Review Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850). increase.


  1. In short
  2. History
  3. Main Specifications
  4. Assembly
  5. Focusing
  6. Image quality
  7. Sample Photos
  8. My personal experience with the lens
  9. Lens prices
  10. All Sony E APS-C cameras
  11. All Sony E APS-C Lenses
  12. Results
  13. Additional materials on mirrorless systems
  14. User Comments
  15. Add your review or question on the lens

In this review Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850) I will abbreviate to call Sony E 18-50.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

In short

Sony E 18-50 is a universal standard lens for Sony NEX / Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensor. This lens came exclusively with the Sony A3500 camera, and therefore it is little known and not common. Such lenses are called 'whale' lenses and are considered the simplest with the smallest set of capabilities. Nevertheless, whale lenses have a bunch of positive aspects, of which the most important is the low cost when buying a kit from the camera and lens.

The Sony E 18-50 is lightweight, with a very quiet and fast focus motor. Threefold zoom makes the Sony E 18-50 a very convenient solution for beginners and amateurs.

Of the obvious shortcomings - the lack of a built-in stabilizer, low aperture at the wide end (F / 4 versus F / 3.5 for other similar lenses) and the absence of a focus ring.

There is simply no information on this lens in official sources. Most likely, Sony is embarrassed by the fact that its track record has the Sony E 18-50.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)


11 May 2010 the lens was introduced Sony E 3.5-5.6 / 18-55 OSS (Optical Steady Shot, E-mount, SEL1855), which is one of the first three lenses for Sony mirrorless cropped cameras with an APS-C sensor. Initially, there was only a version Sony E 18-55 in a silver case. Version Sony E 18-55 в black case appeared only with the release of the camera NEX-7 24 August 2011 year.

12 September 2012 a similar lens was introduced Sony E 3.5-5.6 / PZ 16-50 OSS (Optical Steady Shot, Power Zoom, E-mount, SELP1650) with electronic zoom and much more compact size when folded. 16-50mm f / 3.5-5.6 PZ OSS cannot be considered a substitute for Sony E 18-55It is rather his complement.

March 24 2014 years, the Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 lens (E-mount, SEL1850) (shown in this review) that came with the camera a3500. In 2016, this lens was discontinued. Sony E 18-50 is not a logical continuation Sony E 18-55 or Sony E 16-50, since it lacks a built-in stabilizer and focus ring and uses a much simpler optical design.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Main technical characteristics of Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50:

Review Instance Name Near the front lens E 4-5.6 / 18-50 0.4m / 1.32ft Ø55 ′

On the case '4-5.6 / 18-50 Sony E-mount'

On the identifier plate 'MODEL SEL1850'

From the bayonet mount 'Made In Thailand Fabrique en Thailande'

Basic properties
  • APS-C E-mount - lens designed for Sony mirrorless cameras with APS-C
  • SEL - Sony lens for mirrorless cameras with an 'E' mount. This lens bears the short identifier name 'SEL1850'
  • Internal stepping motor - internal stepper focus motor
  • Internal focus
  • Rounded petals aperture
  • Light weight
  • Included hood
Front Filter Diameter 55 mm, plastic thread for filters
Focal length 18-50 mm, EGF for Sony cameras with APS-C sensor is 27-75 mm
Zoom ratio 2.78 X (usually just talking about XNUMXx zoom)
Designed by for Sony NEX / Sony Alpha ILCE digital mirrorless cameras
Number of aperture blades 7 rounded petals
  • bayonet mount mark (white dot)
  • hood attachment mark (red dot)
  • focal lengths for 18, 24, 28, 35, 50 mm
  • 18 mm: F / 4-F / 22
  • 24 mm: F / 4.5-F / 25
  • 28 mm: F / 5-F / 25
  • 35 mm: F / 5.6-F / 29
  • 50 mm: F / 5.6-F / 32
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 0.4 m, maximum magnification is achieved by 50 mm and is approximately 1: 6
The weight
  • 194 grams with a hood and two caps (measured)
  • 158 grams only the lens itself (measured)
Optical design 6 elements in 6 groups. Optical design not found.
Lens hood Bayonet, plastic, supplied, marked Sony ALC-SH127
Manufacturer country Made In Thailand / Fabrique en Thailande (Made in Thailand)
Period March 24, 2014 to 2016
Instructions See

