on November 17, 2011
I tried the 18-200 lens from Sony for the NEX. It's a good lens, quick, but it has a major drawback: too heavy.
So I ordered this one 55-210, and I'm pretty happy with my choice.
It's light, well balanced, and you can use the camera without holding the lens.
And furthermore, it's the same diameter (49mm) as the 16f2.8 and the 18-55, so it's compatible with my polarized filter (opposite to the 18-200).
Obviously the AF is not quick at 210mm, which may be bothersome for movie shooting, but it's still fully acceptable for me.
Good choice, good value for money, I'm a happy customer.
on May 24, 2013
I received this lens this afternoon and spent a few hours trying it out at the beach in San Diego. Having read all of the reviews on here I was expecting an above average but not exceptional tele but this puppy really blew me away. Firstly I should note that I purchased one of the "Used - Like New" lenses fulfilled by Amazon. I bought it at the airport in DC and had it sent to an Amazon locker at my destination which ended up being superbly convenient. It was still shipped with the Prime shipping option and arrived a day later. Despite being listed as used it had obviously never been removed from it's packaging and looked brand new.
Many of the reviewers noted that it didn't seem as sharp at 210 but I found it to be pretty darn perfect. I'm posting a few jpegs straight from the camera on here so you can see for yourself. It helped that I was working outside in very bright light but still, the sharpness at 210 was far better than many reviewers led me to believe. I will note that the lens MUST be manually focused to optimize the sharpness at full tele but that is to be expected. AF works and works well but can't be expected to match the precision of manually focusing. I also noted a few reviews that mentioned this lens' poor macro performance. I tested it out on a beautiful shimmering succulent and was very impressed. It isn't a macro lens and won't replace one in your kit but it's performance shouldn't be discounted. It picked up spider webs on the succulent with perfect clarity that I could not see with my own eyes. Even the bokeh at close range was pleasant. The most impressive thing to me was the built-in Image Stabilization. All of today's shots were hand-held and I never once had trouble, even at 210. I was downright shocked at how stable the image was and tried to mess with it by jostling it a bit but nothing phased it. Check out my sample images and don't hesitate to ask a question in the comments but bottom line - buy this lens. Now. You absolutely will not regret it.
on October 20, 2011
I received this lens 1 day ago and did a quick test comparing it with a canon 100L and a canon 70-200 IS on 60d.
To my surprise contrast, definition, IQ are very comparable if not identical (at same apertures, 4.5-5.6-6.3)
Optical Steady Shot also works well, the smoker and coffee drinker that I am was able to go as low as 1/30 sec at the 210mm extremity.
The zoom is very light, and balance is not that bad on the Nex5. It does extend at long range about 2" but you can still hold the camera by the grip and do not need to support the lens with the other hand if you want to do so.
Focus is admittedly not that fast, but positive nonetheless (progressive in good light, no hesitation and going back and forth).
Built is good (plasticky metal?), there is no indication (distance, OSS on/off) on the lens itself, except focal range.
For all purpose, due to the limited choice on Nex mount, you cannot go wrong with that choice. I used a FD 50mm, FD 135mm and a FD 200mm previously with an adapter but even the 135mm seems heavy and none of these obviously do AF.
I was concerned mainly with the size of this zoom on the tiny Nex5 body more than anything and the IQ was a nice surprise (of course 4.5 - 6.3 is slow).
Hope this will help in your decision because there are samples on the web but not any review yet.
A pity that Nex7 is delayed and probably not available before months. This zoom will balance better on the slightly larger body of the Nex7.
UPDATE 10/25/11: COMPARED TO CANON 70-200mm/4 IS
Soon, experts will be testing this lens shooting charts on tripods with elaborate measures, which will be good for all of us to know. I've compared it today with a 70-200/4 IS directly on the Sony Nex 5 body only to find out that for practical purposes my manual focusing (with peaking and 7x handheld) is poorer (and way slower) than the 55-210mm in many cases.
When focus is manually nailed , at same aperture (6.3) there is no real difference I can notice (on screen display at actual pixels), except in color and exposure (for which you can adjust). Definition on contrast are on par and i cannot be more happy with the Sony although I'll have to bear with the slow maximum aperture and kick up the ISO.
(to keep my Canon at 6.3 on the Nex, I first set it on a Canon body, hold DOF button while dismounting it. Lens will hold that aperture when you mount it on the Nex adapter but that is a lot to bother with. I also have an adapter with built in aperture for Canon EF but I have no idea how this does or does not affect IQ, bokeh vs the aperture in the lens itself).
UPDATE 11/3/11: COMPARED TO CONTAX G 90mm/2.8
Color is different, looks more natural to me with the Contax G.
Bokeh is different as well, more pleasing to me with the Contax G.
Definition is also superior with the Contax, at 100% when peeping.
