Best Sony Lenses in 2023: Ultimate E-Mount Guide. Sony a mount

Sony α system

The Sony α system is a camera system which comprises two different autofocus lens mounts:Sony’s own E-bayonet and Minolta’s classic α/Maxxum/Dynax bayonet, both for autofocus system lenses.


A heritage from Minolta

When Sony took over the DSLR development of Konica Minolta in 2006 it decided to use the Japanese system name α (“alpha”) of Minolta’s AF mount cameras and lenses since the new Sony DSLRs had the same autofocus lens mount (image of the mount, see Minolta Dynax 9‎).

In 2010 Sony introduced the Sony α NEX compact digital still cameras for interchangeable autofocus lenses, supplied with the new Sony E-mount which they share with Sony’s flagship NEX camcorders. The Sony α NEX Camera Mount Adapter‎’s first version allows mounting most Sony α system lenses but not most of the old Minolta α system lenses, since it only accepts α lenses with internal autofocus motor-drive. The second version even allows to use most old Minolta AF lenses in autofocus mode and adds a phase detection auto FOCUS. Variants for full (35mm) frame format followed (see 2nd table).

The Sony α33/α55 “SLT” cameras (single lens translucent cameras) proved that the old Minolta AF mount is also good for Smart non-DSLR digital system cameras. But some of the old lenses once designed for the Minolta AF mount won’t work with the SLTs, especially not with lenses made by Sigma.

From the NEX to a future with fewer cameras

The NEX cameras proved that compact digital system cameras with APS-size image sensor are no bad idea. Meanwhile Sony changed its FOCUS towards full format (35mm frame size sensor) CSC-cameras with FE-mount (E-mount-compatible) whilst the Sony α 99 II of 2016 seems to be the last DSLR derivate produced by Sony. real DSLRs with optical viewfinders were already abandoned in 2011. Ten years later the quite expensive Sony α 1 marks a new paradigma dictated by the market in which most consumers are happy with the compromise image quality of their cellphone cameras. Thus the numbers of sold still cameras, despite of amazing video features, sunk drastically. wordwide. Sony took a large share of imaging sensor market, and its post-NEX CSC camera line, the ILCEs started with the last cheap E-mount camera, the Sony α 3000, and reached its peak now with the Sony α 1. But one product might comfort the users of the old lenses for Minolta AF mount: In 2020 the company offered a quite sophisticated lens adapter for this precious old glass, probably the last product introduced to support the old Alpha lenses.

Sony α system

  • Sony α 850/900 advanced DSLRs with 24x36mm (35mm) image sensor and α-mount
  • Sony α 700 advanced DSLR with APS-C-size image sensor and α-mount
  • other Sony αDSLRs with APS-C-size image sensor and α-mount
  • Sony α “SLT”s with APS-C-size image sensor and α-mount
  • except Sony α 99, the SLT flagship with 24x36mm (35mm) image sensor and α-mount

All Sony camera bodies with α-mount have a built-in image-stabilizer (SSS=SuperSteadyShot, same as Konica Minolta’s Anti-Shake) which moves the sensor during exposure in the same direction as the camera shake movement to follow the lightbeams from the image subject. The anti-shake effect might be like 1-2 f-stops larger aperture for shorter exposure time.

  • Sony NEX/Hasselblad Lunar line: digital compact system cameras (CSC) with APS-C-size image sensor and E-mount
  • Sony NEX-VG. line: camcorders with APS-C-size or 24x36mm image sensor and E-mount
  • Sony α7/α7R/α7C lines: CSCs with 24x36mm (35mm) image sensor and FE-mount
  • Sony α7S/α9 lines: professional CSCs with 24x36mm (35mm) image sensor and FE-mount
  • Sony α1: extremely versatile CSC with 24x36mm (35mm) image sensor and FE-mount, for enthusiasts and professionals
  • Sony α3000: budget CSC with APS-C-size image sensor and E-mount, very cheap EVF
  • Sony α5000 line: CSCs with APS-C-size image sensor and E-mount, selfie-monitor, relatives of the NEX-5T
  • Sony α6000 line: CSCs with APS-C-size image sensor and E-mount, proper EVF
  • Sony QX1 (APS-C): remote-control only version of α3000, controlled by external app

The anti-shake mechanism is missing in the E/FE-mount camera bodies before Sony A7 mark 2 and α6500.

SAL35F18 DT 1.8/35 SAMimage by Uwe Kulick(Image rights)
  • Sony SAL.α-mount autofocus lenses
  • Sony SAL. SAM α-mount autofocus lenses with internal focusing motor
  • Sony SAL. SSM α-mount autofocus lenses with quiet internal focusing motor
  • Sony SAL. ZA α-mount autofocus lenses made by Carl Zeiss

and lenses for use only with APS-size image sensor

  • Sony SAL. DT α-mount autofocus lenses
  • Sony SAL. DT. SAM/SSM α-mount autofocus lenses with internal focusing motor
  • Sony SAL. DT. ZA α-mount autofocus lenses made by Carl Zeiss

Sony continued Konica Minolta’s tradition of marking its premium autofocus lenses as G lenses, except the lenses constructed by Zeiss.

Autofocus lenses for the E-mount are simply labeled

without distinction of APS-C size lenses. The postfix letters Z or G stand for zeiss-made or G-quality. Some lenses include an optical image stabilizer which moves one optical element inside the lens as means of anti-shake. These are marked with OSS.

Minolta compatibility issues

The Dynax 60, last Minolta amateur SLR, was already capable tofocus SAM and SSM lenses, here w/ Sony`s SAL-85F28 85mm budget portrait lens. The Konica Minolta Dynax 5D was the directpredecessor of Sony`s first Alpha DSLR, the Sony Alpha 100Here the 5D w/ Sony`s SAL-1870 kit lens. Middle: OldestMinolta AF lens 1.7/50, of course attachable to all Sony DSLRsimage by Uwe Kulick (Image rights)

Sony’s DSLRs and SLTs and the NEX-7 as well as Konica Minolta DSLRs can be used with the last generation of Minolta’s flashguns for the AF SLR-system. Some older flashguns might be usable too but limited to unregulated 100% flash power mode. The Minolta AF bayonet system cameras since the Sony Alpha 99 use an oldstyle hot shoe (for modern electronic flashes only! using old simple hot shoe flashguns might be hazardous!) with the new multi interface contacts scheme instead of Minolta’s inverse flash shoe, and some of the simpler NEXes use an own screw mount for miniature flashes. The newest NEX-successors have just in-built flash or also a multi interface hot shoe. Of course an adapter is available for the previous flash generation except the special NEx miniature flashguns.

Sony’s α-mount lenses can be used on the old Konica Minolta DSLR bodies. SAM- and SSM-Lenses can be used with a few of the last Dynax/Maxxum 35mm film SLRs like the Minolta Dynax 3L and on Konica Minolta DSLRs. Older Sony lenses with mechanically body-driven focusing (non-SAM/non-SSM) can even be used on the oldest of Minolta’s autofocus SLRs like the Minolta 7000.

CSC cameras with the E-mount like the Sony NEXes need adapters to attach Minolta AF lenses and other α-mount lenses:

  • Sony LA-EA1 only for APS-C frame format! It may support AF only for SAM/SSM lenses.
  • Sony LA-EA2 converts a Sony NEX or another E-mount CSC into a SLT by adding a phase detection AF via pellicle. The original design allowed only APS-C frame format.
  • Sony LA-EA3 may support AF only for SAM/SSM lenses.
  • Sony LA-EA4 converts a Sony NEX or another E-mount CSC into a SLT by adding a phase detection AF via pellicle on the quality level of the Sony α99.
  • Sony LA-EA5 is the final product for lenses with Minolta AF mount. It supports all Minolta AF lenses (35mm) as well as compatible lenses, and of course the upward compatible ones from Sony. It is without own phase autofocus, thus more compact than the LA-EA4.
The E-mount, FE-variant for full-frame35mm sensor of Sony α7image by Hiroshi Uzu(Image rights)

Adapting manual-FOCUS lenses, for example Rokkor lenses of Minolta heritage, needs third-party lens adapters. It is much easier to adapt these lenses on E-mount cameras by adapter than tinkering an adaption to the α-mount by exchange of the old lenses’ bayonets.

SAM lens beside a Sony NEX with LA-EA3 adapterimage by Uwe Kulick (Image rights)
classic Minolta SRT 101 and Sony NEX-6image by Willi Winzig (Image rights)


Table of Sony Alpha system DSLR and SLT cameras and their predecessors with the Minolta AF mount:

Best Sony Lenses in 2023: Ultimate E-Mount Guide

Which of the best Sony lenses are our top pick of the year so far? Discover what FE APS-C lenses to use on your Sony Alpha mirrorless camera.

To find the best Sony lenses in 2023, we based this guide on our research and combined 14 years of shooting with Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras. For professionals or those who need the best performance, Sony’s flagship G-Master lenses are still unbeatable, but there are also plenty of third-party lenses for Sony cameras that offer amazing bang for your buck. Sigma lenses for Sony e-mount (APS-C and full frame) are popular, as are Tamron e-mount lenses and Samyang too – I use several of them in favour of Sony FE lenses on my full frame Alpha cameras.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

As for crop sensor APS-C Sony e-mount lenses, I’ve tested the latest options with a range of a6000-series compacts, sharing my top choices below. Aside from stills photography, more and more video shooters are choosing Sony cameras, so we’ve got some recommendations on the best Sony lens for video work too. Sony mirrorless lenses and the differences between the FE and regular e-mount can be confusing. Did you know you can even attach a Sony lens to a Nikon or Canon camera? Don’t worry, though – we’ll explain all the options and answer all the most common questions in this guide. First, though, let’s find out which Sony e-mount lens you should buy for your new Alpha camera.

