SONY SEL 1018 f4 OSS Final Word
There are quite a few, who found SEL 1018 to be a mediocre lens at best, saying that their 18-55 and 18-200 SELs are sharper, but most of them stops there, without showing any pictures.
And then, there are some users who are giving rather high credit to this lens. I belong to this group too.
So, here is the summary from my findings and thoughts…
- Constant aperture
- Good flare resistance
- Even sharpness across the frame, from 5.6 with a distant subjects (landscape)
- Fast and silent AF
- OSS (image stabilization)
- Regular filter thread (no bulb front element)
- Comes with a hood
- Micro Contrast
- Magenta Casting on NEX 7 (As mentioned in a previous posts, that is rather problem of a NEX 7, than the lens itself)
I believe that SEL 1018 was designed mainly for the landscape use . From my tests, you can see, that the lens performs much better at middle to long distances, where it can challenge, some of the very best UWA-WA zooms.
I also posted samples, from whom it is safe to conclude, that it outperforms SEL 16 f2.8 when it comes to the corners. They are of course in a different price range, but it is Zoom starting at 10mm vs prime at 16mm.
If you are testing this lens, don’t forget to turn OSS off, when camera is on a tripod. Otherwise, you might get inconsistent and overall worse results.
Some users are testing the lens at short distances with a flat subject (typical ISO chart test, or white wall), where SEL 1018 doesn’t show its best. This scenario is however very unlikely to be met in a real life situations. Unless you are doing some copying work, or probably astro photography. In the first case, there are much better lenses for copy work (Makro lenses are usually the best, as they have negligible distortion), while in the second, you should look for the faster lens anyway.
Equally doubtful is its use for the street or candid photography, because of its slower aperture, but in those scenarios, SEL 1018 can serve well, when there is enough light.
Thanks to the rather moderate distortion (most pronounced at 10mm), SEL 1018 can be also used for the architecture. Especially indoor, OSS becomes a very welcomed addition.
All in all, SEL 1018 is not without flaws, but overall it is one of the best, if not the best optically corrected zoom lens for the E mount. Magenta cast remains as the only problem to deal with on a NEX 7. But in most situation it is easy to correct, using Adobe Flatfield, or few simple steps in a Photoshop.
Center resolution could be a bit higher, but in a real life, for the prints up to A2 size (with NEX 7), I doubt that resolution will be limiting factor.
I will have to made some prints to stand behind this statement, so for now, it is only my impression.
As much, as I was disgusted with a SEL 16-50 P, I am impressed with this little fellow. It is going to stay in my bag, till it (or me) last.
Here are few more samples, which I will try to append with better ones, when weather allows me, showing some of not yet mention aspects.
Flare can be a problem in some situations, but as you was able to see in the comparison against Nikkor 14-24, it is much better controlled. (Please note, that this shot is not focused properly, I was looking for the flare only).
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS, forced flaring|
Next shot is showing very rough distortion correction (it could be done much, much better, but the shot is nothing special, and I wanted to check how the correction will affect the edges) in a Photoshop.
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS, rough distortion correction|
Following shot shows bokeh at 18mm and f4.
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS at 18mm and f4 Bokeh test|
Finally, few post processed shots, showing the potential of the lens.
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS, at 18mm, f4, 1/100 and ISO 400. Hand held OSS – ON|
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS at 10mm f5.6, 1/60s and ISO 100. Hand held, OSS – ON.|
|Sony NEX 7 + SEL 1018 f4 OSS at 18mm, f8, 1/200s and ISO 100. Tripod, OSS – ON (unfortunately)|
Few more images from my recent trip to Alps, taken with NEX 5n and SEL 1018. (March 2013) There is noticeably less color casting, but some trails are still visible.
|Great thing about SEL 1018 is large DOF. However, it is important to focus properly, and then. almost everything can be sharp. Tree is some 75cm from the camera, but still in perfect focus, as well as the mountains at infinity.|
|You might see here some magenta color casting in the top right and bottom left corner. But nothing to worry about.|
Links to the other parts of the review:
Part I – Initial Impression:
Part II – SEL 1018 f4 OSS vs SEL 16 f2.8:
Part III – SEL 1018 f4 vs Sigma 19 f2.8 E:
Part IV – SEL 1018 vs Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 G AF-S: