Behind the Lens episode six – Sony E PZ 18-110mm Zoom

Matt Porwoll continues his Behind the Lens series for AbelCine by looking at the Sony E PZ 18-110mm Zoom lens.

The Sony E PZ 18-110mm: no more changing lenses

Behind the Lens episode six
Matt in his Lair of Lenses.

So far in his series Matt has looked at a mixture of cine lenses and stills lenses – this is the first real ‘video’ lens he’s taken a look at. The 18-110 is a native E-mount lens that covers Super35/APS-C sensors with a constant f/4 aperture. It’s designed to be a lens to see you through most shooting situations and Matt particularly recommends it for wedding shooters, event coverage and corporate work.

Remember the EX3?

He also compares it (favourably!) to using the built-in lens on a Sony EX3. It shares several characteristics: it’s parfocal (more on this in a minute), has a large zoom range and features a switchable AF/MF mode that doubles up as a macro setting. There’s also a small zoom rocker built in to the side of the lens if you want to do controlled creeping zooms.

Behind the Lens episode six
No servo unit, but if you want creeping zooms this little rocker will do the job. The lens has OSS image stabilisation too.

If you’re more of a crash zoom kind of shooter you might want to try before you buy. The lens is fly-by-wire, and although it’s technically parfocal the electronics can’t quite keep up when you zoom quickly from one end of the zoom range to the other. I wouldn’t have thought that’s a dealbreaker for many users, but worth bearing in mind.

Behind the Lens episode six
The Sony 18-110’s bokeh is a little jagged around the edges, a function of only having seven iris blades.

More offputting is the lacklustre bokeh (the seven-bladed aperture produces rather jagged edges) and the flare, which Matt characterises as “boring.”

Colours are good though – Matt found them “pleasing” with good contrast and a slight lift in skin tones.

Sony E PZ 18-110mm zoom: Matt’s verdict

Overall, Matt suggests that this is a decent all-in-one lens, well suited to anyone who wants the convenience of an all-in-one camera like the EX3 but with a Super35 sensor. I have to say I’ve been rather missing the flexibility of the EX-range of cameras recently, and it sounds like the Sony E PZ 18-110mm would make a great lens to leave on your camera most of the time.

As ever there’s more information, including more detailed tests, on the AbelCine blog. And you can catch up with the rest of the episodes of Behind the Lens here.

What do you make of Sony’s jack-of-all-trades lens? Have you used it and gritted your teeth because of its shortcomings? Or enjoyed the zoom range in the knowledge you won’t miss a shot from changing lenses? Tell all in the comments below!

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