Lens Recommendations for Sony Mirrorless Cameras, a6500, a6300, a6000 and a7 etc. Lenses for E mount

October 11, 2016  •  17 Comments

Updated 6/6/17

You may have found this post from my YouTube Channel "Lavikka Photography". A lot of fans have asked which lenses I would recommend they buy. Here is my list of what I like and what I used. I haven't reviewed everything but I've tested quite a bit of it. If its not on the list then I'm not recommending it, plain and simple.

First off- what you need to know about lenses.  I rely on good equipment, but I won't waste money on expensive equipment. As a professional I need to make money, not spend it. Enthusiasts want the best at any price. I want the best at the lowest price. Primes are better then zooms as far as image quality goes. This has always been the case. But there are a few on this list, as I try to accomodate those who really want a zoom, but Sony zooms are really boring with a lack of depth of field. They are all ok but none are great.  Here is my latest zoom review of the Sony 24-70 f4 Zeiss OSS ZA FE zoom. https://youtu.be/3EtYdMot0a0
Buy it from Amazon  All of the Sony FE zooms act like this lens.

Buy it on Ebay

The biggest question I get is what lenses do I actually use on my a6300?

I carry a bunch, but when I travel or explore I carry the Touit 12mm, Sony 28mm f2 fe and Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN. This gives me a wide, normal and short telephoto. These are also the best (sharpest) lenses at these focal lengths. It also keeps the bag very light!

You just got the a6300! what SD card should you use? For 4k video the card needs to be rated class 10, U3 and SDXC.  This one http://amzn.to/29IApZs​ SanDisk Extreme Plus or Pro.  It will work with all of the features on the a6300 and they hold up over the long term. I physically brake about 3-4 cards a year because the plastic splits (from loading in cards from the bottom of the camera on the a6300, a6000 and Pen-F) on some cards but not the Sandisk's. Lexar Pros 1000x- cracked, Patriots - cracked! Samsung EVO+, - the occasional no card error and no 4k recording! But this month (July 2016) my first Sandisk extreme card finally wore out. It was from 2010! Not a single crack either.

Lets get on with the list! ** Means this is in my bag! * Means highly recommended. 

For APSC sized e mount mirrorless cameras like the NEX 7, 6, 5 and the a6300, a6000, a5100 a3000 and a5000:
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Wide angle lenses

 

* Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8 Lens - (18mm, Angle of View  99°) Very sharp ultra wide angle prime, it is AF but the af is noisy. There is a firmware update for this lens and it has to be sent back to Zeiss to have it done. The update gives the lens better af (pdaf). If you plan on buying a new one then buy one manufactured after 12/14. Zeiss shouldn't make af lenses. They should leave that to Sony.

Is it good for Astrophotography? A good copy will work but you have to stop down to f4.
Here is the review https://youtu.be/zCYK6OWVwp0

Buy it on ebay

** Rokinon 12mm f2 Lens - (18mm, Angle of View  99°) Very sharp ultra wide angle prime, Manual focus but really very good. You can also use the Zeiss Touit profile in photoshop and lightroom to fix the distortion as they are almost identical. The Touit has better extreme corners but for the price difference who cares?

Best bet for Astrophotography? A good copy will work if you have to stop down to f2.8.
Here is the review https://youtu.be/SdpeV86yuFo

Buy it on ebay

Sigma 19mm f2.8 Art DN Lens - (28mm, Angle of View  73.5°) - A good sharp general purpose lens for cheap.
Here is the review https://youtu.be/vq1uU_ztDvE

Buy it on ebay

Sony 20mm f2.8 Pancake - (30mm, Angle of View  70°) - A good tiny lens. Not super sharp but decent and works great for video.
Here is the review https://youtu.be/vq1uU_ztDvE

Buy it on ebay

** Rokinon 21mm F1.4 ED AS UMC Lens - (32mm, Angle of View 69°) - I have seen all kinds of varying test reports on this lens. My copy is nothing short of amazing! Very little barrel distortion, almost no chromatic aberrations, Vignetting to f2 and stupid sharp to f16 with f22  very usable. It is manual focus.

Is it good for Astrophotography? A good copy will work but you have to stop down to f2.8.

Fully tested. 

Buy it on ebay

 

Normal Focal length Lenses

 

** Sony 28mm f2 FE Lens -(42mm, Angle of View  56° on apsc and 75° on full frame)- Very sharp multi-purpose do anything lens. Covers full frame but works better on apsc size camera bodies. 