The F / 4 aperture is only a third step darker than the F / 3.5 at other similar lenses. True, the decrease in aperture affected not only 18 mm of the focal length, but also the rest of the range of focal lengths between 18 and 50 mm. Already at 35 mm of the focal length, the maximum aperture rests on the value of F / 5.6, that is, there is no smooth and proportional drop in aperture from 18 to 50 mm of the focal length.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)


Sony E 18-50 was made in Thailand. The touch is pleasant and reliable.

The lens has plastic bayonet mount. The zoom ring is very wide, rubberized, pleasant to handle, rotates 90 degrees.

Important: Sony E 18-50 has no focus ring (For the first time I see this among similar lenses).

The retractable frame ('trunk') consists of 1 section. The trunk is plastic, but durable, without any backlash and without spontaneous movement. During a change in focal length, the trunk moves in waves. The maximum extended trunk is observed at 18 mm focal length, the minimum - at 35 mm. The movement of the trunk does not exceed 0.5 cm. We can even assume that the lens has almost internal zoom. But the rear lens during the change in focal length moves strictly linearly - it deepens with increasing focal length into the lens body. The trunk of the Sony E 18-50 does not spontaneously change its size under its own weight, and there are no problems with the trunk over time.

There is a bayonet mount mark and a mark on the case for quick installation of the hood. The lens uses a plastic hood, which is fixed in special grooves located near the front lens of the lens. The hood can be installed in the opposite direction for transportation. In this position, access to the zoom ring becomes uncomfortable. While changing the focal length, the lens hood moves with the trunk of the lens.

The rear lens has a rectangular lens hood that cuts off excess light and prevents stray light.

The diameter of the front filter is 55 cm, a lot of other Sony E lenses have a smaller diameter of the filter by 49 mm, for example, 16mm f / 2.8 or 55-210mm f / 4.5-6.3 OSS.

The diaphragm consists of 7 rounded petals that form a round hole.

The Sony E 18-50 is one of two original Sony E zoom lenses for the APS-C without built-in image stabilizer. The second is professional Sony E 16-55mm f / 2.8 G.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)


The lens uses a built-in stepper focus motor.

Auto focus speed medium closer to high. The focusing speed will depend slightly on the camera used. Sony a3500 cameras, for which this lens was developed, used automatic focusing by contrast, which is sometimes slower than the hybrid focusing methods of subsequent generations of Sony Alpha. Auto focus is very quiet.

While working with the Sony a3500 camera, the focus accuracy was at a high level. With good lighting, there are practically no problems with accuracy, tenacity, and refocusing.

It's important: Sony E 18-50 no focus ring. Manual focusing can be done only through the camera, but as I did not dance with a tambourine near the Sony a3500 menu, I still could not focus manually using the camera controls. Perhaps with other cameras this inconvenience is solved more simply.

During focusing, the front lens remains stationary, as the lens uses internal focus. Thus, it is possible to use any filters without problems, for example polarizing or gradient.

The minimum focusing distance is 40 cm, while you can get the maximum magnification for macro photography is approximately 1: 6

Other focusing features:

  • Focusing speed is practically independent of the selected focal length.
  • After the lens has lost accurate focusing, refocusing is fast enough.
  • The lens does not have a depth of field scale, focusing distance, and tags for working in the infrared spectrum.
  • Focus shift (shift-focus) was not noticed during operation and testing. At the same time, due to the features of the Sony mirrorless cameras, this ailment with these cameras is not terrible at all.
  • The focusing speed depends heavily on the illumination, the selected focusing mode in the camera menu, and the focusing logic of each individual camera.
  • During manual focusing, the focus distance bar appears on the display of some cameras.
  • When changing the focal length, focusing is a bit confused.
  • Sony E 18-50 has a small 'Focus Breathing' effect (changes in viewing angle during focusing).
Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Image quality

