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18-105mm Lens Test

Purpose

Compare the 18-105mm power-zoom lens against other lenses, using a Nex-6.  Testing on this page was done on a tripod with OSS turned off, and using the remote shutter app to select the focus-target and shutter.  The 20mm results may have slight "clear image zoom" applied, as I may have tapped "zoom" slightly (not noticed until comparing views later), so actual results from the 20mm could possibly be slightly better (sharper) than what is seen here.

20mm/F4

 

The SEL20F28 has a noticeable edge in sharpness, as it did in earlier tests.  The 16-50 is the loser here, although it is not too drastic.  The worst problem may be that it seems a bit washed-out (low contrast) compared to the others.  Detail is only slightly softer than the 18-105, while the 20mm prime looks great.

20mm/F5.6

Once again, the 16-50 comes up short, and the 20mm is noticeably superior.  The 16-50 looks a bit more washed-out and lacks the resolution of the others, while the 20mm has a lot more resolution than the 18-105.  All three lenses seem to be slightly better at f4 than f5.6.

50mm

I didn't show the comparison with the 16-50 lens because the results were poor, apparently from mis-focusing on the distance.  Even with proper focus, I don't think it would compare well anyway.  The 18-105 improves when stopping down to f5.6.

Conclusion

The 18-105 is a step-up from the kit lenses, with better color saturation and resolution, but it's not going to be as good as a prime-lens.  A zoom lens is about convenience as much as anything else.  However, stepped-down a bit, it works very well, and should be worthwhile for many people as a kit-lens upgrade.

Last updated: August 10, 2014.