Is it good for Astrophotography? A good copy will work but you have to stop down to f2.8. Even does a good job of full frame.

Here is the review https://youtu.be/vAw2BjPfuOI

Buy it on ebay

 

** Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Lens - (45mm, Angle of View  50.7°)
The best fast, cheap, fast, sharp lens. $349
Here is the review 
https://youtu.be/l9Wh-IcUR9I​

Buy it on ebay

Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN Lens - (45mm, Angle of View  50.7°)
A good, cheap, sharp lens. $209
Here is the review https://youtu.be/eCJLqKGFNkg

Buy it on ebay

Sony 35mm F1.8 OSS lens - (52mm, Angle of View  44°) A great lens for events and weddings. This lens has an exaggerated bokeh. It's meant for shooting people. Has extreme vignetting wide open.
Here is the review https://youtu.be/uilRJ20Qzdg

Buy it on ebay

 

Short Tele-Photo / Portrait Lenses

 

*Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 Lens  - (75mm on apsc, Angle of View  32° on apsc and 47° on full frame) It's Manual focus and it's soft wide open but stopped in at f1.4 and it's great! Tested.

Buy it on ebay

 

Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS Lens - (75mm, Angle of View  32°)- Decently sharp multi-purpose do anything lens. A little soft wide open. $250
Here is the review https://youtu.be/3BQ9DywGTCg

Buy it on ebay

 

Sony 50mm f1.8 FE Lens - (75mm on apsc, Angle of View  32° on apsc and 47° on full frame)- Very sharp at all fstops and sharper than the lens above. Multi-purpose do anything lens. Slow AF but works fine on the a6300. $250
Here is the review 
https://youtu.be/1pfFneCx9Ec​

Buy it on ebay

 

Sony 50mm f2.8 macro FE Lens - (75mm on apsc, Angle of View  32° on apsc and 47° on full frame)- Very sharp at all fstops and sharper than the lens above. Multi-purpose do anything lens with Macro 1:1 capability and Minimum focus distance of 6.3 inches which isn't very close. Only goes to f16. Still it should have excellent image quality.

Buy it on ebay

** Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN Art Lens  -(90mm, Angle of View  26.6°)- This is the sharpest lens for this format and a perfect portrait lens!
Here is the review https://youtu.be/dZAGTxH92rU

Buy it on ebay

 

** Sony 85mm f1.8  FE Lens - (118mm on apsc, Angle of View  20° on apsc and 29° on full frame)- Very sharp at almost all fstops and sharpest 85mm I have tested personally. Excellent bokeh with low to CA's and Minimum focus distance of 3 inches. Difraction sets in at f11 but only a little and it goes to f22 which is still usable. Still it should have excellent image quality. Finally Sony got something right!

Buy it on ebay

Rokinon 85mm f1.4 telephoto lens (127mm, Angle of View  19° on apsc and 28.3° on full frame) - A great portrait lens, Very sharp. A few ca's wide open but just amazing at 2.8 and manual focus. Here is the review https://youtu.be/h4a0wnIcvaM

Buy it on ebay

*Rokinon 135mm F2 ED UMC Lens (202mm , Angle of view 12° on APSC and 19° on full frame) A great portrait lens, Very sharp wide open but just amazing at 2.8 and manual focus.

Buy it on ebay


And now for the unaffordable! Lets face it though, I really want these!
 

Zeiss 18mm Batis f2.8 FE Lens - (27mm on apsc, Angle of View  66° on apsc and 99° on full frame). This is really the only full frame ultra-wide option out there. Tested and it's excellent.

Buy it on ebay

Zeiss 24 f1.8 OSS E Lens - (36mm, Angle of View 61°) Very sharp when stopped down a little and excellent for video. A good general purpose lens for APSC size.

Buy it on ebay

Zeiss 35mm f2.8 FE Lens. (52.2mm on apsc, Angle of View  44° on apsc and 63° on full frame). Very solid prime but not very exciting. tested

Buy it on ebay

Zeiss 35mm f1.4 FE Lens. (52.2mm on apsc, Angle of View  44° on apsc and 63° on full frame) Sony's second best prime.

