If you are reading this then you must be thinking of putting the Sony 10-18mm lens which is made for a APS-C size sensor on your Full Frame Sony Alpha Camera. If that is the case, I hope this helps you. I heard about the Sony 10-18 F/4 lens working on the Sony A7 line up and it covers a majority of the focal length of the lens. Some say that this is a cheaper alternative to the Zeiss 16-35 F/4 OSS lens which retails for $1350. However, is it really a cheaper alternative or a different type of lens all together?
If you are like me, you don’t care about the specs like the number of Diaphragm Blades or the Magnification(Click here to see the specs). What you want to SEE and HEAR about is how this lens does on a Full Frame Camera before spending any money on this lens. You want to hear the plain and simple answers that are right down to the point, so let’s get to what you want to know. Am going to cover these basic points:
- What focal range does it cover on the A7 line up?
- How Sharp is it at F/4 compared to F/8, F/16, F/22?
- How well does the Auto Focus work while mounted on the A7 line up?
- How well is it built? is it Weather Resistant?
- Is the Sony 10-18 F/4 better than the Sony 16-35 F/4?
At the very end of the post, I will add some of my Final Thoughts along with some photo examples taken with the Sony 10-18.
First, we need to make sure we turn off APS-crop mode in the camera. We turn it off by doing this: Menu > Custom Settings 5 > APS-C Capture > Off
I have also added an additional image from each focal length with the Lightroom SEL 10-18mm lens profile that has been adjusted for a Full Frame Sensor. The Lightroom SEL 10-18mm lens profile was created for APS-C sensors and will not fix the lens distortion totally.
–What focal range does it cover on the A7 line up?
It covers from about 12-17mm on any of the Full Frame Alpha camera that Sony makes right now. You can not use the lens hood because it creates a black square on the outside of the frame. You get a definite black ring around the edges at 10mm, and at 11 and 18mm. it’s just a solid vignette in the corners. Unfortunately, nothing will fix this in LightRoom unless you crop about 5-10% of the image out. You can use the Profile correction to fix most of the distortion from the 12-16mm range with just a little bit of cropping at 17mm. I find that the sweet spot of this lens is between the 14-16mm range where the vignette is almost gone. This lens does have a color cast on the far edges of the frame but you can remove them with LightRoom adjustments
Sony 10-18 at 18mm
Sony 10-18 at 17mm
Sony 10-18 at 16mm
Sony 10-18 at 15mm
Sony 10-18 at 14mm
Sony 10-18 at 13mm
Sony 10-18 at 12mm
Sony 10-18 at 11mm
Sony 10-18 at 10mm
I talked about how the lens hood gets in the way of this lens while shooting on the A7 line up. Here is a few sample images taken at 12mm and at 17mm to show you the wide side and the tight end.
Sony 10-18 at 12mm with Lens Hood
Sony 10-18 at 17mm with Lens Hood
–How Sharp is it at F/4 compared to F/8, F/16, F/22?
This lens is like any other lens out on the market when it comes to sharpness. Shooting at the lowest F stop that this lens offers, which is F/4 looks great but it gets sharper as you stop it down. Typically most lenses are the sharpest when you stop them down about 2 stops below its lowest F stop, with the Sony 10-18 this means F/8 will be the best part of the lens. It’s tack sharp at F/8 across a majority of the image with slight fall off at the edges and corners. If I had to shoot hand-held and needed to shoot at F/4, this lens could do that and still give sharp images. **I messed this test up and the Item that I zoom in on is farther back in the scene. This is why the post gets sharper as we go to F/8 and F/16. The sharpness is a lot better and I will update this soon**
Sony 10-18 at F/4 at 14mm
You can see that here at F/4 the white sign on the post is blurry. We already know that the center of the frame is going to be sharp so this is a 1:1 crop of one of the side of the frame to show how the sharpness fall off as it gets away from the center.
