Next month, it will have been three years since I got a Sony's zoom lens 【E18-200 F3.5-6.3 OSS (SEL18200)】

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I have taken about 35,000 photos with this lens in this period of time. I haven't been taking as many photos as I used to because I don't use continuous shooting mode as often, but I still use my camera at least once every few days.

I have noticed a few different things from my first impressions as I'm getting used to using the lens. So I would like to share these points in this post.

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Wide range of focal length

In my previous post, I wrote about how much I liked the wide range of focal length, and now I love it. You can get decent close-up shots at 200mm(300mm effective), and you can enjoy nature photography at 18mm(27mm effective), so you can take pictures in many different situations.

Wide end 18mm
Aperture: ƒ/7.1,  Focal Length: 18mm,  Exposure Time: 1/500, ISO: 100
The wide angle end is 18mm (27mm effective), and the angle is wide enough for landscapes.

Aperture: ƒ/5.6,  Focal Length: 18mm,  Exposure Time: 1/500, ISO: 100
I was able to capture the vast blue sky in the frame.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 18mm,  Exposure Time: 1/800, ISO: 100

Telephoto end 200mm
Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/320, ISO: 200, Cropped
You cannot get close to wild birds, so the 200mm focal length is useful.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/320, ISO: 800, Cropped

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/400, ISO: 400
This is as close as you can get to the moon with a 200mm lens. I took this image in 24 megapixels and cropped it afterwards.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/400, ISO: 400, Cropped
This is the cropped image. You might need a longer lens if your main subject is the moon.

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A 200mm lens enough for motorsports?

Car racing is what I wanted to get a zoom lens for, so my concern prior to the purchase was whether the maximum focal length 200mm (300mm effective) was sufficient for motorsports photography. I looked at many car racing photos on Flickr and found out that most of them had been taken at the focal lengths of around 500mm, which made me feel that 200mm would not be enough.
I, therefore, was delighted when I found out that my lens worked brilliantly at the Super GT Round 3 Motegi in 2016.
Aperture: ƒ/8,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/800, ISO: 1000
I took this photo from the G Stand at the end of Down Hill Straight. The GT cars drive at their maximum speed in this section of the track. I didn't crop this image, but I could still get this close-up shot of Modulo NSX concept GT.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/1250, ISO: 640
I was surprised to find out that the cars were farther than I had expected when they pass by on the outer lane of the track, in contrast, they are filling the frame when they pass by the inner lane of the track However, you might want an even longer lens if you take photos at the S Curves and 130 Radius because the track is farther from the stands.

I took the photo above at 18mm, and I depicted these red frames to show how the image is cropped at different focal lengths: 50mm, 100mm and 200mm. I will be happy if any of you find this information helpful.

▼I put the photos at the respective focal lengths in this article. Take a look. 

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Exceptionally beautiful images for a zoom lens

Three years on, I’m still happy with how beautiful the images are that I can capture with this lens. This lens can not compare to primary lenses with the maximum aperture F2 or even bigger regarding sharpness and resolutions of the images. However, the SEL18200 really does a great job for a lens that has such a wide range of focal length.
Aperture: ƒ/8,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/400, ISO: 1250

Aperture: ƒ/10,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/3200, ISO: 3200, Cropped

Aperture: ƒ/13,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/320, ISO: 400, Cropped

Aperture: ƒ7.1,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/320, ISO: 250

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 112mm,  Exposure Time: 1/200, ISO: 100, Cropped

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/320, ISO: 100
At the focal length over 150mm with the maximum aperture, you can get the background blurry and lights glitter.

Aperture: ƒ/9,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/160, ISO: 800

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 107mm,  Exposure Time: 1/500, ISO: 100, Cropped
The rose in this image was under the setting sun, so I set a negative Exposure Value number to make the background completely dark.

Aperture: ƒ/5.6,  Focal Length: 88mm,  Exposure Time: 1/60, ISO: 1600
My cat, Sora, was a bit out of focus in this image, but that made him look soft and fluffy.

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Distortion in the image

I didn't notice at first, but the corners of the image get a little bit darker and distorted when you set the lens at the wide end.
Aperture: ƒ/4.5,  Focal Length: 18mm,  Exposure Time: 1/1000, ISO: 100
I took this photo at the shortest focal length, 18mm. If you look closer at the Toyota Alphard...
The car looks taller and shorter than the actual one. That being said, I do not think you would notice unless you are a car enthusiast.

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Crazy fast auto focus

It is fast. Unless you put your camera on the wrong setting, you can take photos in focus in most cases.

