Thoughts on Long Zooms: SEL18200, SEL55210, and SEL24240

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Hawkman, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Posted this in another thread, but per Tom's suggestion, I'm giving it its own thread... so....

    Okay, I'm going to through out at an odd question here:

    Does anyone have or know of a comparison between the 24-240 and either the APS-C 55-210 or the original APS-C 18-200 (the "fat" one, not the newer LE version)? Particularly on the fast-focusing a6000.

    While I'm satisfied with the 55-210 for what it is, I am beginning to wonder if the all-in-one versatility of a lens like the SEL18200 or SEL24240 would be worth the extra cost. Having one 10X+ zoom for vacation/travel use would certainly be attractive.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  2. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Having motivated you to start this thread Steve, let me throw out my 2 cents. Before I had any FF Sonys, I had an a5100 and that motivated me to acquire the a6000, so that is the camera I will be speaking about. I wanted a long lens and debated for awhile between the 55-210 and the 18-200. I read a lot of pro and con about both - which was better, which was more useful, the prices of each and the availability too. In fact I was in a little bit of a hurry because I wanted to take (whichever) to the Caribbean with me for a week.

    I can't even begin to remember all the pro and con about the two, but I ended up with the SEL18200LE primarily because of the same reason David gave in the last thread - the range (18 - 200mm, effectively 24 - 300 on the a6000) was way more useful in a place where I knew I wanted a lot of landscapes and wide views. The 55 - 210 would have been effectively ~ 82 - 315, and that 'wide' end just did not make it for me.

    So with the a6000 and the 18 - 200 I was able to get all the shots I wanted (not so much at night, but I took a fast wide lens specifically for that purpose). That combo is the main reason I am considering the 24-240 for the A7RII now (keeping in mind that I can also use it on the a6000 and get 36 - 360 effective). I'll have to go back and grab some images I made with it and post them here (done).

    DSC00159a1_zpslweecyay.

    Both of these were on St John using the 18 - 200, and it was the only lens I carried around that day.

    DSC00031a1_zps47itqbsd.

    And a 'long' one (at 200mm):

    DSC00117a1_zpspiuaobsi.

    Now, having said that, one cannot assume that the same characteristics of the a6000 and the 18 - 200 will carry over to the A7 series and the 24 - 240, but I would definitely like to know that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  3. HabsFan

    HabsFan TalkEmount Veteran

    259
    Apr 10, 2013
    Ontario, CAN
    You did ask for experience on the original 18-200, I had the LE version along with the 55-210 for a bit. I posted a comparison 4 or 5 months ago. I actually got the 18-200 for the same reason you are talking about, not having to swap lenses all the time. The difference in image quality between the 18-200LE and 55-210 (and 18-55 kit) was negligible for me. Depending on the situation, one lens would perform better than the other. I did find that the 55-210 did better for close focus/macro and the 18-200 seemed to do a little better on focusing further away. Most reviews have the original 18-200 doing a little better than the LE version so you probably won't be disappointed with image quality.

    I sold the 55-210 initially but then also ended up getting rid of the 18-200 a few weeks ago only because I needed money for something else and I still found myself using primes 80% of the time. I didn't want to have over $500 tied up in a lens I was using 5-6 times a year.

    I have a post from an airshow that I used the 18-200LE for. Most of the images are in the Telephoto range but I found this lens is sharpest at 18mm anyways.

    https://www.talkemount.com/threads/12797/#post-93390
     
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  4. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    I'm confused guys. What is the 18 - 200 "LE" version? Does it have a specific model number that you can include for reference?
     
  5. HabsFan

    HabsFan TalkEmount Veteran

    259
    Apr 10, 2013
    Ontario, CAN
    The LE version is SEL18200LE (Smaller Black lens). Older version was SEL18200 (Fat Silver lens).
     
  6. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Ahhh. The one I am talking about is the LE then! I was not aware of the fat one.
     
  7. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    724
    Feb 17, 2015
    I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has experience with the LE on a Nex-7 body.
     
  8. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Thanks Tom! And those are very nice shots indeed... they seem to speak to the quality of what the SEL18200 can provide on an a6000!
     
  9. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Thanks HabsFan! I remember your airshow thread now... those were some great shots!
     
  10. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Maybe I should focus my earlier question a bit...
    Does anyone have experience with both the SEL18200 (either version) AND the new FE SEL24240 on an APS-C body like the a6000, NEX_6 or NEX-7?

    While I can see the utility of having a lens that reaches from 18 to 200, with the new FE 24-240 and Sony's apparent focus right now on FE lenses and bodies, I'm wondering if the SEL24240 might be the better long-term investment for both APS-C and any eventual FF body I might get. Even starting at 24mm, that's a nice 36mm FF equivalent on the a6000, and still provides a wide to telephot reach. Maybe not as wide as 18 (27 FF equiv.), but still useable for walkaround and general use.

    So, any comparison thoughts/experiences on those two, the SEL24240 and the SEL18200?
     
  11. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    778
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    I have all three lenses, 18-200 (Original), 55-210, and 24-240. I haven't really done any straight comparisons, but I can give you some quick thoughts:
    1. Focus speed: I feel the 24-240 hunts on more occasions than the other two, but I don't have definitive data. When it loses PDAF, it is god-awful slow moving the lens. But once it finds focus, it will return to PDAF. I think contrast AF with the other two is still slow, but doesn't feel as slow as the 24-240. Again, nothing definitive, just my gut reaction.
    2. Versatility: I love the 24-240 for the single zoom, walk around lens. Between that and my recently acquired 10-18, I like the coverage. Having the 24-55 range is much nice than the 55-210, which I feel is too limiting. And while there are times I wish it went down to 18 like the 18-200, I can switch to the 10-18. But overall there is less switching as the 24 end covers most of the time, and when I really want a wide landscape, I'm usually wider than 18, so in that case, I'm not seriously limited by the 24 low end.
    3. Quality: I don't pixel peep. I couldn't tell you which lens was best. The 18-200 probably distorts more than the others. And the 24-240 on the A6000 crops out the edges, so it feels like a better lens on the A6000. My opinion may change if I ever get a FF E-mount.

    If there's a specific (simple) comparison test you'd like me to run, and I can find some free time, I'd be happy to do it.
     
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  12. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    DB, I'm most interested (now) in the focusing speed you just mentioned, specifically of the 24-240. If I am going to invest in this lens (for any of my E-Mounts) I want to know its limits or deficiencies. I hesitate to ask you to do this because I know how valuable anyone's time is (I know how valuable my time is). But if you are willing to test, I guess I would like to hear how quickly it (the FE 24-240) can focus from a minimum to maximum distances and how that is affected by the available light. How you will meter the light, I am not sure, but use your best judgement. And if you have any ideas that I haven't considered, don't be shy. And the better you can document your testing, the better chance I will have of duplicating it on my 18-200LE lens for comparison.

    Again, I don't want to impose, so if this is more than you want to contribute, please say so. I appreciate your time and effort.
     
  13. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    197
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    I have the Tamron 18-200 for E-Mount which is the same rebadged lens as the Sony 18-200 LE ( By the way, the 18-200LE lenses use 62mm filters versus the 67mm for the original version if this can help you differentiate them)
    I have used the 18-200 Tamron along with NEX-7 and it is a great walk around lens both at the short and long end. However for me 18mm on APS-C is too long. Focusing is only an issue in very low light with subjects that have little contrast. It has built-in OSS so it helps your handheld shots.

    On this scene, i could barely figure what was across the river when looking in the viewfinder
    16141828838_004bd5fa9e_b.
    See the full album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/55173440@N08/albums/72157650391799701

    I also have the Sony 24-240 that i use with my A7r/A7II and with the A7r it adds OSS which is a great help at slower shutter speeds. Focusing is similar to the 18-200 described above but beware it not not the sharpest from 24-35 or from 200-240mm unless stopped down to about F11 on Full frame.
    A7II , 24-240 at F8 at 240mm
    18577106102_eed865d7e9_b.
    Album Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/55173440@N08/albums/72157653798129488
    I don't see the interest of using this very heavy lens with an APS-C camera. It would feel like the lens is 4 times heavier than the camera with a NEX-7.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  14. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    778
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Tom,
    The trouble I had with the 24-240 on the a6000 was that it would go into contrast mode even in bright light. I thought I had it narrowed down to changing the focal length at the same time as changing the scene to something very different in distance. But I never really knew for sure.

    I might have some time this weekend to try and do something. Not sure what best to do, but I'll think on it and hopefully come up with something by then.
     
  15. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    I'm sorry DB, I didn't realize that you were going to test on the a6000 (and the 24-240 is designed as an FF lens). Is that part of the issue? Or is that factor completely independent (it sounds like it may be)? Commit only as much time to the project as you feel you can spare. Thanks again,
     
  16. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    778
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    So I took the 55-210 and 24-240 out today with the A6000. My wife had taken the 5n and 18-200 with her today, so I couldn't do a complete comparison. When it is bright enough for PDAF, but lenses were quick, although I'd still give the nod to the 55-210 as it doesn't have as much glass to move and feels just a tad quicker. I could also get both lenses to hunt in bright daylight by switching from a short focus distance to a long one with not much to focus on. Both lenses would occasionally start to hunt, and while both lenses are slow to focus in contrast mode, the 55-210 again felt just the slightest bit faster.

    I don't think the FF vs APS-C has anything to do with it. The A6000 in my mind has the best PDAF, until maybe the A7Rii, so it should be able to do well with it. And like I said, it's only when they go into contrast mode that it suddenly gets god-awful slow.

    I'll try and check the 18-200 at some point, but don't know when I'll get to it.
     
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  17. slothead

    slothead TalkEmount Top Veteran

    544
    Mar 1, 2015
    Maryland
    Tom
    Thanks DB.
     
  18. Gary Alan Box

    Gary Alan Box TalkEmount Regular

    94
    Oct 3, 2015
    Northampton
    Gary Alan Box
    Not sure I can be as helpful as others as only owned the 55-210mm of the three lenses you mention. Just to shake things up and come at it from different angle though I've never owned a super zoom and don't like lenses that go from wide angle to long telephoto. For the range you mention I'd always want to cover it with two zooms. I know some people don't like changing lenses that much and if that's due to sensor dust I'd even consider a 2nd body as used a6000 can be had for less than some of the lenses you mention.

    Gary
     
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  19. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    778
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    The 18-200 performs similarly to the 55-210 in most cases. And possibly just ever so slightly faster on occasion, but I couldn't pin anything down to a specific situation.
     
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  20. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    943
    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Okay, resurrecting and thinking I might throw out another, somewhat-related question for consideration (entirely hypothetical, of course):
    If sticking to the APS-C zooms, how do people feel about the 18-105 f/4 G PZ OSS versus either of the 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 OSS models (original or LE)?
    I've read a lot of reviews of the 18-105 and the constant f/4 is a big plus to my mind. The only downside seems to be the reports of extreme distortion in RAW on the 18-105.