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132 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2012
I owned the Sony E 55-210 and 18-55 (kit) lenses. Both of them were rather good lenses for their respective classes. The 55-210 was definitely a good deal for its price. However, I hardly ever used either of them. I still wanted a fallback for the cases where my few prime lenses were not suitable (or I couldn't predict what sort of focal length I'd need) so I thought I'd go for a super zoom.

I've put it through its paces. It seems to have better chromatic aberration control than the Sony 18-55. Not quite as good as the 55-210. Distortion isn't noticeable at any focal length unless you're trying to see it, shooting grids or bricks or something. I'd say optically, the lens is just a notch below the 55-210. This is actually par for the course for a super zoom lens like this. The Nikon Nikkor 18-200 VR II for example was an okay super zoom but not quite as good optically as the Nikon 55-200 VR, despite costing quite a lot more. You are paying for convenience with an 18-200 class lens and you get it here. If you are very confident you don't need the 18-55 range, the 55-210 is a better lens, if only slightly.

More importantly, the lens feels good in use. It's only a few centimeters longer than the 18-55 and is actually easier to handle. Of course it's heavier than any other NEX lens except the 18-200 from Sony. It's not too heavy for use but you'll notice it if you're used to the kit lens or similar. The only complaint I have with handling is that the focus ring is a bit easy to turn and if you shoot in MF or DMF mode, you might find yourself accidentally changing focus. That said, it's easy to get used to handling it in such a way that avoids this. The zoom lock is for storage/travel and is necessary. If you point the lens straight down it will creep, but other less extreme angles don't seem to induce any creeping.

The vibration control is the strongest I've seen so far on any lens for the NEX system. It's surreal, it's so strong. If you have engaged the VC by keeping the shutter release button half-depressed, you can notice it requires a deliberately strong movement to adjust your composition. It almost feels like your lens is stuck in the empty air in front of you. It is definitely effective.

Build quality is good for a plastic lens. The zoom and focus rings are rubber/rubberized plastic and feel fine. It has a couple bits that are dressed in metal but it's cheap metal that can barely be recognized as metal. It's not like the Sony E 24mm /1.8 CZ or even the metal quality of the silver lenses. It looks like shiny plastic. Overall, I like that the lens is black as it will be going on my NEX-7 but I won't pretend it looks valuable. It looks cheap. It feels and works fine, but it won't win any beauty contests. At least the lens cap seems to work well, though it's quite thick. It's easy to remove but doesn't feel like it will fall out unexpectedly (like Tokina lens caps do). The lens hood that is included is okay, but as usual, isn't super effective at any focal length due to the large zoom range and the attempt to provide a hood that will not vignette at any focal length.

The maximum aperture values through /5.6 start at similar focal lengths as the 18-55 kit lens, approximates are as follows:
* F/4 begins at 24mm
* F/4.5 begins around 31mm
* F/5 begins at 39mm
* F/5.6 begins at 47mm
* F/6.3 begins at 75mm

All in all, this is not a must have lens. However, if you are after a super zoom for convenience and "coverage" purposes as I was, I would recommend this lens over the Sony 18-200. it's narrower, lighter, and has better optical formula for better CA and flare control, etc. At the end of the day, I am able to make perfectly good images with this lens. It handles most situations gracefully and only breaks down optically in the more demanding situations (like mid-day direct sun or very strongly rectangular subject matter).

A side note: I don't shoot video. However, what I know about lenses being desirable for video says that this lens is not as good as the Sony E 18-200 for that purpose. I can easily hear the VC motor and focus motor without even putting the camera near my head. It's nowhere near as silent as the Sony lenses. It also moves focus more aggressively/sharply which some people find disturbing in video. If video is your plan, I'd reconsider the Sony 18-200 or maybe wait a while for more options.

* * * * * * *
Bottom line: It's completely acceptable as a still photos lens, for general purpose and unpredictable scenarios as a kit reducing replacement for the 18-55 + 55-210 lens pairing. It is not optically better than the 55-210. It does seem better than the 18-55, however, I am not equipped to confirm this with lab tests. In practice, I had no trouble making clear, sharp, attractive images. It's noisy so I wouldn't use it for video unless you had an off-camera microphone system.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
With super-zooms it's always the same:
I buy them for their convenience, knowing that they will not deliver as a prime lens does, but then I luckily have a couple of those as well so I don't bother too much. After all, I just want a walk-around lens, right? So the "add to basket"-button is activated.
Then comes the first field test on a sunny day. I'm so happy I can take a close portrait directly after framing a huge landscape. I don't miss a shot and everything works out just fine. ...

