Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:31 pm

I'm curious about this lens specifically and the use of any APS-C e-mount lenses on FE cameras in general. So how does this APS-C 18-105 lens cover a FF sensor when crop mode on these two FF cameras is turned off.

Its very conceivable that this lens has a rectangular baffle that masks anything outside the APS-C frame... in which case I'm looking for some curious and adventurous soul to remove this baffle and see what the lens can really do and at what focal lengths. Its obvious from reports that some of the regular e-mount lenses (non FE ) cover significantly more than APS-C. At the very least, if an APS-C lens isn't masked, its image circle on FF pretty much allows for a FF SQUARE crop and David has proven that at least one APS-C e-mount zoom lens actually covers FF completely at some focal lengths. This might happen more frequently if the baffle-mask is removed....if that mask exists at all.

Its almost as though Sony has only sold a small handful of these 18-105 lenses in English speaking counties. Hardly anyone has reported ANYTHING, much less extensive experimentation on a FF camera.

I'd love ANY feedback on this lens actually including the responsiveness of the zoom-by-wire. (I was put off by the RX10 power zoom speed). I played with the 18-105 on a more or less dead camcorder at PhotoPlus expo in NY City....it was dead for 2 days. Its almost as if Sony doesn't want to sell this lens for still or video.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Winkler Prins » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:17 pm

That lens is only for sale for one month (mid december 2013). So I doubt wether one should expect people to have thoroughly tested one. These days answers to all questions seem freely available on Google and the likes, however there has to be one photographer that buys this stuff and reports on it, in addition to simply using it (I would gladly do this for you, if you provide the money).

So next, the obvious answer to your questions:
- Yes, from the product shots available on the internet, it does seem to have a semi-rectangular baffle that masks almost everything outside the APS-c frame. Because this is a very low cost and effective way of improving the image quality within the APS-c frame. That's what the lens was designed for.

Anyhow, I guess any photographer that buys FF body at premium price, will prefer lenses that were designed for FF sensor, or accept that use of APS-c lenses is not a way of getting the best out of your FF-sensor.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:29 pm

The fact this lens has been on the market for a full month and very few extensive user reports exist, throws up all sorts of red flags for me. Usually when ANY new photography product comes out there is a flurry of anecdotal reports and that hasn't really been the case here.

I suspect that the biggest question mark in my mind is that this just isn't a popular zoom range. There are lots of options in the 35mm FOV 24/28mm to 55/75mm or 200/300mm superzoom range but the in-between 105/135 focal length is decidedly lacking. It doesn't even exist in micro 4/3s or e-mount...until now with this lens. If this lens is sharp, and even though the power zoom speaks to video optimization, this zoom range could be ideal for me as a compromise in quality and functionality as a walk-around lens. I use the old Minolta 28-135 on my a850 and love it. That combination with extra batteries and flash media on a large neck strap is pushing 2000g. I'd love to cut that in half and maintain similar walk-around functionality and quality. Since micro 4/32 can't cut it, I'm left with e-mount...as in NEX6/7 and this lens. And of course that has added benefits in that I can use my truck load of a-mount lenses.

Most pertinent to this thread is that I have half-heartedly toyed with the idea of buying the a7R just to use as an APS-C 15MP camera. Thus any valid functionality increase is welcome. I really like the idea of using this camera with my existing a-mount lenses under some limited situations, although I think the a850 would still be used more with this other glass. Unlike you, I wouldn't hesitate to remove this 'baffle' even if it potentially allowed occasional flare, if the tradeoff was to utilize significantly more of the large 35mm sensor.

Whether the lens is, or is not, 'extendable', the forthcoming high end APS-C NEX7 replacement is perhaps a more valid choice in combination with this 18-105. But I'm still very curious.

The thing I take away from this situation is that my excitement of this medium range utility zoom is just not mirrored by the masses. That confuses me but it is...what it is.

Bruce
Last edited by Bruce Oudekerk on Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:43 pm

The very few images I have seem to show that this lens is very sharp in the center and with indeterminate quality (to me) edges but there are issues with geometric distortion. I've read that this can be addressed natively in Lightroom 5.3 and ACR 8.3 I'm running ACR 6.7 but have downloaded a Lens profile for this lens which, I have to assume, on an APS-C camera will automatically correct for these flaws. But absolutely nothing about using the lens on FF as a FF lens.

Bruce

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Birma » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:47 pm

Hi Bruce - perhaps not very useful, but there is a very small comment on the 18-105 at the end of this Camera Store video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk8n-V1Afhw. See from 8:23. It is joust a side comment / mini-review of the lens for use on video. They are not impressed, but this is based on usability. Anyway, I thought of this thread when I saw the video :)

I really like the Camera Store videos. Must be great marketing for the shop - just a bit too far to travel for me 8) .
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:24 pm

I never would have found this Camera Store vid, so thank you. And it gives a useful and somewhat unique perspective for me on the lens that is useful.

