- Very useful zoom range from wide-angle to medium telephoto
- Constant f/4 aperture
- Very nicely built lens with a metal body, internal zooming and smooth controls
- Power zoom control is well implemented and relatively low lag
- Fast and silent autofocus
- Good central image sharpness throughout the zoom range right from f/4 and decent sharpness across most of the frame stopped down (except at the long end)
- Very nice bokeh for standard zoom, with smooth out of focus areas
- Relatively good control of flare
- Optical stabilizer provides approximately 3 stops of handholdability
- Competitive price of $599 considering the build, aperture and range
- Relatively large lens, though light weight maintains good handling
- Absolutely awful native pincushion distortion makes profiled correction a must
- Edges of the frame are soft wide open and only reach ‘good’ levels stopped down
- Lens resets itself to 18mm every time you turn on the camera
- Focus accuracy is diminished at 105mm in lower light
The Sony PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s a very well-built lens with relatively decent performance throughout the zoom range, has a constant f/4 aperture a fantastic focal range, very nice bokeh smooth controls and quick autofocus. On the down side, the native distortion of the lens is rather extreme, though if you use a RAW converter with a distortion profile that can be eliminated. It also never really reaches outstanding edge and corner resolution at the wide and long end.
However, given the relatively modest price of $599 for a lens with this range, aperture and high-end build, none of the down sides are dealbreakers. The distortion is the biggest optical flaw, but that can be corrected. It’s not the sharpest lens in the world, but it provides acceptable levels of sharpness in almost all situations. Therefore, the $599 pricetag really makes sense. Its brother from Zeiss, the 16-70mm, is definitely a bit better optically, but it’s hard to say whether it’s $400 better. I think that if you are looking for a single lens to get you through a large portion of shooting, the 18-105mm is a great pickup. To paraphrase what I wrote earlier, the 18-105mm f/4 G OSS is always a competent lens, though rarely an outstanding one. Despite the flaws, however, I have grown to quite enjoy shooting with this lens. The freedom of having a lens that is usable over a wide variety of situations is something that can’t be measured on a resolution chart.
Click on an image to enlarge. All shots are handheld using OSS unless noted otherwise.