Top positive review
60 of 66 people found this helpful
Best lens for NEX
on March 16, 2014
You always read the question "Is it sharper than the kit lens?". Because for 8 times the money, you certainly can expect some superior optical performance over the cheap kit lens. And fortunately, this is exactly what you get - superior optical performance in the areas of contrast, color rendition, vignetting, and distortion. And although sharpness is not a real distinguishing factor in lens design these days anymore (the factors mentioned before are way more important and much costlier to achieve at a high level), much like the pixel count on the camera, rest assured that this lens is very sharp and provides extremely detailed pictures that are utterly crisp and have absolute stunning colors and contrast. I use this lens mostly for indoor shooting at concerts, sports events and the like and yes, sometimes I wish it was a little faster than f4, but generally it works real fine even at the necessary high ISO settings for those subjects. The constant aperture of f4 is very useful, and in my experience you need to step down the aperture to get the best results. The mechanical quality of the lens is also a cut above the rest, the zoom ring is smooth and responsive, and the whole look and feel of the lens oozes professionalism. Some reviewers commented that the lens was constantly "pecking and hunting". I know what they mean, my Zeiss Touit 12mm/2.8 does this, too - but not this lens. I must have gotten a real good specimen. Since the lens is about double as long as the kit 18-55mm lens, and quite a bit heavier, I prefer to use it on my NEX-6, for added stability when pressing the camera against my forehead when using the viewfinder. But it also works on my NEX-5T, although it takes some practice to aim it and then hold it steady with two arms stretched out. That leads me to my last point I wanted to make here - the optical steady shot (OSS) lens stabilization. I own some quite expensive Nikon lenses with stabilization, and they are notoriously good at that, providing at least 4 stops of margin. This lens here I regularly use at 1/10s with most of the shots sharp, and at 1/8s with about half of the shots sharp. None of my Nikon lenses can be used hand held at those shutter speeds and generate a comparable rate of good results.
So, in summary, is this lens worth the hefty price tag? In my opinion, it is worth every penny of it. I own virtually every E-mount lens there is (with the exception of the 18-200mm), and this is the best, both in regards to its useful zoom range and constant aperture, and also in regards of the superior picture quality it generates.