...until I come home and see what I got on my computer: soft edges, smudgy contrast, distortion and chromatic aberations galore....That is what I bought a DSLR for? Hell, I could have sticked to my bridge-cam!
And the "not so super"-zoom goes right back to the dealer. End of story?
It was like that with a Tamron 18-270 pzd for Canon, a sigma 18-200 f3.5-6.3 DC HSM OS II (the new one with the so called fluorite like glass) and with the venerable Canon 18-200 IS.

BUT NOT WITH THIS TAMRON FOR NEX SUPER-ZOOM
My first shots really impressed me. Very sharp at the wide angle. Very sharp even at full tele and with the widest aperture available. Contrast is good throughout the zoom range.
The silent image stabilizer works efficiently and the AF - though not on par with the best - does a pretty good job as well.
I just couldn't find any reason not to like this product.
Now of course we are still talking about a super-zoom here. So please don't expect miracles. But I must say. The results you get from your NEX with this thing are really good and thus absolutely adequate for all purposes you might buy this thing for.
After all: if you plan to publish your work or want to print big, you would not consider to pick a super-zoom anyway, would you?

So after all this lens makes a superb add-on to any ambitious amateur's lens collection. Buy this one and one or two prime lenses and your set.
I am really happy with my purchase. Good luck with your choice!

PS: If you ask, how the Sony SEL compares to the Tamron, I can only give a general advice since I had the Sony only for a very short time.
As almost everybody on the internet confirms the SEL 18-200 and the Tamron for NEX 18-200 seemed to me very very close in terms of image quality. The Sony had a better AF imho and the AF and the stabilizer were even less noisy than the with Tamron. The latter is smaller lighter, cheaper and suits the black NEX better. So what do I suggest?
Well, if two product are so close in terms of quality, I'd suggest that you stop brooding and just chose one. You cannot go too wrong, can you?
Good luck once more!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
I sold all my full frame stuff and huge lenses, just wanted a good camera that was small. I purchased an NEX 7, but was very disappointed in the kit 18-55 lens. I was simply frustrated that I could not purchase what I considered a high quality lens for this camera. The only one I could find is the Zeiss 24mm and it is no where to be found. So I looked at the Sony 18-200 and the Tamron. Anything had to be better than the kit. I chose the Tamron because of its smaller size and equal performance. Also Tamron now has a fix for the panorama mode.I must say I am very impressed with this lens. It is not a Canon L, but is very well made and the shots are much, much better than the kit and that is what counts. For your money this is probably the best buy right now for your Nex. In the future there will be better G lenses from Sony (maybe) but for now look no further. I have always used the brand lens that the Camera is, so I was skeptical - not anymore. Also the size of the lens is not obnoxious, I rather like the size.

Update May 28, 2012. My lens works perfectly with panorama mode.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
I picked the Tamron lens after renting it and the Sony OSS to try out. I ended up choosing the Tamron. For me the major reason was the faster automatic focusing. When turned on you can actually see it working through the lens. You can also see the VC working. Others who shoot video may want to use the "Sony's OSS lens" because of the slower focusing. Image quality is just as good if not better than the "named" brand. The smaller diameter is much appreciated to keep the compact size. This being an "all in one" zoom you do suffer from Chromatic Aberrations at the long & short end of the zoom. But it can be managed with good photo processing software. Distortion is also manageable and is not as bad as I had thought. Night shooting is a little challenge with this lens unless you're in "Manual" it does take a couple seconds to track. But it's still faster than the "named" brand (to me anyway). The only drawback was that the price was nearly the same as the Sony version. But, for what it does for me I am a happy camper.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
Like many NEX owners, it was my first step-up to an exchangeable lens camera. The kit lens with the NEX-5N and -5R is very good but I wanted even more zoom. A logical choice is an 18-200mm zoom lens because it covers the same range as the kit lens while giving a much improved amount of zoom. The best options are the Sony SEL-18200, the SEL-18200LE, and the Tamron Di III VC.

The 18200 is the "original" Sony lens of this type and from what I've read on the Internet, it was originally designed for a video camera. It is relatively big and bulky compared to the other two, but it has a very smooth zoom and apparently better ability to keep your shots steady. Apparently the latter is something that is optimized for video shooting.

The SEL-18200LE and the Tamron Di III VC (which I'll simply refer to as the "Sony lens" and the "Tamron lens" from here on) apparently are both made by Tamron. From what I've read on the Internet, Sony owns part of Tamron, which implies that Tamron got full cooperation from Sony in designing it to work with the NEX line of cameras. Also I've read that these are identical lens in most respects although there are some minor differences in the optics. The Sony lens is about $100 more expensive.