Sony 10-18 at F/8 at 14mm
Here at F/8 the sign is sharper but not tack sharp. This is a RAW image which was exposure corrected to match the other images. No sharpening or clarity has been added. However, adding a tiny bit of clarity and sharpness in post will bring out the details.
Sony 10-18 at F/16 at 14mm
I shoot at F/16 when I want to create star bursts in the image. Here the white sign starts to become less sharp and it’s still sharp for being on the outside of the frame at 1:1 crop.
Sony 10-18 at F/22 at 14mm
I some times need to shoot at F/22 to get a long exposure in day light. The White sign has become less sharp compared to the F/8 and F/16. It’s not as blurry as the F/4 but it still could be sharpened in Lightroom to fix most of the issues.
–How well does the Auto Focus work while mounted on the A7 line up?
I have only one other Sony lens and thats’s the 28-70mm kit lens which came with my A7. When it’s compared to this lens, it focuses just as fast if not faster. This is a wide angle lens so most of the time everything is already in focus. This lens does come with OSS (Optical SteadyShot) which Sony claims that it gives a 4-stop (approximate) shutter speed advantage. This is coming from Sony and most of the reviews I have read says it’s more like 2 stops. However, the lens locks on fast and it’s accurate.
–How well is it built? is it Weather Resistant?
Am really happy how well this lens is built. Sure it’s not as well-built as some of the other FE Lenses out on the market but it still has a metal construction along with a metal mount. The focusing ring is smooth and easy to move. One down side of the Sony 10-18 lens is that it does not have weather sealing so you might want to avoid taking this lens in a heavy rain situations . I have used this lens in a light drizzle and it worked just fine.
–What is the size of it Lens when mounted on a A7R?
Well, it’s small. In fact it’s really small! The lens itself comes in at 225 grams and the Sony A7R weighs 770 grams. It feels well-balanced in the hands and weighs around 2 lbs all together. When it comes to traveling, the Sony 10-18 is about half of the weight and size of the Sony 16-35 F/4 which weighs in at 518 grams. We all know that when you are traveling and walking around all day, every little bit counts!
–Is the Sony 10-18 F/4 better than the Sony 16-35 F/4?
Let’s be honest….. NO it’s not better. The Sony 16-35 is a sharper lens that covers a wider focal length than the Sony 10-18. The Sony 16-35 is regarded as one of the sharpest lenses out on the market that rivals the famous Nikon 14-24mm. However, these are two totally different lenses. One is a Super Wide angle which lets you capture shots that the Sony 16-35 could never get. The Sony 16-35 has much less lens distortion compared to the Sony 10-18. The Sony 10-18 cost around $800 USD where the Sony 16-35 cost about $1,350 USD. I got my Sony 10-18 in Tokyo(International Version) for $575 USD brand new but I did shop around for it. If you need corner to corner sharpness and you will be printing fine art prints, maybe the Sony 16-35 is the right choice for you. On the other hand, Trey Ratcliff uses the 10-18 and also creates fine art prints with this lens that sell from 70k-95k each, so dose it really matter?
This is a well-built and small lens that works very well on the Alpha 7 line up. Having a light weight and small lens to go on my A7R for travel which frees up weight and space in my bag is wonderful. Plus, having the super wide-angle lens that covers the 12-17mm range is amazing. This lens does not compete with the Sony 16-35 F/4 because it’s not even in the same category. This lens is in its own market and should be treated as such. You can crop on the sides and loss a little bit of the frame to fix the black rings and the hard vignette lines but I feel like you really don’t need to if you shoot from 12-16mm. Shooting at 10mm is a waste of time so don’t even bother. I am pleased with this little lens that lets me create images that only a few other lenses can create.
I hope this review helps you. If you have any questions about this lens, I will be more than willing to answer them or test them out for you and share the results.
You can order the lenses here
Sony 10-18 F/4 (Order at Amazon)
Sony 10-18 F/4 International Version (Order at Amazon) – It’s $200 cheaper but with no Warranty unless you live in Japan(1 year warranty)
Sony 16-35 F/4 (Order at Amazon)