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Which telephoto lens, 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 vs. 18-105mm F4 G OSS ?

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Hello Sony Alpha Gurus!

I already have the Sony SEL50F18 50mm f/1.8 and love it for outdoor shooting, but it's not suitable for indoor use. 

Instead of getting another prime lens, 18mm or 24mm, I'm debating between the two telephoto lenses for indoor and outdoor portrait (family) shots:

Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 vs. Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS 

Pros and cons of each?  What has been your experiences?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

- Sony A6300 owner.

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Guest Jaf-Photo

Both lenses are optically dire and rely on corrections to hide the flaws. The 16-70/4 is better than both and it has the most useful zoom range for an APS-C camera.

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I don't share Jaf-photo's opinion on the 18-105 at least. Can't comment on the 18-135 as I've never owned one. You shouldn't expect miracles from a lens like this but based on many reviews I read before buying, the 16-70 and 18-105 are equally sharp. For tack sharp landscape photo's I'd suggest a wide angle prime over any of these zooms, but for convenience during travel and family outings, the 18-105 is perfectly suited.

Pro's for the 18-105:

Doesn't extend while zooming

Great for videography

 

Con's for the 18-105:

A bit bulky when not in use

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I have owned both lenses, and for me, it was a no contest with the 18-135 superior.  I do not shoot video, so the power zoom feature was annoying.  The 18-135 is the best general purpose, walk around zoom I have ever used from an image quality, size and weight aspect.  It plus the Sigma 16mm 1.4 make up a superb, lightweight, flexible kit.

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I love the 18-135mm lens; the small footprint and useful range of focal lengths makes it the perfect travel zoom.  With this lens on my A6000 the camera is small enough for a minimal pouch and ready to go for a wide variety of situations.  The lens is a bit slow as you zoom in, but I'd rather have a smaller lens with quick manual zoom than a huge power zoom and f/4.  I find the slowness of power zooms frustrating.

Definitely 4/5 stars for me, and 5/5 stars considering the price.

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I've only used the 18-105 and it's been a great all-around lens; the constant f4 and the fact it doesn't extend when zooming are great features.

I believe it's also the sharpest APS-C zoom lens from Sony, measuring sharpness in LW/PH, from these reviews. Only prime lenses will do better.

http://www.opticallimits.com/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/991-sony18105f4oss?start=1

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/sony-e-18-135mm-f-3-5-5-6-oss-review-31968

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/carl-zeiss-vario-tessar-e-16-70mm-f-4-za-oss-t--review-24059

Edited by jsjb

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12 hours ago, jsjb said:

I've only used the 18-105 and it's been a great all-around lens; the constant f4 and the fact it doesn't extend when zooming are great features.

I believe it's also the sharpest APS-C zoom lens from Sony, measuring sharpness in LW/PH, from these reviews. Only prime lenses will do better.

http://www.opticallimits.com/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/991-sony18105f4oss?start=1

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/sony-e-18-135mm-f-3-5-5-6-oss-review-31968

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/carl-zeiss-vario-tessar-e-16-70mm-f-4-za-oss-t--review-24059

Actually in the reviews above the 18-105 tested inferior to the 18-135 and was only rated at 3 1/2 stars for optical quality which was my experience with my copy compared to the 18-135.  If you don't need power zoom or constant f4 the 18-135 is a better general purpose lens..compact and excellent image quality.

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Quote

Actually in the reviews above the 18-105 tested inferior to the 18-135 and was only rated at 3 1/2 stars for optical quality which was my experience with my copy compared to the 18-135.  If you don't need power zoom or constant f4 the 18-135 is a better general purpose lens..compact and excellent image quality.

 

The reviews I included measure sharpness in LW/PH and have numerical results for the 18-105 and 18-135 (16-70 LW/PH results are summarized qualitatively).

You can easily see that, at f5.6 for example, and select focal lengths, resolution at the center/edge in LW/PH:
 

                18mm            35mm             70mm            max (105/135mm)

18-105:        3615/2439        3620/2669        3411/2538       3503/2278

18-135:        3300/2350        3100/1900        2900/2600       3100/1200

[Note that for a 24MP (6000x4000), 4000 LW/PH is the maximum that can be achieved; that puts the above results in context.]

The summary star rating includes qualitative assessments as well but the numerical measurements for sharpness, the only aspect of optical performance I was mentioning, are cut and dry results. I view high resolution, as measured in LW/PH, an important part of image quality as it determines the largest prints (or smallest crop sections) that can be made.

Edited by jsjb

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On 6/29/2018 at 7:11 AM, Guest Jaf-Photo said:

Both lenses are optically dire and rely on corrections to hide the flaws. The 16-70/4 is better than both and it has the most useful zoom range for an APS-C camera.

I don’t agree! Some specialist mention the Sony 18-135mm got the same and sometimes better picture then the 16-70mm. I also think so! Also the 18-135mm is half the price.

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The Sony 18-135mm have been made mainly for pictures. That’s the reason they didn’t have a power zoom. 

Optical quality in the 18-135mm is superior. The stabilisation is much better then the 18-105mm. It is a perfect lens for travel. It goes well with my Sigma 30mm f1.4 in low light situation.

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