I genuinely thought, at about 1:30pm this afternoon, that this post was going to be about how good this lens was and how great the output looked….
I should start by saying I love ultra wide angle zooms. I’ve owned a number of them in my time. My regular UWA zooms for M43s are the 9-18 (tiny and good) and the 7-14 huge (relative to other m43s lenses), brilliant IQ, but flawed (flare issues).
I was really excited when I saw the SEL1018 zoom for NEX announced. Ordered one and it turned up yesterday. In many ways I’m really impressed with the lens and the output.
The lens is light (it has a magnesium alloy skin around a plastic barrel). I’ll confess it doesn’t feel super high quality, but then the 7-14 for M43s is all plastic and that originally retailed for £1300 odd. It’s certainly no worse than the SEL50F18.
The zoom and focus rings are solid and smooth. I actually think the overall build quality is good.
As to the image quality, well there are two issues: chromatic aberration (easily fixed); and, unfortunately, the lens profile (if any) for this lens on the NEX-7 is flawed as it suffers (relatively badly) from magenta cast. If you look at most of the samples here you will see it. My lightroom processing normally involves some vibrance enhancement but I couldn’t do that here. I understand there are workarounds for the magenta cast issue, but I do not understand why one would have to do that for a native E-Mount lens.
The good news is that this ought to be soluble in a firmware update for the NEX-7 and shouldn’t affect other NEX bodies. The query is whether Sony will bother to do this (they don’t have a great record in this area).
Aside from the above, I think the image quality is good, potentially very good (I didn’t have the best light to work with today). The OSS seems very good, I was impressed with the sharpness and I can imagine that if I were using this with a NEX-6 I would be itching to head to the coast to test it out on some land and sea scapes.
However, as I’m a NEX-7 owner I’m left wondering wether to return the lens or to wait for firmware updates. I can see why those who’ve tested the lens on the NEX-5N and 6 have raved about it but (at the minute) it isn’t ready for primetime on the NEX-7. How annoying!