Is the 18-55 (SEL1855) as bad as the reviews show?

Started May 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Re: Is the 18-55 (SEL1855) as bad as the reviews show?
In reply to OpticsEngineer, May 8, 2013

I have actually tested the 18-55 quite rigorously over the past year or so and feel confident in making a few remarks that might be of assistance.

Whilst it is not a stellar performer overall it is actually quite good in a number of ways and I feel should be taken as a companion on any trip, I certainly take it with me along with a number of other lenses that fill my overall needs, these include 19 and 30 Sigmas, 55 mm micro nikkor and 28-135mm Minolta.

I would not take the 18-55 as my sole lens, but for snaps, video, etc it is pretty darned good and I take a lot of shots with it.

Here is the neat thing, my copy and perhaps most performs quite exceptionally as a 26mm lens.  That specific focal length is where CA is close to zero, distortion is none existent and the lens is sharp from edge to edge.  Shot at f6.3 it is really terrific, I have literally hundreds or perhaps thousand shot at this setting that are all uniformly without vice.

Once you go either side of this setting things get degraded, 20mm-30mm is about the limit if you have an eye on quality.  55mm is in my opinion quite poor, but the centre is fine so for portraits it works pretty well, 18mm works very well if you stop it down to f8 -11 and take field curvature into account. Compared to the 55mm Micro Nikkor, which is something of a legend (and well deserved) there is simply no comparison.

Overall I would rate the 35-55mm range as somewhat disappointing, but its no worse that many kit lenses and when you consider how most people use these lenses it perfectly OK

I could easily cope with a 19mm sigma, the kit lens and the micro nikkor and cover pretty much all normal bases and have a pretty light kit.

I kinda consider it as a fixed 26mm lens with a bit of framing flexibility built in.

The Minolta 28-135mm is a very interesting lens on the NEX and I will post a story on that on my website soon, but lets just say used properly it even creams the 30mm sigma when set at 28mm.  But its heavy and you need dedication to NEX with it.

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Trying to make the complex simple

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