NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
trax87
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NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
9 months ago

After about a year of using my NEX 6, I have determined that, while I am not averse to using primes, for the type of shooting that I do I generally prefer zoom lenses for convenience.  I am not, however, happy with the 16-50pz kit lens I have been using -- I love the size and wider angle, and I am not particularly unhappy with the image quality, but I find it awkward to use because of the power zoom.  So, with that in mind I have been thinking of replacing it.  That has opened up a can of worms.

I could get the 18-55, which is pretty inexpensive, but if I am buying a new all-purpose walk around lens, I would prefer something a little longer so that I wouldn't be changing lenses as often.  Also, as I do use the wide end of the 16-50, I would probably miss it.  The new Sony 18-105 G lens is a nice range on the long end, but I do lose the wider angle.  Plus it’s big and is also a power zoom, so I probably should rule that out. The new 16-70 is the obvious solution,  but at about $1k it is not inexpensive and it has also gotten somewhat mixed reviews.

So where does that leave me? I can pay up and buy the 16-70, but the price is a little hard to swallow, especially when I know I can get the 18-55 for about 1/10th the price and I already have the 55-210 and the 16mm pancake.  Not as convenient to use those as the 16-70, and probably somewhat less quality, but certainly less expensive.  So that's question #1.  What are your thoughts as between those two options (18-55 vs. 16-70)?

Assuming I decided I was willing to invest an additional grand, I then start to wonder about alternative systems.  If what I am looking for are two good zoom lenses to cover at least 16-200mm combined (i.e., 24-300mm equivalent) and a fast prime (I currently have the 35/1.8), could I get better quality/price compared to what Sony offers in e-mount if I went to micro 4/3.  I haven't really done any research lately, but I know there are more options for lenses in that format.

At the end of the day, I’m a hobbyist at best and photography isn’t my only hobby. For my use currently, a good walk-around zoom lens, a tele-zoom and one fast normal prime are probably the three most useful lenses, with the first likely to get the most use. Going forward, who knows?

While money is always a consideration, and I have noted my concerns about cost, it is not necessarily the primary one.  A good value and flexibility to grow as my interest and skills grow are also considerations.

So, any thoughts about the above are appreciated.  I ask realizing that all of you will have your own biases, finances, experiences, etc., but each of you can nonetheless provide a fresh perspective.  And that's what I can use.

Thanks for reading this far and indulging my rather long post.

Kashmir442
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

The 18-55 won't buy you much at all over the 16-50, unless the power zoom mechanism is really driving you bananas.

The 16-70, OTOH, will give you noticeably better contrast and colors, and is definitely the way to go if your budget allows.

For a high-quality fast tele, the just-released 70-200 should be awesome, although it's even more spendy. That's a full frame lens, but an APS-C version wouldn't be all that much smaller for that range and focal length anyway.

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Jeffrey Ross
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

trax87 wrote:

After about a year of using my NEX 6, I have determined that, while I am not averse to using primes, for the type of shooting that I do I generally prefer zoom lenses for convenience. I am not, however, happy with the 16-50pz kit lens I have been using -- I love the size and wider angle, and I am not particularly unhappy with the image quality, but I find it awkward to use because of the power zoom. So, with that in mind I have been thinking of replacing it. That has opened up a can of worms.

I could get the 18-55, which is pretty inexpensive, but if I am buying a new all-purpose walk around lens, I would prefer something a little longer so that I wouldn't be changing lenses as often. Also, as I do use the wide end of the 16-50, I would probably miss it. The new Sony 18-105 G lens is a nice range on the long end, but I do lose the wider angle. Plus it’s big and is also a power zoom, so I probably should rule that out. The new 16-70 is the obvious solution, but at about $1k it is not inexpensive and it has also gotten somewhat mixed reviews.

So where does that leave me? I can pay up and buy the 16-70, but the price is a little hard to swallow, especially when I know I can get the 18-55 for about 1/10th the price and I already have the 55-210 and the 16mm pancake. Not as convenient to use those as the 16-70, and probably somewhat less quality, but certainly less expensive. So that's question #1. What are your thoughts as between those two options (18-55 vs. 16-70)?

Assuming I decided I was willing to invest an additional grand, I then start to wonder about alternative systems. If what I am looking for are two good zoom lenses to cover at least 16-200mm combined (i.e., 24-300mm equivalent) and a fast prime (I currently have the 35/1.8), could I get better quality/price compared to what Sony offers in e-mount if I went to micro 4/3. I haven't really done any research lately, but I know there are more options for lenses in that format.

