Sony E 18-105mm f/4 OS – servo zoom for large sensor cameras

November 21st, 2013 icon / message-square 8
Sony E 18-105mm f/4 OS - servo zoom for large sensor cameras

The NewsShooter team has brought to light one of Sony’s latest E mount lenses whilst in attendance at the 2013 Inter BEE show. The Lens is an 18-105mm servo zoom lens with OSS image stabilization, auto focus and a constant aperture of f/4.

It’s feature most of us aren’t used to having at present, a servo zoom for the large sensor format. Yet it’s not the first time we’ve had this opportunity, Sony also have a 18-200mm E-mount servo zoom lens (released over a year ago). However I speak from experience when I say with a variable aperture of f/3.5-6.3, it’s a fairly disappointing lens for video work.

The 18-105mm f/4 OSS has potential though, the constant aperture makes it much more appealing. Whilst a servo zoom is not something you will regularly require from a large sensor camera (if at all for some) it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal for certain types of work. This feature alone can often rule out a C100/C300 hire over a Sony PMW200 or Canon XF305, particular for live events.
With a maximum focal length of 105mm, this particular lens falls a little short in throw for conference work, but from the above video there’s reason to suggest that Sony will continue to invest in this lens format. It would be great to see a similar spec’ed lens in the 400-500mm region.

Sony 18-105mm

The lens is E-mount, therefore will work with the FS100/FS700. This is another key feature added to Sony’s list which Canon counterparts don’t come close to. It’s just a shame the Sony FS100/700 have such poor ergonomics as the spec list is off the chart compared to the C100/C300.
In addition to servo zoom the FS700 also has fullHD overcrank, super slowmo, 4K output with recorder, full frame speedboosted capture with adaptor. Whilst the Canon Cinema line is much, much better for user operation (which is a huge selling point) and better internal recording on the C300, it would be great to see Canon ticking just one of these options off the list. What’s more, the Sony cameras are both cheaper.

Back to the lens, it utilizes a fly-by-wire focus wheel, and by the looks of it uses Sony’s current touch sensitive technology where the faster/slower you rotate the barrel, the faster/slower the focus engages. Due to this variability there are no focus markings on the lens.
Whilst it yields smooth focus operation, I’m personally not a huge fan of this technology. It makes it very hard to get to know your lens through consistency and in-turn operate your focus efficiently; nothing beats good old mechanical manual focus.

The video takes a quick glance at the auto focus, and from what’s presented it looks fairly decent. Further examples/testing of the production version of the lenses will confirm just how effective it is.

The 18-200mm f/4 OSS is currently available for pre-order, at a very competitive price of $598.00


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