That Sony lens issue again - Sony 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens - Sony a6000

Image above Sony A7r 10-18mm e-mount zoom
Images below Sony a6000 10-18mm e-mount zoom

SonyAlphaRumors published an interesting statement from Sigma about making lenses for the FE system.

“Maybe one day but it would take a much larger commitment on the part of Sony. A full Line of cameras and lenses with the FE mount, as well as the conversion of their NEX line to the FE mount. At the moment it is a very limited line and we are unable to invest in it when the parent company Sony seems reluctant to do so.”

So there!!

I don't think many of us who use Sony cameras and appreciate what they offer would extend that same appreciation to the Sony lens range. And the cause of this 'problem' or more accurately deficiency is probably easily explained. Panasonic and Fuji make interchangeable lenses for one system, one format. Sony attempt (and fail unfortunately!) to provide a decent lens system for a-mount (35mm/'full-frame' and APS-C) and e-mount (35mm/'full-frame' and APS-C) So four formats. It's really no surprise then that they have fixed lenses on their 1" sensor cameras. The notion that they are spreading themselves a bit thin is an understatement. 

As a newcomer to serious camera production they seem to want to compete with everybody in every area of the marketplace. If the rumours are true they will be giving medium-format a go later this year. With this kind of 'scatter-gun' approach to camera and lens production, it really isn't a surprise that lens roll-out is slow. 

And regarding the above statement Sigma have a point. While they make very few cameras apart from those that house the Foveon sensor, Sigma do make an awful lot of lenses in an awful lot of mounts and formats. I'm guessing, but might their attitude be 'We are a relatively small firm, family owned, we can make lenses for almost every mount. You are a huge electronics corporation and you can't even keep your customers happy. You throw out these new cameras and systems without providing the lens backup. It takes us money and time to develop lenses with no guarantee that there are long-term gains for us. ' At least that is what I would think if I were Sigma.

And the questions have to be asked - Where are Sony going? Will the a-mount survive? Will the e-mount survive? DSLR's have gone, are DSLT's going to last? NEX has gone, what's on the chopping board next? 

A likely scenario is that the e-mount will prevail. There aren't many new a-mount cameras on the horizon. Sony may end up like Olympus with an excellent but unpopular lens range and have to come up with some kind of E-M1 option of their own. And since they are now 'partners' maybe Olympus could offer some advice. It might also be an idea for us Sony users to get some 'advice' as to what to stick with, what to cut our losses with and come to some decision as to where we might be going with all this.

However being a Sony owner is a lens junkies dream. If you like mixing and matching and fiddling around with adapters then Sony is the brand for you!! I've just found a mint Voigtlander APO-Lanthar SL II 90mm f:3.5 Lens for a good price on ebay. I had one before and I've always regretted selling it. It is however a Canon EOS fit one, so I've had to get myself another adapter, EF > e-mount. I've also been editing the images I took with my Voigtlander 20mm on my a6000 the other day and I was right, they are actually sharper than what I can get with my Zeiss FE 35mm and 55mm on that camera. This of course is making me think again about buying the complete set of Voigtlander SLR lenses, something I've always wanted to do. 

So at the moment for my three Sony e-mount cameras I have:-
2 x native e-mount aps-c lens -16-50mm zoom, 10-18mm zoom.
3 x native FE e-mount 35mm/'full-frame' lenses. 28-70mm zoom, 35mm and 55mm primes.
2 x a-mount lenses used with LA-EA4 adapter. Sigma 35mm and Sony 85mm.
2 x Nikon mount manual focus primes + adapters. Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon Series E 100mm.
1 x Canon mount manual focus prime. Voigtlander 90mm.

So without really noticing I seem to have accumulated 10 lenses I can use on my Sony's. 9 of them I can use on the 35mm size sensored A7 and A7r. Now where this is all going I don't know, but every time I go out the door with a Sony camera it is a bit of an adventure!!

And of course the real surprise package here is the 10-18mm zoom. Or in FE terms the 12-16mm zoom, since that's the usable range for the larger sensor. Yesterday I went out with it on my a6000. And it's really good. Surprisingly, considering that it works on the larger sensor it has some slight vignetting, but that's easily fixable. It's sharp, good in the corners and is one of the few, but welcome top class e-mount lenses. And those of you who are waiting for a comparison between this and the Fuji 10-24mm you won't have to wait long. It's pouring with rain outside so a lens comparison seem to be on the agenda for today. 

Finally I have to say that I didn't really notice using the a6000 yesterday, which for me is the highest complement I can pay a camera. It just works, does what I want it to and lets me get on with the important stuff, making pictures. And this is the reason I like Sony. Lenses aren't really their strong suit, but in terms of cameras and sensors they are hard to beat.

Finally, finally, after my piece on Dpreview yesterday you might like to read this. It was written seven years ago by Phil Askey, the man who started Dpreview, sold it to Amazon and went on to pastures new. Quite simply it's the best camera review I've ever read. And not only did it inspire me to buy an M8 it also inspired me to start writing this blog. Just compare this to the current lowest common denominator writing of the latest Dpreview team and the 'tabloid' hysteria of people like Steve Huff and see what top class gear reviewing and photographic journalism should look like. 

Incidentally there is one writer who seems to have followed in this tradition and that is the excellent Gordon Laing at Camera Labs. We should treasure writers like this. They have a tendency to disappear. 

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