18-135 will be a great travel lens

Started 10 months ago | User reviews thread
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The Ryantist Contributing Member • Posts: 841
18-135 will be a great travel lens

I haven't had a ton of time to use the 18-135 yet, but I did some unscientific comparisons today on my a6000.

18-135 vs 16-50

I'll start off by saying that I find the 16-50 useful, and I like mine much more than some others on this forum, especially for its size. I think my copy is particularly good in the middle range (20-30 mm) and f/8. Anyway, I took a few shots at 18, 24, 35 and 50 mm both wide open and at f/8.

  • At all focal lengths (18, 24, 35, 50) the 18-135 is slightly sharper across the frame when the aperture is wide open
  • Stopping down to f/8 at 18-24mm, the 16-50 is slightly sharper in the center, and it's a tie in the corners
  • Stopping down to f/8 at 35 mm, its very close, but the 18-135 is sharper across the frame
  • At 50 mm, the 18-135 wins both wide open and stopped down.
  • 50mm wide open is where it really blows away the corners of the 16-50,

18-135 vs 70-300

I've only had the 70-300 for a couple weeks and haven't had too much time to use it. But I think the 18-135 holds its own here. Again very close, but at 70 mm I think the 18-135 is slightly sharper than my 70-300. And at 135 the 70-300 wins, but again only slightly.

18-135 vs 18-105

Unfortunately I don't have the 18-105 anymore (I sold it to fund the 18-135). But I feel that the IQ is comparable between these two lenses, and that the 18-135 is probably sharper at the long end. If you don't need f/4, then the 18-135 is the winner here.

Bottom Line - Size Matters

The 18-135 is not the G Master quality that many were hoping for. But the size and weight of the 18-135 is really impressive! It is a similar diameter to the 24 or 50 f/1.8 primes and only about an inch longer. I am really impressed to have such a large zoom range in such a small lens, especially coming from the 18-105. I can really see here that Sony optimized the lens for being small and light, and in that regard I think they did a great job. My travel kit going forward will be the 10-18, 18-135, and the 24 f/1.8. That will be a powerful trio in a small bag.

 The Ryantist's gear list:The Ryantist's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a6300 Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS +4 more
Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
Telephoto zoom lens • Sony E • SEL18135
Announced: Jan 5, 2018
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Sony a6000 Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
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