Sony E 18-50 works well with an Exmor CMOS sensor type APS-C at 20 MP, which is located in the heart of the camera Sony α3500 (ILCE-3500). Optically, this lens does not have critical bad sides, but in general it is confident middle whale. I think that with modern 24 MP and 32 MP cropped sensors, the Sony E 18-50 lens will show itself no worse.


  • sufficient resolution in the center of the frame over the entire range of focal lengths on an open aperture. Significant improvement in sharpness when closing aperture
  • angles of 18-24 mm focal length are quite weak and require serious aperture
  • as the focal length increases, the edges of the image improve in terms of sharpness on the open aperture


  • there is barrel distortion in the range of 18-35 mm
  • small pincushion distortion with a range of 35-50 mm
  • the nature of distortion is unified, easily corrected in the editor


  • vignetting is at a level typical for such lenses
  • vignetting is most pronounced at 18 mm at F / 4
  • with increasing focal length, vignetting at an open aperture decreases
  • vignetting almost disappears at f / 5.6
  • vignetting is easily fixable in the editor


  • the strongest chromatic aberration visible at 18 mm and F / 4 at the edges and corners of the image
  • chromatic aberration decrease slightly with increasing focal length
  • the number of chromatic aberrations is at the level of other similar objects
  • Sony EDIT 1.4 native utility very well eliminates source RAW files from chromatic aberration automatically ('Lens Correction' -> 'Chromatic Aberration Correction' function)


  • lens well tolerates side and back light, the amount of glare is small
  • aperture blades form a regular heptagon on virtually any hidden aperture value
  • on closed diaphragms you can get a pronounced effect of a 14-ray star (see examples of photos, this effect is shown there)

There is no data on this lens in most popular RAW converters, for example, ACR and Lightroom. And even worse, you cannot fix vignetting and distortion in one click using the original Sony EDIT 1.4 utility, in which the 'Lens Correction / Distortion Compensation' function unavailable for RAW '.ARW' files from this lens.

True, the menu Sony a3500 You can enable automatic correction: 'Corr. ob .: Shading 'and' Corr. ob .: Chrome. aberr. '. But here is the function of 'Corr. Rev .: Distortion 'disabled and not available for inclusion with this lens. At the same time, I recall once again that the Sony E 18-50 was created specifically for Sony a3500.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sample Photos

All photos in the review are shown without processing. Camera used Sony a3500. All photos are on-camera JPEG. Sony a3500 cannot shoot exclusively in RAW format, but only in RAW + JPEG or JPEG. Picture control mode 'Standard 0/0/0', several pictures in the 'Standard 0/1/1' mode. Functions' Corr. ob .: Shading ',' Corr. ob .: Chrome. aberr. ' and 'Corr. Rev .: Distortion 'were disabled.

Original JPEG '.JPG' photos can be downloaded at this link (59 photos, 400 MB). Original RAW '.ARW' photos can be download from this link (29 photos, 500 MB).

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

My experience

Sony E 18-50 is very strange. The ghost lens, without clear official data, is only for the rare Sony a3500 camera, which itself was produced and sold only in some countries and regions. It goes without saying that the Sony E 18-50 will work on other Sony NEX / Alpha cameras without any problems.

Sony E 18-50 is not even in the wonderful list of 'ULTIMATE GUIDE TO E-MOUNT LENSES FOR SONY APS-C MIRRORLESS CAMERAS'.

Sony E 18-50 does not have a focus ring. No, not even electronic! I have never seen anything like this, even the simplest whales and any other interchangeable lenses for SLR or mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor have a focus ring.

At the same time, the Sony E 18-50 has a well-balanced lens and has its good points. I really liked the almost internal zoom, which is a rarity for such lenses, as well as the pleasant autofocus operation.