As a rule I dislike 'anything' by wire unless it is implemented to accurately mimic the 'real deal' This 'sloppy manual focus' might be annoying because, while I typically don't focus manually, it is a major perk of an EVF with its focus aids and I intend to TRY to creatively use it more; especially in pre-focus situations for action. On the other hand, given the main purpose of this lens as walk-around glass, I probably wouldn't use that feature much. My a850 has a great viewfinder but manual focus is all but impossible for me with it, the exception being my 14mm Samyang:).

Inadvertently activating the zoom toggle switch actually scares me MUCH more, as I loathe switches that get accidentally activated. The realities are I would never, ever use this switch because I would never zoom other than mimicking a manual zoom ring. Accidental changing of settings or functionality should never happen on anything....ever. I'd hate to tape or, worse yet, superglue the switch on day one.

I find it strange that a lens that is obviously optimized for video is not elegant at it but I will never even turn the video feature on should I get this lens/camera combo.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Winkler Prins » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:04 am

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:As a rule I dislike 'anything' by wire

I find it strange that a lens that is obviously optimized for video is not elegant at it.


The lens is fine and it's great for video. These guys are noobs. What do you mean accidently hitting controls? Pay attention to what you're doing. Turn the camera off when youre not using it. Do you ever accidently hit your kids? Do you accidently hit the gas pedal at a red light? I mean it's not like a zoom ring wouldn't rotate if you bump into it. It's supposed to do that!

BTW all (or most) NEX lenses are focus by wire. Simply because it offers a lot of advantages over the traditional way.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:58 am

hi,

I find this lens also interesting, You can probably get more information from users reviews (like this at B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1 ... _lens.html)

Apparently, pincushion is quite pronounced -corrected on most still cameras, but not on the first old big video cameras, and that is quite silly, since this is a lens optimized for video.

Regarding the focus/zoom by wire, there is no other option, I don't think we'll see any E-mount AF prime or zoom, Sony or Third party, with mechanical zoom or focus ring. The guy in that video is not able to adapt, that is his problem. Same happened with the Maxxum Xi lenses, a lot of people had hard time adapting. But lenses like the Maxxum 35-200Xi worth the effort.
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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby agorabasta » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:02 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Apparently, pincushion is quite pronounced -corrected on most still cameras, but not on the first old big video cameras, and that is quite silly, since this is a lens optimized for video.

The matter is - pincussion distortion at the wide end is good for sharper corners after correction. The corners are then compressed and get sharper at the expense of some centre resolution, so overall frame sharpness is more even.
So I think it's a good intentional design decision.

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:05 pm

agorabasta wrote:
pakodominguez wrote:Apparently, pincushion is quite pronounced -corrected on most still cameras, but not on the first old big video cameras, and that is quite silly, since this is a lens optimized for video.

The matter is - pincussion distortion at the wide end is good for sharper corners after correction. The corners are then compressed and get sharper at the expense of some centre resolution, so overall frame sharpness is more even.
So I think it's a good intentional design decision.

The video shown pincushion from 40ish mm through the tele end...
I thought this could be a working lens for the A7(R) but even if I know most of the new lenses are fixed on camera, I'll prefer something that performs "better"
BTW Agorabasta, did you already tried the A7(R)? what do you think about them?
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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby agorabasta » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:33 pm

Pako,

Quite frankly, I see no point in getting any of those. They are quite limited in many aspects - no good AF, too low pixel density (lenses outresolve the sensor by far - means very 'digital' look), no adequate flash system, etc.

But then again, the 7r may interest me if I really need an effective midframe substitute.

Still thus far I find the Nex7 a better option if an analogue-alike look is the issue of utmost importance. And to me it really is a real issue - I need fine textures to appear realistic wrt each other. Say I see two adjacent texture/mesh areas with close and high enough spatial frequencies - if the spatial transfer function is not monotonous (having some troughs and spikes) then the mesh at a spike freq is emphasized and the one that got in trough is subdued - means that the appearance even after the distance smoothing of those brings out the former and masks the latter; and that means a global change to the image perceived, regardless of sampling (if not too far subsampled).

So: need cleanest flat areas and fine lines - get A7r; must have realistic textures rendering - get Nex7 (or some 24Mp APS Nikon, if suitable).

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:46 pm

agorabasta wrote:Pako,

Quite frankly, I see no point in getting any of those. They are quite limited in many aspects - no good AF, too low pixel density (lenses outresolve the sensor by far - means very 'digital' look), no adequate flash system, etc.

But then again, the 7r may interest me if I really need an effective midframe substitute.

Still thus far I find the Nex7 a better option if an analogue-alike look is the issue of utmost importance. And to me it really is a real issue - I need fine textures to appear realistic wrt each other. Say I see two adjacent texture/mesh areas with close and high enough spatial frequencies - if the spatial transfer function is not monotonous (having some troughs and spikes) then the mesh at a spike freq is emphasized and the one that got in trough is subdued - means that the appearance even after the distance smoothing of those brings out the former and masks the latter; and that means a global change to the image perceived, regardless of sampling (if not too far subsampled).

So: need cleanest flat areas and fine lines - get A7r; must have realistic textures rendering - get Nex7 (or some 24Mp APS Nikon, if suitable).

