Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Review and Gallery
July 30th, 2021
Most people’s impression of “kit lenses” are that they are cheap, plasticky lens that camera makers bundle with cameras so that new owners at least have something to take pictures with. You can throw that impression out the window with the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, Sony’s do-it-all lens for their APS-C mirrorless cameras. The 18-135 OSS (which we’ll call it for short) was developed in 2018 and has become the premium kit lens option. I purchased a kit with my Sony a6600, and after using the combo exclusively on a quick trip to Texas, I wanted to share my real world observations.
The 18-135 OSS gives you a very versatile zoom range, starting at wide (27mm full frame equivalent) to fairly narrow telephoto (202.5mm equivalent). While the maximum aperture starts reasonably wide (F3.5), it quickly closes to down to the much smaller maximum aperture of F5.6 as you zoom in. It compensates by giving you an effective Optical Stabilizer (OSS) that helps in lower light (so long as your subject stays still!) Another nice bonus is a premium linear motor focus system which gives you fast, quiet, and accurate autofocus…and Eye AF works great!
The build is nice, but not premium (no weather sealing). The lens handles well, with smooth zoom action and fairly good manual focus. The optical performance is consistently good, approaching excellent levels in the middle of the zoom range with a bit of a fade-off at the telephoto end (though the lens can still deliver good results there). There is some strong barrel distortion at 18mm, but the standard profile cleans things up well. The 18-135 OSS retails for about $550 USD if purchased alone, though the price drops to about $400 when bundled with a camera. If you want more detailed analysis, check out my thorough video review here:
Thanks to Camera Canada for giving me a great deal on the a6600 and 18-135mm used in this review. They are my personal source for my gear and have been great to work with. As always, this is a completely independent review.
Photos of the Sony 18-135 OSS
Photos taken with the Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
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