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. Very sharp!
     
  3. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth No longer a newbie, moving up!

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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
  4. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sony a5000
    LA-EA3 Adapter
    Lens: SAL1855 (18 - 55mm, F3.5 - 5.6 SAM)


    I have a sort of happy dilemma. I explained that I had bought this lens to fill in my Micro 4:3 lens collection. I now know that it will do fine in this role. However, I have found that the performance of this lens compares well against my 16-50 kit zoom, which could make my gear choices for the Sony a5000 a bit more complicated.

    My Maxxum 28-100 zoom is weak at the wide-angle end anyway, so there is no doubt that I would want to use another lens that takes me below 30mm. The 16-50 kit zoom (all three of these lenses have been "kit" zooms at some point in Minolta-Sony history) goes the widest, but its performance from around 20mm and down was marred by barrel distortion (correct automatically in the JPEGs), which in turn is reflected in decreased corner sharpness, and also marred by vignetting. The 16-50 and the 18-55 both have chromatic aberration at the wide end, but neither is terrible. So generally the 18-55 is optically a better lens, but lacks autofocus (unless I upgrade my adapter to the LA-EA4), stabilization and power zoom, and is less compact.

    So while it will do well on the Micro 4:3 bodies, it is almost a shame to not use it on the a5000. The optical benefits over the 16-50 are not huge, but there is enough to make an argument.

    Realistically, I will tend to carry a Micro 4:3 camera using it as a supplemental still camera to whatever I am using for video work. The a5000 tends to be used on my leisurely "unplanned" days, or on the rare time that I really am out mainly for still pictures. In those cases, I expect to stick the Maxxum 28-100 on the body. But the 18-55 on the LA-EA3 adapter is working so well that I actually want to go out and look for appropriate subject matter specifically to use it.

    This past Winter I have been busy with other things, so I only took the a5000/SAL1855 out a few times, and only once to use for a real project. I am looking through the results for a small number of pictures to post. In the long run I expect to post three or four, and I have already posted one "elsewhere" which I will discuss later.


    Through Screens:


    For now I will only say that the composition including the foreground tree branches is a deliberate experiment. I will write more about this later.

    "DSC00543"
    Partial EXIF
    Date and time: February 26, 2018 17:41:51
    Image width 5504
    Image height 3656
    Planar configuration Chunky
    Pixel height 3632
    Pixel width 5456
    Component config YCbCr
    Color space sRGB
    Exposure program Normal program
    Scene type Direct capture
    Scene capture type Standard
    Exposure mode Auto bracket
    Exposure bias -1.30 ev
    Brightness 6.32
    Exposure time 1/200 sec.
    F number f/7.1
    Max aperture f/4.0
    Focal length 20.0 mm
    Focal length in 35mm 30 mm
    ISO speed 100
    Metering mode Center weighted average

    Processing: ASUS M32BF w/AMD A8-6500,
    Windows 8.1, Corel PaintShop Pro 2018

    This image is more heavily processed than my usual lens sample images but I have deliberately avoided tampering with the most basic lens related problems. Specifically, I did not use noise reduction, sharpening, nor color fringe removal. Also, specifically, there was no distortion correction. The original exposure was lowered 1.3 stops to maintain sky colour, in accordance with my "zebras" setting. I think that this was a mistake. I ended up re-brightening the file 1.7 during the conversion and then again during the "Smartfix" corrections. Overall, this probably resulted in unnecessary noise in the shadows. I probably should have exposed a bit higher and "recovered" the blue sky with saturation.

    But this has not detracted from the lens performance. Thanks, in part, to the F7.1 aperture setting, and the very good performance at the 20mm focal length (almost maximum wide angle), very good corner to corner performance is demonstrated.


    "DSC00543-1c-rsz1640-C3.jpg"
    Temperature 5515
    Tint 21
    Brightness 1.7

    SmartFix:
    Overall 28
    Shadows 0
    Highlights -15
    Focus 0 [28 Recommended]
    Black 4
    White 8
    Resize 1640 "Smartsize"

    "DSC00543-1b-Crop01-1200-C1.jpg"
    [Detail crop file, JPG compression set for maximum detail retention.]
    Crop01 from 0,1300

    This crop was made before the "Smartfix" corrections directly from the conversion from the raw file, so the colours are not quite the same. But that should not cause difficulty identifying it. The only points of interest are the very small buildings at the far left. Sharpness, detail, linearity and contrast are all present. Only chromatic abberation detracts from the image, and everything considered, it is not bad.

    [21:10 typographic corrections.]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  5. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Having recently found out that the 18-55 3.5-5.6 SAL (SAM) lens does auto-focus on my a5000 through the LA-EA3 adapter, I wanted to get some test pictures done. Due to my overloaded schedule, the best I could do was dusk on a partially rainy day. While not an optimal situation, it is actually a good test because light this low is about the worst I would really want to use it under. The results were, for my casual use, acceptable. This setup typically takes about 5 - 10 sec. to focus, which is very slow, but the resulting focus generally is quite good.

    On the more modern a5100 (the current bottom of the line Sony body), the touch screen hybrid auto-focus is a substantial upgrade over what I use, which is pure contrast focus with only a "wide" and "narrow" focus area option. Luckily, I do find the a5000 manual focus system (using 6x magnifying) pretty good anyway. Yes, I would like to upgrade to a newer body, but with my current array of M4:3 bodies and lenses, and the lenses I have for this body, I am not pressured to do so.


    Fog! (and the British are probably laughing at me. . . .)

