7 Best Sony Lenses | March 2017

We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. For all you shutterbugs out there who rely on Sony cameras but are ready to add a new dimension to your photography, check out our selection of Sony lenses. Each one is specifically designed to give you the ideal focus range and aperture for capturing stunning portraits, landscapes, wildlife shots or fast-moving action. Skip to the best sony lens on Amazon.
7 Best Sony Lenses | March 2017

Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
The Sony DT Wide Zoom is a must-have for serious indoor photography. The 11 mm focal length allows you to capture an entire room. It also offers a range of focal lengths that is ideal for city scenes, historical ruins or any subject that demands a wide perspective.
The Sony Vario-Tessar provides optical image stabilization with built-in Gyro sensors that detect even the slightest movement. The internal focusing feature means the front of the lens does not rotate, which is convenient if you're using a polarizing filter.
The Sony F2.8 Wide Angle features a portable pancake design that can fit easily into your pocket. Rear focusing elements mean a shorter minimum focusing distance as well as a speedier auto-focus. The circular aperture allows for a more natural bokeh effect.
The Sony Fisheye Lens allows you to get creative with your photography. The lens is designed to cover an extremely wide angle and offers an extended depth of field for a unique curvilenear perspective. Choosing a filter is as simple as rotating a dial.
  • corner to corner sharpness
  • 4 built-in filters
  • crisp focus from 8 inches to infinity
Brand Sony
Model SAL16F28
Weight 1.1 pounds
The Sony DT 55 is an affordable zoom lens that is ideal for the medium to long-distance range that families use most. The distance encoder ensures precision flash metering, but be careful, though, the smooth auto-focus motor is still noisy enough to scare away wildlife.
  • high quality for under $300
  • lens hood included
  • ed glass reduces color distortion
Brand Sony
Model SAL55300
Weight 1.7 pounds
The innovative Sony F1.8 Sonnar features the Carl Zeiss T-star coating that provides outstanding image quality. It virtually eliminates lens flare, internal reflection and light scattering. The aspherical lens design keeps it conveniently small and lightweight.
  • ideal for shooting in low light
  • exceptional contrast and resolution
  • auto-focus on the slow side
Brand Sony
Model SEL55F18Z
Weight 1.2 pounds
Superior auto-focus is what makes the Sony SAL Telephoto a premium lens that professionals rely on. The time-saving focus range limiter offers the speed and precision necessary for capturing fast-moving objects. The supersonic wave motor ensures silent operation.
  • compatible with sony's a-mount cameras
  • constant f2.8 maximum aperture
  • 4 ed glass elements for prime sharpness
Brand Sony
Model SAL70200G
Weight 5.4 pounds

Through The Looking Glass

Photographers at the enthusiast level spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the specs on their camera bodies, and significantly less time concerned with the quality of their lenses. For consumers making the jump to a higher level camera from exclusively using their cell phone or a small, digital point-and-shoot for their photography, any lens, by virtue of its size increase alone, will seem far superior.

The question for a real photographer, or for anyone aspiring to capture truly great images, isn't one of resolution and megapixels, nor is it one of burst rate or autofocus points. It must be a question of image quality.

There is no more potent variable in the quest for image quality than the lens. A manufacturer can pack enough megapixels onto a tiny sensor and connect it to a powerful enough device to capture decent images through a small, poorly made lens (see: every cell phone in existence), but the ceiling to that quality is low and definite.

You may have heard of a move called Tangerine, which gained a tremendous amount of press in one circle for the fact that it starred a transgender actress, and an equally potent amount of coverage in another circle because it was shot entirely on an iPhone. What was left out of a lot of the latter coverage, however, was director Sean S. Baker's admission that the film never would have looked as good as it did if he hadn't used an anamorphic lens kit prototype by Moondog Labs. The lens on the phone itself wouldn't cut it.

Sony shooters can rest assured that they have some of the best sensor technology in their camera bodies, with some of the fastest, most reliable autofocusing out there. With the right lens in place, your images will go from family photo quality, to professional grade.

Start With The Mount

Before looking more deeply into the speeds and focal lengths of the lenses on our list, there's an important distinction between two groups that we must make for you to see your decision clearly. Some of the lenses on our list are meant to affix to Sony cameras with what the company calls its A-mount, while others are built for the company's E-mount.

If you have an E-mount camera, and you want to use an A-mount lens, you're going to need a bulky adapter. The same is true if you have an A-mount camera and you want to use an E-mount lens. In general, we advise against using lenses outside of your system unless there is an undeniable increase in quality. If you had, say, a Leica 50mm Noctilux-M lens, which retails for around $11,000, it'd probably be worth using it over pretty much anything else in the world. In the absence of anything that special, it's best to stick to what fits.

From that point on, the major questions you have to answer involve focal length and aperture speed. As for focal length, this depends a lot on what kind of shooter you are. A lens with a variable focal length, more commonly known as a zoom lens, will let you see more or less of a scene from closer or farther away without having you move your body an inch. These are particularly useful for capturing family sporting events and wildlife.

Fixed focal length lenses, called primes, tend to be sharper simply because manufacturers only have to account for sharpness at the one focal length, instead of having to distribute it across many points. If you want to get closer or farther away with these you actually have to move, making them superior for landscape and portrait photography.

The focal length itself tells you how much of a given scene your lens can capture. A smaller number preceding the mm measurement is a wider angle that will cover more space. These are much better indoors, especially at parties, where you have to shoot very close to your subjects. A larger number will let you capture subjects that are much farther away with great clarity, but they limit your ability to capture large scenes or action that's happening close to you.

That other number you'll see on every lens, the one that usually written as: ƒ/2.8 or 2.8-5.6 is a measurement of the width through which light can enter the lens. I'll save you a long mathematical explanation and simply tell you that, in almost every case, the smaller that number is, the better.

Better Blooming Late Than Never

The technology behind the camera lens reaches back to at least the 5th century BCE, when we find the earliest reference to a stone used for magnification, specifically in this case to focus sunlight on kindling as a fire starter. Those stones were refined through the years to become the magnifying glasses we would recognize today, but their design helped the early innovators of the camera to capture the first still images on record.

Sony, by comparison, has come to the game relatively late. Its share of the digital camera market in the late 1990s was never particularly impressive, but in 2005 Sony acquired what was left of the Minolta brand and all of its infrastructure. With those tools at their fingertips, the company invested heavily in its D-SLR line, leading to the high quality A-mount lenses on our list.

The E-mount lenses would come later, when Sony, in 2012, partnered with Fujifilm in a bid to take over shares in Olympus, another camera manufacturer struggling to compete with Canon and Nikon, the two giants of modern digital photography.

Within just a couple of years, those three manufacturers have taken the market by storm with each its own lineup of mirrorless interchangeable lens camera systems and a slew of clear, high-quality lenses.

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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information