Summary: As an oldtime Minolta 35mm photographer, I was excited when Sony took over the brand because I thought all my old lenses would have a new lease of life. But that didn't happen - about three years ago I purchased the 18-200mm Sony zoom with an A100 and shot comparisons with my Minolta AF lenses. Results looked identical or the Sony lens was better in some cases which meant that all my old Minolta lenses stayed in storage.
Summary: Could have rated "excellant for this price", but that's not what's asked. For a reasonable price, one can get the Sony 18-200mm lens. I've noticed no "bothersome" distortion at Any range. NO pincushioning. Nearly inperceptable barrel distortion, but not shot smearing at 18-20mm. Buying it used, on eBay, as I did, left me with a smug, "ain't I the smart shopper" feeling- having saved nearly 50% off retail.
Summary: I purchased the lens as an all purpose outdoor photog lens. I pricipally shoot land/sea scapes, flowers, birds in flight, etc. With this lens I see a definate improvement over the 70mm kit lens that came with the camera. I'm also quite happy with my "macro" flower shots. I didn't expect such clarity. It's in this area that the lens has exceeded expectations.
Pros: Compact Design, Easy To Use, Easy to use focus ring, Improves Picture Quality
Within a whisker of a $2,000 Nikon lens - at the same apertures
John S. Bowling "John B", Amazon
18 November 2007
Summary: I spent five hours yesterday comparing pictures from this lens (which I thought would be markedly inferior) on a Sony A100 with those from a friend's Nikon D200 ($1,400 today) with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens ($2,000). I had decided to sell my setup and spend the money on the Nikon to get the additional sharpness I thought it had and was just doing the test to be sure. I'm glad I did because I got a surprise.