Review

In this Sony 55-210mm E-Mount Lens Review, I will go over it all!! The 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens (sel55210) is one of the most fun lenses I’ve used on any of the Nex cameras to date.


In this Sony Lens review I had the pleasure of using the Sony Nex-5n for a camera body and it certainly did the job well if you ask me. For starters the 55-210mm pics up right where the 18-55mm kit lens lets off, making this lens the perfect complement for any Nex kit lens owner. In addition to that the actual focal length, when taking into account the sensor crop factor, is 82-315mm. This is an incredible zoom range making this lens extremely versatile and a solid value for the dollar at only $349.99 US.  Sony really does do a good job when they actually release lenses ;)

Official Features from Sony

An ideal complement to the 18-55mm zoom range of the SEL1855, this 3.8x zoom lens takes you from 55mm out to 210mm with consistently outstanding optical performance all the way. Built-in Optical SteadyShot (OSS) image stabilization is a huge advantage when shooting at longer focal lengths or in low light, making it easy to capture crisp, stable images at up to four shutter speeds lower than would normally be possible.

Wide Zoom Range

The SEL55210 provides a wide focal range of up to 315mm (35mm equivalent) ideal for sports or nature shooting.

ED glass elements

Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements helps suppress chromatic aberration and color bleeding at all focal lengths providing excellent image quality throughout the zoom range.

Optical SteadyShotTM Image stabilization

Optical SteadyShotTM image stabilization makes it easier to achieve crisp, stable images and video in low-light or when zooming in on distant subjects.

Quiet Internal Focusing

Internal focusing makes smooth, responsive AF possible with minimum noise. Perfect for video capture.

Full Specifications

Optics/Lens

  • Aperture (Max.) : f/4.5 – 6.3
  • Aperture (Min.) : f/22 – 32
  • Filter Diameter : 49mm
  • Lens Groups-Elements : 9 groups, 13 elements (2 aspheric surfaces)
  • Minimum Focus Distance : 3.2ft (1m)
  • Aspheric Elements : 2 aspheric surfaces
  • AF for Movie Capture : Yes
  • Aperture Blade : 7 blades (Circular aperture)
  • Dimensions (Max. Diameter x Length) : 2-1/2 x 4-1/4″ (63.8 x108mm)
  • Exterior Finish : Metal
  • Focal Length (35mm equivalent) : 82.5mm-315mm
  • Internal Motor : Yes (Stepping motor)
  • Lens Weight : 12.1 oz (345g)
  • Mount Material : Metal

In the Box

  • Front Lens Cap
  • Rear Lens Cap
  • Lens Hood
 

SEL55210 – Build Quality

The build quality of the Sony 55-210mm lens is very good as I expected based on the 18-55mm kit lens review I did a few months ago. It’s pretty much a duplicate of that lens only much longer and with a nice rubbery zoom and focus ring. The zoom and focus are silky smooth just like the 18-55mm kit lens, but are easier to use do to the larger size and nice rubber hand grips. I’m really glad they decided to add the rubber as it feels a lot nicer on the hands when working with the lens. It also is not so freezing cold when touching with bare hands to zoom in the winter!

The E-mount 55-210mm lens is solid as a rock when mounted to the Nex-5n, and I pretty much hold the camera by the lens when moving it around and stuff as it’s just easier that way for me. One thing that would be nice for a lens this size on such a small camera body would be a tri-pod collar mount. Similar to the A-mount 70-200mm for example. Now, I know this lens really isn’t that heavy, but in relation to the tiny Nex cameras it is. What I’m getting at here is that when mounted on a tri-pod the stress being put on the camera tri-pod mount itself seems like a bit much in my opinion. I also think the 18-200mm lens could use a tripod collar mount for the same reason! Also, by moving the tri-pod mount point more towards the center of gravity of the camera and lens, it would balance better and shake less when zooming.

Check out the Sony 55-210mm E-Mount Lens below!

Be sure to Click the images for the 100% Versions!!

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ ~60mm

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

 

Here’s the Sony 55-21-mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens mounted to the Sony Nex-5n:

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Lens @ 55mm

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens

Sony SEL55210 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens – @55mm w/ Lens Hood

 

One aspect in particular about higher focal length lenses that I love, is the ability to very easily separate your subjects from the background which intern creates magnificent Bokeh’s in the process as you will see below. This is excellent for Portraits and creating depth in your images. It almost gives your image a 3d look if your not used to seeing it first hand through the camera. 210mm is more than enough reach for most photography and even some tele-photo type work can be done. I took several different shots showing the range of lens and I think you will very impressed as I was at the results.

Lets start with some standard test type shots and then will move on to some real world photos as that’s probably what you will be shooting in one way shape or form!

Test Sample Photos:

Be sure to Click the photos for the full 100% crisp view!!

Killer Bokeh at 210mm as I said above separating the subject (shovel handle) from the background.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Here’s the same scene from the same exact spot wide open at 55mm so you can see how much the 55-210mm range actually is.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

Here’s a few more test shots with 100% crops of a flower on my deck using f/6.3 and f/9 @ 210mm taken in Jpeg mode fine quality max resolution.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/9, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/9, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/9, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/9, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

This next set of test shots was taken from one of the cool views we have up here in NY Catskills area. It’s also great for all the detail in the distance to judge the lens on!! See below as I shot the same seen all using f/8, but changing the focal distance from 55mm, to 90mm, to 210mm. The 100% crops are of the farm in the center area which is pretty obvious, but not so obvious is the other 100% crop taken from the top right corner of each frame.

