Sony SEL 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS P Lens Review

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8/9/2013 3:25:10 AM

This is an 11.1x zoom lens that has wide-angle with super telephoto focal lengths used for the Sony NEX system cameras. It offers an angle of view equivalent to a 27-300mm lens used on a 35mm camera and features optical stabilization, silent focusing and the option to adjust the zoom with a texture in the servo motor, ideal for recording video.

Sony SEL P 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens

Sony SEL P 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens

Processing and features

As well as the quality of the structure is involved, how this lens is installed together is that is based on a cut-out on the other super-zoom cameras made ​​by their Sony NEX cameras. Most designs are made out of aluminum; put on a sturdy black textured crust makes it a great impression of the quality of this lens. This is a pretty big lens and weighs about 649g, which can make it a bit bulky when combined with some of the more compact camera bodies than the NEX’. The finger grip that is fairly deep on the Sony NEX-5R used for testing helps to balance the lens better when attached to the camera.

Autofocus is quick and accurate in almost every position except for the places with darkest lighting conditions. The process of manual focus and zoom rings is well damped, which helps the manual adjusting process become great. Quite a large box is designed on the bottom of the lens has the mechanism for zoom servo-motor and large switches on the side of the lens are quite easy to operate. The main function of this servo-motor is to offer smooth zoom effects when shooting videos.

Three speeds are available to choose from, all of which are rather slow. This makes the servo less useful for capturing stills, where the quick zoom adjusting process is essential. Minimum focus fluctuates between 30cm and 50cm depending on where the zoom is set. This might cause problems if the process of reusing the zoom in such a distance range since you can suddenly find yourself in a close distance to have a standard focused picture taken.

Since the focusing process is made inside, the 67mm filter ring does not rotate; this makes the lens ideal for use with graduated and polarizing filters. A petal-shaped lens hood comes with as standard, which is attached to the lens via a proper bayonet.

Thanks to the optical stabilization, this lens is equipped with; the clear manual images can take about half the time with low shutter speeds of 1/20sec at 200mm.

The front of lens

The front of lens


At 18mm, sharpness in the center of the frame is obviously outstanding at maximum aperture, with that the sharpness of the edges of the frame is rather good. Lowering down only improves sharpness towards the edges of the frame a little, with that similar performance is attained between maximum aperture and f/5.6 for this focal length.

With the lens zoomed to 70mm, the sharpness in the center at maximum aperture still achieves great levels and clarity of the edges is pretty good. The high sharpness of the frame is done at f / 8 of this focal length, where the sharpness is great across the whole frame.

Typically with the zoom lenses have high ratio; there will be a decline in sharpness as you approach the shooting setup. This lens still does its job quite well compared to those kinds of lenses, with very good sharpness in the center of the frame at 200mm maximum aperture. Clarity to the edges of the frame reduces to pretty good levels, improving to decent levels when the aperture is lowered down to f/11 at this focal length. The great sharpness is done in the center of the frame at f/8.

Rating image chromatic aberrations

Rating image chromatic aberrations

How to read our graphs

The blue column stands for the indexes from the center of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them, we will have the red weighted column.

The conventional column on the left side is to show the resolution level of the actual image. The higher the column is, the better the quality of the camera lens is.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Sony NEX-5R using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well controlled for this kind of lens; hardly exceeding three-quarters of the pixel width at 18mm, reducing to almost negligible levels in the mid-range of zoom and then increasing again to levels that may be noticeable at 200mm towards the edges of the frame.

Rating the image sharpness

Rating the image sharpness

How to read our graphs

Chromatic aberration is to show the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or blur all colors of visible light at the same point. High chromatic aberration offers a remarkable range or a halo effect around sharp edges around the image. It can be handled thanks to the software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, ultra-low dispersion, etc.) to minimize the problem, so their prices are often much higher.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Sony NEX-5R using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame at 18mm is pretty obvious as you might expect for a lens of this type. Since the zoom lens is up to 200mm, the unfavorable shooting locations do not cause many problems, are just slightly darker at 0,399 stops in the corners at 200mm and f/6.3.

Imatest discovers 4.01% barrel distortion at 18mm, which is sufficient to cause problems with the images that contain the straight lines parallel to the edges of the frame. At 200mm this number is replaced with 0,859% pillow distortion, which is quite a mild number. Fortunately, the distortion patterns are identical across the frame so as to make applying corrections in image editing software relatively simple.

A hood that is provided with the lens does its job perfectly is to shade the lens from extraneous light that might cause the glare. Without this hood, the lens is still pretty good to be resistant to glare and maintains decent contrast, even when shooting in the bright sunlight.

Test images

The sample images come from the product

The sample images come from the product


The price of $1,500 places this lens apart from the other super-zoom lenses available for the Sony NEX system. This is a high-end lens; its performance is consistent with the high price. The other less expensive options consist of the other 18-200mm lenses of Sony for the NEX system. Both produce optical stabilization and cost half as much as this lens. Tamron also provides an optically stabilized 18-200mm lens for Sony NEX cameras, which is priced about $720.


The lofty price will make this lens definitely lie in the niche market segments, but if its price is no longer the goal, and you ask for the best quality, the most convenient solution for general picture taking, then it may be for you. Although the selling point of this lens is the servo zoom function designed for video recording process, the performance this lens supplies may make it worth the extra money for some persons, even if that feature is not necessary.


·         Excellent optical performance for a super-zoom lens

·         Solid design

·         Servo zoom is useful for video recording.

·         Effective optical stabilization


·         It is expensive.

·         It looks bulky.

Sony E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Specifications


·         Lens Mounts: Sony E Mount


·         Focal Length: 18mm - 200mm

·         Angle of View: 8°-76°

·         Max Aperture: f/3.5-f/6.3

·         Min Aperture: f/22-f/40

·         Filter Size: 67mm

·         35mm equivalent: 27mm-300mm

·         Internal focusing: Yes


·         Min Focus: 30cm

·         Stabilized: Yes


·         Blades: 7

·         Elements: 17

·         Groups: 12

Box Contents

·         Box Contents: Lens hood, lens cap, lens rear cap.


·         Weight: 649g

·         Height: 99mm

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