18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

Started 5 months ago | Questions
tjmckay4 Regular Member • Posts: 246
18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

 tjmckay4's gear list:tjmckay4's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a6400 Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +4 more
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The Ryantist Senior Member • Posts: 1,141
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
1

tjmckay4 wrote:

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

Is that a used copy of the 16-70? In the US, the 16-70 costs 1.5x the 18-135. So in your case the 16-70 might be a good value.

In terms of absolute sharpness, the difference between the two lenses is probably not going to matter in most real-world situations. So I'd choose based on features:

  • wider (16-70) vs more telephoto reach (18-135)
  • constant f/4 (16-70) vs the 18-135 is f/5.6 for anything above about 50 mm (this isn't a problem in the daytime, and in low light I use primes anyway because f/4 still isn't fast enough)
  • 18-135 has AF/MF switch on the side of the lens that's useful
  • 18-135 has closer minimum focus distance for 0.29x magnification (vs. 0.23x)
  • 16-70 is slightly smaller and lighter (but they are very close)
 The Ryantist's gear list:The Ryantist's gear list
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rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,758
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

The Ryantist wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

Is that a used copy of the 16-70? In the US, the 16-70 costs 1.5x the 18-135. So in your case the 16-70 might be a good value.

In terms of absolute sharpness, the difference between the two lenses is probably not going to matter in most real-world situations. So I'd choose based on features:

  • wider (16-70) vs more telephoto reach (18-135)

I use a 16/1.4 prime when I want so I like the longer reach of the 18-135

  • constant f/4 (16-70) vs the 18-135 is f/5.6 for anything above about 50 mm (this isn't a problem in the daytime, and in low light I use primes anyway because f/4 still isn't fast enough)

Same here.

  • 18-135 has AF/MF switch on the side of the lens that's useful

Yes.

  • 18-135 has closer minimum focus distance for 0.29x magnification (vs. 0.23x)

I find the 18-135 to work very well for in close but I also use a Sony 20/2.8 pancake for wide angle closeups since it's easier for me to hold still when using the LCD with my arm(s) extended in front of me.

  • 16-70 is slightly smaller and lighter (but they are very close)

Close enough is close enough for me.

When I tried my first 18-135 I bought it and stopped looking for an acceptable 16-70.

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OP tjmckay4 Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

The Ryantist wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

Is that a used copy of the 16-70? In the US, the 16-70 costs 1.5x the 18-135. So in your case the 16-70 might be a good value.

In terms of absolute sharpness, the difference between the two lenses is probably not going to matter in most real-world situations. So I'd choose based on features:

  • wider (16-70) vs more telephoto reach (18-135)
  • constant f/4 (16-70) vs the 18-135 is f/5.6 for anything above about 50 mm (this isn't a problem in the daytime, and in low light I use primes anyway because f/4 still isn't fast enough)
  • 18-135 has AF/MF switch on the side of the lens that's useful
  • 18-135 has closer minimum focus distance for 0.29x magnification (vs. 0.23x)
  • 16-70 is slightly smaller and lighter (but they are very close)

Thanks Ryan.

Nope, it's brand new. I was quite surprised.... I shouldn't have looked... Good to know that in real world situations they'd be about the same though.

I wouldn't use this indoors, debating between the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony 35mm f1.8 (I'd love the Sony 24mm f1.8...). The Sigma 16mm is too wide for my usage.

 tjmckay4's gear list:tjmckay4's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a6400 Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +4 more
RDCollins Senior Member • Posts: 1,128
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

As with many things in life, when it comes to lenses longer and wider are generally good attributes to have. Seems to me the 18-135 is more versatile for the uses you describe, outweighing the additional 2mm of wide offered by the 16-70.

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Doug Collins
Hermosa Beach, California

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liopleurodon Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

tjmckay4 wrote:

I wouldn't use this indoors, debating between the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony 35mm f1.8 (I'd love the Sony 24mm f1.8...). The Sigma 16mm is too wide for my usage.