At the end of the day, I’m a hobbyist at best and photography isn’t my only hobby. For my use currently, a good walk-around zoom lens, a tele-zoom and one fast normal prime are probably the three most useful lenses, with the first likely to get the most use. Going forward, who knows?

While money is always a consideration, and I have noted my concerns about cost, it is not necessarily the primary one. A good value and flexibility to grow as my interest and skills grow are also considerations.

So, any thoughts about the above are appreciated. I ask realizing that all of you will have your own biases, finances, experiences, etc., but each of you can nonetheless provide a fresh perspective. And that's what I can use.

Thanks for reading this far and indulging my rather long post.

Why not get the 18-5 and another body - still probably less money than the 16 - 70.  I have a 5N and a 6.  I put the 16-5 or 18-55 on one body (I have both) and the 55-210 on the other when I travel.  That is what I did on a recent trip to Yosemite.  They easily fit in a single bag and at times, although I may have looked a bit silly, were both around my neck.  That way I did not have to change lens in a dusty environment and also had a backup camera.

With the falling price of both the 6 and 7 resulting from the introduction of the A6000, you would have an opportunity to solve your problem in an economical way.

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LAbrewin
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

I'm assuming you shoot more telephoto than wide angle otherwise you would have mentioned the wide angle zoom in your list here.  16-70 is the ultimate walkaround zoom IMO - super sharp and contrasty.  Give it a try at a shop before you buy though to see if the difference over the cheaper zooms is worth it to you.  The 18-105 is also supposed to be quite good, though I'd prefer to switch to a tele lens at the 105 end of the range (70 is plenty in a walkaround zoom).  An alternative thought would be to choose your standard zoom whichever it may be and buy a teleconverter for the 55-210mm.  A couple posters here have had success with the Sony VCL-DH1758, and shown great results, at least to my eye.  I think you might need a step up/down ring to get it to mate with the 55-210 though.

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lysanders
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

I was in your situation a few weeks ago. I looked at all the lenses you talked about but i decided to go another way. I got the LA-EA2 adapter and the Sony 16-105 lens instead. You can get that for the price of the 18-105 if you look around a little bit and buy used. It bigger and heavier than the 18-105 but I love the lens and although it is not as fast as the 18-105 and lacks IS you have the benefit of great autofocus and the ability to buy fast prime lenses from the Alpha system for much less than the NEX primes.

It depends on what the focus of your photography is, if it is mainly a walk around lens for out door shooting the slower 16-105 is quite good.

I got the 16-105 for about 250USD and the adapter for about 200USD. If you can get it for about the same price that I got mine you can add another lens if you plan to buy an 18-105 for 600 USD

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John Knuhtsen
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

Zoom, zoom, zoom. A good idea ?

The nex6 sensor deserves something resolving better. So my bid would be:

- get the E-mount 55-210. It is cheap, and rather good when stopped down to F8. Stabilized.

- get the pancake 16 mm F/2.8 plus the UWA adapter: giving 12 mm focal length. Zoom is not very important with such a wide lens. Image quality is not worse with the UWA.

These two will extend your working range and creativity.

- get one prime lens and evaluate using manual lenses. To me Nex6 is unique for that. I can recommend one with 24 to 40 mm focal lenth. But get a very sharp one to use the image sensors full capacity. It would be economically wise to get a legacy one. I can recommend a Olympus Pen F 38 or 40, since the adapter is tiny.

Just my 2 cents.

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Jesper Frickmann
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

Another vote for 1670Z. Yes, it is expensive, but I think that you will be as happy with yours as I am with mine. Good versatile zoom range, good IQ, and good size and balance on your camera. And manual zoom!

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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to John Knuhtsen, 8 months ago

John Knuhtsen wrote:

Zoom, zoom, zoom. A good idea ?

The nex6 sensor deserves something resolving better. So my bid would be:

- get the E-mount 55-210. It is cheap, and rather good when stopped down to F8. Stabilized.

- get the pancake 16 mm F/2.8 plus the UWA adapter: giving 12 mm focal length. Zoom is not very important with such a wide lens. Image quality is not worse with the UWA.

These two will extend your working range and creativity.

- get one prime lens and evaluate using manual lenses. To me Nex6 is unique for that. I can recommend one with 24 to 40 mm focal lenth. But get a very sharp one to use the image sensors full capacity. It would be economically wise to get a legacy one. I can recommend a Olympus Pen F 38 or 40, since the adapter is tiny.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks.  I appreciate your thoughts and understand why many people  prefer to rely primarily on prime lenses.

