what is 55-210mm lens used for

what is 55-210mm lens used for

One of the vital disappointing realizations new DSLR homeowners face is that their 18-55mm equipment lens solely has a puny 3x zoom vary. Coming from point-and-shoots with 10x, 20x, and even 50x zoom ratios, it may really feel fairly limiting. The answer? Telephoto lenses.

The Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS (MSRP $349.99) is one such lens, offering sufficient zoom vary to seize faraway topics. It gained’t rival a 60x superzoom for sheer attain, however it can take significantly better pictures—particularly if you know the way to benefit from it.

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Better of all, it gained’t break the financial institution. Positive, Sony needed to make some sacrifices to get the worth that low, however in case you’re wanting so as to add attain on a funds, this lens ought to be in your radar. When evaluating any lens, we concentrate on 4 key areas: sharpness, distortion, chromatic aberration, and bokeh. An ideal lens would render the best particulars precisely, wouldn’t distort straight traces or produce ugly fringing round high-contrast topics, and would create easy out-of-focus areas.

The Sony E 55-210mm OSS succeeds in checking off two of our main areas of concern—sharpness and chromatic aberration—however is merely common when it comes to bokeh and general distortion. Nonetheless, in its class of reasonably priced zoom lens, the general efficiency is kind of robust. A lens’s sharpness is its capability to render the best particulars in pictures. In testing a lens, we think about sharpness throughout your complete body, from the middle of your photos out to the acute corners, utilizing a median that provides further weight to middle efficiency. We quantify sharpness utilizing line widths per image top (LW/PH) at a distinction of MTF50.

Mounted on the Sony A6000 in our check labs, the Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS proved itself to be a reasonably sharp zoom lens.

A line graph of the Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS
Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com

Sharpness takes an enormous hit at 210mm.

It is strongest at 55mm, the place it is capable of resolve effectively over 1,900 traces within the middle of the body, from the utmost aperture of f/4.5 by to f/8. Halfway (50% from the middle), that determine drops to roughly 1,700 traces, whereas the corners sink to about 1,400 traces. Usually talking, that is fairly spectacular for a zoom; something over 1,600 traces is taken into account sharp on this technique.

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At 135mm, the profile adjustments. The middle resolves round 1,900 traces at f/5.6 and f/8, whereas the corners leap to between 1,550 and 1,700. However by 200mm, issues get grim: On the most aperture of f/6.3, middle decision drops all the best way to 1,250 traces whereas the partway and corners solely resolve 1,050 and 1,150 traces, respectively. These numbers enhance at f/8 (1,525/1,225/1,225), however solely barely.

Whereas efficiency at f/11 is appropriate from 55-135mm, we do not advocate going previous the diffraction restrict (f/8) in case you can keep away from it. The f/16 and f/22 efficiency, particularly, could be very poor throughout all focal lengths. The Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS is one in every of a well-known breed of lenses: an entry-level telephoto zoom lens designed to be paired with the usual 18-55mm equipment zoom.

On the plus facet, this lens has sufficient attain for sports activities and wildlife images, and contains useful optical picture stabilization (that is the OSS) that may assist forestall blur from hand-shake at longer focal lengths. However there are downsides, too: Its small most aperture makes it lower than supreme for dim capturing conditions or very fast-moving topics.

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EXIF: 55mm, ISO 250, 1/3200, f/5.6
Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Chris Thomas

The included lens hood shields the entrance ingredient from stray mild.

To pack this a lot zoom right into a compact $350 lens, Sony’s designers had to make use of an aperture that closes down as you zoom in. At full telephoto, the aperture cannot open any wider than f/6.3, which starves the sensor for mild. In vivid daylight you will be okay, however when the solar goes down you will must both use slower shutter speeds (leading to blurrier pictures) or larger ISO settings (grainier pictures).