I have owned both and wanted to say a few words about the differences (and non-differences) since I suspect other people will be asking themselves the same question. My experience is that the Tamron lens has a very stiff focus ring. I didn't own it long enough to know if it would loosen. I got used to it, more or less, but I never really liked it. The Sony is also stiff but not as much as the Tamron. I like it better. Neither one is as silky-smooth as the 18200. On the other hand, these two lenses are smaller and lighter and are a much better fit ergonomically on the NEX body than the larger lens.

The main reason I'm writing this is that after about a month of use, I started getting an error message that said "Cannot recognize lens. Attach it properly." It also started to have issues with exposure and focusing. When I put the kit lens back on, there was no problem like this. I took it to my friendly local camera shop and learned that there were two options: send the lens to to Tamron or send the body to Sony. I could send both to either place but I'd be taking my chances that the vendor would look at both at the same time.

I decided to return the Tamron lens to Amazon (thanks Amazon!) and purchase the Sony lens. So far, so good. If the problem reoccurs I will be able to send the whole thing back to Sony. When I was at the camera store I was told that their experience with the Tamron lens is very good.

My conclusion is that I got a bad Tamron lens. That could happen with any product. But it gave me second thoughts about buying a third-party lens when the difference is only $100 and the specs are almost exactly the same. Also, given that there is a difference in lens-ring stiffness - that favors the Sony IMNO - I think that was worth the extra hundred bucks.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2012
I have owed this lens twice already with a Nex 7. Also had the Sony 18-200 with a 5N. I think the Tamron is equal to the Sony in IQ and sharpness ad contrast is outstanding. Much smaller than the Sony and the VC is very good compared to ther Tamrons I've had in the past. Highly recommended!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
Here are some preliminary observations as I have only had the lens a couple of days. A past issue that people have reported with these is that it does not work with the Sony Nex's panorama mode. However, the panorama mode works flawlessly with my lens purchased in early June 2012. I have captured a number of panorama shots with this lens on my Nex5N at the long end, short end and in between. I have been pleased with the results. Another issue that has been reported is that the long barrel can interfere with the flash on the flash attachment that comes with the Nex5N. This is only a problem at the widest focal lengths. At 35mm and up, the flash works flawlessly with no interference from the lens.

This lens is much weightier my other Nex lenses, but surprisingly I am very comfortable using it with my Nex5N and feel the ergonomics are excellent. I do not find the combination to be too heavy at all. In general, the pictures are sharp for a lens of this sort and I get better results than I do from the kit lens. I'll have to use the camera before I can make definitive observations, but my first impressions very positive. I am very pleased I got this lens. There is no buyer remorse here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2014
Overall, great lens.

The limited/slow f stop could be better. f3.6 at 18mm and f6.3 at 200mm. This makes it primarily a day-time lens, however...

Image stabilization is the best of the NEX lenses. It's almost sticky-like. Why is this not talked about more!? You can move the camera around and watch it, it doesn't move or barely moves. This is much better than the Sony NEX OSS lenses (in terms of image stabilization). With Sony lenses I try and limit my shutter speed to 1/80 when hand-held. With the Tamron, I can push it much faster, 1/50 frequently and even 1/25 on occasions. Wow! This makes this a much more flexible lens, as you can now use it at dusk and beyond. It's not a low-light lens by any stretch, but it works well beyond the sunset, which I wasn't expecting.

Yes, it's obviously twice the size and weight of other NEX lens, so if this is a hang-up for you, move on to another lenses. I'm OK with it, because there are many situations where I can't change lenses. (i.e. We have season passes to Universal). It is however, still smaller than competitors and significantly smaller and less expensive than a DSLR zoom camera and lens.

I was expecting poor image quality in a such a versatile lens, but that's not the case. This is much better than the awful kit lens, but is slightly less sharp than the premium NEX primes.

Pro:
- Outstanding image Stabilization
- (Slightly) smaller/lighter than competitors
- Sharp
- Very flexible lens

Cons:
- Heavier than what you may be used to (get a sling strap instead of a neck strap, then it's fine)
- Large
- Should be faster than f3.6-6.3 (however the image stabilization lessens this burden)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
My only complaint is that the lock button is to lock the lens in the fully closed (18mm) position. I would have liked to be able to set a zoom and lock the lens in that place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
It works great if you do not want to change lenses constantly, risking to loose a picture oportunity or have dirt in your sensor. It is heavy though, so for casual shooting it is better to have also the 16-50mm pancake.
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