So you’ve likely just picked up a new Sony mirrorless camera and you’re looking for the ideal lens to document your favorite subject.
Maybe you’re ready for a step up from the kit lens and want something with more performance… that doesn’t break the bank?
Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect walk-around lens? Something you can travel with and capture the experience?
Is this the all-round Sony zoom lens you’re looking for? Is it that much better than the kit lens? And is it worth the money?
Let’s take a look. Below is my honest review of the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 and assessment of how it performs in the real world.
Sony 18-105mm f/4 | Specs
- Image quality
- Autofocus performance
- Power zoom (unless you’re shooting video)
- Size/weight (a bit unbalanced when mounted on a6000 series cameras)
- Focal Length: 18-105mm (27-157mm full-frame equivalent)
- E-Mount Lens/APS-C Format
- Aperture: f/4-22
- Filter Size: 72mm
- Size: 110mm (4.3″) x 78mm (3.1″)
- Weight: 427g (15.1oz)
- Optical Stabilization
- Motorized Zoom
Build & Ergonomics
Initially, I picked up the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 and was unsure of its design. I had never used a power zoom lens but my first impression was that it felt solid.
It definitely felt sturdier than the 16-50mm kit lens and was more on par with a full frame e-mount lens like the Sony 24-70mm f/4. In fact, it weighs almost the same.
The build quality on the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 felt excellent. It felt like a mostly metal construction and the non-zoom-extending design gave the impression that it was a high-quality lens.
The power zoom was a bit new to me and I wasn’t sure I would like it. Not being able to quickly turn the ring to zoom made me skeptical. After using the lens, I found the power zoom feature functional but not as quick or accurate as a manual design.
Using the power zoom might be useful if you are a video shooter and need a lens that can offer smooth/consistent zooming.
One other notable ergonomic characteristic with the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 lens is the size. At 427g (15.1oz) and 110mm (4.3in) long, it was a bit oversized when compared with the a6000 series cameras. Weighing almost as much as the camera body, the balance was lens-heavy.
Viewed from another perspective, you often gain quality and durability at the sacrifice of size and weight!
Size/weight aside, the build and ergonomics appeared high quality.
In terms of focus performance, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 lens operated. Most of the lenses I own are Sony G-Master lenses and have the top of the line performance when it comes to speed and accuracy of focus.
When I took the 18-105mm f/4 out to test it on a foggy day shooting mountain biking in the forest, I was very happy with the results. It tracked fast-moving subjects well and rarely missed a shot despite the dim lighting!
In two words, this lens is snappy and sharp and the auto-focus performs extremely well, especially at this price-point.
Overall, the image quality of the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 is excellent for a zoom! Especially if you are coming from a kit lens.
Sure, the edges and corners are a little soft when compared with a prime lens or the G-Master series.
I found the bokeh to be very pleasing at the 105mm end of this lens! It would make a great portrait lens with nice falloff and sharp subjects. Don’t expect much bokeh at the wide end though, especially since this is an APS-C lens.
The chroma and distortion are not really a problem on this lens. I’ve seen some reviewers talk about chromatic aberration issues at the ends of the zoom range but I didn’t feel this was a big enough problem to be noticeable.
Lastly, the flare on the 18-105mm f/4 was completely manageable. Typically with a wide range zoom, you’ll see some ugly flare when shooting into the sun, but this lens seemed less problematic. Nice job Sony!
Sony 18-105mm f/4 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Sony 18-105mm f/4.
Value for Money & Alternatives
At around $600, the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 is excellent value for money! I was impressed with the focus performance, durability, and image quality.
In comparison to the alternatives, I feel like this lens is a good balance of price/quality. This lens offers more focal range than the Sony 16-70mm f/4 at a lower price point.
Another alternative might be the Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3, but at almost double the price… and without the consistent f/4 aperture, you would be making some sacrifices.
Lastly, the Sony E 18-105mm f/4 is definitely a step up from the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens!
The f/4 Sony lenses really are great value for money, much like the Sony 70-200mm f/4 G OSS I reviewed.
Sony E 18-105mm f/4 Review | Conclusion
After using this lens for a few weeks, I was very satisfied!
My only complaint was the power zoom feature which was a little slow and unfamiliar. For shooting video, power zoom might be a great feature, but for stills, it felt clumsy.
Over time, I’m sure I could get comfortable with it but I would prefer a traditional zoom function.
The Sony E 18-105mm f/4 is a great option for people looking to use one zoom lens for a variety of subjects. Sure, it’s not the perfect lens for any one subject but it’s an overall good performer for a wide range of uses.
The Sony E 18-105mm f/4 is a definite improvement over the kit lens and it comes at a totally reasonable expense.
If I were looking for a good overall lens, this would be a great choice!