Sony's low-range 11-18mm is an affordable offering, but does its shorter zoom range hinder the performance? The What Digital Camera Sony DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 lens review takes a look...
Despite its low mass, the lens has a solid feel that is complemented by a near-cylindrical design that is broken only by the accessory-thread flange at the front. The zoom ring is closest to the camera body and is only slightly wider than the manual-focusing ring, which is hard to avoid when adopting a secure grip on the lens.
This is an important consideration because the manual-focusing ring rotates when the lens is set to AF mode and it is important not to obstruct the ring’s movement. Manual adjustment of the focused distance is not possible in AF mode. There is a quarter-turn throw to focus from 0.25m to infinity but rather less to zoom from 11mm to 18mm.
MTF testing revealed results that were neither outstanding nor deficient. The figures do not drop significantly below 0.25 cycles-per-pixel across the most important part of the aperture range, from maximum aperture down to f/11, but neither do they get very far above the crucial value. There was some chromatic aberration but not so much as to cause a serious problem.
In use the uniformly cylindrical barrel, with little distinction between the two collars, is a comfortable hold but its lack of demarcation means that it is all too easy to let stray fingers intrude onto the manual-focusing ring. Perhaps it was because of this that some of the pictures taken using this lens looked a little soft.
Given that several niggles have been raised it might be tempting to dismiss Sony’s 11-18mm zoom as a rather mediocre lens, but in fact it put in a solid overall performance that simply failed to be outstanding in any way. This zoom’s greatest appeal doubtless resides in its attractive price and in that sense it probably offers Sony users the ideal combination of specifications, performance and price.