Quite a decent whale lens.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)


Prices for Sony E 18-50 see here.

The Sony E 18-50 is considered a discontinued lens and uses an older but still relevant lens instead. Sony E 3.5-5.6 / PZ 16-50 OSS Power Zoom.

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

All Sony E mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensor

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

All Sony E lenses for APS-C

  1. 16mm f / 2.8
  2. 20mm f / 2.8 (black / silver)
  3. 24mm f / 1.8 ZEISS ZA
  4. 30mm f / 3.5 Macro
  5. 35mm f / 1.8 U.S.
  6. 50mm f / 1.8 U.S. (black / silver)
  7. 10-18mm f / 4 U.S.
  8. 16-50mm f / 3.5-5.6 PZ U.S. (black / silver)
  9. 16-55mm f / 2.8 G
  10. 16-70mm f / 4 U.S. ZEISS ZA
  11. 18-50mm f / 4-5.6
  12. 18-55mm f / 3.5-5.6 U.S. (black / silver, Japan / Thailand)
  13. 18-105mm f / 4 G PZ U.S.
  14. 18-110mm f / 4 G PZ U.S.
  15. 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 U.S.
  16. 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 U.S.
  17. 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 U.S. LE
  18. 18-200mm f / 3.5-6.3 PZ U.S.
  19. 55-210mm f / 4.5-6.3 U.S. (black / silver)
  20. 70-350mm f / 4.5–6.3 G U.S.

Third-party autofocus lenses for Sony E APS-C:

Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

The sizes of the Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 lens (E-mount, SEL1850) and YONGNUO Ynlens YN50mm F1.8S DA DSM


Sony E 18-50 is a simple and intuitive full-time whale lens. Very cheap in the aftermarket. Most likely it cheapest original lens for Sony E APS-C. Optically, it does not have serious problems, but it does not particularly shine. It is very strange that there is so little information about this baby.

10 main advantages:

  1. compact sizes
  2. very low weight (only 158 grams)
  3. almost internal zoom (trunk movement is minimal and inconspicuous)
  4. focus type internal
  5. focus is very quiet and fast enough
  6. stepper (or similar) focus motor (important for movie shooting)
  7. included hood
  8. very wide and comfortable zoom ring
  9. aftermarket lens availability (cheapest original lens for Sony E APS-C)
  10. quite sharp images, especially on covered apertures. No major optical issues

10 main disadvantages:

  1. missing focus ring (what? seriously!)
  2. reduced aperture at the wide end (F / 4 vs F / 3.5 in similar Sony 16-50 и Sony 18-55)
  3. reduced focal length at the long end (50 mm versus 55 mm for similar Sony 18-55)
  4. there is no built-in image stabilizer (such Sony 16-50 и Sony 18-55)
  5. plastic mount (y Sony 16-50 it is metallic, while Sony 16-50 still easier)
  6. rear lens movement during focal length changes (may suck in air with dust)
  7. 55 mm filter diameter (many other Sony E lenses have 49 mm diameter)
  8. no normal official lens data (ghost lens)
  9. under this lens, there are no profiles for popular RAW converters that can quickly eliminate some optical flaws, native utilities and even original Sony cameras are not able to automatically correct distortion
  10. optical flaws inherent in similar lenses. First of all - high distortion, tangible chromatic aberration and low resolution at the edges and corners of the frame in the wide angle range

Materials on the topic

  1. Full-frame mirrorless systems. List of all cameras and lenses to them. Mirrorless fever, discussion, choice and more
  2. All cropped mirrorless cameras, discussion of systems
  3. Mirrorless crop that has stopped or is stopping its development
  4. Fallen Digital Mirror Systems
  5. JVI or EVI
  6. Simple and clear medium format
  7. Smartphone Impact
  8. What's next?

Here on the site comments do not require registration. In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

Material prepared by Arkady Shapoval. Do not forget subscribe to my instagram.

