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jandlcruise

Best lens for travel with Sony a6000

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I currently have an a6000 with the 16-50 kit lens, 55-210 zoom and 35 fixed prime. It seems to make a good kit but I find when I am on cruises I often don’t want to stop to change lenses especially at the beach or on excursions. I am looking at the 18-135 or the 18-200 to be something I can leave on the camera and use for most outdoor shots. There is a huge price difference so any experience/ advice you can share is appreciated. 

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11 hours ago, jandlcruise said:

I currently have an a6000 with the 16-50 kit lens, 55-210 zoom and 35 fixed prime. It seems to make a good kit but I find when I am on cruises I often don’t want to stop to change lenses especially at the beach or on excursions. I am looking at the 18-135 or the 18-200 to be something I can leave on the camera and use for most outdoor shots. There is a huge price difference so any experience/ advice you can share is appreciated. 

 

I travelled with the 18-105 f/4 for quite a while. I find that My need for a longer lens was seldom enough that choosing the superior image quality of the 18-105 over the 18-200 was best for me. If I were to shop for a travel lens for my APS-C Sony now, I would buy the 18-135. It has slightly better image quality than the 18-105, is smaller and has a bit more reach. Several folks here on the forum have this lens and are very happy with it.

 

I would keep the 16-50. Sometimes you just want the size advantage.

 

My 2¢...

 

 

Dave

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Honestly, I hate the 16-50 and 55-210. I find most modern lenses to have good image quality.... but not those 2.  Not that they can’t produce decent images... but depends how demanding you are. 

 

Im not a fan of superzooms generally, but the 18-135 is actually a decent lens.  I’m working on my review now. It has massive major problems with flare but it’s an otherwise good lens.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Dave and havoc315 for the advice.  I agree about the 16-50, I find my prime to perform the best but not for travel where there are so many different situations.  It works great for indoor or nighttime shots on the ship.   Looking forward to the review!

Liz

Edited by jandlcruise

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I travel with a A6000 and A6300.  The 18-135 pretty much stays on the A6300. I haven't tried the 18-200.  The 18-135 is lightweight, I love it.  Only if I am shooting wildlife of some kind does it come off.  I sold my 55-210 and 18-105 when I bought the 18-135.  I also have the 24-240 (just ok) and I rent bigger lenses when I want them. 

These are from a weekend trip to Hood River, Oregon.

enhance

 

enhance

 

enhance

 

I'm a casual photographer but I have photos all over my house, computer screens and mobile frames - as Dave says, "It's a great time to be a photographer!"

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The 18-135mm is also my pick - as one of the most versatile travel zooms for E-mount overall, and probably one of the better bang-for-the-buck lenses.  Good performer throughout the range, reasonable price, good stabilization, light and small.

 

I have lots of specialized lenses for different needs on my A6300, ranging from primes, manuals, macros, and big telephotos...but the 18-135mm as soon as it came out became my 'kit' lens, replacing my original 18-55mm lens as the one that stays on the camera for general purpose, travel, etc whenever I'm not using another specialized lens.

 

I've found it especially perfect for Disney World, where I go 4-5 times a year...I bring 5-7 lenses with me, but end up spending a vast majority of the time with just the 18-135mm attached and the rest of the lenses left back in the room - it's just convenient and light and can shoot almost anything in a pinch.  I keep lens galleries in my online photo gallery site, and here's a link to my 18-135mm gallery as an idea of the lens' versatility:

 

https://pbase.com/zackiedawg/sony_sel18135

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zackiedawg-those are awesome-I’m sold!! We also do Disney usually every year so it will be great to know I can use it there. One question though-you really didn’t take that camera on Mission Space right??

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I took it on the ride, but didn't shoot with it during the ride.  I just stuck it in the storage compartment.  I've taken my camera with me on pretty much every ride in Disney - even the wet ones - I bring a ziploc bag with me in my back pocket to toss the camera in when there's risk of getting very wet (Kali River Rapids, Splash Mountain).