The Sony zoom is behind but it is Optical Steady and AF.
I would prefer the Contax only when conditions are optimal, tripod, wide opening and time to manual focus (7x-14x) on a still subject. Convenience dictates the Sony otherwise (central AF. You can always tweak the color to your preference and there is no discernable difference in IQ at usual size display/print.
In my particular case, I'll not be able to nail focus most of the time with the excellent Contax, and in outdoor/bright situations, I'll need to use a LCD Viewfinder to start with and not rely 'blindly' (pun intended) on the AF.
UPDATE 5/3/12: COMPARED TO CANON FD 135mm/2.5 on Nex 7
The Canon is about the same size but much heavier and you might as well to hold the combo with both hands because you'll have to focus manually! At the same aperture (5.6) IQ is better with the Sony zoom but the zoom does not have the shallow DOF at 2.5 of the prime. At 135mm magnification is bigger (focusing distance is closer) with the zoom so it compensates for DOF if your subject is small and if you can get closer. Also you can zoom in all the way to 210mm (at 6.3 though) if you want bigger magnification/shallower DOF.
Convenience wise, there is no contest, the zoom is faster, easier to use and has better IQ at same aperture. Stabilization also helps indoor and negates the 2 stops advantage of the prime (i.e. you can handhold the zoom 5.6 and 1/30 sec or the prime at 2.5 and 1/125 sec). You can get the Canon 135mm for under $100 though (+ the $25 adapter for Nex)and it may be fun to to play with DOF at 2.5.
UPDATE 5/3/12: COMPARED TO CANON FD 50mm/1.8 AND SONY E 50mm/1.8
The Sony 50mm/1.8 ($300) is a worthwhile addition to this zoom IMO due to the almost 4 stops difference, better IQ at same 4.5 aperture and same convenience (OS and AF).
The Canon prime is admittedly small and beats both of them at IQ with a small margin. It is also cheap to get (as well as all the standards 40-50mm out there you can use on a Nex with the proper adapter) If you don't mind manual focus one of these will complement your 55-210mm zoom for only some $50 and minimal extra weight/space in your bag.
This lens has been on the market for a while but I just purchased mine toward the end of 2015. You are probably reading this because you (like me) tend to read the most recent reviews of a product to get a fresh perspective of a product after it has stabilized and undergone any of the manufacturer’s updates and/or revisions. My serial number indicates a made-on date of late 2015.
I bought this lens as the walkabout lens for my Sony NEX-6. Most of my recreational shooting is done at wide angles with my Sony A7 when I am most critical about my shots. For the relative fewer times when I shoot at longer focal lengths I choose to carry the NEX-6 rather than swap lenses on the A7. That way each camera is optimized for the type of shooting I’m doing and I am not apt to introduce dust into the camera, especially “in nature” (not to mention the awkwardness of what to do with a lens when it’s off the camera body and potentially missing a shot while swapping lenses). The NEX-6 has a great APS-C sensor, is an excellent low-light performer and the smaller body size helps offset having a longer zoom lens attached to it. I don’t even use the kit pancake lens that came with the NEX-6, as it duplicates most of the Zeiss SEL2470Z on my A7 and obviously it is not in the same class.
So that actually puts a lot of pressure on the E 55-210mm to perform well. As a professional photographer I am used to not questioning the quality of the gear I use and unfortunately that makes it difficult for me to choose a simple point-and-shoot camera for weekend outings with family and friends. So what do I use for snapshots? My iPhone and I’m glad I do … it’s always with me, I can post pics to social media instantly and for family fun photos the image quality is plenty good.
So this review is addressed to others like me who like to shoot photos in that wonderful in-between zone of photography … not as a professional and not as a simple snapshot shooter, but purely for the recreational fun of it, whether that be nature, people, travel, adventure, etc. Cameras like the NEX-6 (and now the A6000) are wildly popular for people like us and our demands for performance are pretty high.
That brings up the question of how good is this lens. Putting aside the technical words, it is AMAZINGLY good. The matchup in size and weight for Sony’s NEX/A series of APS-C cameras is perfect, so much so that I actually enjoy holding my NEX-6 with this lens mounted to it more than I did with the 16-50mm kit lens. The barrel diameter/length is perfect for two-hand photography, the feel of the mechanical (as opposed to fly-by-wire) zoom is silky, precise and accurate, and the weight distribution is great while shooting as well as when carrying the camera. Even if I didn’t carry a camera with a wider-angle lens I could see myself using this lens for 80% of my shooting on a vacation trip with the other 20% being handled by my iPhone.
And most importantly, the image quality is almost magical. I know the NEX-6 does a lot of internal lens corrections (as many cameras do these days) but using these lens is almost an extension of my brain when I use it … what I see and what I want to capture is what I get. The attached samples are from my first batch of photos, just snapshots around the house, but especially the one if the cat illustrates how using the right equipment allows a photographer to be ready and able to capture an moment that only last a millisecond.