What Sony Lenses Should You Buy First in 2023?

Our experience with lenses for Sony Alpha cameras and how we tested

Your author Mark has been shooting weddings professionally with Sony cameras for several years, using many different Sony prime and zoom lenses, as well as 3rd party e-mount options.

Co-author Usnea has been using Sony cameras for six years, shooting landscape, nature, action, and travel photography using primarily native Sony lenses.

For testing, Mark used the latest Sony a7IV full-frame mirrorless camera to evaluate a selection of Sony FE-mount lenses and a Sony a6100 for lenses designed for the APS-C format.

The recommended lenses in this guide were chosen based on Mark Usnea’s own personal experience, results of lens reviews by our various Shotkit authors (also professional photographers), and over 120 hours of combined research and analysis.

We are not sponsored by any of the brands that appear here, and our opinions are completely unbiased. in short, you can trust what we say!

What are the best Sony e-mount lenses for a1, a7 a9 Series Full Frame cameras?

If you’re reading this first section of our guide, you’re either a professional photographer or someone who understands why investing in the best Sony lenses will get the most out of a full-frame Alpha camera.

All the lenses below work on the a1, a7, and a9 series of Sony mirrorless cameras – they also work fine on Sony APS-C cameras, should you own one of those too.

(See further down our guide to see the lenses recommended for APS-C ‘crop-sensor’ Sony cameras.)

Let’s take a look at the top recommendations so you can choose the best Sony lens for your full-frame Sony Alpha camera.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 | Budget Starter Lens

When I was just getting my Sony a7III, I opted out of the kit lenses and just shot with this nifty-fifty until I could afford some real glass. I wasn’t expecting much from a 250 lens, but boy, was I wrong!

For the price, the image quality of this lens is amazing. Photos come out startlingly sharp, nicely contrasty, and with great color. The bokeh is nice and creamy, and there’s nothing distracting in the out-of-FOCUS areas.

Sony A7 III Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 | 1/250 f/1.8 ISO 125 | Andy Day

The only real downside of this lens is its autofocus. It definitely hunts a bit if you’re too close to your subject or in super low light. It’s also not the quietest. Still, it functions great most of the time.

Otherwise, this is an excellent 50mm at an absolutely fantastic price. It’s the first of all the Sony lenses we recommend for Sony e-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras if you’re on a tight budget.

Tamron FE 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 | Best Value Zoom

  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Much lighter and more compact than its rivals
  • Fantastic optics
  • Professional-level sharpness
  • Good build quality
  • Weather-sealing
  • Excellent close-FOCUS distance
  • USB port for firmware updates
  • No optical stabilization
  • Vignetting Distortion heavily corrected (hidden)
  • No external AF/MF switch

A good mid-range zoom is a must for almost every kit, but finding one of the best Sony lenses for less than 1000 isn’t so easy….that is, until Tamron came out with the 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2.

Light, compact, and available for under 700, it’d be easy to assume that this was just a mediocre lens. In reality, however, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 can more than pull its weight in both image quality and performance.

Sony A7 iii Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 @ 34mm | 1/640 | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | Tommy Williams

On top of that, it’s much lighter and literally costs less than half as much as the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. (The Sony 24-70 f/2,8 weighs nearly a full kilogram!)

The only real reason not to buy this lens is if you really need that extra 2mm on the wide end.

Otherwise, this lens is an incredible value and should be at the top of the list for any full-frame Sony shooter looking for an exceptional mid-range zoom. Personally, I like to use it for travel, wedding and car photography.

Sigma FE 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art | Best All Round Fast Zoom

  • Professional-quality optics
  • Outstanding color rendition
  • Extremely sharp
  • Fast, accurate, and completely silent autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Great macro abilities
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Well-built
  • Weather sealed
  • MF/AF switch and autofocus lock button
  • Fantastic value

If the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 isn’t wide enough for you, your next best bet in the mid-range zoom category is the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens.

The most popular focal range in all of photography, the 24-70mm zoom is one of the most versatile in the industry. The wider end (24mm) is suitable for both landscapes and interiors. The longer end (70mm) allows for nice portraiture.

Sony A7Riii Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART | Athol Hill

But there are many more reasons to buy this lens: the autofocus performs perfectly, the optics are fantastic, it has a bright, constant f/2.8 aperture, and it comes weather-sealed.

It’s also an incredible value, coming in at just over half the price of the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master, all without sacrificing image quality or performance. (It’s also a tad smaller and lighter.)

Definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a great 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS | Best for Travel, Most Versatile

  • Nice color rendition
  • Good flare resistance
  • Quick, quiet, and accurate FOCUS
  • Excellent build
  • Image stabilization
  • AF/MF and SteadyShot switches
  • Weather sealed

Looking for a lens that can do it all? Take a look at the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS.

It’s wide enough for landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture while covering a fair bit of the near-telephoto range as well. That’s what makes it a great travel lens: it will handle just about any shooting situation you might find yourself in.

Sony A7Riii Sony 24-105mm | Athol Hill

A pro-level lens with excellent optical performance throughout its entire focal range, the Sony FE 24-105mm is also the lightest lens in its class, which makes it an excellent zoom for carrying around.

If you need something less expensive and can handle the added weight, the Sigma 24-105 ART costs considerably less and performs almost as well.

If, however, you want native glass and one of the best Sony lenses at this focal range (and can fork out the extra dough), this is the one to get for a one-in-all travel lens.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS | Best Sony Telephoto Lens

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Useful focal range
  • Durable and rugged
  • AF/MF switch
  • Tripod collar included
  • Great price point

Of all the telephoto lenses offered in the Sony lineup, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is by far our favorite mid-range telephoto lens.

The focal range is useful for everything from sports and wildlife to studio photography. It’s also a fantastic portrait photography lens, as the classic 85-135mm portrait sweet spot is nestled right in the middle.

Sony A7III Sony 70-200mm f/4 | 1/125 f/6.3 ISO 640 | Marc Bergreen

The constant f/4 aperture isn’t the fastest, but it makes the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G considerably smaller and lighter than its much more expensive cousin, the f/2.8 GM.

With a small(er) footprint combined with a fantastic price point (under 1500), the only reason to bump up to the f/2.8 GM is if you really need that extra stop of light. (Just keep in mind, you’ll be paying an extra 1400 for it!)

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 | Best Value Portrait Prime

  • Fantastic autofocus
  • Strong optics
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Nicely built
  • AF/MF switch and AF Hold button
  • Excellent price-to-performance ratio
  • Weather-sealed

If you’re looking for a good portrait photography prime lens but find yourself on a tight budget, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 might just be the lens for you.

Images come out crisp and clear, the autofocus works like a charm, the aperture is fast enough for most applications, and the size and weight sit nicely on all Sony full-frame cameras.

Sony A7III Sony 85mm f/1.8 | 1/5000 f/2 ISO 100 | Marc Bergreen

Of course, there are plenty of other options out there, but none with so much bang for the buck.

At under 600, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 beats out the Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 by more than 600 and the G Master f/1.4 by a full 1200! (The G Master also happens to be much heavier.)

Sigma FE 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Best All Round 35mm

  • Fast and quiet autofocus
  • Fantastic sharpness
  • Superb color rendition
  • Immaculate build quality
  • Nice bokeh
  • Weather-sealing

Small on price, yet big on both design and performance, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM is easily the best 35mm for Sony A7 cameras in terms of performance plus value.

The build on this beauty comes with all the features you’d expect from a much more expensive lens: weather sealing, a FOCUS hold button, and aperture control.

The autofocus is fast, quiet, and precise. Images come out fantastically sharp, with beautiful bokeh.

A just under 800, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM hits the sweet spot between excellent optics and a reasonable price.

Its main competitor, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is almost 350 cheaper but also slower. The Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM is a somewhat better lens optically, but a full 600 more.

If you need a 35mm with a fast aperture, this Sigma is definitely the best bang for your buck and one of the best Sony lenses for all-around use.

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA | Best Pancake (Lightest/Most Compact)

Compared to the other Sony 35mm lenses.

  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Super sharp
  • Fun to use
  • Pairs well with any Sony body

One of the lightest full-frame compatible lenses made for the Sony E-mount, the Sony 35mm f/2.8 ZA may not be officially a pancake lens, but it’s so tiny and light it literally feels like a lens cap!

Even so, the amazing manufacturers at Zeiss still managed to place high-quality optics in this little beauty. It has all the beautiful image rendering of an excellent Zeiss lens, not to mention the wonderful one-of-a-kind Zeiss color rendering.

Sony a7III Sony 35mm f/2.8 | Mark Condon

At f/2.8, it’s not particularly fast, but what it loses in speed it makes up for in its particularly small size. (A faster lens would obviously be larger and heavier.)

What’s not small on this lens, however, is the price. Still, you won’t find anything better at this size and weight!

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM | Best Wide Angle Zoom

  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Quick auto-FOCUS
  • Decent close-up performance
  • Focus-hold button
  • Weather sealing

One of Sony’s flagship G Master lenses, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM is the wide-angle zoom of choice for professional photographers and those looking for exceptional image quality out of their landscape, cityscape, and architecture shots.

It’s not easy to build a high-performing wide-angle zoom – especially at f/2.8, but Sony managed it here. The 16-35mm f/2.8 GM delivers strong resolution wide open and is simply stunning once you bump up to f/4.

A7 III 16-35mm f/2.8 | 1/4000 f/2.8 ISO 800 | Marc Bergreen

At just around 2,200, it’s not a cheap lens, but it’s worth the price if you’re looking for the best Sony wide-angle zoom available.