Just an FYI, the Sony 35 is very soft until f/2.8.  The Sigma is pretty good wide open.

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daveproctor Regular Member • Posts: 313
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
5

I have been using the 18-135 on my a6300 for a while now and have to say I am VERY impressed with it.

I guess it depends  what you want but, having compared it to the 16-70 in the store, other than having a wider angle and constant F4, I couldn't find any reason to go for the 16-70. The 18-135 is a really useful range and is very light so, for me, it makes a great carry around, flexible outfit. I'm not an expert but I could not see that the 16-70 out performed the 18-135 in terms on image quality and the weight saving / flexibility of the 18-135 outweighed the slightly faster aperture (at longer lengths) and wider angle.

I've used MANY lenses over the years and the 18-135 is one of the best all purpose kit lenses I have come across.

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OP tjmckay4 Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
2

daveproctor wrote:

I have been using the 18-135 on my a6300 for a while now and have to say I am VERY impressed with it.

I guess it depends what you want but, having compared it to the 16-70 in the store, other than having a wider angle and constant F4, I couldn't find any reason to go for the 16-70. The 18-135 is a really useful range and is very light so, for me, it makes a great carry around, flexible outfit. I'm not an expert but I could not see that the 16-70 out performed the 18-135 in terms on image quality and the weight saving / flexibility of the 18-135 outweighed the slightly faster aperture (at longer lengths) and wider angle.

I've used MANY lenses over the years and the 18-135 is one of the best all purpose kit lenses I have come across.

Thanks Dave, that's great feedback. I'll keep my 18-135mm. I've also got the small kit lens anyway that's 16-50, so the 16-70mm wouldn't have made much sense to get.

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

 tjmckay4's gear list:tjmckay4's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a6400 Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +4 more
rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,758
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

tjmckay4 wrote:

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

I tried both and bought the Sigma 30/1.4.

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OP tjmckay4 Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

I tried both and bought the Sigma 30/1.4.

Thanks mate. You have the A6400?

 tjmckay4's gear list:tjmckay4's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a6400 Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +4 more
rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,758
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

tjmckay4 wrote:

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

I tried both and bought the Sigma 30/1.4.

Thanks mate. You have the A6400?

No, I haven't seen one yet. I've been using the A6300 and A6500 since shortly after they were released.

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LouisKruger Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

I tried both and bought the Sigma 30/1.4.

Thanks mate. You have the A6400?

No, I haven't seen one yet. I've been using the A6300 and A6500 since shortly after they were released.

The main advantage of the Sony lens is optical steady shot

rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,758
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

LouisKruger wrote:

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

rjjr wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

I now just need to decide which prime to get, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or the Sony E 35mm f1.8. Then I'm set!

I tried both and bought the Sigma 30/1.4.

Thanks mate. You have the A6400?

No, I haven't seen one yet. I've been using the A6300 and A6500 since shortly after they were released.

The main advantage of the Sony lens is optical steady shot

I found the IQ to be better with the Sigma.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,871
Re: Consider newly announced 16-55/2.8 too?

tjmckay4 wrote:

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

More money, but most versatile?

Between the 16-70 and 18-135, I'd pick the 18-135 and I'd add a f/1.8 prime lens. It is a more practical range.

But 18 is not always wide enough, 18 vs 16 can be a big difference at times.

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Cheers,
Henry

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paul wassermann Senior Member • Posts: 1,453
Re: Consider newly announced 16-55/2.8 too?

blue_skies wrote:

tjmckay4 wrote:

Just picked up a 18-135mm f3.5 - 5.6 from a local retailer (via their Ebay store) for A$826. I'll use this for general photography, travel and photos of my kids etc.

Now... even though I haven't taken any photos with it, I've got a bit of buyers remorse.... I've noticed that, from the same retailer (via Ebay store) that the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 is only A$162 more @ A$988.

Is it worth returning the 18-135mm and getting the 16-70? Is the Zeiss worth the extra cash?

More money, but most versatile?