Interesting...
At ImaginingUSA I had the chance to speak with some Sony Alpha management (I bump on them during a party: relaxed, the boss was happy giving me a lot of information and a couple of hints) and he told me to speak with one of the engineers in charge of product development and convince him on why we need a NEX7 replacement (the same boss told me during Photo Plus Expo that he didn't believe we'll see a new high end APS e-mount camera...). The rumor site is now talking about the NEX7 replacement in February ;-)

I had the A7R during less than 2 months (I sold it a couple of weeks ago, but just because I need some cash and I can buy it again, if needed, in a couple of months) and use it mostly with Minolta MC/MD lenses. I haven't had time to go through all the files, but overall I'm happy, even is some of the lenses are not up to the sensor quality. I'll wait until the end of February and see if Sony do introduce an NEX7 replacement and how it perform, specially AF, and then make a decision: I'm still not 100% sure I need a FF mirrorless camera (if I need to replace all my lenses...)
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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:13 am

pakodominguez wrote:I find this lens also interesting, You can probably get more information from users reviews (like this at B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1 ... _lens.html)


I'd pretty much given up on this tread but when I checked in tonight, there was interesting discussion going on:)

Those reviews probably quadrupled the feedback I've seen on this lens...so thank you.

This lens has jumped front and center for walk-around potential. So much so, I will probably buy the NEX7 replacement as an expensive rear-lens cap to go with it.

I'm not in any particular hurry and will wait for feedback on how it actually works with the new camera I will buy and perhaps in the meantime some photo-maniac will play with it extensively on the a7R. That idea is still simmering on the backburner.

Geometric distortion just doesn't concern me as there appears to be a lens correction profile for ACR and, since I shoot RAW and process all of them in ACR, I'm good to go.

Which brings up a related topic. Does anyone here know who made that 18-105 lens profile for ACR/Lightroom. Adobe?... Sony?... an early beta tester? And how sophisticated are these profiles? Are they made using barrel and pincushion sliders or are they plotted to a known grid? The lens profile for my old Minolta 70-210 f4.0 is at least mostly decent but the Samyang14mm lens profiles for ACR are terrible from what I have tried...especially compared to PTLens.

Bruce

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:09 pm

It's not unusual to get some pincushion moving up the tele range on a zoom lens like this (18-135mm has some too but it's not near this level)
Actually an 18-105mm f4 would have been ideal for A Mount

Anyway the level of distortion is quite huge, and I have to say just about all the mirrorless lenses I've looked at show distortion to a far greater extent than normal DSLR lenses (across just about everything I've looked at) massively so.

If anyone thought pulling that mirror out was a win win scenario they forgot about optics, the closeness to the sensor is a killer for lens designers it makes life much harder than DSLR land. Just about every ILC lens I've seen images wise is tortured with distortion, in some cases it's monstrous levels.

Software can help but it's not ideal in some cases (stretching and pulling parts of the image can have consequences)

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Re: Sony E PZ 18-105G with a7 or a7R NON-crop mode?

Unread postby Bruce Oudekerk » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:21 pm

bfitzgerald wrote:It's not unusual to get some pincushion moving up the tele range on a zoom lens like this (18-135mm has some too but it's not near this level)
Actually an 18-105mm f4 would have been ideal for A Mount

Anyway the level of distortion is quite huge, and I have to say just about all the mirrorless lenses I've looked at show distortion to a far greater extent than normal DSLR lenses (across just about everything I've looked at) massively so.

If anyone thought pulling that mirror out was a win win scenario they forgot about optics, the closeness to the sensor is a killer for lens designers it makes life much harder than DSLR land. Just about every ILC lens I've seen images wise is tortured with distortion, in some cases it's monstrous levels.

Software can help but it's not ideal in some cases (stretching and pulling parts of the image can have consequences)


Intuitively it would seem that optically it is not more difficult to design a lens for e-mount than its further-sensor cousin-a-mount. After all, the designers can pull a Samyang and just add a spacer. The real issue, as I see it, is twofold. The most obvious is size. To take advantage of the e-mount cameras diminutive stature, the lenses should be more compact and presumably not as long. (that's particularly problematic with the a7 line, where the sensor is in the front half of the camera.) The other issue is the need for these lenses to accommodate increasingly dense sensors. Apparently the megapixel race is not over.

...and I have no idea how the intricacies of CD vs. PD affect the optics, if at all.

All lenses are compromises of some sort regarding size, weight, cost, resolution, geometric distortion, and CA at any given level of technology. Witness the superlative Otus, which needs it own wheelbarrow to transport money into the store and the lens back out.

It would seem to me that lens designers have decided to optimize information capture, while sacrificing areas that can be computationally corrected. I suspect you are as leery of this as I am. But recently I have backed into doing some lens testing and have been pleasantly surprised with detail retention after trial resizing and rotation when judging the finest minutiae. Admittedly, up-sampling will always result in detail loss but if the information present is of high enough quality, it will likely work. As always, all pixels are not created equal. I see the main issue with the 18-105; is there is ENOUGH high quality information captured to warrant the distortion?

Bruce


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