(If you can’t afford the f/2.8 GM and f/4 will work for you, take a look at the Zeiss 16-35mm F4 and/or the FE 12-24mm F4 G.)

The 16-35 is part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Sony lenses, with the other two being the 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 – if you’re fortunate enough to own all three, you can shoot virtually anything.

It’s also our choice of the best lens for the Sony a7S iii and the best lens for the Sony a7R IV mirrorless cameras.

Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM | Fastest (Best in Low Light)

  • Exceptional optics
  • Incredible bokeh
  • Amazing in low light
  • Very sharp
  • Weather sealing
  • Dual function buttons
  • Excellent close-up performance
  • Somewhat smaller than its competitors

Incredible in just about every aspect, the Sony FE 50mm F/1.2 GM is the nifty-fifty to get if you’re looking for literal top-of-the-line optics and performance.

There are, of course, plenty of other 50mm lenses available for the Sony FE-mount, but the F/1.2 GM stands out not only for its relatively compact size and exceptional optical performance but also for being Sony’s only f/1.2 lens.

(It’s the ‘lowest aperture’ lens Sony makes for FE mount.)

Sony a7IV 50mm f/1.2 | Mark Condon

Smaller and lighter than both the Nikon and Canon versions, the Sony FE 50mm F/1.2 GM does pretty much everything the F/1.4 ZA can do, but just a tad better. You get a bit more aperture, a closer FOCUS, and stellar AF performance, all in virtually the same-size package.

Should you buy it? Well, yes – if you want the best and fastest 50mm available for Sony cameras. You definitely won’t regret it.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN| Best Value Fast Portrait

  • Beautiful color rendition
  • Excellent build
  • Compact for an f/1.4
  • Fantastic bokeh
  • Weather sealing
  • Half the price of its GM counterpart
  • Strong pin cushion distortion
  • AF sometimes struggles with fast moving objects
  • Heavy vignette at times

If the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is too slow for you and you have a bit more to spend, take a look at this beautiful 85mm f/1.4 Art lens by Sigma.

You’ll love the images that come out of this beauty – super sharp, with great color, plenty of contrast, and immensely pleasing bokeh.

Nikon D750 Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art | 1/250th, f/16, ISO 100 | Jesse LaPlante

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens also happens to be lighter, sharper, and quicker focusing than Sony’s GM version, all while costing a full 700 less. Many feel that its image quality also matches the GM, but that might be more a matter of taste.

Either way, if you’re looking for a fast portrait lens at a great price, this one should definitely be on your short list.

Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G | Great for Astrophotography

  • Amazing image quality
  • Well-built and compact
  • Excellent flare resistance
  • Fast, quiet autofocus
  • Good close-FOCUS abilities
  • Reasonably priced

The best lenses for astrophotography are fast, wide, and capable of producing striking images of the night sky…a recipe that just so happens to fit the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G.

Sony a7III 20mm f/1.8 | Marc Bergreen

Its fast f/1.8 aperture lets in plenty of light. The 20mm wide angle can capture long, sweeping views of both land and sky. (It’s great for landscapes too.) The images it produces come out wonderfully sharp across the whole frame and with plenty of punch.

At just under 900 it’s not cheap, but given that it’s 500 less than the Sony 24mm F/1.4 GM and performs almost as well, the 20mm f/1.8 G is definitely a better buy.

Tamron FE 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 | Great Value Long Range Zoom

  • Good image quality throughout the zoom range
  • Excellent autofocus
  • Lightest and smallest 300mm zoom
  • Weather sealing
  • Excellent value
  • Fantastic warranty

Need a longish telephoto that still covers the portrait range? Take a look at the Tamron FE 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3.

Literally, the world’s smallest and lightest 300mm-capable full-frame mirrorless telephoto zoom, this Tamron 70-300mm retails for less than half its Sony sibling while offering good optics and excellent autofocus performance.

There isn’t any image stabilization – Tamron leaves that up to the camera – but otherwise, this is a seriously fantastic lens for its under 550 price tag.

Add to that Tamron USA’s 6-year warranty, and you’ve got a medium telephoto lens worthy of some serious consideration.

Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM | Best Wide Angle Prime

  • Fantastic optics
  • Excellent wide open performance
  • AF is fast, smooth, and quiet
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Low vignette and distortion
  • Nicely-damped manual FOCUS ring
  • Smooth FOCUS pulling
  • Weather-sealed

If you’re in the market for an E-mount 24mm prime and want the best image quality out there, this is the one to get, hands down.

One of the best Sony prime lenses to date, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM is the perfect investment for wedding and event photographers who need a wider angle of view.

Sony A7Riii Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM | 1/1000 sec | f/1.4 | ISO160 | Athol Hill

It’s super sharp on high-megapixel cameras like the a7RIII, while providing excellent optics on older models as well…all in a reasonably compact, well-built body.

The Tamron FE 24mm F/2.8 is much, much cheaper (under 350), but is a full stop slower and isn’t anywhere near the same class when it comes to performance.

Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonar T| Sharpest Sony FE Lens

  • Razor sharp, esp. stopped down
  • Beautiful Zeiss optics
  • Fast, accurate, and completely silent autofocus
  • Fantastic build (includes weather sealing)
  • No exterior controls
  • Expensive for an f/1.8
  • Busy bokeh
  • Some FOCUS breathing

The Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar T lens is a huge favorite among many, many Sony shooters. Its excellent optics, strong autofocus performance, and compact size make it more than worth its price (which admittedly is a bit steep for an f/1.8).

As one would expect, this lens is razor-sharp in the center at all apertures and sharp in the corners by f/4. It’s always at the top of any Sony lens sharpness chart.

Sony a7III Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 | Mark Condon

For some, the bokeh might be a little busy. For many others, though, the uniqueness of the bokeh combined with the Zeiss color rendition creates a “secret sauce” effect.

best, sony, lenses, 2023

You can, of course, find much cheaper 50mm or 55mm lenses for your Sony, but if you’re looking for one that’s top quality, the Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar T should definitely be on your shortlist.

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 | Best Value Macro

  • Stunning images
  • Extremely sharp at all focal lengths
  • Lightweight, yet solid build
  • Precise focusing control
  • Some weather sealing
  • Great value

With some of the best optics available for macro photography on Sony cameras, the Sigma FE 70mm f/2.8 Art lens marries truly exceptional optics with a fantastically reasonable price.

Sigma chose to eschew some of the “normal” conventions (i.e. external focusing, no IBIS, etc.) with this lens to FOCUS purely on the optics…and it shows.

The images are simply fantastic.

Sony a7III Sigma 70mm | Athol Hill

It may take a while to master focusing on this lens, but once you do, you’ll absolutely fall in love with what it can do. (The key is to understand that it was built for Macro photography, not so much as a multi-purpose lens.)

But love it or hate it, one thing that can’t be argued with is the exceptional value of this lens: you can now find it for under 500! What an absolute steal!

What are the best Sony e-mount lenses for NEX a6000 series APS-C Cameras?

These are the top lenses that are optimized for Sony Alpha APS-C sensor cameras, also known as having a ‘crop-sensor.’ They work on both older models from the Sony NEX range, as well as anything from the a6xxx range (e.g. a6100, a6400, etc.).

Later in this guide, we’ll talk about Sony ‘FE’ lenses which have been designed for the more expensive range of full-frame Alpha cameras.

FE lenses can be attached to APS-C cameras, too – this makes sense if you plan to upgrade to a Sony full-frame camera in the future or if you already own both types and want to use the FE lenses interchangeably.

However, Sony e-mount lenses specifically designed for the APS-C sensor are cheaper and lighter, so let’s see the recommendations.

Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS | Best for everyday photography

  • Compact and solid build
  • Good image quality
  • 3-stop optical stabilization
  • Fast and quiet autofocus
  • Good sharpness wide open
  • Minimal distortion
  • No weather sealing
  • Some chromatic aberration
  • Can be prone to ghosting and flares

A close equivalent to the “nifty fifty” on a full-frame camera, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS (sel35f18) has a focal length perfect for everything from street photography to lifestyle portraits and makes a great everyday carry.

Build-wise, it’s so tiny and light that you’ll barely notice it when attached to your camera, making it a great lens for the Sony a7c or smaller APS-C Sony cameras.

The f/1.8 aperture is perfect for capturing scenes with a shallow depth of field. Images come out sharp, nicely contrasty, and with very little distortion.

For those shooting on cameras without IBIS, the 3-stop optical stabilization will be a great aid for hand-held shooting in low-light situations.

Like most wide-angle lenses, the corners can be a little soft when the lens is wide open, but otherwise, this lens is a strong optical performer and our choice as the best everyday lens for a Sony a6000 series camera.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN| Amazing Wide Angle Prime (Great for Video too)

  • Superb lowlight performance
  • Weather sealed
  • Smooth, quiet autofocus
  • Compatible with all Sony AF functions
  • Excellent resistance to flares
  • Fantastic price
  • A bit larger and heavier than other prime lenses
  • Some distortion remains after correction
  • Less than optimal coma performance

If you’re looking for a fast wide-angle prime that won’t break the bank, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary should be right down your alley.

Equivalent to a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, 16mm on an APS-C camera is perfect for videography, selfie blogging, landscape photography, and event photography. Video users will also appreciate its virtually silent autofocus.

While it comes with excellent build quality and quick, accurate autofocus, the real reason to buy this lens is for its speed and superb lowlight performance. Its f/1.4 maximum aperture is just about as fast as you can buy.

Why is f/1.4 so good? When fully open, this lens will give you loads of light and a paper-thin focal plane with delicious bokeh.

