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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.