A6000 with this lens can do on a moving subject.
The images are excellent; the video is fine. A unique “off-road” product, simple but that fulfills its objective and makes most photographers adore, as long as it is not a perfectionist photographer since then, you will want something more designed. Still, it delivers on what it promises.
I hope you enjoyed my Sony lens review and that you now have a better idea about this lens. If this is something you are looking for, I am here to tell you that this single lens will do the ”all around” job with great results – I test it for almost two years, shooting thousands of pictures.
Please comment below with anything you want to add or ask, and we will move on from there. I am always happy to help and to improve myself, so go on – test me 🙂 Thanks for reading through the end!