At less than 400, it’s unlikely that you’ll find any other wide-angle prime matching the performance and price of this sweet little lens. Its primary competitors are almost twice the price.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN | Fastest All-Rounder (Great in Low Light)

  • Natural color and contrast
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Fast f/1.4 aperture
  • Excellent close-up range
  • Fast, accurate autofocus
  • Well-built
  • Great price
  • No optical stabilization
  • Chromatic aberration not well-controlled when shooting wide open
  • Noisy for video recording in C-AF

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN hits the sweet spot between price and performance, all at a focal range nearing the “nifty fifty.”

With a maximum aperture of f/1.4, this Sigma 30mm is another one of the fastest lines in this list, with plenty of light, a razor-thin FOCUS plane, and creamy bokeh.

In fact, the focal length (45mm equivalent on a full-frame) combined with the bright f/1.4 aperture makes this an ideal everyday-carry prime lens.

The fast aperture will let you shoot both indoors and outdoors in bright or low light. The focal length is neither too wide nor too narrow. Followers of the “Middle Way” would be proud.

The sharpness of this lens is superb, especially when stopped down to f/5.6. It also works superbly with Sony’s autofocus system.

best, sony, lenses, 2023

Of course, no lens at this low price point is perfect by any means, but most of its issues can be fixed in post.

Definitely a fantastic lens at a fantastic price and another great all-rounder for your a6000 series Sony camera.

Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 | Best All Round Zoom

  • Extremely versatile FOCUS range
  • Fantastic optical performance
  • Vibration Compensation
  • AI Vibration Compensation in video mode
  • Great close FOCUS range
  • Works well with Sony AF
  • Weather sealing
  • Great flare resistance
  • No physical controls
  • Onion bokeh
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some chromatic aberration and distortion
  • Larger than its peers

This Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 APS-C zoom really hits the ball out of the park and is one of the best Sony APSC lenses in our guide.

Not only is it the first high-speed standard zoom designed explicitly for APS-C cameras, but its focal range is also one of the most versatile available, and the optics are the best you’ll find in this kind of zoom.

Equivalent to 25-105mm on a full-frame camera, the zoom range covers everything from wide-angle landscapes to close-in telephoto action.

The f/2.8 constant maximum aperture gathers in plenty of light and offers plenty of control over the depth of field.

Images come out highly detailed, with great color and contrast. In fact, few zooms at this price point can match the fine detail rendering (i.e., acuity) of this lens.

The Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 also comes with vibration control, something that owners of the NEX range and older a6xxx cameras will certainly appreciate. I

The clincher? You can buy it for less than 750. What a deal!

Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS | Sharpest Zoom

  • Extensive focal length range
  • Optical stabilization
  • Compact and Lightweight for its zoom range
  • Very sharp at all focal ranges
  • AF/MF switch
  • Best-priced quality zoom
  • Fairly slow aperture
  • Heavy vignetting in the corners when shooting in RAW
  • Some purple fringing in harsh lighting
  • No weather sealing

With a focal range roughly equivalent to 27-202mm on a full-frame camera, the Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS is a perfect all-in-one lens for APS-C shooters who don’t do a lot of low-light photography or shots needing a shallow depth of field.

It’s not nearly as fast as the Tamron 17-70mm, but what it lacks in speed, it gains in sharpness. It’s f/3.5-5.6 is solidly sharp from the center to the edges throughout all its focal range.

Overall, the two main reasons to go with the Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 rather than the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 are the increased focal range and excellent sharpness throughout the zoom range.

At under 650, the Sony 18-135mm is also the least expensive Sony zoom in this category.

If, however, you need weather sealing and/or a lens that will perform better in low light, you’d be better off sticking with the Tamron 17-70mm above.

Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 | Best Wide-Angle Zoom

  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Fantastic low-light performance
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Versatile wide-angle focal range
  • Excellent close-FOCUS range
  • Fast, quiet, and accurate AF
  • Fully compatible with Sony cameras
  • Weather-sealed
  • No external switches
  • No optical stabilization
  • Flare resistance could be better

There aren’t a lot of high-performing wide-angle lenses made specifically for the Sony APS-C E-mount, but luckily Tamron has stepped into the void with this excellent11-20mm f/2.8.

It’s actually the first ever compact, lightweight F2.8 ultra wide-angle zoom lens made for Sony E-mount APS-C mirrorless cameras.

Tamron’s excellent Rapid-eXtra-silent stepping Drive (RXD) works seamlessly with Sony’s native autofocus system, both with still and video shooting. When filming, FOCUS changes from close to distant happen almost instantaneously.

The build of the Tamron 11-20mm isn’t exactly tiny but is decidedly compact for its aperture and focal range – almost unbelievably so. It’s also relatively lightweight and handles beautifully on an a6xxx body.

Even now, in 2023, there’s little competition for this zoom. The slower Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS is priced similarly and has optical stabilization, but the Tamron 11-20mm has that brilliant f/2 constant aperture, better optical performance, and comes with weather sealing.

If you shoot landscapes, architecture, astrophotography, or travel photography, you won’t want to miss out on this lens. It’s more than worth the price.

Samyang 12mm f/2 | Great for Astrophotography

  • Very sharp
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Fast, accurate AF
  • Well-controlled distortion
  • Good flare resistance
  • Weather sealed
  • Extremely affordable
  • No external switches
  • Non-reversible lens hood
  • Will need to correct CA in post
  • No EXIF data recorded

The ONLY 3 Lenses You Need for Sony FX30, ZV-E10, & a6000 Series!

If you need a fast wide-angle lens and the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 is out of your price range, check out the Samyang 12mm f/2.

Slightly faster than the Tamron zoom and currently the widest autofocusing prime lens for Sony APS-C, the Samyang 12mm f/2 comes in at half the cost.

The focal length is equivalent to 18mm on a full frame, making for beautiful, wide-angle shots of either sky or land. Image-wise, photos come out quite sharp in the center, with pleasing colors and plenty of contrast.

Build-wise, the Samyang 12mm f/2 is nicely lightweight and compact. It also comes with weather sealing, a lens hood, and a case.

All-in-all, you’re not likely to find anything at this focal length even remotely comparable to this little lens…at least for under 400.

The combination of a fast f/2 aperture, relatively strong optics, quality autofocus, and weather sealing make this little gem a fantastic option for anyone shooting the sky, landscapes, cityscapes, or architecture.

Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS | Great for Video

  • Ultra-wide angle of view
  • Good overall image quality
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Constant f/4 aperture
  • 3-stop image stabilization
  • Smooth FOCUS and zoom
  • Front filter support
  • Relatively slow aperture
  • No manual switches
  • Expensive
  • No weather sealing

One of the widest lenses you can buy for the Sony E-mount, the Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS provides Sony APS-C shooters an ultra-wide angle field of view with optical stabilization.

At f/4, it’s not as fast as the Tamron 11-20mm f/2, but it’s a hair wider, and the OSS allows for more opportunities to shoot video without a gimbal if you’re using an older Sony APS-C camera.

The stepping motor autofocus system works quickly and accurately with both stills and video. It’s especially good for videographers needing quiet AF, and smooth video pulls.

If you also have a Sony full-frame camera, you’ll be delighted to know that this particular lens works fantastically on full-frame cameras. You’ll only get 12-18mm, but you’ll love the effect.

One of the main downsides to this lens has historically been its price, but that’s changed. You can now find it for less than 700, making it a reasonable addition to any vlogger’s kit.

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro | Best APS-C Macro Lens

  • 1:1 macro capture
  • No distortion
  • Light compact
  • Great value for the money
  • AF sometimes hunts in low-light
  • No image stabilization
  • Small minimum focusing distance

Ready to graduate to a dedicated Macro lens but don’t want to break the bank? The Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro might just be the lens for you.

The only Sony macro lens designed for APS-C cameras, the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro brings life-size magnification to your fingertips for under 350.

There isn’t any image stabilization, and the autofocus sometimes hunts in low light, but it’s a great learning lens if you haven’t shot Macro before.

If you’re looking for more of a bargain and are comfortable with a manual-FOCUS-only APS-C lens, you could always opt for either the 7Artisan 60mm f/2.8 Macro MK II (under 200) or the TTArtisan 40mm f/2.8 Macro (under 100).

Otherwise, the E 30mm F3.5 is a good option for both casual Macro shooters and beginners.

(Dedicated Macro shooters should bump up to the Sigma FE 70mm F2.8 DG Macro Art or the Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro.)

How do I choose a lens for a Sony e-mount camera?

You can use FE lenses on APS-C cameras, but it’s more affordable to get e-mount lenses specifically designed for APS-C.

Lens Mounts

Sony has two main lens mount styles for its cameras: the A-mount and the E-mount. The A-mount is for its DSLRs (cameras with a mirror). The E-mount is for its mirrorless line – both APS-C and full-frame.

When looking for the right lens to buy – especially from third parties – you’ll need to make doubly sure that you’re buying an E-mount lens for your Sony mirrorless camera. (Many third-party developers like Tamron and Sigma make the same lens for a variety of different cameras.)

Beyond this, you’ll need to know whether you’re buying a lens for an APS-C sensor camera (like the a6xxx series) or for a full-frame camera (like the Sony A7 and A9 lines).

The difference between the two lies in the size of the image circle.

APS-C cameras have smaller sensors. Lenses made for them will have an image circle that only covers the size of the APS-C sensor, not more. Placed on a full-frame camera, it will come up short.

So then, what happens when you take an APS-C lens and place it on a full-frame camera?

Until recently, you’d get a pretty heavy vignette, as the crop-sensor lens doesn’t let in enough light to reach the entire full-frame sensor.

