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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.
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94 helpful votes
95 helpful votes
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on May 10, 2016
I bought this lens for my SONY a6300. I have been using it at the long end to photograph shore birds here on the Gulf of Mexico, including birds in flight, for which you need a lens and camera that can focus fast. This combo of the a6300 and this lens works great even handheld. It can fire off 8-9 shots per second even when shooting RAW. The lens has stabilization, making it easier to handhold and still get a sharp picture. I also used it recently at a fencing tournament and was able to get clear pictures of the actual moments that the touches were made with the blade. This is the lens I now keep on my camera, only switching to the 16-50mm kit lens when I need a wide-angle capability.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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on October 24, 2015
Great telephoto lens. Not too large to be a burden, and not too heavy. Great quality, as one
would expect from Sony. This lens gives quite a bit more flexibility in shooting, as a
relatively reasonable price. Of course, since this is a telephoto lens, it would not cover
all of your photographic needs, and you would still need the 18-55mm kit lens for overall
use. Perhaps a 18-210mm lens would be somewhat more convenient, in that you would
not have to switch lens. However, that configuration costs about twice as much, so this
is a reasonable compromise. I used this with the Sony A3000, an exceptionally great
camera, in my opinion. I am very pleased with this purchase.
1 helpful vote
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on April 2, 2015
If you are wanting to add just a little more to your a6000 this lens will do it for a low cost. While there are certainly better lens out there for the money this is a must own for everyone's bag. Images are sharp and the focus is on par with other kit lens for this price range.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on July 15, 2015
No matter how excellent the lighting is, this lense seems to makes my photos more blurry or pixelated than other lensrs, even when it's not at all zoomed in.
6 helpful votes
7 helpful votes
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on April 8, 2016
This lens zoomed in on some distant flamingos in Bonaire so well that I could see incredible detail in the eyes and feathers...very exciting! It's easy to remove and put on the camera. I am very happy with this second addition to my a6000 collection.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on June 18, 2016
This is my main walk-around lens (outdoors, anyway). Love the zoom, and 55mm is just about right for candid shots.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on June 7, 2016
Great lens for the money. Allows you to take some nice zoomed in pictures that are crisp and clear.
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1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on May 18, 2017
Very Sharp and works well with my a6000. Editing several thousand pics from a trip to Zimbabwe and all the zooms with this lens pot all my other shots to shame
1 helpful vote
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11 comment|Report abuse
on November 9, 2015
Great lens! Easy to use and takes great pictures. Light weight.
This lens takes sharp pictures. The zooming is not as great as I would like but it is something that I don't think is a huge issue. I am a novice photographer and this is a great lens for me.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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