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15 Best Sony E-Mount Lenses

We are pleased to present this rundown of the very best lenses available for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. Because the lenses on this list represent the pinnacle of Sony E-mount optics, the only ones that have been included are those that have been given the coveted 5-star Testbench Gold award after being subjected to a comprehensive evaluation. These are all lenses that we have tried, graded, and used, and we believe that each and every one of them provides an excellent return on investment.

The Sony mirrorless range is quite extensive, and the lenses that you require are likely to vary depending on whether you plan to shoot with the high-resolution 33MP Sony Alpha A7 IV, the high-speed Sony Alpha 1, the budget-friendly Sony A6000, or any of the many other cameras that are currently available. As a result, we have included a wide variety of lenses in this guide, including zooms and primes, with a variety of focal lengths, and prices that range from low to high.

How to choose a Sony E-mount lens

Especially for someone who is new to the system, the sheer number of various lens selections can feel intimidating. When shopping for a Sony lens, here are some of the most important characteristics to look for.

Image Stabilisation:

If you are looking for additional stabilization, then look for a lens with “OSS” – Optical SteadyShot, as this will work in combination with the in-camera stabilization to give even better stabilization. The majority of recent Sony E-Mount mirrorless cameras have built-in image stabilization, also known as IBIS (In-body image stabilization) or “SteadyShot INSIDE” by Sony. This helps keep your shots sharp and blur-free. If your camera does not have a built-in SteadyShot capability, then you will need to hunt for a lens that has OSS built into it as well.

Crop factor:

The majority of the lenses that we have included in this roundup are Sony FE lenses, which indicates that they are intended for use with full-frame camera systems. These lenses will also function properly with an APS-C Sony mirrorless camera, such as the Sony Alpha A6600 or the Sony ZV-E10, although the resulting images will have a crop factor of 1.5 times. This indicates that they will have a shorter effective focal length than the one that is mentioned on the box; for example, a lens with a focal length of 50 millimeters will perform more similarly to one with a focal length of 75 millimeters. For additional information on how this works, please see our guide that compares APS-C and full-frame cameras. On some of the more compact camera bodies, they may also feel a little bit huge.

Aperture ring:

Although aperture settings can be adjusted within the camera, many photographers find it more convenient to have a tactile ring on the lens that they can turn to adjust the aperture. You can also come across references to an aperture ring being “clickless,” which indicates that it does not create any noise when the setting is changed. This is an excellent feature to have while shooting videos.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top lenses that are compatible with the Sony E-Mount.

Best Sony E-Mount Lenses

1. Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS

$473.00
Amazon
A good 50mm lens is essential for any photographer who focuses on portraiture, and the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is exactly that (or very close to it with a 52.5mm equivalent). This prime lens is exceptionally sharp, works well in low light, and features image stabilization technology developed by OSS. In addition, its weight of fewer than 6 ounces places it among the selections that are among the lightest overall. Yes, you can save money by going with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens that is placed below, but we value the quicker autofocus, lower weight, and more compact size of the Sony, which is why we have it ranked higher than the Sigma.

What are some of the disadvantages of using the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens? The most striking aspect is the price, which comes in at about $425, making it one of the more pricey prime lenses available for APS-C cameras (as we mentioned above, you can go cheaper with third-party options from brands like Sigma). Second, the zoom lenses that follow offer greater versatility, but at the expense of some sharpness and their ability to operate in low light. Last but not least, the Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 is a lens that is difficult to surpass in terms of image quality at this focal length; however, purchasing this lens will result in a significant increase in cost to over $700.

See also  4 Best 150-600mm Lenses

2. Sony 18-105mm f/4 G OSS 

$648.00
Amazon
Although there are a number of travel zooms that are suitable for use with Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, we believe that the 18-105mm f/4 delivers the best balance between cost and performance. This lens is crisp, focuses pretty well, and has the same maximum aperture of f/4 and OSS image stabilization as the more expensive 16-70mm f/4 lens that is below it. The cost of this lens is approximately $600. Although you lose a handy 3 millimeters at the wide end, we find that the greater reach of 158 millimeters compared to 105 millimeters is a benefit.

One of the most significant drawbacks of the Sony 18-105mm f/4 G is its weight, which clocks in at 15.1 ounces, making it one of the heaviest versions on the list and placing it third behind the 16-55mm and the 18-200mm. It also has issues maintaining edge sharpness across a range of apertures, but this is something that is quite typical for a lens of this kind. We also like the Sony 16-70mm f/4, which is a more expensive option in this category but includes Zeiss glass in its construction. This lens has received positive reviews from us. The Sony 18-135mm has a greater reach and is lighter, but its low-light performance at the telephoto end is not as good as that of the other two lenses.

3. Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS

$698.00
$548.00
Save: 150
Amazon
The Sony 10-18mm f/4 is the best choice for photographers interested in landscape photography who want the versatility of a wide-angle zoom lens. This lens is crisp, has very little distortion, quickly focuses, and weighs a respectable 8 ounces; this makes it significantly lighter than other wide-angle options for digital SLR cameras. When combined with a camera such as the a6600, this lens creates a formidable system for taking photographs in natural settings.

Is there a reason the Sony 10-18mm f/4 lens isn’t ranked higher? Although the maximum aperture of f/4 isn’t ideal for a premium lens, it does offer optical image stabilization (OSS), which is helpful when shooting in low light. In addition, it is fairly expensive, coming in at roughly $800; nevertheless, wide-angle zooms are generally among the most expensive types of zooms, so this is not exceptional. If you are interested in purchasing a prime lens, the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 below has a quicker maximum aperture than the Sony, but it is also heavier and more expensive. On the other hand, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 is an ultra-fast lens that comes in at a wonderful deal for less than $400. However, it is also somewhat heavy and not as well built as some of the other options.

4. Sigma 30mm f/1.4

$289.00
Amazon
It is clear that the third-party lens manufacturer Sigma has made a significant investment in the Sony E-Mount lens market, as evidenced by the availability of alternatives such as the 30mm f/1.4. On paper, this lens leaps out the page: it boasts a maximum aperture that is blisteringly quick at f/1.4, a usable focal length equivalent that is 45mm, and it is offered for a price that is affordable at $279. This lens is capable of competing optically with models that cost at least twice as much as it does if not more. Overall, it is a very reliable portrait and travel lens that, when mounted on a tiny APS-C camera body, does not have the sense of being overly cumbersome.

In all honesty, purchasing the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 does require making a few concessions in certain areas. The autofocus isn’t as quick as we’d like it to be, which can make it a hard lens for action and video. Additionally, the build quality is substandard in comparison to Sony’s high-end native alternatives. In addition, the Sigma does not have an internal stabilization system, however, given that it has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, we do not consider this to be a significant limitation of the lens. The 30mm f/1.4 is our favorite Sigma lens for Sony E-Mount because, all things considered, we like the image quality better than the pricing suggests it should.

5. Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 OSS

$798.00
Amazon
One of our favorite zoom lenses for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras is the Sony 16-70mm f/4, but only for those who have the financial means to purchase it. It provides outstanding sharpness and image quality over a focal length range similar to 24-105 millimeters, making it suitable for shooting everything from landscapes to portraits (it’s also an excellent choice for traveling). The lengthy name is a consequence of Sony’s collaboration with Zeiss, which is most evident in the T* coating that produces exceptional clarity and color. This collaboration led to a long name. This lens will easily outperform any of the kit zooms, even those that are considered to be among the best.

The price is easily the most noticeable disadvantage of the Sony 16-70mm f/4. It’s one of the most costly lenses on this list, regardless of the category, coming in at around $900. Additionally, there is a possibility of some blurriness occurring while shooting at the extreme ends of the zoom range; yet, the lens is razor sharp somewhere between 35 and 50 millimeters. If money is a key consideration, the Sony 18-105mm, which was just mentioned, gives a wider range for $300 less than the 16-70mm, but we believe that the 16-70mm is preferable in terms of its optical quality.

6. Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS

$298.00
Amazon
At the telephoto end of the range, there aren’t all that many options for E-mount lenses, but the 55-210mm model is easy on the wallet and offers the longest reach with an equivalent of 315mm (second is the 18-200mm below with an equivalent of 300mm). Overall, you get acceptable optics, a weight that is rather low for a lens of this type (12.2 ounces), and a price that is not unreasonable. Keep in mind that the 55-210mm OSS is included in many of Sony’s mirrorless camera kits, or you can purchase it separately for approximately $350; but, purchasing it as part of a kit is a much more cost-effective option.

Make sure that your expectations are realistic by using a lens such as the Sony 55-210mm. You get what you pay for here: the performance in low light is subpar when the aperture is set between f/4.5 and 6.3, and there is a discernible decrease in sharpness (particularly at the telephoto end). Last but not least, the majority of this lens’ construction is comprised of plastic (the mount, however, is made of metal), which helps keep the lens’ weight down but, in the long run, has an impact on its durability. The possibility exists that in the not-too-distant future, a faster E-mount telephoto lens will become available; nevertheless, in the meanwhile, the 55-210mm is a cost-effective method to finish out your kit.