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15 minutes ago, zackiedawg said:

I took it on the ride, but didn't shoot with it during the ride.  I just stuck it in the storage compartment.  I've taken my camera with me on pretty much every ride in Disney - even the wet ones - I bring a ziploc bag with me in my back pocket to toss the camera in when there's risk of getting very wet (Kali River Rapids, Splash Mountain).

 

You are VERY brave!!

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Exactly right, Havoc!  A strategic tuck of the camera under the shirt and covered with your hand can protect it from those momentary splashes at touchdown on Splash Mountain or Pirates after the drops.

But even if they get wet, it doesn't necessarily spell doom...most of these cameras are at least lightly sealed a bit for environmental effects - and unless highly unlikely, can get a little wet if quickly dried (blot dry, not rub dry, so as not to push the water into the cracks).  My cameras have been caught in rainstorms, splashed at the beach, been hit with water ride splashes, and more...and I just take basic precaution to try to hide the camera from the worst of the water hit...so far, haven't had any issues.  Honestly, even with a so-called weather-sealed camera, I would take the same precautions - none of the manufacturers will warranty-back their cameras for water damage no matter how well sealed they claim to be!

 

Summer of 2018 I had a surprise splash on Pirates of the Caribbean...I had just tucked my camera under my shirt for the drop, got a little wet but kept the camera safe...then pulled the camera out to shoot the pirate ship scene right after the drop...and wouldn't you know it - one of the cannon water bursts went off right next to the boat as I was shooting.  I never had the chance to see it or react - it just rained down over me and the camera!  I dried it off with my shirt and just kept shooting - when I went back to look through the shots, I thought it was funny that, though the pirate ship shot didn't come out too good, the blast of water was captured flying towards the camera - I kept the shot just for that, as it reminds me of the incident:

original.jpg

 

During a previous Pixelmania photography group meeting at Disney, a bunch of the group of photographers in one boat got badly swamped coming down the waterfall - just about everyone in the boat had nice full frame cameras and high-end lenses, a few DSLRs mixed in, and a few mirrorless.  All got pretty wet, and one camera even died.  It's been nicknamed the 'POTC Tsunami Tour of 2014' and featured on the following Pixelmania official T-shirt.

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When I bought my a6000 years ago (which came with the 16-50 and 55-210 kit lenses), the 18-135 did not exist, and I bought the 18-200 as a travel lens.  It served its purpose, but in the last year or so I decided it was just too heavy and chunky.  I replaced it late last year with the 18-135, which, while only marginally lighter, is far less chunky, and I've been quite happy with it.   (I also now own an a6300.)   The 16-50 is a nice little lens, and sometimes it's all I want on the camera.

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On 4/24/2019 at 3:04 PM, Turtles06 said:

When I bought my a6000 years ago (which came with the 16-50 and 55-210 kit lenses), the 18-135 did not exist, and I bought the 18-200 as a travel lens.  It served its purpose, but in the last year or so I decided it was just too heavy and chunky.  I replaced it late last year with the 18-135, which, while only marginally lighter, is far less chunky, and I've been quite happy with it.   (I also now own an a6300.)   The 16-50 is a nice little lens, and sometimes it's all I want on the camera.

 

Thanks for the information comparing them both!

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On 4/22/2019 at 1:20 PM, zackiedawg said:

The 18-135mm is also my pick - as one of the most versatile travel zooms for E-mount overall, and probably one of the better bang-for-the-buck lenses.  Good performer throughout the range, reasonable price, good stabilization, light and small.

 

I have lots of specialized lenses for different needs on my A6300, ranging from primes, manuals, macros, and big telephotos...but the 18-135mm as soon as it came out became my 'kit' lens, replacing my original 18-55mm lens as the one that stays on the camera for general purpose, travel, etc whenever I'm not using another specialized lens.

 

I've found it especially perfect for Disney World, where I go 4-5 times a year...I bring 5-7 lenses with me, but end up spending a vast majority of the time with just the 18-135mm attached and the rest of the lenses left back in the room - it's just convenient and light and can shoot almost anything in a pinch.  I keep lens galleries in my online photo gallery site, and here's a link to my 18-135mm gallery as an idea of the lens' versatility:

 

https://pbase.com/zackiedawg/sony_sel18135

 

Leaving for Alaska on Monday and just purchased this lens so I dont have to switch between kit (16-50) and telephoto (55-210).

