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Sony’s new 18-135mm lens weighs less than a pound, but is hardly a lightweight

The Sony E-mount lens family is gaining a new member — on Thursday, January 4, Sony announced the new E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens for APS-C cameras. Despite the wide range of focal lengths, the lens still features a lightweight, compact design, Sony says.

Designed for Sony’s APS-C cameras such as the a6500 and a6300, the new Sony E 18-135mm lens covers a 7.5x zoom range, equivalent to a 27-202.5mm lens on a full frame camera. The wide zoom range and minimum 1.48 foot focus distance allows photographers to create close-ups with up to a 0.29x magnification.

Sony is claiming corner to corner sharpness for the new glass, attributing the sharpness to an aspherical lens that works alongside two extra-low dispersion elements to prevent chromatic aberration, or colored fringing. The entire lens is constructed from 16 elements in 12 groups. The company’s optical image stabilization system is built in to assist with handheld shots, which can also be combined with the sensor-shift stabilization in some camera bodies.

The f/3.5-5.6 is a fairly common aperture for budget zoom lenses, but the extended zoom range allows photographers to shoot with soft backgrounds, Sony says. Circular bokeh is created using seven aperture blades.

The lens includes a linear autofocus motor, which helps deliver both quieter performance when using the lens to record video and fast performance for both stills and video, according to the manufacturer. Focus can also be switched to manual using a quick access switch on the lens barrel.

While lenses covering wide ranges tend to be larger, the new Sony 18-135 weighs in at just 11.5 ounces and measures 3.5 inches long. The front of the lens accepts 55mm size filters. Sony says the lens is ideal for a number of different shooting situations, including portraits, landscapes, nature, and travel.

The latest addition is the 48th lens to join Sony’s E-Mount family. The lens doesn’t have the widest zoom range in the collection (with a handful offering an 18-200mm range) but brings the price down from those slightly more versatile options. The lens is expected to retail for about $600, with shipping beginning in February.

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