Now, however, more current Sony mirrorless cameras can detect the APS-C lens and move into “crop mode,” automatically cropping out the vignette that would normally appear in the areas the lens doesn’t cover. Alternatively, you can manually set your camera to “crop-sensor” mode.

(For older cameras, you’ll have to crop the vignette out of the photo later in post-production, i.e. while editing the image.)

In some cases, this can be really useful since it can make a shorter lens act like a telephoto lens.

Lenses made for full-frame cameras, on the other hand, have an image circle that’s larger than the APS-C sensor. As a result, full-frame (FE) lenses work just fine on an E-mount APS-C camera, though images will be considerably “zoomed in.” The camera will only show you the part of the image that the lens covers.

Summary: Sony e vs fe mount

E-mount lenses are designed for Sony’s APS-C sensor cameras like the A6000, A6400, and A6600, which have a crop factor of 1.5x. These lenses are smaller and lighter and often less expensive than FE-mount lenses.

FE-mount lenses are designed for Sony’s full-frame sensor cameras like the A7 series, the A9, and the A1. These lenses have a larger image circle to cover the full-frame sensor and are typically larger, heavier, and more expensive than E-mount lenses.

One advantage of using FE-mount lenses is that they can be used on both full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras, while E-mount lenses are not designed for full-frame sensors and cannot be used on those cameras without significant cropping.

best, sony, lenses, 2023

Focal Length

The focal length of a lens determines its angle of view or how wide the image will be. A shorter focal length yields a wider image; a longer focal length allows you to zoom in on a distant subject.

Wide and ultra-wide angle lenses (14mm to 35mm on a full-frame) have a short focal length, allowing you to capture much more of a scene than a standard lens can.

Standard lenses (40mm to 70mm on a full frame) capture a scene at pretty much the same angle of view a human eye would.

Telephoto lenses (85mm to 300mm on a full-frame) have a very shallow angle of view, allowing you to zoom in closely.

Super telephoto lenses (anything beyond 300mm) are for photographing subjects that are quite far away.

One thing to keep in mind is that a lens with any given focal length will produce different results on an APS-C camera than on a full-frame camera.

For example, attaching a 50mm full-frame lens to an APS-C camera will make the lens act more like a 75mm or 80mm lens. (The focal length of the lens itself doesn’t change.) This can be super useful if you want more of a super telephoto effect but don’t want to pay for something that expensive.


The maximum size of the aperture of a lens – or f/number – determines how “fast” a lens is. Faster lenses let in more light, allowing you more wiggle room when working handheld in darker environments. They also allow you to photograph a narrower FOCUS plane, putting your subject in FOCUS while blurring everything in front and/or behind it.

Faster lenses (i.e. f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2) are generally bigger and more expensive than slower lenses. They’re especially helpful if you have an APS-C camera, as the sensor is smaller and can use all the light it can get.

With zoom lenses, there’s also another thing to keep in consideration: whether the aperture is variable or constant.

A variable aperture lens automatically adjusts the minimum aperture available to your focal length. For example, on a 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 zoom, your lens will be as fast as f/4.5 at 70mm but will decrease the farther out you go. You’ll only have f/5.6 available by the time you reach 300mm.

Variable aperture lenses tend to be lighter and more affordable than fixed aperture lenses, but you definitely get less light available at the farther end.

With a fixed or constant aperture zoom lens, the aperture stays the same throughout all of the focal lengths. That means that no matter where you are in zoom, you’ll always have the same amount of light available.

For example, a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom will have f/2.8 available at 24mm, 70mm, and everywhere in between.

Obviously, constant apertures are ideal, but they tend to be heavier, larger, and much more expensive.

3rd Party Lenses

Third-party lenses – lenses made by manufacturers other than Sony – often come with a much lower price tag than native lenses.

Sometimes this is because they are lower quality, but not always. Both Sigma and Tamron make some excellent E-mount lenses, many of which work just as well – if not better – than lenses made by Sony.

The advantage you get when using first-party lenses is that you know that the lens is fully compatible with your Sony camera. In some cases – like with GM lenses – you’re likely to be getting superior quality as well.

The advantage of third-party lenses is almost always their comparatively lower prices.

How do I attach Nikon and Canon lenses to a Sony camera?

If you want to use a Nikon or Canon lens on your Sony, never fear – in most cases, you’ll just need a lens mount adaptor.

You might not get all the features of the lens or of the camera, but depending on the lens and the adaptor, you might still get much of its original functionality.

For example, some adaptors will work great with both AF-S and AF-C. Others will just have AF-S. If you prefer to shoot manually and don’t need IBIS, you’re golden!

Why use a Nikon or Canon lens on your Sony? One reason is you might be coming from one of these systems and already have a lot of great glass you love.

Another is that there are a lot of high-quality Canon and Nikon vintage lenses available at bargain – you can save a lot of money.

Here are some of the more popular adaptors:

Nikon F-mount lens to Sony E-mount camera

  • Monster Adapter LA-FE1
  • Vello Select Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Auto Lens Adapter (Firmware Ver.8)
  • FotodioX Mount Adapter for Nikon F-Mount Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera

Canon EF-mount lens to Sony E-mount camera

  • Vello Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Auto Lens Adapter
  • Metabones Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Sony E Mount T Smart Adapter (Fifth Generation)

What do the letters on a Sony Lens mean?

What are other common questions about Sony e-mount lenses?

The Sony “FE” means that the lens is designed for full-frame Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras.

An “E” without the “F” means the lens was designed specifically for a Sony APS-C camera (i.e. the a6xxx line). It will have a smaller image circle than that of a lens designed for a full-frame sensor.

GM, or Gold Master lenses are Sony’s premium, top-of-the-line lenses. They’re designed to fulfill all professional requirements, from exceptional image quality and performance to weatherproofing and a superior design build. They are designated on the lens with a white G on an orange square.

A Sony GM lens is designed solely by Sony and uses the Sony quality standard. They FOCUS on providing high-resolution and perfect bokeh.

A Carl Zeiss lens is a lens made by Sony using Zeiss design and technology. It uses the Zeiss quality standard, which focuses on resolution and contrast. (Sony partnered with Zeiss for two decades before making their first GM lens in 2016.)

A full-frame lens will be marked with an FE on the barrel.

OSS on a Sony lens stands for Optical Steady Shot, Sony’s in-lens image stabilization system.

There are three different types of Zeiss design that Sony uses: Sonnar, Planar, and Distagon.

Sonnar – Sonnar Zeiss lenses use the Zeiss classic “Sonnar” design invented by Dr. Ludwig Bertele in the late 1920s. They feature a fast aperture, lightweight design, and fantastic contrast – all with a minimum of flare.

Planar – Designed in the late 1890s, planar lenses have a symmetrical design, with the aperture placed in the middle of the elements. This allows the lens to stay sharp from center to corner at wide apertures, all with little chromatic aberration. Almost every 50mm lens has some element of Planar design in it

Distagon – A design system Zeiss uses for its wide and ultra-wide angle, retrofocal lenses. These lenses are often heavy, as they are pretty complex. The Sony Zeiss Distagon T FE 35mm F1.4 ZA is the only Distagon lens available for Sony E-mounts.

  • How do I update the firmware on my Sony lens?
  • Attach the lens to the camera. (Make sure that your camera is off before attaching/changing the lens.)
  • Check the version of the camera lens system software by going to Menu →Setup → Version.
  • Set the USB Connection to Mass Storage.
  • Using a computer, download the update that corresponds to your lens model.
  • Run the update on your computer.
  • Follow the screen instructions.
  • When directed, connect a USB cable to your camera, then plug it into your computer. (If your camera has both a Micro USB and USB C port, you can use either.)
  • Continue following the screen instructions.
  • Once the update process is complete, click the “Finish” button on your computer screen. (DO NOT DISCONNECT THE USB CABLE until your camera’s LCD screen says “Camera Update Complete.”)
  • Follow the instructions on your camera’s LCD screen (which will probably include turning the camera off and then on again).
  • Re-check the firmware version of the lens to make sure the update was successful. (Again, Menu →Setup → Version).

IMPORTANT: Make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged before starting the update process. If the battery dies during the firmware update, your camera may be seriously impacted.

Also, do not turn off the camera or disconnect the USB cable until the update process is entirely complete.

Sony cameras use either an A-mount or an E/FE-mount. A-mount lenses work with Sony DSLRs. Sony’s mirrorless cameras use the E-mount and/or FE-mount.

The Sony E-mount (without the F) is a lens made for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras.

The FE-mount signifies a lens made for Son’y full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Yes, if you use an adaptor.

You can connect a Canon lens to a Sony mirrorless camera body by using a Sony E-mount adapter. For more information, see the section above.

Yes, you can connect a Nikon lens to a Sony mirrorless camera body. You just need a Sony E-mount adapter. For more information, see the section above.

You can connect a Nikon lens to a Sony mirrorless camera body by using a Sony E-mount adaptor.

