18-105/4G owners, check your lens...

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Amamba, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    After much excitement due to Amazon blowing the delivery date, I finally got this lens in my hands.

    Unfortunately I am not at my home so can't check it in RAW. But in JPEGs - it is not 18mm !!!

    Yes. The copy I have has the same field of view (at widest setting) as my Sigma 19/2.8, visibly narrower than Sony 18-55 kit.

    I did several test shots off a tripod, to keep camera in same spot.

    Per specs, at widest 18-105 is 77.4 deg, 18-55 is 76 deg and Sigma 19 is 74 deg. Somehow I am losing that 3.4 deg.

    At first I blamed in-camera jpeg (I am traveling and don't have access to raw). But the distortion at 18mm should be close to 18-55, I think it's worst at long end for this lens.

    So, I called Sony and they are saying it's absolutely not an expected behavior for this lens; it is supposed to be very close to the kit at 18mm.

    I have arranged for Amazon to exchange it.

    On the good side... well everything else so far is good about it.

    It's large, especially with hood attached, but still fits in any of the two small camera bags I own (I brought both with me). With hood backwards, I have space for 2nd lens as long as it's not the Beercan.

    It's light. Lighter than I expected, and balances well on Nex 6.

    Power zoom via zoom ring is not nearly as bad as I've expected. Good, actually. I hated 16-50 feel. This one feels just like any other lens, you don't have to use the side lever button unless you shoot video.

    MF focus override feel & function is the best of any Sony lens I used. You tend to forget it's a 'by-wire'.

    At f4 in relatively dim light, the SOOC JPEGS at ISO1600 and below look good. At f5.6 the sharpness really kicks in.

    Autofocus in dim light is not too fast, but not slow either. About same as Sigma primes, I'd say.

    All in all, I like the lens and it's definitely a keeper for me - but not this particular specimen. I wouldn't care at all if it was 5mm on the long end, but 1mm on the wide end is a lot to give up.
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  2. christian

    christian TalkEmount Veteran

    Apr 12, 2014
    Boston MA
  3. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Thanks. I never thought to check the focal lengths. I'm still not sure how I would do that.
    Aside from that issue. I'm glad to hear you're happy otherwise. I think it's a wonderful lens. The versatility, price, and build quality makes it a sleeper. It stays on my Nex unless I want pocketable, then I use the Sigma 30 or the 16mm. Let us know how the exchange goes.

    Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk
  4. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    There's a way to check the angle of view but the easiest way is to compare it to another lens. There may be some variation but I wouldn't expect it to be that much. Although, what do I know about Sony's way of doing things ?

    Anyway, the B&H specs seem wrong - they post 18-105 as 77.4 at 18deg, while Sony lists it as 76 deg. I need to dig up the Sigma 19 documentation to see what they list, as I don't trust B&H specs anymore.

    All I can say is that at 18mm, my Sigma 12-24 is very close to my SEL1855, and my MD 50/1.7 is very close to SEL50, so I assume 18-105 should at 18mm be close to 18-55. Will report what I find.

    As I said - if that's the way Sony intended to build this lens, so be it. But I want to make sure it's not just this one. I assume the zoom-by-wire design has some kind of encoder / electronic limit inside that stops the internal mechanism from traveling before it hits physical limit, so there's a possibility for miscalibration. Makes me wonder, though, if all these arguments over focal range of one lens vs another are based on too much trust in the manufacturer's specs.
  5. starmite

    starmite TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    It never occured to me to check the angle of view, but comparing it to another lens seems rather imprecise. The other lens being compared to may be out of spec as well. What's a non-lens comparison method for checking the angle of view? I'd like to see how my 18-105G measures up.
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Pretty much no lens has the focal length it states. Many 50mm lenses are 47mm - or 52mm for that matter. My 50mm Zeiss Touit, for example, changes the focal length pretty dramatically when changing the focus distance - it goes from about 45mm to 54mm from infinity to 1:1. So I wouldn't call foul at Sony here. 18mm just is a much more traditional focal length to write on a lens than 18,6 mm. It just might be that the Sigma 19mm really is 18.6 mm, and the Sony 18-105 is 18.45 or something. The 18-55 might be 17.5 for that matter, which explains the difference.

    This is totally normal and always has been this way. No need to be upset about any lens because of this.
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  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Also, as you state the "field of view" as a "proof" here - it's not. Actually, the field of view of two lenses with the exact same focal length won't be the same. The reason is distortion and field curvature. That's also why a fisheye lens often reaches a 180 degree field of view while a non-fisheye lens of the same focal length has a much narrower field of view.
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  8. branta

    branta New to TalkEmount

    Apr 10, 2014
    I think its because of lens correction of the body, can you off the the lens correction on the body and check then
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  9. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Oh, shooting RAW I almost forgot this. The distortion correction effectively crops the image, so yes, this is an additional reason for sure.
  10. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI

    I am not "upset" over this, and understand the variation between different lenses, however I just wanted to make sure it's not just the issues with the lens that I got, as the Sony 2nd level tech told me in no uncertain terms that FOV on 18-55 and 18-105 should be nearly identical at 18mm, and suggested I send the lens in for warranty recalibration. The 76 degrees AOV published for both lenses is from Sony's own specifications. However, I did get the replacement and it's exactly the same. So now I feel like I was sent on fool's errand... you'd think Sony's own product Technical Support specialists (as opposed to the 1st level Customer Service tree-readers) should know their own product ? He could've just told me it was within the specs and is actually less wide at 18mm than 18-55 - I'd be content with it. As I said, the AOV is nearly the same as Sigma 19. So for all I know, choosing two Sony lenses based partially on the fact that one is 16-xx and another is 18-xx now seems silly.

