Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens

Started May 28, 2013 | Photos
Nathanio
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Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
May 28, 2013

After a week away in France with my family on holiday it made me realise that having 3 lens to try and give me the ranges I need is to much hassle!

It really struck it home at the Zoo we went to as I the Tamron 17-50 was too short and the 70-300 a bit too long. So I was using the 28-85 a lot. Got some lovely pictures and really pleased with the quality BUT I found myself needing more than 85mm. So I ended up switching to the 70-300 (cheap non USD Tamron) and using that.

I figure the 17-50 is a great indoor/low light lens and I would want to keep it but leave it at home most of the time. I need the longer range and so would keep the 70-300 (with a plan to upgrade to a better telephoto zoom in the future with better glass). Sell the 28-85 and then purchase the 18-135 to use as my 'walkabout lens'

Currently available between £240-270 (white box or new) and so seems a great purchase for the price.

Anyway some photos of my holiday - some of the Zoo and others taken with the 28-85 in macro mode

28-85mm Minolta F4 in macro mode on a cold chilly morning - no PP OOC JPG

Scary looking eagle taken at 300mm on cheap Tamron 70-300 w/macro mode - no PP OOC JPG

Scary looking eagle taken at 300mm on cheap Tamron 70-300 w/macro mode - no PP OOC JPG

Frogs in the Monkey pen laying eggs. Cheap Tamron 70-300 at 300mm macro mode - no PP OOC JPG

Nathan

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tbcass
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Try Tamron 70-300 USD
In reply to Nathanio, May 28, 2013

The 70-300 lens seems quite soft. I purchased the newer Tamron 70-300 USD and it is much sharper. From what I've read from users the 18-135 is a pretty good lens.

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splashy
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Re: Try Tamron 70-300 USD
In reply to tbcass, May 28, 2013

18-135 is a very nice lens and I really miss it on the A99.

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Stflbn
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Nathanio, May 28, 2013

The Sony 18-135 is a fantastic lens that really outperforms how it's advertised.

The newer  Tamron 70-300 is also a fantastic lens.

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Setter Dog
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Stflbn, May 28, 2013

Stflbn wrote:

The Sony 18-135 is a fantastic lens that really outperforms how it's advertised.

The newer  Tamron 70-300 is also a fantastic lens.

I also like the 18-135 and have been using it almost daily on quail in my backyard. Today, I switched lenses mid stream and went to a Sigma 18-250mm to check it against the Sony. Frankly, I like the Sigma a little better. I like the reach. The ONLY downside to the Sigma is a clicking noise when it focuses during video. The Sony 18-135 is quiet as a mouse.

Jack

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felix from the suburbs
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Setter Dog, May 29, 2013

I just traded in an older model Sigma 18-200 for the Sony 18-135. In my opinion, the Sony lens is far superior to my old Sigma - the latter always seemed soft.  The sony lens seems to be on sale now, at least in the Toronto area, and I think it's a great value.

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Stflbn
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Setter Dog, May 29, 2013

IMHO,  unless your Sony 18-135 is REALLY   off focus wise, there's no way the 18-200 Superzoom is as sharp or has the image quality of the 18-135.   The superzoom will have more reach, but the image quality of those two lenses are in different categories.

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Nathanio
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Stflbn, May 29, 2013

Thanks for the thoughts. I think I will be looking at purchasing one. 
I do need to replace my 70-300 at some point but as it is (relatively) good in strong sunlight i'm not too worried at the moment. I will be looking at the BBC or the 55-300 Sony in the future.

Now to sell my 28-85 and get it past she how must be obeyed!

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123Mike
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Tamron 17-50 f2.8 + Sony 55-300 = magic combo !
In reply to Nathanio, May 30, 2013

You already have the Tamron 17-50 f2.8, which is an *outstanding* lens IMO. It should be sharp right wide open! I had a major reservation about the 50mm limit when I got mine. I was using a Minolta 28-105 Xi a lot, which actually is a pretty descent lens - underrated IMO.

I also have a Tamron 28-300 which is allright crazy stopped down to f10....

But reviewing my picture library, I was surprised how most of my shots, including kids playing in the park pictures, how most of those pictures fall in the range up to 70mm, which most of those at around 50mm and under!

Yes, it *feels* so incompetent and "wimpy" having only up to 50mm, but I've changed my mind of this completely! I find that when the shots are very sharp, like the 17-50 provides, there's lots of room to crop the hell out of it.

IMO, this 17-50 is not just an indoor lens. It's most definitely a lens you want in your bag when you go out! Don't give up that crispness!

IMO for a while now, my favorite combo, is that 17-50 lens + the Sony 55-300. I had the 55-200 before, which was pretty good, and also an underrated lens. I had a big beercan, but I did not like how it failed to be tack sharp. I then saw in review after review that the 55-300 was almost G like sharp! So, I sold the BBC, and found a used copy of the 55-300 for $200. Holy crap it's sharp! I've also never seen it outperformed by that very popular Tamron 70-300 lens, and I'm talking the good version of that Tamron.