Buy it on ebay

*Zeiss 55mm f1.8 FE Lens. This is Sony's best prime EVER! (82.5mm on apsc, Angle of View  29° on apsc and 43° on full frame) tested

Buy it on ebay

** Sony 85mm f1.8  FE Lens - (118mm on apsc, Angle of View  20° on apsc and 29° on full frame)- Very sharp at almost all fstops and sharpest 85mm I have tested personally. Excellent bokeh with low to CA's and Minimum focus distance of 3 inches. Difraction sets in at f11 but only a little and it goes to f22 which is still usable. Still it should have excellent image quality. Finally Sony got something right!

Buy it on ebay

 

*Zeiss 85mm f1.8 FE Batis Lens. Bad ass portrait lens (118mm on apsc, Angle of View 20° on apsc and 29° on full frame) This lens is weather sealed, image stabilized and has quiet af. It's smaller than the Sony G-Master 1.4 but the bokeh isn't quite as soft but it does retain that traditional swirly bokeh I love. It's also about as much as I would pay for a lens.

Buy it on ebay

*Sony 90mm f2.8 FE G Lens. Macro/telephoto/portrait lens (135mm on apsc, Angle of View  17° on apsc and 27° on full frame) This lens is crazy sharp!I maybe Sony's sharpest lens.

Buy it on ebay


 

Sony Zoom Lenses

I'm not a fan of zooms. Why? Slow apertures with ok quality and high price tags. There are some that stand out though.
BTW It's just a theory but have you noticed that all of Sony's zoom's are f4? They already made these lenses in alpha mount years ago. Why not just shrink the lenses 25% which is what they did. Now what was once a 2.8 aperture is now f4. I would have rather had the f2.8.
 

Sony 10-18 f4 E lens for APSC size. Ultra wide angle zoom for landscapes. Sharp when stopped down. tested

Buy it on ebay

Sony 16-35 f4 FE lens. (24-50mm on apsc size, Angle of View  83° - 44° on apsc and 107°-63° on full frame). Sony's best wide zoom. Its ok on full frame but really shines on apsc size cameras.

Buy it on ebay

Sony 70-200 f4 FE lens. Sony's best telephoto zoom for both apsc size and full frame. This is perfectly acceptable at f4. (105-300mm on apsc size, Angle of View  22° - 8° on apsc and 34°-12° on full frame). I don't mind loosing a stop to keep the size down. 

Buy it on ebay

Sony PZ18-105 E zoom. (27-157.5mm on apsc size, Angle of View  76° - 15° on apsc). Sony's best general purpose zoom for APSC size. Lots of barrel distortion but the camera corrects for it very well. decently sharp with low ca's.

Buy it on ebay

Sony 16-35 f2.8 for Alpha mount.  (24-50mm on apsc size, Angle of View  83° - 44° on apsc and 107°-63° on full frame). You need an adapter (LAEA4) but I really like the original version of this lens. Its the best 16-35 from any camera company. 
The original can be had for $1300 and the new version II for $2200

Buy it on ebay

 

 

Full Frame A7 Series Camera Lenses
 

This is a very short list!

* Zeiss 18mm Batis f2.8 FE Lens - (27mm on apsc, Angle of View  66° on apsc and 99° on full frame). This is really the only full frame ultra-wide option out there. Tested and it's excellent. 

Buy it on ebay

** Rokinon 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC Lens - (Angle of View 94°) - Best wide angle on a budget option. I have seen all kinds of varying test reports on this lens. My copy is nothing short of amazing! Very little barrel distortion, almost no chromatic aberrations, Vignetting is almost gone by  f2.8 and stupid sharp to f11 with f22 very usable. It is manual focus.

Is it good for Astrophotography? A good copy will work but you have to stop down to f2.8.

Fully tested. 

Buy it on ebay

* Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Lens. (40mm on apsc, Angle of view 63° on APSC and 84° on full frame) Tested.

Buy it on ebay

Zeiss 35mm f1.4 FE Lens.  (52.2mm on apsc, Angle of View  44° on apsc and 63° on full frame) Sony's second best prime. Tested.

Buy it on ebay

Zeiss 55mm f1.8 FE Lens. (82.5mm on apsc, Angle of View  29° on apsc and 43° on full frame) This is Sony's best prime EVER! tested

Buy it on ebay

*Sony 85mm f1.4 FE GM Lens. Bokeh King and bad ass portrait lens (127mm on apsc, Angle of View 13° on apsc and 19° on full frame)

Buy it on ebay

 

Sony 90mm f2.8 FE G Lens. Bad ass macro / telephoto/ best portrait lens (135mm on apsc, Angle of View  17° on apsc and 27° on full frame). Testing.