I have the 55-210, the 16mm F/2.8 with UWA and the 35mm f1.8.   I also have a 50mm minolta manual lens that has a bit of a sticky focus ring at one spot, so I haven't used it much.  What I feel I am really missing is a good walk-around zoom lens.  Sometimes  that is really the best option for me.  When wandering around a city, for example, especially if with someone else and not necessarily on a photo outing, changing lenses can be a real pain. Also, as I continue to try to expand my skills, i will sometimes take a photo workshop and they often suggest zoom lenses for convenience and to be able to experiment with multiple focal lengths for the same shots quickly.   I have been using my 16-50pz in these situations, but I find the constantly retracting power zoom and the awkwardness of adjusting the zoom focal length to be a pain (not to mention the looks one gets when pulling out a NEX with the tiny power zoom when everyone else at a workshop is using a DSLR with a "real" lens. lol).

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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to Jesper Frickmann, 8 months ago

Jesper Frickmann wrote:

Another vote for 1670Z. Yes, it is expensive, but I think that you will be as happy with yours as I am with mine. Good versatile zoom range, good IQ, and good size and balance on your camera. And manual zoom!

Thanks.  I really am tempted, but it is hard to part with the money :).

Have the QC issues that some people have complained about been mostly resolved?  Or is it perhaps overblown?

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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to Jeffrey Ross, 8 months ago

Why not get the 18-5 and another body - still probably less money than the 16 - 70. I have a 5N and a 6. I put the 16-5 or 18-55 on one body (I have both) and the 55-210 on the other when I travel. That is what I did on a recent trip to Yosemite. They easily fit in a single bag and at times, although I may have looked a bit silly, were both around my neck. That way I did not have to change lens in a dusty environment and also had a backup camera.

With the falling price of both the 6 and 7 resulting from the introduction of the A6000, you would have an opportunity to solve your problem in an economical way.

That's something I have been considering as well.  I'm keeping the second body idea  in the back of my mind regardless of what other lens I may ultimately decide to get.

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WarrenPeas
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

trax87 wrote:

John Knuhtsen wrote:

Zoom, zoom, zoom. A good idea ?

The nex6 sensor deserves something resolving better. So my bid would be:

- get the E-mount 55-210. It is cheap, and rather good when stopped down to F8. Stabilized.

- get the pancake 16 mm F/2.8 plus the UWA adapter: giving 12 mm focal length. Zoom is not very important with such a wide lens. Image quality is not worse with the UWA.

These two will extend your working range and creativity.

- get one prime lens and evaluate using manual lenses. To me Nex6 is unique for that. I can recommend one with 24 to 40 mm focal lenth. But get a very sharp one to use the image sensors full capacity. It would be economically wise to get a legacy one. I can recommend a Olympus Pen F 38 or 40, since the adapter is tiny.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts and understand why many people prefer to rely primarily on prime lenses.

I have the 55-210, the 16mm F/2.8 with UWA and the 35mm f1.8. I also have a 50mm minolta manual lens that has a bit of a sticky focus ring at one spot, so I haven't used it much. What I feel I am really missing is a good walk-around zoom lens. Sometimes that is really the best option for me. When wandering around a city, for example, especially if with someone else and not necessarily on a photo outing, changing lenses can be a real pain. Also, as I continue to try to expand my skills, i will sometimes take a photo workshop and they often suggest zoom lenses for convenience and to be able to experiment with multiple focal lengths for the same shots quickly. I have been using my 16-50pz in these situations, but I find the constantly retracting power zoom and the awkwardness of adjusting the zoom focal length to be a pain (not to mention the looks one gets when pulling out a NEX with the tiny power zoom when everyone else at a workshop is using a DSLR with a "real" lens. lol).

Being in the same boat as you, moreover for the sake of convenience, I'll be getting the 18-105 F4 in a few days.  I don't have any power lenses, so I really wish it was a manual lens.  Then again, I'm hoping down the road Sony will give up more lenses, especially manual, across the board.  Happy shooting!

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CameraCarl
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

If you don't like power zooms, then the 18-105 is not for you.  It is a nice lens but it has a power zoom.  It works a bit better than the kit lens but not as well as a manual zoom in my opinion.

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tomtom50
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

trax87 wrote:

After about a year of using my NEX 6, I have determined that, while I am not averse to using primes, for the type of shooting that I do I generally prefer zoom lenses for convenience. I am not, however, happy with the 16-50pz kit lens I have been using -- I love the size and wider angle, and I am not particularly unhappy with the image quality, but I find it awkward to use because of the power zoom. So, with that in mind I have been thinking of replacing it. That has opened up a can of worms.