Here is a quick shot I made of a tree, nothing special, but it's sharp. No sharpening in the camera (0 setting), and no post processing. Shot taken in jpg mode.

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cgarrard
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I think if you buy the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Nathanio, May 30, 2013

Sell the 28-85 and then purchase the 18-135 to use as my 'walkabout lens'

You'll end up using it for much more than that.

It's not only my favorite Sony zoom lens, it's probably one of my favorite lenses of all time (for several reasons of course). I have very little criticism of this lens, bar extreme corner shading.

C

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VPic
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Re: I think if you buy the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to cgarrard, May 30, 2013

Question on the same lens.

I got this lens with SONY a77 kit. I also have TAMRON 18-270 (current version), is one of the lens redundant and I should sell or they both have their advantages?

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cgarrard
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Re: I think if you buy the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to VPic, May 30, 2013

VPic wrote:

Question on the same lens.

I got this lens with SONY a77 kit. I also have TAMRON 18-270 (current version), is one of the lens redundant and I should sell or they both have their advantages?

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Shoot to capture, not kill !
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Panny FZ7 : King of the Day
Fuji F31fd : Prince of Darkness
Fuji F40 : AllRounder

That's personal taste, you have to decide that one.

Speaking for myself I look back at images I made with the super zooms like that Tamron you have and don't miss those lenses, especially the telephoto shots. Very low contrast and hazy detail.

I personally find that the 18-135mm focal length is just about right for a lot more situations I thought it would be. My ideal zoom though, would be a 16-135mm f/2.8-4. That would be a pretty big lens even with today's optical advances, but when I'm already carrying a big DSLR, so what if the lens is a big bigger.

C

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GeraldW
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Nathanio, May 30, 2013

I'm relatively new to the Sony SLT cameras, with an A57.  Because of past experience with the Canon 18-135 IS, and earlier with the Sigma 18-125, I went for the Sony 18-135 in combination with the Sony 55-300.  I am extremely pleased with both lenses in all respects.  Note the very large range of overlap with these two lenses.  That really minimizes the amount of lens swapping you need to do.  Something for you to consider.

I like cgarrard's thoughts on a "better" lens (16-135 f/2.8-4) but it will be large, heavy, and expensive.  As it is, both my lenses handle very well on the A57 body; which is just big enough.
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Nathanio
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to GeraldW, Jun 1, 2013

I brought a white boxed 18-135 today from LCE in Southampton for the princely sum of £249.99.

Very impressed so far; silent AF, ultra quick AF and good weight.

Taken a few quick test pictures:

18-135 straight out of camera JPG

Straight out again with a little fill flash (-0.3 compensation onboard) to aid in the falling light

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artlmntl
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to GeraldW, Jun 2, 2013

I bought an A57 last November in a kit with both the 18-135 lens and the 55-300. I've shot near 5000 shots with the camera in varying conditions. There are limits, but it does an outstanding job! I think the A57 with the 18-135 lens is a winning combination, and that 55-300 is no slouch!

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geoffmalter
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to artlmntl, Jun 2, 2013

artlmntl wrote:

I bought an A57 last November in a kit with both the 18-135 lens and the 55-300. I've shot near 5000 shots with the camera in varying conditions. There are limits, but it does an outstanding job! I think the A57 with the 18-135 lens is a winning combination, and that 55-300 is no slouch!

+1

I love my A57/18-135 combo. And my limited experience with my newer 55-300 works well for me when I need the longer reach. IMO same IQ as the 18-135.

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Treven95814
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to artlmntl, Jun 2, 2013

I just bought this lens yesterday, to go with my Sony A330.  It's expected to be delivered early next week.  I'll post some pix "right out of the box".

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tbcass
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Re: Try Tamron 70-300 USD
In reply to splashy, Jun 3, 2013

splashy wrote:

18-135 is a very nice lens and I really miss it on the A99.

I seriously considered this lens but I think at $500 it's a bit over priced for my purposes. If the price should drop to $350 I would buy one.

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Nathanio
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Re: Try Tamron 70-300 USD
In reply to tbcass, Jun 3, 2013

tbcass wrote:

splashy wrote:

18-135 is a very nice lens and I really miss it on the A99.

I seriously considered this lens but I think at $500 it's a bit over priced for my purposes. If the price should drop to $350 I would buy one.

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I paid around $380 (£250) and feel it is incredible value for money at that price.

I wonder if the 55-300mm will get SAMII any time soon....

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cgarrard
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Re: Thinking of buying the Sony 18-135 lens
In reply to Nathanio, Jun 3, 2013

Nathanio wrote:

I brought a white boxed 18-135 today from LCE in Southampton for the princely sum of £249.99.

Very impressed so far; silent AF, ultra quick AF and good weight.

Taken a few quick test pictures:

18-135 straight out of camera JPG

Straight out again with a little fill flash (-0.3 compensation onboard) to aid in the falling light

And the more you use it the more it may impress you :).

C

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