You can connect a Sony lens to a Canon camera via the use of a Canon EF-mount adaptor

You can connect a Sony lens to a Canon camera via the use of a Nikon F-mount adaptor

Sony Lens List: Current, Upcoming Rumors

12-24mm f/2.8 GM 12-24mm f/4 G 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS 16-35mm f/4 G 16-35mm T3.1 G 16-35mm f/2.8 GM 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS 24-70mm f/2.8 GM 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II 24-105mm f/4 G OSS 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS 28-60mm f/4-5.6 28-70mm f/3.5–5.6 OSS 28-135mm f/4 G OSS 70-200mm f/4 G OSS 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II OSS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS

14mm f/1.8 GM 20mm f/1.8 G 24mm f/2.8 G 24mm f/1.4 GM 28mm f/2 35mm f/2.8 35mm f/1.8 35mm f/1.4 ZA 35mm f/1.4 GM 40mm f/2.5 G 50mm f/2.8 Macro 50mm f/2.5 G 50mm f/1.8 50mm f/1.4 ZA 50mm f/1.2 GM 55mm f/1.8 85mm f/1.8 85mm f/1.4 GM 90mm f/2.8 G Macro 100mm f/2.8 STF GM 135mm f/1.8 GM 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS 600mm f/4 GM OSS

10-18mm f/4 OSS 10-20mm f/4 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS 16-55mm f/2.8 G 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS 18–105mm f/4 G OSS 18–110mm f/4 G OSS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS 18–200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS 18–200mm f/3.5–6.3 OSS LE 18–200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS 55–210mm f/4.5-6.3 OS 70–350mm f/4.5–6.3 G OSS

11mm f/1.8 15mm f/1.4 16mm F2.8 20mm f/2.8 24mm f/1.8 ZA 30mm f/3.5 Macro 35mm f/1.8 OSS 50mm f/1.8 OSS

Whilst an official Sony lens roadmap doesn’t exist, there are plenty of Sony lens rumors floating around.

Here are the expected lenses for 2023 and their release dates.

  • Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G Lens (Announced, Priced 1,098. Release date on March 3rd, 2023)
  • Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens
  • Sony FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens (Release date in early 2024)
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens
  • Sony FE 24-105mm f4 G OSS II Lens
  • Sony FE 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens
  • Sony FE 85mm f/1.2 GM Lens
  • Sony FE 100mm f/1.4 GM Lens
  • Sony FE 150-400mm f/4 Lens

Final Words

We hope you found this enormous guide useful! It was definitely a challenge to put together, but we think it was worth it 🙂

Shooting with a Sony mirrorless camera is certainly a fun and rewarding experience, so it’s great that there are so many excellent own-brand and third-party lenses available for the Sony e-mount here in 2023.

If you have any questions or Комментарии и мнения владельцев regarding any of the lenses mentioned here (or have some recommendations of your own), we’d love to hear them below.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Guide to best Sony E-Mount 35mm Lenses for A7/A9/A1 series

35mm is a very popular focal length with a wide range of applications ranging from landscape over astrophotography to environmental portraiture and many consider it the best choice when only using one prime lens. We decided to summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few legacy 35mm lenses for the Sony A7 series to give you a compact and independent resource for choosing the best 35mm lens for your needs.

Unlike most other review sites we have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. We prefer independence over fancy trips and nice meals.

Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on the used market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment or contact us on social media and we will do our best to answer it.

Last update: January 2023

  • 5 Questions to consider before deciding on a 35mm lens
  • 1. What will you use your 35mm lens for?
  • 2. What is your budget?
  • 3. Size Weight
  • 4. How fast does it need to be?
  • 5. Do you prefer AF or manual FOCUS?
  • Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN
  • Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM
  • Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm 1.4 ZA
  • Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG DN
  • Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG HSM (former DSLR design)
  • Samyang 35mm 1.4 AF (MK II)
  • Sony FE 35mm 1.8
  • Samyang 35mm 1.8 AF
  • Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN
  • Sony ZA 35mm 2.8 FE
  • Samyang 35mm 2.8 AF
  • Tamron 35mm 2.8 Di III OSD M1:2
  • Laowa 35mm 0.95 Argus
  • Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 Nokton E
  • SLRmagic 35mm 1.2 Cine
  • Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 Nokton E Classic
  • Pergear 35mm 1.4
  • 7Artisans 35mm 1.4
  • Voigtländer 35mm 2.0 E Apo-Lanthar
  • Zeiss 35mm 2.0 Loxia
  • Zeiss 35mm 1.4 ZM
  • Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 Ultron VM
  • Nikon Nikkor 2.8/35
  • Minolta MD 2.8/35
  • Bastian’s Choice: Laowa 35mm 0.95
  • Jannik’s Choice: Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art
  • David’s Choice: Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM
  • Juriaans Choice: Nikon Nikkor 35mm 2.8
  • Phillip’s choice: Voigtlander 1.2/40
  • The Team
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Questions to consider before deciding on a 35mm lens

There is no best 35mm lens for everyone, since individual needs are so different. This is why you won’t find any ratings in terms of stars or points out of 5 in this guide. Instead here are 5 questions to help you reflect on what you need in a 35mm lens. If you already know what you need you can skip to the lenses discussion directly.

What will you use your 35mm lens for?

A lens might perform very well for one application and fail for others. The Zeiss Loxia 2/35 for example is a favorite of many landscape photographers but we can only recommend against using it for a wedding. Our favorite wedding lens, the Sigma 1.2/35, on the other hand is a behemoth of a lens you probably don’t want to carry on a longer hike. Other lenses like the Sony FE 1.8/35 aren’t the best in any category but cover a wide range of applications well enough. So before deciding on a lens you should ask yourself what you want to use your lens for. Here we present a few scenarios to make it clearer what aspects matter for those.

When shooting a wedding you will probably care most about bokeh, good sharpness across most of the frame from wide open, speed and AF which should be fast and reliable. Price may or may not be an important aspect. Requirements for shooting family are similar with a bigger emphasis on AF-speed for smaller children.

For astro-photography you want a fast lens with good coma correction and as little vignetting as possible. Many people also prefer manual lenses here.

When photographing a landscape or architecture you will probably care about good sharpness at f/8 or f/11, high contrast, good flare resistance, manual FOCUS experience and maybe nice sunstars or small weight.

What is your budget?

You can spend anywhere from 150 to 1500 for a 35mm E-mount lens. You can also adapt a good legacy 35mm for a little over 50. As a rule of thumb more money gets you better optical quality, better build quality, better reliability and faster lenses. There are some rather embarrassing exceptions to this rule of thumb in the E-mount 35mm lineup though.

How much should you spend? If you are on a very tight budget but a competent photographer you will get very good results out of a 50 lens but you will have to deal with a few scenarios where you would have gotten better results with a more expensive lens. But keep in mind we all know that guy who reliably gets bad results out of his 4000 Leica lens. Since available income differs so much it is impossible to give a general recommendation here but it is a good idea to consider how much you will use a lens, how much joy you will get out of using it and count that against much how much you will miss the money it cost you.

When considering the price of a lens also look at the long term cost of it. A cheap 350 lens which breaks after 1 year of use costs you 350 for a year of use. A more expensive 600 lens you bought used that can be sold after a year for 550 costs you 50 for a year of use. And it was probably more enjoyable to use in that year. There is also an effect called “early adopter tax”: the value of newly released lenses usually depreciates rather quickly in the first year.

Size Weight

The lightest 35mm E-mount lens ist the Samyang 2.8/35 at 86g, while the heaviest lens, the Sigma 1.2/35, weighs 1090g. The three most important factors for the weight of a lens are speed, vignetting and the degree of optical correction. The Sigma 1.2/35 is not only 2.5 stops faster than the Samyang: its optical design is also a lot more complex which results in much higher sharpness and better correction of aberrations. The Sigma also has a lot less vignetting.

Again needs are very different: If you do a lot of hiking you probably don’t want to carry the very heavy Sigma, but a slower, lighter lens. As a wedding photographer on the other hand performance will usually be more important than weight. Lenses also need to fit into your camera bag.

How fast does it need to be?

A faster f/1.4 lens allows you to blur your background more than a slower f/2.8 lens and it also lets in more light, allowing for lower ISO or shorter shutter speeds. Faster lenses are usually bigger, heavier and more expensive than slower lenses but there are exceptions to both rules we mention in the discussion of each lens.

So how fast does your lens need to be? If you chose a f/1.8 lens over a f/1.4 lens this will seldom make the difference between a good and a bad picture but it often is one important factor for the look of your images. Also keep in mind that the quality of the blur (bokeh) can be more important than the amount of blur.

Do you prefer AF or manual FOCUS?

Most users will answer that they want an AF-lens. In that case one needs to consider how fast and how reliable AF needs to be.

Some users prefer to FOCUS manually because it makes photography more enjoyable to them. Even some native lenses are manual FOCUS only and they are a joy to use since they have a proper FOCUS helicoid and a smooth focusing ring. Almost all AF E-mount lenses are less pleasant to FOCUS manually because they are FOCUS-by-wire designs where there is a small but noticeable lag between the moment you turn the FOCUS-ring and the actual change of FOCUS and, secondly, the FOCUS ring offers the wrong amount of resistance or even has some play. Many also have variable (non-linear) throw, meaning that the amount the FOCUS changes when you turn the focussing right depends not just on how far you turn the focussing ring, but on how fast you turn it. In theory this helps you make big changes quickly, and then FOCUS slowly for fine-tuning. In practice many experienced manual-lens-users find it hard to adjust to and very unpredictable.

Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN

Status: Bought by Bastian, David and Jannik. David sold it to fund the 35mm 1.4 GM, the other two are still in use.

  • Amazing sharpness and contrast already at f/1.2 and no field curvature at infinity (resolution everywhere in the frame is as good at f/1.2 as it is at f/11!)
  • Soft bokeh with smooth transitions, for many the best among all 35mm lenses
  • Good to very good coma correction but average vignetting figures (good idea to slightly stop down for astrophotography to get a more even exposure)
  • Above average correction of purple fringing
  • GM handling with aperture ring, AF/MF switch and additional lens button
  • Above average linear distortion which is easily corrected in post
  • Big, heavy, expensive

The 35mm AF lens Bastian has been waiting for so long to couple with his Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM. Smoothest bokeh in a 35mm lens we have seen yet and together with the Sony FE 50mm 1.2 GM the best performing f/1.2 lens in terms of optical qualities you can put on your E-mount camera. If you are looking for something with these properties you will forget the weight when you see the resulting images.

Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM

Status: Bought by David. Still in use.

  • Surprisingly small and lightweight
  • Amazing sharpness and contrast already at f/1.4 and no noticeable field curvature at infinity
  • Good bokeh
  • Good to very good coma correction but average vignetting figures
  • Above average correction of purple fringing
  • GM handling with aperture ring, AF/MF switch and additional lens button
  • expensive

One of Sony’s most impressive lenses so far. A 35mm 1.4 as small as the already small 24mm 1.4 GM – something no one here thought would be feasible. Better sharpness than anyone would ever need, good bokeh rendering. Bastian sticks to the Sigma for even smoother bokeh, David now takes the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM everywhere while he enjoys carrying significantly less weight.

520g | 1398 | Review

Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm 1.4 ZA

Status: Bought and sold by David and Jannik. Loaner reviewed by Bastian.

  • Smooth bokeh in combination with decent contrast at maximum aperture leads to appealing images in many scenarios
  • Field curvature makes it a not so great performer for infinity shooting, especially at wider apertures
  • Shows onion ring structures in out of FOCUS highlights
  • High amount of purple fringing
  • Good coma correction and average vignetting figures
  • Very high sample variation
  • Above average and wavy barrel distortion
  • Compared to the GM lenses no lens button and non linear manual FOCUS by wire
  • Expensive

We know some of you bought one while all the planets in our solar system were perfectly aligned and therefore got a great copy, but in most cases one corner is significantly less sharp than the others, or the entire field is tilted so one side is noticeably less sharp than the other. For anyone in the market for a fast 35mm lens now – considering the alternatives – we cannot recommend this one, especially for MSRP. This lens has been rendered useless by the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM.

Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG DN

Status: not reviewed by anyone, but reliable information available

Sigma updated its classic 35mm 1.4 Art lens with better optics leading to better sharpness and nicer bokeh while making it smaller and lighter. The only thing we could complain about: it is not as high resolving as the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM and also slightly heavier and bigger.

Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG HSM (former DSLR design)

Status: Bought and sold by Bastian (as soon as the 35mm 1.2 was available)

  • Good sharpness and contrast but also a bit of field curvature, so best used at f/5.6 to f/8.0 for infinity shooting
  • Bokeh is good but not excellent as at longer FOCUS distances double edged structures can become noticeable
  • Shows onion ring structures in out of FOCUS highlights
  • Purple fringing can be visible in harsh light
  • Coma correction is decent and the lens is certainly usable for astrophotography
  • AF/MF-switch, direct mechanical coupling between FOCUS ring and FOCUS group (the only AF lens listed here without FOCUS-by-wire)
  • The heaviest native 35mm f/1.4 lens with AF (95g more than the Samyang)

This was Sigma’s first Art lens and they got a lot right: nice build quality, good optics, decently priced. A versatile lens without any major downsides, something we only rarely see. Still, the aforementioned true mirrorless Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG DN is the much smarter choice these days.

Samyang 35mm 1.4 AF (MK II)

Status: Owned by Phillip, still in use when AF is needed

  • Good to very good sharpness from wide open across the frame, very stopped down with some field curvature.
  • Smooth bokeh most of the time. A little nervous off-center at longer distances.
  • Rather strong CA, average vignetting and flare resistance.
  • Above average astro-performance, usable from wide open.
  • Manual FOCUS is annoying because the default setting (can be changed with optional dock) has a too steep transmission and jumps from one distance to another with too few intermediate steps.
  • No FOCUS button and no AF/MF-Switch on MK I, both have been introduced in MK II
  • Froze Phillip’s a7II several time when he tried shooting a wedding with it (MK I)
  • There are quite a few reports of lenses stopping to work after a few months of work (MK I)

It is surprising how good the Samyang is optically if you consider its price. For below 449 it holds its own against many more expensive 35mm lenses. This lens has been updated to an MK II version with unchanged optics but improved mechanical design and electronics. We haven’t used the updated version personally, but we hope it solved some of the issues we had with the original one.

645g | 449 (MKI) and 699 (MKII) | review

Sony FE 35mm 1.8

Status: Phillip borrowed one from Sony for two weeks where he used it a lot and wrote a review.

  • Good to very good sharpness from wide open across the frame, excellent stopped down.
  • Smooth bokeh most of the time. Nervous off-center at longer distances.
  • Rather strong CA, average vignetting and flare resistance.
  • AF/MF-Switch and Focus-hold button.
  • Very fast and reliable AF.
  • Decent manual FOCUS for an AF-lens.
  • Small and light.
  • Expensive

While the Sony FE 1.8/35 doesn’t excel in any category it performs well in most of them and has no serious flaws. It is much more portable than the f/1.4 lenses and optically superior to the slower f/2.8 lenses. Unless very fast AF is important it might be worth checking out the Sigma 2/35 as well though.

280g | 748 | Review

Samyang 35mm 1.8 AF

Status: not reviewed by anyone, but reliable information available

The Samyang 35mm 1.8 AF is a decent low cost alternative to the slightly overpriced Sony 35mm 1.8 lens. Ultimately you get what you pay for though, as longitudinal CA are a bit on the high side as is distortion and you get to deal with onion ring structures in out of FOCUS highlights.

210g | 399 | Lenstip Review

Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN

Status: David owned his for a few months before swapping it for the GM35, Phillip has owned his for more than a year now.

  • Good to very good sharpness from wide open across the frame, excellent stopped down.
  • Smooth bokeh even in more challenging scenarios where most other 35mm lenses fail.
  • Good but not perfect CA correction.
  • Average vignetting and flare resistance.
  • AF/MF-Switch and Aperture ring.
  • Fast and reliable AF
  • Good manual FOCUS for an AF-lens.
  • Feels very solid thanks to milled metal outer case.
  • A bit heavier than the Sony/Samyang 1.8/35 but still small and light.

While all 35mm lenses that came before the Sigma came with a number of optical compromises, the 2/35 doesn’t. It delivers a very convincing performance in any area with smooth rendering – even in more challenging scenarios. It also feels a lot nicer in your hand. And it does all that for less than Sony’s own 1.8/35. So the Sigma 2/35 is an easy recommendation.

325g | Price: 589

Sony ZA 35mm 2.8 FE

Status: Owned by David and used for some years before being sold.

  • Quite high resolution at open aperture
  • Good contrast
  • Does not improve much with stopping down
  • Undefined sunstars
  • A bit more glare and contrast drop in backlight than ideal for a modern lens
  • Good AF
  • Fairly high variation as with many early FE lenses. Buy from source when you can test or return.
  • Nothing exciting about the bokeh in either quality or quantity

This is a very small and light and decently sharp lens that is very attractive for someone who wants a lightweight 35 for hiking or similar purposes. While I expect the new Tamron 2.8/35 to be very likely an even better performer, it will be both much larger and 80% heavier. At its official price the Sony Zeiss was overpriced, but now it can often be found new at very attractive prices, and used at even lower ones.

Samyang 35mm 2.8 AF

Status: Owned briefly by David, but returned due to sample issues

  • Decently sharp: sharper than most legacy 35s (at least in the areas not subject to the tilt my copy showed)
  • Decent flare control
  • Good CA correction.
  • Wonderfully small and light, and inexpensive
  • OK AF but not as good as the Sony Zeiss
  • Slightly cheap feeling build and hood (but this by itself doesn’t predict actual internal build quality)
  • My copy had field tilt, and I think you would have to buy from source that allows many returns.

If you can find a good copy this is very inexpensive and optically decent, and perhaps a good lens to take on expeditions where every gram counts, and where there is the possibility of damaging the lens and you don’t want to take something expensive.

Tamron 35mm 2.8 Di III OSD M1:2

Status: borrowed from German Tamron distributor by Phillip for a few weeks

  • Very good sharpness at infinity
  • Good flare resistance
  • High vignetting
  • Very lightweight but not very small
  • Maximum magnification of 1:2
  • Slow autofocus and bad manual FOCUS experience

The 35mm 2.8 is probably the best ouf of Tamron’s wide f/2.8 primes, but there are so many (faster) 35mm options available these days, it becomes somewhat hard to recommend unlike you really don’t need a lens faster than f/2.8.

Laowa 35mm 0.95 Argus

Status: bought and reviewed by Bastian.

  • Unique specifications
  • Amazing bokeh rendering
  • Sharp where it matters
  • Above average vignetting figures, especially stopped down
  • Average flare resistance
  • Surprisingly good coma correction for an f/0.95 lens
  • Good build quality
  • Compact for what it is and reasonably priced
  • No electronic contacts / Exif data

The world’s fastest 35mm fullframe lens and also the world’s widest f/0.95 lens for fullframe. Compared to other affordable f/0.95 lenses the optics are surprisingly good, compared to the only other high quality f/0.95 lens (the Nikon 58mm 0.95) this Laowa lens is surprisingly compact and cheap. Great choice for environmental portraiture when AF is not needed and tied for the lead with Sigma 35mm 1.2 for being the 35mm lens with the most appealing bokeh rendering.

Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 Nokton E

Status: borrowed from RobertWhite by Phillip for a couple of weeks

  • Very smooth bokeh most of the time
  • Sharp enough from wide open, optimized for portrait distance, stopped down the corners never reach excellent values, also thanks to some field curvature
  • Bad coma correction, not a good choice for astrophotography
  • Good flare resistance
  • High vignetting
  • Excellent handling and build quality
  • Nice sunstars
  • Great size/performance ration

If you are into manual FOCUS this is a very compelling 35mm option. Nice bokeh, good contrast, good flare resistance, stopped down good enough sharpness and nice sunstars.

