The Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS is a wide-angle, zoom lens designed for APS-C E-Mount cameras.

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Overview

The Sony 10-18mm is an interesting (albeit quirky) lens. When Sony released this, it was the only wide-angle zoom for APS-C cameras. I initially bought it for vlogging and the stuff I do on YouTube around 2014. Its an odd lens in that it covers such a tight range. There is a lot of barrel distortion as well, but can be corrected in post. But it is surprisingly sharp for an inexpensive lens. The autofocus is fast and quiet as well which makes it a reasonable choice for vlogging and video applications.

Another little known fact – at 16mm you actually get full-frame coverage. When I first bought my Sony A7s I didn’t own a wide angle so I used this at 16mm. The first three sample images below were taken with that setup. The contrast is incredible and the images are sharp. Quite astonishing when you consider that’s not the camera this lens is designed for. Its a pretty decent extreme wide angle for full frame if you’re on a budget and you don’t mind working around the distortion. You can clearly see vignetting as well, but the light falloff is kind of nice in the right situations.

Specifications

• 10-18mm E-Mount, APS-C Format Sony Zoom Lens
• 15-27mm (full-frame equivalent)
• f/4 to f/22 Aperture Range
• 10 Elements in 8 Groups
• One Super ED and Three Aspherical Elements
• Seven Blade Circular Diaphragm
• Optical Image Stabilization
• Internal Focus Design
• 9.8″ / 25cm Minimum Focus Distance

Optical Design

The Sony 10-18mm features 10 elements in 8 groups. It has a consistent aperture of f/4 across the entire range. This lens was introduced in 2012 when the NEX models were the premiere APS-C Sony cameras. This was years before the G Master lenses. Its clearly not going to perform on that level, but its not an expensive lens. Having said that it does perform well if you don’t mind working with it a little. At 10mm it has a lot of problems with distortion and fall off, but as you move towards 18mm it cleans up nicely.

Sony 10-18mm f/4 elements

MTF Charts

The MTF readings I assume are theoretical with Sony lenses, I need to verify this next time I talk to one of their engineers. Having said that, this is a fair representation of what to expect from this lens. There is considerable loss at the edges at 10mm but this cleans up nicely at 18. For the price, this lens performs pretty well. As I said previously – the first 3 sample images were taken at 16mm on a full frame body. In the right context, this lens performs really well.

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 MTF

Sample Images

Ergonomics

This is a reasonably sized lens though the diameter is larger than most APS-C lenses (62mm). There are two collars on the lens, one for manual focus and one for zooming. They contrast in size and location so its really easy to use. Its very lightweight as well so its an excellent pairing with any APS-C camera.

Autofocus

This is an early lens from Sony, so its a stepping motor autofocus system. That being said, its an internal focus system and its not a big lens. You’ll have no trouble with accuracy or speed. And its quiet. I’ve used it in video applications with no problem whatsoever.

Optical Image Stabilization

The Sony 10-18mm features Optical SteadyShot. Sony’s isn’t the best – if you need stabilization go with Olympus, Panasonic or use a gimbal. But its better than nothing. With a maximum aperture of f/4 you will be challenged to keep things steady in low light situations. I’ve found that the OSS on this lens is fine and clearly better than nothing.

Conclusion

This is a funky lens, no question. But I’d recommend it to anyone who’s on a budget. Sony have expressed a commitment to APS-C, but we really haven’t seen much. Sure you can use full frame lenses on APS-C cameras and they work great. But they’re also massive. And anything under 12mm doesn’t really exist. 12mm on an APC-S sensor is an 18mm equivalent. That’s wide, but it would be nice to have native zooms and primes that match the size of the camera. Fujifilm have an entire lineup based around this. Sony’s cameras are on par, they just lack the lens lineup for APS-C. In fact, in many ways they actually outperform Fujifilm cameras (Eye-AF for example).

But that’s the current state. This lens is one of your few choices. But its a good one at least.