My original silver 18-55 made sometime in 2012 in Thailand is not a very reliable lens. I bought it used so there's a chance it was damaged (although there's no traces of any damage and everything seems to be working fine). Anyway, it can produce great shots at f8, but the stars must be aligned just right. It misses focus a lot, especially wide open, and even DMF doesn't help much. It seems to be miscalibrated. Having complained about it on forums, and having heard some people tell me theirs work just fine (although there were many who agreed with me that it was a turd), I decided to try it once again. I found a black one on local CL, was hoping for a Japan made version but this is also Thailand. After shooting it on the inside for a few days (the crappy weather doesn't let me use it outside) I think this one is great. It's pretty sharp wide open at tele end. I used direct flash to eliminate variables like camera shake and get good (if harsh) lighting, and the focus seems sharp and spot on. When using bounced flash, the photos appear softer (can't use the same shutter speeds, and the ISO goes up) but still very acceptable. Either there's a lot of sample variation, or Sony cleaned up their QC, or perhaps while repairing their assembly line after the Thai floods, they upgraded their process equipment. Can't wait to get it outside once the skies clear up. If the distortion at wide end is bearable, and the corners are not too mushy, it could make a great travel lens. I have Sigma 19/2.8 and Sigma 12-24 that I can use with an adapter, but the first one is a bit limiting in FL, and the other one is large and not something I would want to keep on the camera the entire day. 18-55 would work just perfectly.