Aperture: ƒ/8,  Focal Length: 37mm,  Exposure Time: 1/2500, ISO: 1600
I kept the horsefly in focus continuously by using lock-on AF.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 120mm,  Exposure Time: 1/1600, ISO: 320, Cropped
Even under low light condition, my camera kept the swan in focus.

Aperture: ƒ/8,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/2500, ISO: 250, Cropped

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 188mm,  Exposure Time: 1/2000, ISO: 800
My camera kept tracking the butterfly fluttering from flower to flower.

Aperture: ƒ/16,  Focal Length: 120mm,  Exposure Time: 1/30, ISO: 100, Cropped
I took this photo in Aperture Priority mode.

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There are times when AF gets extremely slow

There have been times when my camera did not put any subject in focus within a few seconds. It happened especially when I was trying to take photos of a kite or seagull with the blue sky in the background at the telephoto end.
Aperture: ƒ/8,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/2500, ISO: 250
I was trying to get this kite in focus, but by the time I captured this moment it went far away because it took a few seconds before my camera recognised the subject. It occurs more often when I'm shooting at the telephoto end.

The auto focus works faster when you set the focus area to Center. I would recommend this setting if you liked to take photos of subjects in motion.

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You can shoot without a tripod in various settings

Although it has the same maximum aperture, f3.5, as that of the kit lens, it seems that you can get more vibrant images than I had expected. I was able to keep the ISO at a relatively low number even at a wedding.
Aperture: ƒ/4.5,  Focal Length: 31mm,  Exposure Time: 1/60, ISO: 640
Aperture: ƒ/5.6,  Focal Length: 51mm,  Exposure Time: 1/80, ISO: 640

Aperture: ƒ/5.6,  Focal Length: 94mm,  Exposure Time: 1/160, ISO: 320, Cropped
I shot this image of the moon and Senba Lake in Mito. It was a little dark in the evening, but I did not have to use a tripod. The Sony a6000 is famous for its practical high ISO range, so it can capture moments even in low light conditions at a high shutter speed.

Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 131mm,  Exposure Time: 1/250, ISO: 640

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Other features of this lens

Zoom lock

The lock can keep the lens from falling out when you tilt your camera. However, you can lock the lens only when it is at the widest end. It would be really nice if it could lock the lens whatever the focal length.
For example, when you tilt your camera upwards to take photos of cherry blossoms, the lens starts pulling in on its own. You can hold it by hand, but it can be really hard when you are trying to put your subject in focus manually, especially when shooting takes a long time. 160410SakuraInPark
Aperture: ƒ/6.3,  Focal Length: 188mm,  Exposure Time: 1/400, ISO: 200 

Quick Face Detect

The face detect works fast. It is useful because the camera choose a brightness setting based on the face that it detects.
My camera recognizes the ornament's face. I wonder why it does not occur with the kit lens.

The weight of the lens

This lens weighs 524g and my camera (a6000) is only 344g, and that gap makes the weight balance bad, but I got used to it much more quickly than I had expected. I no longer feel it's heavy or imbalanced even when it's on a tripod.

The zoom ring used to be very heavy…

At first, the zoom ring was really heavy, but it got looser as I was using it. Now the ring is so loose that the lens creeps out on its own when I’m just holding my camera downwards.

The looseness makes it hard to put my subjects in focus because the AF will not work when zooming in or out. I find it really hard especially when I take photos of clouds in the sky, tall buildings or flowers at my feet.
Aperture: ƒ/18,  Focal Length: 200mm,  Exposure Time: 1/500, ISO: 640
You cannot always use your camera horizontally, so it would be ideal if the lens had a lock switch that can be activated at any focal length or the zoom ring were a little stickier.

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Conclusion and equipment

This lens, SEL18200, has given me a whole lot more opportunities to take beautiful photos of wild birds. It is truly fun to be able to keep such precious encounters in my camera.

I still have many kinds of scenes that I would love to take photos of such as night landscapes and fireworks, so I will keep trying new things with my camera and this lens.

This tripod is sturdy and can support my imbalanced camera without any problem. 

I have been using a SunDisk’s SDHC card over four and a half years, but I haven’t had any errors even once.

I got an iMac 21.5inch recently. The display is breathtakingly beautiful, and that makes my photography life even more fun.
Read the review article>>【Apple iMac 21.5 inch Retina 4K】Review: Beautiful Display & Very User-friendly even for Windows Users

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Related posts

The original Japanese Version of this article>>快速オートフォーカスの万能ズームレンズ【Sony E18-200 F3.5-6.3 OSS (SEL18200)】使用3年レビュー

Read previous posts of photography and camera>>HERE

Look at other photos I took with SEL18200>>HERE