Between the 16-70 and 18-135, I'd pick the 18-135 and I'd add a f/1.8 prime lens. It is a more practical range.

But 18 is not always wide enough, 18 vs 16 can be a big difference at times.

I personally favor the Sigma 16mm (24mm equivalent).  I can crop if needed and it is great for travel, indoor shots, etc.  That with the 18-135 accounts for 95% of my A6400 use.  And it all fits perfectly in my ThinkTank mirrorless mover 20 bag.

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Stan in NH Senior Member • Posts: 1,472
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
3

You will  get an endless number of lens recommendations, but the 18-135 is arguably the most versatile, best performing, and affordable lens you can own.

Regardless of what lenses you may wind up with, this one lens belongs in your kit

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Jeff Kott Senior Member • Posts: 1,168
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
1

liopleurodon wrote:

Just an FYI, the Sony 35 is very soft until f/2.8. The Sigma is pretty good wide open.

You must have tried a bad copy of the Sony 35/1.8. It's an underrated lens. Tiny, light, nice rendering, super fast focus and OSS for those Sony cameras that don't have IBIS.

Although slightly soft wide open, it's very sharp at f2.2 and smaller. Here's one taken at f 2.2.

https://jkott.zenfolio.co

m/img/s/v-2/p273549199-5.jpg

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Jeff Kott

liopleurodon Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?

Jeff Kott wrote:

liopleurodon wrote:

Just an FYI, the Sony 35 is very soft until f/2.8. The Sigma is pretty good wide open.

You must have tried a bad copy of the Sony 35/1.8. It's an underrated lens. Tiny, light, nice rendering, super fast focus and OSS for those Sony cameras that don't have IBIS.

Although slightly soft wide open, it's very sharp at f2.2 and smaller. Here's one taken at f 2.2.

https://jkott.zenfolio.co

m/img/s/v-2/p273549199-5.jpg

It's entirely possible that I did.  I never got images that sharp at wider than 2.8  Copy variation on Sony crop lenses is a bit concerning.

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BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer Senior Member • Posts: 1,771
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
2

I would go with the 18-135mm.  I'm very happy with mine and never wished to give up half it's reach for 2mm more on the wide end and a bit of light.  Especially as the 16-70mm has a lot of sample variation.  If you're prone to buyer's remorse don't go for the product with a high defect rate...

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BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer Senior Member • Posts: 1,771
Re: 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 or 16-70mm f4 for A6400?
1

liopleurodon wrote:

Jeff Kott wrote:

liopleurodon wrote:

Just an FYI, the Sony 35 is very soft until f/2.8. The Sigma is pretty good wide open.

You must have tried a bad copy of the Sony 35/1.8. It's an underrated lens. Tiny, light, nice rendering, super fast focus and OSS for those Sony cameras that don't have IBIS.

Although slightly soft wide open, it's very sharp at f2.2 and smaller. Here's one taken at f 2.2.

https://jkott.zenfolio.co

m/img/s/v-2/p273549199-5.jpg

It's entirely possible that I did. I never got images that sharp at wider than 2.8 Copy variation on Sony crop lenses is a bit concerning.

This review does a good job of highlighting the lens differences:

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/e-mount-lenses/sony-35mm-f1-8-vs-sigma-30mm-f1-4-vs-sigma-30mm-f2-8/

I'm happy with my 35mm, but that's because I like small and stabilized lenses (also, I shoot way more a f/4 than f/1.8). But there's nothing wrong with carrying heavier glass and being a bit more careful for the absolute best optical quality.

I feel like the 30 1.4/35 1.8 is one of those things that people love to argue online but where there's no bad option. Kind of like the A6400 vs X-T30. You're probably not going to wake up in a cold sweat out of regret if you buy either lens.

Interestingly, opticalimits tested the 35mm OSS as sharper than Fuji's 35mm WR, though with worse chromatic aberration. But the Fuji was tested with a weaker sensor which may or may not have made a difference (16ml vs 24mp).

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