I could get the 18-55, which is pretty inexpensive, but if I am buying a new all-purpose walk around lens, I would prefer something a little longer so that I wouldn't be changing lenses as often. Also, as I do use the wide end of the 16-50, I would probably miss it. The new Sony 18-105 G lens is a nice range on the long end, but I do lose the wider angle. Plus it’s big and is also a power zoom, so I probably should rule that out. The new 16-70 is the obvious solution, but at about $1k it is not inexpensive and it has also gotten somewhat mixed reviews.

So where does that leave me? I can pay up and buy the 16-70, but the price is a little hard to swallow, especially when I know I can get the 18-55 for about 1/10th the price and I already have the 55-210 and the 16mm pancake. Not as convenient to use those as the 16-70, and probably somewhat less quality, but certainly less expensive. So that's question #1. What are your thoughts as between those two options (18-55 vs. 16-70)?

Assuming I decided I was willing to invest an additional grand, I then start to wonder about alternative systems. If what I am looking for are two good zoom lenses to cover at least 16-200mm combined (i.e., 24-300mm equivalent) and a fast prime (I currently have the 35/1.8), could I get better quality/price compared to what Sony offers in e-mount if I went to micro 4/3. I haven't really done any research lately, but I know there are more options for lenses in that format.

At the end of the day, I’m a hobbyist at best and photography isn’t my only hobby. For my use currently, a good walk-around zoom lens, a tele-zoom and one fast normal prime are probably the three most useful lenses, with the first likely to get the most use. Going forward, who knows?

While money is always a consideration, and I have noted my concerns about cost, it is not necessarily the primary one. A good value and flexibility to grow as my interest and skills grow are also considerations.

So, any thoughts about the above are appreciated. I ask realizing that all of you will have your own biases, finances, experiences, etc., but each of you can nonetheless provide a fresh perspective. And that's what I can use.

Thanks for reading this far and indulging my rather long post.

How are you zooming the 16-50? With the toggle or by twisting the barrel?

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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to tomtom50, 8 months ago

How are you zooming the 16-50? With the toggle or by twisting the barrel?

Twisting the barrel.

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tomtom50
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

trax87 wrote:

How are you zooming the 16-50? With the toggle or by twisting the barrel?

Twisting the barrel.

Me too. I guess tastes differ. Although I prefer manual zoom the barrel twist on the 16-50 works pretty well for me. I always saw it as the price of compactness, a price I was happy to pay since the thing collapses so well.

All the alternatives are way bigger

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

Jesper Frickmann wrote:

Another vote for 1670Z. Yes, it is expensive, but I think that you will be as happy with yours as I am with mine. Good versatile zoom range, good IQ, and good size and balance on your camera. And manual zoom!

Thanks.  I really am tempted, but it is hard to part with the money :).

Have the QC issues that some people have complained about been mostly resolved?  Or is it perhaps overblown?

What is your max budget, now and in foreseeable futurefor the complete system? If I were looking for a zoom solution today, I would look into 16-70 and 70-200 duo, for a darn good 24-300mm equiv range at constant f/4. You already have the E35 so that also helps. Then pick up another longer prime (an 85 and potentially a 90-100mm macro are expected soon) and that would make for a complete set up.

If you are budget limited, I see no issue with 18-55+55-210 combo, or 16-50 with the 55-210 for $250 or so.

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Amamba
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Consider 18-55
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

I use to knock this lens, seems I had a bad old copy. Ever since getting another one I am actually a big fan of it. It's not a superior lens but a sharp, solid performer. At $100 or less used, it's a cheap way to see if you like it.

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parallaxproblem
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to trax87, 8 months ago

trax87 wrote:

After about a year of using my NEX 6, I have determined that, while I am not averse to using primes, for the type of shooting that I do I generally prefer zoom lenses for convenience. I am not, however, happy with the 16-50pz kit lens I have been using -- I love the size and wider angle, and I am not particularly unhappy with the image quality, but I find it awkward to use because of the power zoom. So, with that in mind I have been thinking of replacing it. That has opened up a can of worms.

I could get the 18-55, which is pretty inexpensive, but if I am buying a new all-purpose walk around lens, I would prefer something a little longer so that I wouldn't be changing lenses as often. Also, as I do use the wide end of the 16-50, I would probably miss it. The new Sony 18-105 G lens is a nice range on the long end, but I do lose the wider angle. Plus it’s big and is also a power zoom, so I probably should rule that out. The new 16-70 is the obvious solution, but at about $1k it is not inexpensive and it has also gotten somewhat mixed reviews.

