Sony SAL18-55 Kit Lens

Discussion in 'Sony Lenses' started by Streets, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Streets

    Streets No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wild Shamrock flowers. Macro range in natural light. Lens says "made in Japan". DSC00010.JPG


     
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  2. riverrat373

    riverrat373 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Very sharp!
     
  3. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Model SAL1855
    aka "DT 3.5-5.6/18-55 SAM"

    Bought from eBay.ca ("henrys.com"), used, current price US $29.75 + $6.60 shipping (Canada or US only) = US $36.35, including a 3 Year "Help" warranty (which I do not know about).

    This is my latest used "Sony A-mount" lens but I am not planning to use this lens on my a5000 very much. It was actually bought to be used on my "micro 4:3" mount cameras.


    Explanation (with 35mm equivalent values):

    I currently use 3 zooms for M43 cameras. I have my Panasonic "G Vario" 12 - 32 mm (eq 24 - 64 mm) F3.5 - 5.6 pancake standard zoom lens (H-FS12032), which is a full lens shift stabilized, auto focus (and aperture) kit lens, which is "ok". I also use a 12 - 40 mm (eq 24 - 80 mm) F3.5 - 5.6 Xiaoyi kit zoom lens which is auto focus and auto aperture, but without lens based stabilization, which is also "ok", and then I also have a Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40 - 150 mm (eq 80 - 150 mm) F4.0 - 5.6 R telephoto zoom lens, which is auto focus and auto aperture, but not stabilized, which is "pretty good".

    So I have "normal" kit zooms that end at around "eq 80 mm" and a "telephoto" zoom that starts at "eq 80 mm". All the camera makers seem to "plan" this pair of zoom ranges for their budget zooms, which basically "covers" the focal lengths but have little overlap. This lack of overlap in these "lens plans" is not a huge problem because you can always crop the picture in post. You can use the "normal" range zoom and take pictures at the far end zoom limit ("eq 80 mm") and then crop the pictures for the eq composition as if you used an eq. 100 mm or maybe an eq. 120 mm. Some resolution and theoretical detail is lost but it is generally not a problem on modern cameras unless you are making an unusually large print.

    But I prefer the idea of having this 18 - 55 mm lens which, on the M43 cameras will give me an eq 36 - 110 mm zoom range as a starting point before cropping, which leaves me even more cropping / compositional leeway later. On the one hand, buying this particular adapted lens, there never was stabilization on it (the Alphas use "in body" stabilization), and I am giving up auto-focus and auto-aperture, but at a cost saving of maybe around $400 US, depending on how I look at it. All this depending on whether I can get reasonable optical performance (and general usability) out of it.

    I have done some research on this lens and I am fairly confident this is going to turn out well.

    Imaging Resources Review:
    "Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM SAL-1855 Review"

    Basically, as I read this review and compare it to others, the lens looks "pretty good".

    This lens debuted in 2009. It was replaced in 2013, but the later version (still available) only adds slightly better baffling for the rear element to improve control of "flare and ghosting".

    Reading the Imaging Resources review of "Sony E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS SEL1855", on the E=mount which adds "in-lens" image stabilization, it appears that the "E" version is optically just a bit inferior overall. Moreover, for all versions Sony's lenses of this focal length range (SAL1855, SAL18552 and SEL1855) there is reason to believe that production line inconsistences result in noticeable variations in quality. In other words, my lens might be noticeably better or worse than the one that was next (or before it) on the assembly line.

    What I Am Planning:

    Since I have the LA-EA3 adapter, I can do some preliminary testing on the a5000, which is a nice bonus. I will not be posting much about this lens because the above noted review is enough of a reference for people interested in it. Mainly I will post what I find out which is not covered in review(s), and I hope to post a couple of pictures -- but I will probably not post much of my own from the a5000. I will more likely, eventually, post M43 camera images taken with it.

    Early Notes:

    Considering that a pro-review has already been done, this might be the only thing I have to say about this lens that is new:

    I have already played with it a bit on a5000, and as noted in the reviews, focussing the lens manually is a bit touchy because of the helix ratio. This is almost the same issue as I noted in the Minolta 28 - 100 Maxxum zoom lens. The difference is that the Maxxum zoom did not have a manual clutch to disengage the focus motor. It used some method of automatic clutch which gave it a "notchy" feel. So far I think the Sony SAM lens with the manual clutch seems to be focussing a bit easier. On the other hand, the Sony SAM lens does not have a aperture ring. I should be able to adjust the aperture manually via software menu access, and of course, there still does not seem to be any method of previewing depth of field using the LA-EA3 adapter.

    There is also a noticeable amount of focus drift during zooming, though I think that it looks like it is less than on the Maxxum 28-100 zoom.

    Also, I have already bought a "Cameron" (Henry's store brand) Alpha mount adapter for M43 mount, but the quality control on that adapter did not turn out good enough. The Alpha mount on the front is poorly aligned and requires too much force to mount the lens on it. I think the plastic mount on the lens will be damaged if I use this adapter, so I will probably buy yet another one.


    Final note: Unfortunately, I am very busy right now, so it will probably be "a while" before I have any pictures to post from this lens/camera setup.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018

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