 

SEL55210 Real World Sample Photos:

Now for some real world sample photos!! Lets start off with my buddy Chubs who was hanging out on the deck in the afternoon overcast light soft light.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 210mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

This next shot although pretty awful due to terrible lighting, angle, etc.. was taken at 1/20th of a second handheld at 79mm!! I got a bit lucky for sure, but the OSS (optical Steady Shot) clearly works very well.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 138mm, f/6.3, 1/20sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 138mm, f/6.3, 1/20sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 138mm, f/6.3, 1/20sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 138mm, f/6.3, 1/20sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

In this next set of photos I was just taking some snapshots of friends and family from a birthday party. Nothing really special photography wise, but the Sony 55-210mm E-Mount lens performs quite well on the Nex-5n in a variety of lighting conditions.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 116mm, f/6.3, 1/100sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 116mm, f/6.3, 1/100sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 116mm, f/6.3, 1/100sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 116mm, f/6.3, 1/100sec, ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 209mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 209mm, f/6.3, 1/400sec, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 176mm, f/7.1, 1/320sec, ISO 125, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 176mm, f/7.1, 1/320sec, ISO 125, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

In this next set I found a really nice water tower that offered several continuous rows of large nuts, bolts, and ladders to exploit ;)

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @55mm, f/11, 1/100sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @55mm, f/11, 1/100sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @210mm, f/11, 1/400sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @210mm, f/11, 1/400sec, ISO 320, Handheld, Jpeg Mode

 

Professional Photography Sample Images:

You may wonder if the Nex system and/or lenses are capable of dong professional work, and the answer is very simply put YES! Now depending on which Nex model your using, you will obviously have more power and control than the others. For example; you can use studio lights with the Nex-7, but not with the Nex-5n or Nex-C3. However with the right light and some diffusers you can get killer results like these sample shots below I took for my reviews. I normally use my Canon 5d mark II for this kind of work, but as you will see the Sony Nex-5n and the E-Mount 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 Lens are more than capable of producing stellar results in my opinion.

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 186mm, f/8, 1/320sec, ISO 800, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 186mm, f/8, 1/320sec, ISO 800, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 186mm, f/8, 1/320sec, ISO 800, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 186mm, f/8, 1/320sec, ISO 800, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 400, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 400, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 400, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 400, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 132mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 500, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony Nex-5n w/ 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens @ 132mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO 500, Jpeg mode, Tripod

Sony A77, slt-a77 - Body Only

Sony A77, slt-a77 – Body Only

 

More Sample Photos

My Buddies Corvette in HDR and more..

Corvette HDR Photograph - Nex-6 and 55-210mm lens

Corvette HDR Photograph – Nex-6 and 55-210mm lens

 

Lab Photos coming soon..

 

Disney Vacation

Check out out Disney Vacation where I took massive amounts of sample photos using both the 18-55mm kit lens and the 55-210mm zoom.

 

SEL55210 Sample HD Video:

Be sure to select the 720p HD video option in the player options. It looks like a little gear on my Mac with Mozilla Firefox.


 

Conclusion:

One thing I always seem to end up saying to myself when I review a Sony lens is, “Dam this lens is sharp”. Well, I said that again when using the Sony 55-210mm lens and say the 100% version in Lightroom of Chubs. As frustrating as it may be how slow Sony is, when it comes to releasing new lenses, it’s very re-assuring for me to know they have excellent quality control in mind, and they clearly don’t release a lens until it has been put through it’s passes. Now, mind you that is just my opinion, but I’ve reviewed at least 25 lenses or so by now, and the Sony lenses are by far the most consistent as far as overall quality goes. All of the Nex E-Mount lenses I’ve tested so far have been at least a 4 star rating, and I wish I could say the same for Canon, or Tamron. Some of their lenses are strait up crap in my opinion which is yet another reason I’m so impressed with the Sony line as a whole and decided to start this website in the first place.

Moving on to Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens specifically, it’s very good all around, and it’s an incredible value for the dollar at Only $350 US!! The extra large focal range also extends your photography opportunities and allows for significantly creativity by manipulating depth of field, separating subjects from the backgrounds, and being able to shoot the same seen at a huge variety of focal lengths. Again, for the money it’s one of if not the best bang for the buck E-Mount lens available!! Assuming you by a Nex body with the 18-55mm kit lens though, otherwise that lens would be the best bang for the buck.

The 55-210mm works excellent for Portraits and the Optical Steady Shots works very well as you saw above. It also performs very well when recording video, although it’s hard to hold steady hand held and zoom. A tri-pod is really a better bet for serious work, but for family stuff and fun it’s excellent. It worked perfect for that footage of Layla eating the cupcake, although shaky, and the lighting was poor to boot.

In the end I would highly recommend this lens to anybody that has a Nex camera system. The proof is in the pudding and by all of the sample photos I included above I’m confident you will come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately the 55-210mm it’s still on back-order, but BHPhoto is expecting a shipment very soon I was told.

If your interested in more info on E-Mount lenses be sure to check my Full E-Mount Lens Guide for quick links to reviews, sample photos, and all the E-Mount lenses available today! It’s also regularly updated with additional links etc.. I would also recommend checking out the 16mm wide angle lens review and the 18-55mm kit lens review I did a while back. The next Hands on review will probably be the 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens just to give you a heads up ;)

Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask questions and comment away!!

Jay

Price: ~$349.99

Compare Sony SEL55210 Prices @ BHPhotoVideo | Amazon | Adorama | Ebay Auctions


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!