Top positive review
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How good can this lens be for so cheap?
on December 18, 2015
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.