 

Should I bring the telephoto with me or will the 18-135 have enough range to cover both portraits and scenery/wildlife?  Thanks for the help!

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Honestly, it's probably pretty close...the 55-210mm no question has more reach, but the IQ is a bit soft at the 210mm end, and the 135mm when cropped tighter comes really close in overall quality.  You won't be able to shoot a bear along the shore from the ship at 1/2 mile with either lens...so I'd probably consider just using the 18-135mm myself (I have both).  I've only rarely used the 55-210mm lens since getting the 18-135mm and the results were close enough for me to not really be worth bringing both, and the 18-135mm is so much more versatile overall.

I think you're fine for scenery, portrait, and general purpose, and in a pinch you could shoot some of the closer wildlife...and crop aggressively for more distant wildlife only if it's super rare and a cropped low res shot is still worth having for the record - the 18-135mm in my opinion maintains detail much better at 135mm and cropped and up-rezzed than the 55-210mm does at 210mm, nearly enough to call it a draw between the two.

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I need to look seriously at the 18-135 again. I bought my a6500 with the Sony/Zeiss 16-70 f/4 which I know there are differences of opinions on, but I've been very happy with it. It's small enough, and I find the IQ to be excellent. The 18-135 wasn't on the market at the time, and honestly I was sort of cross shopping Leica, so the Zeiss was going to be a bright shiny object. I have some summer travel coming up, and I may look again at the 18-135...

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For Alaska I would rent the 70-300 lens.  You're in NY,  you could probably get it by Monday. Or go to one of the big stores and rent it. 

Markeb, try the 18-135, it's an awesome lens!

 

Vic

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4 hours ago, Victress2007 said:

Markeb, try the 18-135, it's an awesome lens!

 

I agree.   It wasn't on the market when I bought my a6000, so back then I bought the 18-200 as a travel lens.  It was fine for me, but in the past couple of years just started to be too heavy, and, mostly, too clunky.   So this fall I bought the 18-135, and I really love it.  (I also have an a6300 now as well.)

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On 5/10/2019 at 11:27 AM, zackiedawg said:

Honestly, it's probably pretty close...the 55-210mm no question has more reach, but the IQ is a bit soft at the 210mm end, and the 135mm when cropped tighter comes really close in overall quality.  You won't be able to shoot a bear along the shore from the ship at 1/2 mile with either lens...so I'd probably consider just using the 18-135mm myself (I have both).  I've only rarely used the 55-210mm lens since getting the 18-135mm and the results were close enough for me to not really be worth bringing both, and the 18-135mm is so much more versatile overall.

I think you're fine for scenery, portrait, and general purpose, and in a pinch you could shoot some of the closer wildlife...and crop aggressively for more distant wildlife only if it's super rare and a cropped low res shot is still worth having for the record - the 18-135mm in my opinion maintains detail much better at 135mm and cropped and up-rezzed than the 55-210mm does at 210mm, nearly enough to call it a draw between the two.

This was really helpful, thank you.

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You have all sold me on the 18-135, think it is a must get for my next trip! My next question is can anyone recommend a bag or protective cover that would fit the camera with the 18-135 lens attached that protects it in a bag or backpack for excursions?

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1 hour ago, jandlcruise said:

You have all sold me on the 18-135, think it is a must get for my next trip! My next question is can anyone recommend a bag or protective cover that would fit the camera with the 18-135 lens attached that protects it in a bag or backpack for excursions?

 

BlackRapid cross-body strap. Easy carry, fast access. Leave the hood on to protect against the little bumps and shoot away!

 

BTW, good choice on the 18-135.

 

Dave

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3 hours ago, jandlcruise said:

 the 18-135,  (I) think it is a must get for my next trip!

 

I would get it now to fool around with = rather than experimenting with it on your trip!

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