Everyone has different photographic needs and we all shoot differently. My purpose in posting this review is to recommend that if you have a compatible Sony camera that you give serious consideration to buying this lens. Don’t let the reasonable price throw you off, this is a remarkable value and if you don’t already have a tele-zooms lens it will open up whole new vistas and fun for you.
Modern design and production techniques have made it possible to mass market complex, automated lenses like the Sony E 55-210. But, can a modern consumer lens compete with an old legend? Gots to have a test...
I have a 40 year-old Leica Elmar-C 90mm, off of the "entry level" compact Leica CL of the day. And while it is old, nothing is really all that new in the actual optics, especially in this focal range. Even the coatings were just fine then. It is a heavy little sucker, made of glass and brass, and nearly the same weight as the far bigger Sony.
Nothing like the Big Sur coast for photos of rocks and water. Perched on a rock above a cove where the ancients once gathered abalone, I shot away with all of my lenses and my newly arrived Nex-7 from Amazon. Yay! Not a horrible way to spend an almost 75 degree sunny day in early March.
After downloading and enlarging the results at 100% it was evident that at 90mm the Sony was just a hair less sharp in the center than the Leica. At the edges, the Leica was clearly superior. Wow! To me that is both a testament both how good Leica was making entry level lenses 40 years ago and how an affordable, automated zoom can compete with a quality prime lens at the length and sunny lighting conditions that the Leica was optimized to work at! Awesome.
I believe that even a laboratory sort of test would find the same results. It was pretty clear in a real world sort of way.
And, in the real world the Sony goes way beyond what any prime can do. You can zoom in and fill the frame, avoiding cropping. This will equalize the sharpness factor in many cases. It can focus automatically, has optical stabilization so that even the longest telephoto shots are sharp. It can be hand-held and allows for high shutter speeds, an aid to sharpness in itself of course. It is capable of fully being controlled by the camera and in essence becomes one with the camera in a way that is different than the past when you manually operated your camera, then manually operated whatever brand lens was on it.
In video mode it tracked a big buzzard as it flew by. It focused well on waves coming at me, with the sun glaring from directly behind them.
It worked well with a 49mm polarizing filter.
The manual focusing is very smooth and precise, with a decent feel to it. It is a very good looking design, again modern in look as well, but the turned aluminum parts are more likely to be scratched than the rubbery, plasticy lenses on my old Nikon D40. I really need to get a decent little divided case. You can't just throw these new Sony lenses into a pile.
In the end, this is a quality, useful and well-priced lens, one I will always have with me when I go shooting around. You can get good results with the old technology, but modern lenses like this, mated to the cameras they were designed to work with, are just another thing altogether. The five-star rating reflects the value and utility of this excellent lens.
on February 12, 2012
SONY SEL18200 E-mount 18-200mm was my telephoto zoom lens, and it's very heavy making me feeling like to carry pervious Nikon DSLR when it plugging on NEX5N. After I received this E-mount 55-210mm len, I would say that SONY got the right point to create this len for working with 18-55mm kit lens.
1. Lighter, it's the most key point to use NEX5N instead of tranditional DSLR.
2. Faster, auto focus is faster than SEL18200.
3. Cheaper, the price is reasonable.
4. Easier to carry, LCS-X20 can handle NEX5N mounted 18-55mm kit lens and this E55-210mm together.
Found internal dust inside the len after taking less than 50 pictures. I called SONY and they arrange me RMA.
1. They asked me to pay for the shipping, so I have to talk to the customer service to discuss for SONY taking the responbility for the shipping.
2. They charged me $82 for labor of the DOA product and their on-line customer serivce cannot do any thing, but asked me to call their customer relationship department.
Good concept and idea for NEX e mount product, but super bad customer service and unreasonable charges again and again.
So, I would like to change review to 3 stars...... Because you will have nice idea product with poor customer serivce.
i can't believe the quality of the photos at maximum zoom with this, for the price I paid. Under three hundred, and it's just phenomenal for this price.
The downside is at max zoon, it can be difficult for the autofocus to work well, but that only impacted some of my photos depending on what the subject was and it's surroundings.
The lens doesn't add as much weight as I had expected. The full zoom extends the barrel about two more inches.
It fits my NEX-3NL/B perfectly, quick on and off. It's fun again, since I haven't used a 35mm camera since the early 90's. I've been too used to simple point and click digital cameras. I have several, and one of them is very good, with a phenomenal zoom, but there are just some circumstances it doesn't perform as well as something a little more advanced.
I had received the NEX-3NL/B from the Vine program, and was very glad I did, since it was a great first step back away from point and clicks. But I didn't want to spend a grand on a telephoto lens, since I've been out of the hobby for so long, other than just taking some photos of my son as he grew. The fact that this lens worked natively without an adapter, and the autofocus and steady shot worked with it made it a quick and easy decision.