See also  18 Best Lenses for Nikon D780

7. Sigma 16mm f/1.4

Once again, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 is a lens that was produced by a third-party manufacturer and it has a lot going for it. This wide-angle primary lens is far superior to the Sony 16mm f/2.8 in terms of both its clarity and its ability to operate in low light. The gap between the two lenses is significant. Landscape photography is a good fit for this lens, which has an effective focal length of 24 millimeters and low-light performance that is unrivaled by any prime or zoom lens for the Sony E Mount that is comparable in terms of capability.

It is important to note that we prefer using this lens for taking still photographs rather than videos. In addition to having a tendency to focus more slowly than their native counterparts, Sigma lenses also have a tendency to make a lot of noise when the autofocus motor is engaged. Additionally, the weight of 14.3 ounces is somewhat heavy for a prime lens; every other wide-angle option on our list is lighter, which is something to consider for anyone who will be carrying their camera around for extended periods of time. Having said that, the image quality and value of the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 will be difficult to top, which is why we have decided to include it in this roundup.

8. Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS

$848.00
Amazon
We are aware of the appeal of lenses that combine several functions into one. One lens may span the entire range of focal lengths, from wide-angle to telephoto, eliminating the need to purchase and carry a number of different zooms and primes. However, in terms of image quality, they are not the best, and when compared to purpose-built lenses of the same focal length, they fall behind. The Sony 18-200mm is a quicker lens than the 55-210mm that came before it, captures clear images, and comes with OSS to help compensate for low levels of available natural light. The most significant aspect is that you can just throw it on your camera and never have to worry about changing the glass again.

However, despite this, we still recommend going in a different way, and this is especially true when you consider the size and weight of the Sony 18-200mm, which comes in at 16.3 ounces. When mounted to a lens of this magnitude, mirrorless cameras are supposed to have a more compact feel, but this is difficult to accomplish. Furthermore, you get decent image quality throughout much of this range, but the lens isn’t great at any single focal length. Because of this, we normally prefer going with zooms or primes that are better specialized to our needs rather than this one.

9. Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS

$348.00
Amazon
This lens has a focal length that is similar to 75mm on a 35mm camera, making it an excellent choice for photographing portraits even though its designation is 50mm. Having said that, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is a reliable lens that retains its sharpness right up to the lens’s edges, performs well in low light thanks to its maximum aperture of f/1.8, and has image stabilization. It is one of the finest bargains of any Sony E-mount prime lens and an excellent choice for taking pictures of people. You can even use it for macro photography; although the lens wasn’t designed specifically for that application, the fact that it has a minimum focusing distance of slightly more than a foot makes it a suitable alternative for macro photography.

Where does the Sony 50mm f/1.8 fall short in terms of its capabilities? A lens with a focal length of 75 millimeters can be restrictive, much more so than a genuine nifty fifty. You’ll also discover that autofocus has a tendency to search, which makes it a challenging choice for taking photographs of moving subjects or activities. Last but not least, the internal focus motor produces a good amount of noise, which is not ideal for those who capture videos. But if you’re looking for a portrait lens that won’t break the bank but still delivers excellent results, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is a great option.

10. Sony 20mm f/2.8

$348.00
Amazon
Because mirrorless cameras are more compact and less cumbersome than their DSLR counterparts, many individuals look for lenses that are compatible with their mirrorless cameras. This pancake-style lens is exceptionally lightweight, weighing in at just 2.4 ounces, and has such a low profile that you won’t even notice it’s on your camera because it has such a small profile. The 20mm f/2.8 is the best option you have in this category. With a focal length equivalent of 30 millimeters and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, this lens provides for a great walk-around option for travel and street photography.

When you start to evaluate the optical performance, that’s when things start to get more complicated. You can anticipate some vignetting from the Sony 20mm f/2.8 lens, in addition to the lack of sharpness and general image quality that we prefer to see from prime lenses. In terms of image quality, this isn’t a terrible lens by any means, but the lenses that came before it are unquestionably superior. However, it is difficult to criticize the lightweight and tiny form factor, which are the primary reasons why the majority of people purchase the 20mm f/2.8 in the first place.

11. Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

$648.00
Amazon
Last year, Sony produced the 18-135mm lens to complement the 18-105mm f/4 and the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 that were already in their lineup. This further demonstrates how popular the trend of all-in-one lenses now is. In terms of its performance, the lens impresses us to a large extent: it has a respectable level of sharpness, it is quite lightweight for a zoom lens that covers such a wide range of focal lengths, and it is equipped with OSS image stabilization. In the end, it is more lightweight than either the Sony 18-200mm or the 18-105mm, and it has a slightly more contemporary feel to it.
See also  10 Best Lenses for Bird Photography

The Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and the Sony 18-105mm f/4 are neck and neck for first place in our comparison. At the end of the day, we appreciate the fixed maximum aperture of the latter and better performance at the long end, not to mention that the additional focal length coverage of the 18-135mm isn’t all that helpful because neither lens is a true telephoto lens. Neither of these lenses is a true telephoto lens. In the end, both of these lenses are viable options that can do everything and rarely need to be removed from your Sony camera. The simplicity that both lenses provide may make them worthwhile for travel and general use.

12. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

$999.00
Amazon
Because it has a focal length that is similar to 18mm, the Zeiss Touit 12mm is ideal for wide-angle photographers who take their work seriously. For the benefit of those who are unaware, Zeiss is known for producing some of the highest quality glass on the planet, which can be used in a variety of applications including consumer and industrial products. Furthermore, the lenses produced by the company are extremely well-liked among enthusiasts. The Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 has outstanding sharpness, minimal distortion, and superb color rendition, and it outperforms the Sony 10-18mm f/4 lens in terms of low-light performance by one full stop. Additionally, the lens has exceptional low-light performance. Overall, it will be quite difficult for you to find a wider-angle lens that is of higher quality.

When deciding whether or not to purchase the Zeiss Touit 12mm, there are a few key factors to take into account. To begin, 18 millimeters is a rather wide setting; therefore, if you are not an expert in wide-angle photography, it would make more sense to invest in a zoom lens that is more flexible (for more info on this, check out our article on Lenses and Focal Lengths for Landscapes). Second, the Zeiss manages to be heavier than the Sony 10-18mm f/4, which is unusual for prime lenses because it’s usually the other way around. This lens, however, will not let you down if you are serious about taking photographs of landscapes, buildings, or the night sky.

13. Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G

This is a fun one: if you are seeking professional-grade glass for your new a6600 or a6500, Sony released the 16-55mm f/2.8 G lens earlier this year. This lens is intended to be a close reproduction of the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that is so common on full-frame cameras. However, there are some differences between the two. Because of this, the finished product is a versatile workhorse lens with a quick maximum aperture that is capable of producing the shallow depth of field and creamy bokeh that professional photographers covet. This is the finest choice for Sony E-Mount if you want to get the highest possible image quality from a zoom lens.

Despite the fact that it offers performance that is noticeably superior to that of a lens such as the Sony 16-70mm f/4 that was discussed earlier, the price is difficult for us to swallow. A price tag of nearly 1,400 dollars for an APS-C lens is quite high, not to mention the fact that its weight of 17.4 ounces will cause your compact mirrorless camera to start to seem fairly bulky. On the other hand, it is notably lighter and more affordable in comparison to the option for Sony full-frame cameras, which is a bulky 24-70mm f/2.8 GM that has an FE-Mount and weighs 31.3 ounces.

14. Sony 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss Sonnar

$1,053.34
$798.00
Save: 255.34
Amazon
The Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm may be more adaptable, but if you want excellent image quality at a focal length that is similar to 35mm, the Zeiss Sonnar 24mm f/1.8 is one of the best E-mount lenses that you can buy. It has a maximum aperture of 1.8 and a maximum aperture of 24 millimeters. It focuses very rapidly, generates impressive bokeh, and has an excellent performance in low-light conditions. In addition to this, you will be receiving the optimal focal length for street and travel photography, which is where a significant portion of the following for this lens originates.

However, the fact of the matter is that many Sony APS-C photographers cannot afford to purchase a prime lens costing around one thousand dollars. In order to justify the high price, you must choose 35mm as your focal length of choice, regardless of how good the optical quality of the camera is. Having said that, we are really impressed by the image and build quality—the Sony 24mm f/1.8 has a very professional feel to it, and its performance is hard to beat.

15. Rokinon 12mm f/2

In light of the very pricey wide-angle lens options presented above, such as the Sony 10-18mm f/4 and the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8, we find that the Rokinon 12mm f/2 allows us to think creatively and outside the box. This lens has a manual focus and comes in a Sony E Mount. It costs approximately $250 and has reasonable pricing. The maximum aperture of f/2 is fantastic for astrophotography and other types of photography that require low light, making it one of the most outstanding aspects of the camera.

However, the Rokinon 12mm does not have an autofocus feature, which is a significant limitation. Although some people might not have a problem with manually focusing their camera, and some of us might even love it, it is not a fantastic approach for those who are just starting out. In addition, we discovered that the manual focus on this lens, in particular, was a little bit cumbersome, but we really enjoy the sharpness and the quality of the build. As a point of comparison, the Zeiss 12mm Touit features optics that are comparable but costs more than twice as much.

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