Add a comment:

Comments: 17, on the topic: Review of Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850)

  • Koba

    Does it seem to me, or is the lens really sharp? And even a nice-looking picture gives ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      someone will definitely joke that the words “whale” and “harsh” are not compatible. But yes, this kid, and even with a simple 6/6 circuit is a perfectly suitable lens. I myself was extremely surprised.

  • BB

    Sony stands out, and writes FR / aperture vice versa))

    • Arkady Shapoval

      in fact, many do

      • Onotole

        Yes, but from an arithmetic point of view it’s not so right)

  • Dezmond2

    I had an A3500 with such a whale, and before it there was a couple of Canon ... and so the Canon's whale seems like complete trash compared to this Sony. Autofocus is really practically inaudible, except in complete silence you start to hear it distinctly, but you can not hear it on the street at all ... which can not be said about Canon, even the USM version.

    • Roman

      It depends on what. DC III is terrible. IS STM is a pretty decent whale, especially the latter, which is smaller and darker at the wide end. The USM kit seems to exist, but I didn’t come across it with us.

      Again, even the 18-55 / DC III is quite suitable for filming and training.

  • Koba

    For the sake of interest, I tried to look at the price and it turned out that no one was selling it in all of China. A very rare thing.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      By the way, I wrote a letter to Brian Smith, who manages'ULTIMATE GUIDE TO E-MOUNT LENSES FOR SONY APS-C MIRRORLESS CAMERAS'with a proposal to add Sony E 4-5.6 / 18-50 (E-mount, SEL1850) to the list, because this is Sony's native lens for the APS-C E, and received the answer that the camera lens was sold exclusively in' Australia, Mexico , Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa '. No lens has been added. Discrimination.

  • Oleg

    I have one that I don’t really like.

  • Sergei

    At the price of the secondary, this subject practically does not differ from the used Sony 18-55 (which is well known and has been tested in various reviews several times). True, on sale this subject slips much less often.
    But it is more dimensional, without a stub, and six lenses in the optical scheme have always been very embarrassing.
    Plus the lack of a focus ring.
    This is the first review of this subject for me, where a definite positive clearly sounds.
    Conclusion: if you got it, then do not rush to put on a dusty shelf or throw it away. Maybe it’s useful for something.
    When I almost got the Sony 3500 carcass almost for nothing, I got the well-deserved 18-55 for it in the kit.

  • Jankowsky

    The marketing and technological concept of this “gag” is simply brilliant - there is NO focus ring - but the creative engineer from Aunt Sony, in any case, would not hurt to tear my hands with meat ... And, judging by the photo, the lens is not bad and even sharp, comfortable and generally fit. The figure seemed nicer and more textured than 16-50 OSS. How reliable is it - here's another question

  • Alexey

    most likely you can do external manual focus control. I don’t know why :)

  • Victor

    Wow. The A3500 with this lens is my first “real” camera ... To be honest, the lens went to Avito very quickly, since the picture from it was soapy soap, and shooting with such a speed and without a stabilizer could only be done on a bright sunny day. SEL55210, which also, in general, does not shine by the standards of the world of DSLRs, seemed after him a real revelation.

    I would venture to suggest that SEL1850 is subject to a strong variation in quality from copy to copy.

  • Fyodor

    I don’t understand the suffering on the stabilizer. But what about filming without stubs before and everything turned out? Or the most important whims of marketers to satisfy?

    • US6IBD

      Well, then no one tried to shoot 1/5 or 1/10. And the stabilizer allows it. For “dark” and telephoto lenses a good “stray”.

    • Onotole

      So they shot it. On a more or less fine day - without a tripod. In all other cases, either with a tripod or with a flash or not at all removed. It is now possible to wind IBIS, OSS, ISO12800-25600 and receive any pictures for 1/2 sec, at night in the entrance with a burned out bulb. And then it was impossible, that's all.

Add a comment

Copyright © Blog Author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2020

English-version of this article