It's nice not relying on the motors again for zoom, I can rotate it as quick as I need to get to the zoom factor I'm looking for.
I took it on a test spin in the park with my 9 year old. The day started bright and sunny and upper 80's, and a storm front was moving through so we went to upper 50's and windy and incredibly dark clouds within about 30 minutes. I was able to shoot near objects, far objects, and got some awesome pictures of the storm clouds and the incredibly white, high cumulonimbus clouds. With just a couple instances of focus difficulty with the autofocus at max zoom, it performed far, far better than I had expected. Having read some of the reviews here from people far more knowledgeable than I, I was ready for some disappointment. But I haven't done advanced photography for almost 30 years, so I'm probably far less critical than they are. For me, a slightly more advanced than "normal" user, I was very happy with this through the entire range. It did well in lower light as well.
The fact that it lets you use it without feeling like you've got an anchor sticking out the front of your camera means less lens swapping than I had expected as well. I comfortably spent the time at the park using this at the lowest setting just fine, and never felt the need to swap to my shorter lens.
For the price, it's outstanding for people like me. If you're a pro, you won't be looking at this lens anyway, but for the rest of us, it works great. And since you can't touch it with anything else near this price point, it makes it an easy buy.
The Sony SEL55210 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 Lens is an outstanding zoom lens for Sony E Mount cameras like the NEX. I have achieved results with this lens that, quite frankly, I would have thought impossible for such a modestly priced lens. I say "outstanding" with one very serious qualifier. That is that you accept that the lens is, in many ways, very mediocre in straight optical terms, but a stellar performer if digitally corrected in post production. Skeptical? I was also. But now I'm a believer.
When I first used the Sony SEL55210 I was less than impressed. What came out of the camera had a host of problems that a traditional photographer, like me, would have ascribed to the lens and have caused it to left behind as a quest began for a higher quality product. That was until I understood the critical difference in usage and philosophy between modern affordable zoom lenses for digital photography and the religion of hyper quality and design performance for the lenses that were used with silver film analog photography.
The Sony SEL55210 was, looked at through the design priorities of traditional lenses, well, pretty lame. But, as I became more familiar with digital image tools like Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom, and the use of lens and brand specific lens profile files with ACR for correcting all manner of geometry problems with lens performance, I realized that the lens was as good as it needed to be, but only.
That was because a wide range of "defects", like chromatic aberrations, pin cushion, barrel distortion, edge softness and so forth, that in traditional lenses had to be rigorously engineered out of lenses and minimized with high quality materials and precision manufacture -- think Zeiss and Leica and so forth -- were now correctable after the exposure. Once you worked out the routine for your individual lenses the correction in software could become highly automated in your work flow and was no longer really an issue. With film photography any defect or performance issue in the lens was forever entombed in the analog record of what the lens had seen. Poor lens, poor image quality. Great lens, great image quality.
However, after I learned how to correct lens design shortcomings in post production, my images went through an amazing transformation. Images that I had thought ruined by poor lens performance suddenly looked like they had bee shot with the best of the old school glass. The ability to remove the various defects digitally was trans-formative.
So, aside from my narrative about the use of Adobe Camera RAW and the advantages of using digital tools to bring the image defects of an affordable lens into the range of a very good lens, the main take away from this review should be that this lens should not be dismissed, that you should take the criticisms that others may have made with a grain of salt, and you should understand that judging the lens purely on objective quality and judging it on the basis of what can be accomplished by the time you output your final image are not the same thing. On a bang for the buck basis, its a great buy, and I have stopped wringing my hands about taking only this lens out to do pictures. I have used the lens with both my NEX-3, NEX5n and NEX-7, all with great results. RECOMMENDED.
on April 28, 2015
I am just picking up photography as a hobby. This lens seemed to complement the kit lens that came with the Sony NEX 5T I purchased. I bought this item as used/open box, and think it is very good for the price paid. I gave it 4 stars as it is a manual zoom lens and the mechanism takes some force to turn which makes video zoom shots difficult. It also takes a bit longer to auto focus at higher zooms than I'd like. The photos included were shot as jpeg from a tripod at 55, 135, and 210 mm on a sunny day with auto everything and no digital zoom. The tripod was at a distance of roughly 38 yards (35 meters) and fire hydrant is 43 inches (109 centimeters) high.
on April 24, 2015
Very happy with the lens and have been using it for Wildlife and Sports shots. I am still learning how to use my recently purchased Sony A6000 and have a lot to learn however, these sample photo's may give you an indication of what you can capture at distance using this lens at it's full focal length.
The lens came in an OEM pack which was not as expected but has the lens cap and hood. Overall very pleased.
More samples can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/gittins/