    Where I live, I am probably about 10 km from Lake Ontario (I have not measured it) and fairly frequent fog. But even that short a distance makes fog quite rare for me, and the odd times it occurs, I rarely get to photograph it. I have actually has a plan to use fog for a specific project which has been on my mind for a few years now. If I had been in the right place with the right equipment on this day, I might have done that. But I was not expecting fog, and in fact, it might not have been enough for that other project. But is was rare treat for me to "play with it" in these pictures.

    The first picture calls to mind Disney's "Fantasia", Night on Bald Mountain / Ave Maria. I just needed to get the people to carry lights as they emerged from the fog. The time of day is wrong anyway, but the sense of "emerging" in a peaceful setting is recalled.

    The second picture is a study on using the fog in the background to increase separation without the usual "big aperture" blurring. It would have been nice if the nearer brush had ended a bit closer, leaving more of the far background to slowly get lost in the fog, but the location of the water determined the setting.

    Processing Note:

    Recent discussion about "Color Science" has, changed my taste, and I increased color saturation on this pair of pictures. I think I have pushed the saturation past the Olympus EM10. Maybe I would have anyway, but I am thinking about it, which is unusual.


    DSC00762.JPG
    - not uploaded
    - focus is probably on nearer branches of 2 nearest trees
    - actually quite good, but hard to tell
    Partial EXIF:
    From ARW
    5472 x 3656 Pixels
    Pixel depth/colors RGB=16 bits/channel
    Software ILCE-5000 v1.10
    Date and time December 2, 2018 16:26:12
    Image width 5504 [discrepancy?]
    Components per pixel 1
    Image height 3656
    Planar configuration Chunky
    Pixel height 3632
    Pixel width 5456
    Component configuration YCbCr
    Compressed bits per 8
    Color space sRGB
    Scene capture type Standard
    Exposure bias 0.00 ev
    Brightness 5.68
    Exposure time 1/80 sec.
    F number f/5.0
    Max aperture f/4.5
    Focal length 30.0 mm
    Focal length in 35mm 45 mm
    ISO speed 100
    Metering mode Center weighted average
    [conversion]
    Temp 5339
    Tint 23

    "DSC00762 -1b-rsz1536-C2.jpg"

    Smartfix
    Brightness
    Overall 28
    Highlights -15
    Saturation 30 [0 recommended]
    Focus 29
    White Balance [yes]
    Black 8
    White 6


    DSC00770.JPG
    - not uploaded
    - Focus, probably middle of water

    Partial EXIF:
    From ARW
    5472 x 3656 Pixels
    Pixel depth/colors RGB=16 bits/channel
    Software ILCE-5000 v1.10
    Date and time December 2, 2018 16:30:39
    Image width 5504 [discrepancy?]
    Image height 3656
    Planar configuration Chunky
    Pixel height 3632
    Pixel width 5456
    Component configuration YCbCr
    Compressed bits per 8
    Color space sRGB
    Scene capture type Standard
    Exposure mode Auto bracket
    Exposure bias -2.00 ev
    Brightness 2.67
    Exposure time 1/60 sec.
    F number f/4.0
    Max aperture f/3.5
    Focal length 18.0 mm
    Focal length in 35mm 27 mm
    ISO speed 200
    Metering mode Center weighted average
    [conversion]
    Temp 5081
    Tint 21
    Brightness +1 (my change)

    "DSC00770 -1c-rsz1536-C4.jpg"

    Smartfix [2nd version]
    Brightness
    Overall 28
    Shadows -10
    Highlights 20
    Saturation 40 [16 recommended]
    Focus 29
    White balance [yes]
    Black 6
     

    Attached Files:

  6. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    About a year ago I was doing time-lapse videos of sunrises. I made a few and picked one that ok and uploaded it. I have been thinking about doing it again this year. I still have that camera setup available, but I would rather try a different setup. This picture is a reference picture I took using the a5000 and the 18 - 55 mm zoom. I am just trying to get an idea of what focal length and exposure, and where I might want to point the camera. This version was under exposed (EV = -2) to try to save the sun, which was a mistake. If I posted the original size you'd see substantial noise, which mostly goes away when I resize down to 1640 wide. Again, I am posting this as a test of auto-focus. The auto-focus was actually not critical for this reference, but I used it, and it worked. It did seem to focus a bit faster with more light. But I already know that it never really gets to more typical "native lens" speeds. I think the best I have seen so far is about 3 - 6 sec.

    Processing Note:

    This is a completely unaltered conversion from the camera's ARAW file, except for exposure (I brightened it 2 stop in the conversion, undoing the under exposure in the camera) and resizing. "All the warts are there." This is not the camera I will use for the time-lapse -- that is all I have actually decided so far.

    "DSC00881.JPG"

    From ARW
    Partial EXIF:
    Software: ILCD-5000 v1.10
    Date and time: December 5, 2018 07:47:50
    Image width 5504
    Image height 3656
    Components per pixel 1
    Planar configuration Chunky
    Pixel height 3632
    Pixel width 5456
    Component configuration YCbCr
    Compressed bits per 8
    Color space sRGB
    Scene Capture type Standard
    Exposure mode Auto bracket
    Exposure bias -0.70 ev
    Brightness 6.51
    Exposure time 1/200 sec
    F number f/7.1
    Max aperture f/3.5
    Focal length 20.0 mm
    Focal length in 35mm 30 mm
    ISO speed 100
    Metering mode Center weighted average

    Corel PaintShop Pro 2018
    Conversion:
    Temperature 5057
    Tint 20
    Brightness 2.0 [My Change]
     

    Attached Files:

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