So where does that leave me? I can pay up and buy the 16-70, but the price is a little hard to swallow, especially when I know I can get the 18-55 for about 1/10th the price and I already have the 55-210 and the 16mm pancake. Not as convenient to use those as the 16-70, and probably somewhat less quality, but certainly less expensive. So that's question #1. What are your thoughts as between those two options (18-55 vs. 16-70)?

Assuming I decided I was willing to invest an additional grand, I then start to wonder about alternative systems. If what I am looking for are two good zoom lenses to cover at least 16-200mm combined (i.e., 24-300mm equivalent) and a fast prime (I currently have the 35/1.8), could I get better quality/price compared to what Sony offers in e-mount if I went to micro 4/3. I haven't really done any research lately, but I know there are more options for lenses in that format.

At the end of the day, I’m a hobbyist at best and photography isn’t my only hobby. For my use currently, a good walk-around zoom lens, a tele-zoom and one fast normal prime are probably the three most useful lenses, with the first likely to get the most use. Going forward, who knows?

While money is always a consideration, and I have noted my concerns about cost, it is not necessarily the primary one. A good value and flexibility to grow as my interest and skills grow are also considerations.

So, any thoughts about the above are appreciated. I ask realizing that all of you will have your own biases, finances, experiences, etc., but each of you can nonetheless provide a fresh perspective. And that's what I can use.

Thanks for reading this far and indulging my rather long post.

We all have this problem - we would like something better than the kit lens but the only option is the $1000 16-70, which is about double the price that this lens ought to retail for

There are no obvious answers - all you can do is either:

  • pay through the nose for the Zeiss
  • or stick with what you have
  • or look for a new system where the customers' requirements seem to actually matter to the manufacturer
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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, 8 months ago

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

What is your max budget, now and in foreseeable futurefor the complete system? If I were looking for a zoom solution today, I would look into 16-70 and 70-200 duo, for a darn good 24-300mm equiv range at constant f/4. You already have the E35 so that also helps. Then pick up another longer prime (an 85 and potentially a 90-100mm macro are expected soon) and that would make for a complete set up.

If you are budget limited, I see no issue with 18-55+55-210 combo, or 16-50 with the 55-210 for $250 or so.

Ah. There's that question. In my original post I mentioned the option of going to another system and cost vs. quality is the reason. I haven't really set a max budget for a system, as I wanted to see where the journey took me.  But I wonder at what point I might be overbuying for my skill level and for the NEX 6 body.

I figure I probably have a little under $1500 in the system currently, if I include only what I consider the main lenses (body with kit lens, 55-210 and 35/1.8 - I have a couple of other lenses, like the 16mm with UWA, but they aren't really relevant to the discussion).  For about another $100, give or take, I could get the 18-55 and I would then have the option of using the 16-50 for size or the 18-55 when really small isn't as necessary, thereby alleviating my power zoom issue.  For the most part I could be set for a while.

If I go the 16-70 and 70-200 route, I am getting better lenses at a significantly higher price point. At that point, absent any later macro lens purchase, etc., I am at about $3700 less maybe a couple hundred dollars or so I might be able to get for lenses I wouldn't need anymore. At that price point I have to start asking myself what the alternatives are and whether the NEX system is going to give me the best combination of quality for the price (many here have obviously determined that for them the answer is yes, but when I purchased the NEX I was only comparing it to other systems with kit lenses, etc., so I don't know if my decision would be the same at closer to $3500- $4000).  I also need to look at my skill level and ask if it is likely that I would see a difference in quality and get the benefit from the higher quality f/4 lenses to make it worth more than twice my current setup.

These are difficult questions and I'm not sure I have answers just yet.  With that in mind, the 18-55 might be the more practical solution in the short term.  Although I'm not certain if it's the best one

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trax87
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Re: NEX 6 lens choice - 18-55, 18-105, 16-70 ... or new system?
In reply to parallaxproblem, 8 months ago

parallaxproblem wrote:

We all have this problem - we would like something better than the kit lens but the only option is the $1000 16-70, which is about double the price that this lens ought to retail for

There are no obvious answers - all you can do is either:

  • pay through the nose for the Zeiss
  • or stick with what you have
  • or look for a new system where the customers' requirements seem to actually matter to the manufacturer

That's how it seems.

Any suggestions as to the latter?  There seem to be praises and concerns from users on forums for every manufacturer.

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