    I don't think distortion correction applies to the in-camera RAW files, does it ? Since I am not using Lightroom but PhotoNinja, there's no profile for this lens, for all I know.

    Anyway, it's done now. I hope it proves superior enough to the kit lens to justify extra cost and size. So far I am cautiously optimistic.
  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Correct. Distortion correction only applies to the in-camera Jpeg files. RAW's are left untouched

    What happens with the 1st lens you send in? Does it sell for a "refurbished" item now?
  12. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Nope, it doesn't affect the RAWs, but didn't you tell us that you don't have access to the RAWs anyway? If you got access in the meantime and it's the same, then it's obviously not the distortion correction but one of the other two reasons I stated.

    Also, the Sony technical support probably knows the answer. The thing is they don't have the time to give it to you. Sending you a replacement is faster for them. Sad but true.
  13. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Yes, sorry - I got home yesterday and looked at Raw files.

    Well, I am off this issue & gone shooting :) But hope this info helps someone else.
  14. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Posted this on Sony Community forum & got the email for tech support, sent them 3 shots (19, 18-55 and 18-105) showing that 19 and 18-55 are identical and 18-55 is wider. When they reply, I will update this info.

    That isn't going to make a whole lot of difference - I was shooting with 17mm on Canon 1.6x crop and even 19mm (nominal) on Sony 1.5 = 17.8 mm, so not a big difference. But, I am anal and want to get an answer from Sony; as my elementary school teacher kept saying, after .4 you round up, not down.
  15. Jman13

    Jman13 TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 4, 2014
    Yeah, I noticed quite quickly that the 18-105 is closer to a 19-105. The distortion correction is a big reason, but the distortion on this lens is absolutely horrid (the worst of any lens I've ever used, to be honest, barring a fisheye...but that's intentional). For that reason, I view the distortion correction (In my case, by applying the lightroom profile correction to the RAW) to be an innate part of the lens...without it, it simply ruins shots. I'm not too worried about the mildly longer focal length, though...it's still an impressively versatile range.
  16. dragion

    dragion TalkEmount Top Veteran

    May 8, 2014
    Boston, MA
    What me...not to worry.
    I shoot JPG with in camera correction.

    I'm not concerned about the 1mm difference...I'm just glad to own this lens. :thumbup:
  17. GTiDon

    GTiDon New to TalkEmount

    Dec 28, 2013
    Hey I know its an old thread I found this searching for a hood for my 18-105 I have just purchased without a hood..

    Just curious of your Angle of view measurement.
    Did you compare to the 18-55 by swopping the lens with the camera mounted on a tripod? Remember the 18-105 is a longer lens and the front element is still more forward, so when you are comparing you are actually "moving" the camera slightly forward when just swopping lenses.? Just a thought?

    I do find the distortion correction does crop the RAW image.
    The later Lightroom versions do have a lens profile which corrects the image distortion. This is my favourite lens at present!
  18. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    The FOV of the lens should relate to sensor location, not front element location. The lenght of the lens shouldn't impact the FOV in any perseivable way.

    With camera on tripod at same exact location, the FOV of 18-105 was almost exactly the same as of Sigma 19, and noticeably narrower than 18-55.

    Also, at 50mm (as reported by the lens) it's longer than SEL50.

    This is before any distortion correction is applied.

    I think the lens is actually more like 19-108 or so.

    Both copies were exactly the same. If Sony tech honestly told me the lens by design is not quite 18mm, I'd never exchange it. But it didn't make sense to give up the critical extra FOV at the wide end when according to Sony support it was a bad copy.

    This doesn't make the lens any worse, but I do think Sony misrepresented the focal range a bit in order to make the lens seem more appealing.
  19. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    I don't believe it's that simple.

    When you are shooting a scene, your are focusing on the image and then shooting. Focusing alone will change the what is captured in the scene. If you don't believe this, just leave a long zoom at the same focal length then focus on something close vs something far away and see what happens. The field of view will change. This is sometimes referred to as focus breathing. Depending on the location of the focus group this will affect your angle of view.
    The sigma 19 being a short prime will have little focus breathing. When a manufacturer states focal length this isn't considered. If you compared 2 different zooms at equivalent focal lengths and focused across the focal range you could easily see one wider early on and then shorter because of the lens design. I don't believe Sony is doing anything special here. You will find the same in Nikon and Canon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz8lbCrLBEs

    Note: there are other factors like distortion and more, but I just wanted to point out focusing because that is significant in this case.
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