By contributing editor Chuck Fadely in New York:
I saw a new lens attached to a Sony VG30 video camera at Sony’s huge display at PDN PhotoPlus Expo. What’s that? I ask. Hmmm, the rep behind the counter says; haven’t seen it before.
Turns out to be one of the most exciting things at the show: the Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens for E mount cameras. An 18-105mm f/4 lens with a power zoom that’s silky smooth and a decent focus feel. It doesn’t extend out when you zoom. It’s for APS-C cameras.
This lens is the right size, weight, and focal length for Sony’s E-mount video cameras. It transforms the VG30 into a useful, perfectly balanced camera and would be an all-purpose lens on the FS100 and FS700. It has a constant f/4 aperture and OSS steady shot stabilization. It’s $600 and available in December. I really wanted to try it on the new E-mount Alpha 7 body (which although it’s a full frame camera, automatically adjusts frame size for APS-C lenses) for video, but alas, they had it chained down.
The front ring is the focus and the wider back ring is the zoom. Both are fly-by-wire electronic but in manual focus mode the focus throw was perfect, though I wish the rings were reversed in size.
(Dear Canon: look at this lens and make one for the C100/C300 cinema cameras, please please please?)
Here’s Sony’s info on the lens:
“High overall performance and excellent contrast in the first E-mount G Lens. Versatile 27-158mm (35mm full frame format equivalent) range.
Constant F4 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range enhances shooting convenience.
Handycam® technology achieves smooth, quiet focus and zoom operation, and the length of the lens remains constant for maximum handling consistency.
Zoom lever for continuous zoom speed control and new expressive freedom.
Optical SteadyShot image stabilization.
The first Sony G Lens created specifically for E-mount cameras is true to its heritage, achieving outstanding resolution and contrast throughout the zoom range thanks to an advanced optical design incorporating two ED glass elements and three aspherical elements. From wide angle to medium telephoto, this power zoom lens covers approximately a 6x zoom range with a constant F4 aperture. Thanks to Sony Handycam® technology, zoom and focus operation are not only remarkably smooth and quiet, but the length of the lens remains constant as well, for consistent, stable handling.”