Buy it on ebay

 

Sony 16-35 f4 FE lens. (24-50mm on apsc size, Angle of View  83° - 44° on apsc and 107°-63° on full frame).  Sony's best wide zoom. Its ok on full frame but really shines on apsc size cameras.

Buy it on ebay

Sony 70-200 f4 FE lens. Sony's best telephoto zoom for both apsc size and full frame. This is perfectly acceptable at f4. (105-300mm on apsc size, Angle of View  22° - 8° on apsc and 34°-12° on full frame). I don't mind loosing a stop to keep the size down on this one. 

Buy it on ebay

I hope you find this list useful.  There are other options too. Like adapting Sigma art lenses with canon mounts. Unfortunately this is Sigma's idea of giving you full frames lenses for your Sony A7 series camera. Works fine on the a6300 and A7rII but flakey on everything else.

Lens Combos

Even though I put this list together, everyone still wants me to tell them what to buy. I'm not comfortable doing that because everyone has different needs. To me, and to anyone wanting to make money in photography, the most important thing is image quality- so I will base this off of that:

The Poverty Package
For the Sony a6000 or a6300 or any other apsc size body:
The Sigma 19mm DN for a normal wide lens an the Sigma 60mm f2.8 art DN lens for portraits and short telephoto. You can shoot an enitre wedding or event with these two lenses.

The Hurdle Package
Again for apsc size. You need the basics to cover any situation but you are on a budget. Rokinon 12mm f2 for wide angle lanscapes, Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN for lowlight street and environmental portraits and everything else including video. Sigma 60mm F2.8 art DN for portraits and short telephoto. Your grandpa's Nikon AI 135mm F2.8 with an adapter for telephoto. You need lighting! Godox TT685s and the XT1 transmitter 

The Pro Light Package
For the a6300! Zeiss Touit 12mm f2 for your wide. Sony 28mm F2 FE lens for lowlight street and environmental portraits and everything else including video. Sigma 60mm F2.8 art DN for portraits and short telephoto and the Sony 70-200 f4 FE lens for telephoto. You need lighting! Godox 860II and the XT1 transmitter for the bag and the Godox AD 360 for the studio.

The Pro full Frame Package
For the A7RII for any a7 series full frame! Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 lens for your wide. If you need to go wider then you have the Zeiss Batis 18mm f2.8 but any wider and you will have to adapt something like 11-24 Canon L with a Metabones adapter. Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 for your normal lens and the Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 Lens for your portrait lens and hold out for the Sony 70-200 f2.8 GM lens for your telephoto. You need lighting too! Godox 860II and the XT1 transmitter for the bag and the Godox AD 360 or Godox AD600bm for the studio.


 


Comments

19.Luis(non-registered)
Hi,
Thanks for updating the list. Is the new Zeiss 18 good for APSC as well? Wondering if that lens would be good with the a6500. Let me know. Thanks!
18.DS(non-registered)
Regarding the Zeiss 24mm, yes it would be perfect if it had OSS, and yes it probably is not well suited for video. However, I use this lens with my Sony A6000 and absolutely love it. Although I primarily use it for landscape photography, I did use it last February to shoot Aurora's in Alaska, where it performed quite well, even at F1.8. I highly recommend it.
17.JC(non-registered)
Hi Davin- I have been shooting with Canon for the past 40 years ( i have a ton of "L Glass"and I am looking at the A6000. What would be your recommendation for a "good" adapter for this camera that will allow me to use my Canon lenses?
thank you so much for your time.
16.pepe(non-registered)
the zeiss 24mm is not stabilized. Has NO OSS. It would be perfect if it had. Video handheld with it is super shaky
15.Jeremy Pitts(non-registered)
Hey David I'm a brand new photographer that just ordered the Sony A6300 with the two kit lenses (16-50mm, 55-210mm). I have $1000 left to buy one great Lens and I'm torn between the zeiss 12mm, 24mm, 32mm, or the 55mm......if you could only afford one of them for your do it all lens which one would it be? I just love travel pictures, pictures of my wife and some beautiful Bokeh. Thanks so much for your opinion.
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