In the event you plan to do plenty of capturing in variable lighting, you will need to think about a brighter lens, just like the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS. Nevertheless, that type of lens will value you much more cash, along with being larger and heavier. Sadly, there isn’t any dishonest physics. Although it isn’t too huge or heavy, the Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS has a premium really feel that many different reasonably priced lenses lack—even these from market leaders like Canon and Nikon. Like different Sony lenses, it additionally has a particularly minimalist look. A lot of the controls you’d often discover on a lens—stuff like autofocus and picture stabilization—have to be dealt with by your digicam’s menu.

EXIF: 55mm, ISO 250, 1/3200, f/5.6
Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Chris Thomas

At full telephoto, the E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS telescopes out fairly far.

The one bodily controls on this lens are the distinguished focus and zoom rings. And as you’d count on from a contemporary autofocus lens, the zoom ring is big, whereas the main focus ring comes throughout virtually as an afterthought.

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The zoom motion is comparatively easy, and there’s a reassuring physicality to the mechanical motion—particularly in case you’re used to working with a Sony Energy Zoom equipment lens. The main focus ring can be easy, because it’s a focus-by-wire system. While you flip it, all you’re doing is telling the main focus motor to maneuver someway. It’s a lot much less responsive than mechanical focus methods, however widespread on trendy autofocus lenses.

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We penalize lenses for distortion once they bend or warp your photos picture, inflicting usually straight traces to curve.

There are two varieties of distortion: When the middle of the body appears to bulge outward towards you, that’s barrel distortion. It is sometimes a results of the challenges inherent in designing wide-angle lenses. When the middle of the picture appears prefer it’s being sucked in, that’s pincushion distortion. Pincushion is extra widespread in telephoto lenses.

Distortion from the 55-210mm OSS is kind of constant throughout the zoom vary, with round 1% pincushion at 55mm, 1.8% pincushion at 135mm, and 1.5% pincushion at 210mm. That is not an enormous shock, for the reason that lens solely covers telephoto focal lengths. It is also not that troublesome—something beneath 2% is kind of simple to appropriate. Chromatic aberration refers back to the numerous varieties of “fringing” that may seem round excessive distinction topics in pictures—like leaves set towards a vivid sky. The fringing is often both inexperienced, blue, or magenta and whereas it’s comparatively simple to take away the offensive colour with software program, it may additionally degrade picture sharpness.

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We examined the 55-210mm’s CA efficiency at 55mm, 135mm, and 210mm and located that it controls fairly effectively for lateral/axial chromatic aberration. CA is most evident at 135mm, however even there it is nonetheless what we would name minor. It’s possible you’ll discover it in some pictures, nevertheless it’s simply corrected and can solely be an actual nuisance within the excessive corners of significantly high-contrast scenes. Reasonably priced telephoto zoom lenses are well-liked with shoppers, however not often excel in our check labs. The Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS is a notable exception. It is definitely a significantly better lens at 55mm than it’s at 210mm, however so long as you retain the aperture to f/8 or wider, it may ship spectacular outcomes.

Within the lab, we have been significantly impressed by the lens’s capability to render very fantastic particulars within the middle of the picture. Small particulars like the feel of a chunk of clothes or fantastic strands of hair are clearly seen. Even within the corners of the body, most of our pictures appeared fairly sharp.

There are definitely some caveats, although: At 210mm, the one aperture that yields persistently sharp pictures is f/8. The lens struggles each extensive open at f/6.3 and at smaller apertures from f/11 to f/22. That is a reasonably tight window if you’d like high-quality pictures at full telephoto, and it means you will want fairly a bit of sunshine to get the job achieved.

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Within the subject, the 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 impressed us with its management of optical defects like chromatic aberration and geometric distortion. Regardless of its restrictive most aperture, it additionally was capable of produce easy out-of-focus areas (although Sony’s 50mm f/1.8 OSS is a significantly better selection if that is your main concern).

Beneath you’ll be able to see pattern pictures taken with the Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS mounted on the Sony A6000. Click on the hyperlink beneath every picture to obtain the full-resolution picture.

EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 View Gallery × ADVERTISEMENT

Samples

EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/6.3

  • EXIF: 210mm, ISO 100, 1/320, f/6.3 EXIF: 55mm, ISO 250, 1/3200, f/5.6 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney

EXIF: 132mm, ISO 250, 1/1250, f/6.3 EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 129mm, ISO 250, 1/2500, f/6.3 EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 EXIF: 210mm, ISO 100, 1/320, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 114mm, ISO 250, 1/320, f/5.6 EXIF: 132mm, ISO 250, 1/1250, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 176mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/6.3 EXIF: 129mm, ISO 250, 1/2500, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 171mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney EXIF: 170mm, ISO 250, 1/800, f/6.3 EXIF: 114mm, ISO 250, 1/320, f/5.6 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney Sony EXIF: 176mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney TJ Donegan EXIF: 171mm, ISO 250, 1/1000, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens Review EXIF: 170mm, ISO 250, 1/800, f/6.3 Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Kyle Looney

View Gallery Once more

EXIF: 210mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/6.3

ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Most new DSLR and mirrorless digicam homeowners begin with a typical equipment lens—often an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 or one thing related. These are good starter lenses, however they’re higher for landscapes and on a regular basis snapshots than zooming in on faraway topics. The Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS is a lens that may deliver these distant topics nearer, offering the additional attain you are on the lookout for.

Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens Review
Credit score: newurbanhabitat.com / Chris Thomas

Sony’s minimalist aesthetic retains issues clear.

Like all reasonably priced zoom lenses, it makes compromises to maintain the scale and value down, however for essentially the most half they’re sensible selections. The restricted most aperture is the most important problem, beginning at f/4.5 and shrinking to f/6.3 at full extension. That limits the quantity of sunshine that hits your sensor, that means you will usually want slower shutter speeds or larger ISO sensitivity, which degrades picture high quality.

Sony’s Optical SteadyShot (OSS) stabilization goes a way towards compensating for this problem. It helps appropriate for blur attributable to hand actions at slower shutter speeds, however it may’t appropriate to your topic’s movement. Which means this lens is not supreme for anybody trying to shoot indoor sports activities like basketball or volleyball. It will possibly work in these conditions if you cannot afford a brighter zoom, however you will must work so much more durable (significantly in processing your photos) to get clear pictures.

The 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS is finest suited to outside sports activities and wildlife images, the place there’s loads of mild.

The Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS is much better suited to outside sports activities and wildlife images, the place there’s loads of mild and you need to use a quick shutter velocity to freeze the motion. In these conditions, it is definitely definitely worth the $350 asking worth and makes a terrific companion to an 18-55mm or 16-50mm equipment lens. Bokeh refers back to the high quality of the out of focus areas in a photograph. It is necessary for a lens to render your topic with sharp particulars, nevertheless it’s simply as necessary that the background not distract from the main focus of your shot.

Whereas some lenses have bokeh that is prized for its distinctive traits, most lenses purpose to provide extraordinarily easy backgrounds. Particularly, photographers prize lenses that may produce round bokeh that’s freed from aspherical distortion (or “coma”).

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For a consumer-grade telephoto zoom, the Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 does an admirable job of rendering these out-of-focus areas, even with its restricted most aperture. The 210mm finish of the zoom vary supplies the smoothest outcomes, creating the shallowest depth of subject.

The shot above is a best-case situation for this lens: It does a very good job of isolating the signal, however the background can be a major distance behind. On the very least, this lens’s bokeh would not have the “busy” or “nervous” high quality widespread to small-aperture lenses; whereas backgrounds lack the dreamy high quality we prize, they don’t seem to be overtly distracting.

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Meet the tester

Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens Review

TJ Donegan

Govt Editor

@TJDonegan

TJ is the Govt Editor of newurbanhabitat.com. He’s a Massachusetts native and has lined electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and extra for Reviewed. He’s from the self-styled “Cranberry Capitol of the World,” which is, in actual fact, an actual factor.

See all of TJ Donegan’s evaluations

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