SLRmagic 35mm 1.2 Cine

Status: bought, reviewed and sold by Bastian.

  • Lots of background blur for the money
  • Very “classic” bokeh rendering with lots of outlining at maximum aperture, which gets smoother as you stop down
  • Optimized for portrait distance, so at f/1.2 decent sharpness only at this distance and lots of glow at infinity, corners at infinity never look really good
  • Bad coma correction, not a good choice for astrophotography
  • Bad flare resistance
  • Above average vignetting figures
  • Noticeable FOCUS shift
  • Fuzzy sunstars
  • Cine lens with gears therefore not very pleasant to use for photography
  • No electronic contacts / Exif data

If you are looking for a fast 35mm lens that gives a “classic look” – meaning busy bokeh, mediocre sharpness and contrast and lots of optical aberrations – it is probably a better idea to go for the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4, which will only set you back 199 and is more enjoyable to use. The Pergear 35mm 1.4 features a more “modern performance” making it an even better deal, so I see little reason to still consider this SLRmagic lens.

Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 Nokton E Classic

Status: borrowed from German Voigtlander distributor by Bastian for a few weeks

  • Very “classic” (busy) bokeh rendering with lots of outlining from f/1.4 to f/2.0, this gets smoother as you stop down to f/2.8 or further
  • Needs to be stopped down to f/8 to f/11 for decent infinity performance and corners still not looking great
  • Bad coma correction, not a good choice for astrophotography
  • Good flare resistance stopped down, bad flare resistance at f/1.4 to f/1.7
  • High vignetting figures
  • Above average distortion
  • Noticeable FOCUS shift
  • Well defined 10-stroke sunstars stopped down
  • Great handling and build quality

I am not a big fan of this lens. At maximum aperture the optical qualities are similar to those of the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 or SLRmagic 35mm 1.2 Cine, yet it is much more expensive. It is a better performer stopped down though and compared to the aforementioned lenses you get electronic contacts providing Exif data. I would rather recommend getting a used Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and a new 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 instead for the same money. That way you will have a versatile and useful general purpose 35mm 1.4 lens and a cheap funky one, not only an expensive funky one.

Pergear 35mm 1.4

Status: borrowed from Pergear by Bastian for a few weeks

  • Cheapest fast fullframe 35mm lens for E-mount
  • Nice bokeh at most distances, especially compared to other cheap 35mm lenses like the TTArtisan 35mm 1.4 or SLRmagic 35mm 1.2 and also some more expensive ones like Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0 or Voigtländer 35mm 1.4 Classic
  • Sharpness only average and also comes with some field curvature issues, therefore needs to be stopped down to f/8 to f/11 for decent infinity performance
  • Average flare resistance, vignetting figures and coma correction
  • High distortion, luckily easy to correct in post
  • Full metal construction and nice handling
  • No electronic contacts / Exif data

A lot of lens for the money. This can be a great option if you don’t have a fast prime yet. If you are mainly using a midrange or superzoom like the Sony 24-105mm 4.0 or Tamron 28-200 or even one of the 28-70mm 2.8 lenses, this Pergear can greatly expand the capabilities of your kit without weighing you down or breaking the bank.

237g | 129 | Full Review

Artisans 35mm 1.4

Status: Borrowed from 7artisans by Phillip for a couple of weeks.

  • Soft at f/1.4, sharpens up to ok levels at f/2 and never gets very sharp across the frame in part because of the strong field curvature.
  • Very nervous bokeh wide open, smoother at f/2 and smooth by f/2.8.
  • Strong CA, flares and vignetting.
  • Fuzzy sunstars.
  • Very small and relatively light.
  • Very good build quality and excellent handling.
  • Very affordable
  • No electronic contacts / Exif data

A special effect lens with funky rendering at f/1.4, smoother rendering stopped down and lots of aberrations. It is pleasant to handle and affordable. Might be worth checking out if you are after different rendering but we can’t recommended it as a general purpose lens.

Voigtländer 35mm 2.0 E Apo-Lanthar

Status: borrowed from Robert White by Bastian for a few weeks

  • Very good correction of most of the optical aberrations and therefore high image quality across the frame even at f/2.0
  • Less distracting bokeh than the Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0, but not as appealing as that of some of the other lenses on this list
  • Low distortion
  • Average flare resistance
  • Very good coma correction but also very high vignetting even stopped down, therefore not the ideal choice for astrophotography
  • Interesting aperture construction that is perfectly round at some apertures and yields well defined sunstars at others
  • Nice build quality

If you mainly use your 35mm lens for architecture or landscape shooting this is the one you are looking for. It offers very high contrast as well as resolution coupled with a good correction of almost all optical aberrations. It is in many ways the better Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0, but if you already have the Zeiss lens and you are thinking of upgrading: this only makes sense when you want to use the lens at wider apertures often.

353g | 949 | Review | sample images

Zeiss 35mm 2.0 Loxia

Status: bought, reviewed and sold by Bastian. Bought by David but not really in use anymore.

  • Exceptional performer stopped down to f/8 to f/11 for landscape/architecture due to high contrast and resolution
  • Soft corners (mostly due to field curvature) at wider apertures
  • “Classic” (busy) bokeh rendering with lots of outlining at f/2.0, this gets smoother as you stop down
  • Low distortion
  • Average vignetting figures
  • Average flare resistance
  • Bad coma performance at f/2.0 to f/2.8, not a good choice for astrophotography
  • Well defined 10-stroke sunstars stopped down
  • Nice build quality (PANO Lens-Grip recommended)
  • Expensive, too expensive new, look for a used one

If you are looking at this one because you are a happy with the Loxia 21mm, 25mm or 85mm you may be disappointed: this one is not playing in the same league. It is a rather old rangefinder design “tweaked” for the E-mount cameras. It is a very good performer stopped down to f/8 to f/11 though with very high contrast, nice resolution and beautiful sunstars, but the bokeh at maximum aperture is rather busy and often distracting.

340g | 1349 | Review | aperture series | sample images

Zeiss 35mm 1.4 ZM

Status: bought, reviewed and sold by Bastian.

  • Across frame sharpness suffers a lot due to the thick Sony filter stack, this can be improved by adding a 5m PCX filter, but this will make the midzone dip even worse
  • Very high contrast makes it a great lens for stopped down landscape or architecture shooting
  • Mostly smooth bokeh
  • Decent coma correction but not a good choice for astrophotography due to the wavy field and above average vignetting figures
  • Very low but wavy distortion
  • Well defined 10-stroke sunstars stopped down
  • Very nice build quality
  • Very expensive

Suffers too much on Sony cameras due to their thick filer stack to justify its high price tag. The Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 VM simply works much better on Sony cameras.

381g adapter | 2390 | Review | aperture series | sample images

Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 Ultron VM

Status: Bought, reviewed and sold by Phillip. Bought and still in use by Bastian.

  • Corner sharpness suffers a bit due to the thick Sony filter stack, this can be greatly improved by adding a 5m PCX filter. With filter across frame sharpness is already usable at f/1.7
  • Smoothest bokeh of all the manual FOCUS 35mm lenses listed here
  • High contrast makes it a great lens for stopped down landscape or architecture shooting (not as high as Loxia or ZM, but only a very small difference)
  • Decent coma correction with 5m PCX filter and usable for astrophotography
  • Very good flare resistance, probably the best performance we have seen in a 35mm lens yet
  • High vignetting
  • Low distortion
  • Well defined 10-stroke sunstars stopped down
  • Nice build quality (some dislike the knurly FOCUS ring though)
  • Decently priced
  • Has been discontinued, so mainly available on the used market

If you go through the trouble of adding a 5m PCX filter this smokes many native lenses in several categories. It is one of the few true allround lenses that works well (if not very well) for almost every application you can think of for a 35mm lens. The only real disadvantage: it is not a native lens, which would make it even more enjoyable to use.

Nikon Nikkor 2.8/35

Status: Bought and still owned by Juriaan.

  • Sharp across the frame stopped down, therefore the Nikkor 2.8/35 is a good budget option for shooting landscapes
  • Flare resistance is quite good, especially for a legacy lens
  • Light and small
  • Great build quality, I really like the handling of this lens.
  • Bokeh can be busy at longer distances but is smooth near MFD
  • CA correction is average, luckily CA is still easy to correct
  • The lens can be used well with extension tubes
  • Only a little barrel distortion, therefore this lens is also suitable for architecture photography

Good option for those that like a well build manual lens but are running on a budget. The Nikkor is a decent landscape lens and its optical quality in the same league as the Minolta MD 2.8/35, but build quality is nicer here.

Minolta MD 2.8/35

Status: Used a lot by Phillip when he was still a poor student.

  • Good sharpness from f/2.8 so it can be used for most applications.
  • Very sharp across the frame stopped down to f/8 though with stronger field curvature corners are focused in front of center.
  • Flare resistance is not up to modern standards but not catastrophic either.
  • Light and small
  • Good build quality by modern standards but only average for a legacy lens. See Nikkor 2.8/35 if this is very important to you.
  • Bokeh is mostly smooth, because it has only 6 aperture blades a bit edgy stopped down.
  • Average CA correction and vignetting.
  • Very affordable

The Minolta MD 2.8/35 is a good lens if you like to FOCUS manually and work on a very limited budget. Optically it is about as good as the much smaller modern 2.8/35s. It can deliver very good results even on high resolution sensors.

Editor’s Choices

All of us have used many lenses and we all have bought and sold some of them for whatever reason. Nevertheless there are a few lenses that simply stick, so we decided to let each of us pick one of the aforementioned lenses and tell you why we like it and/or keep using it.

Bastian’s Choice: Laowa 35mm 0.95

35mm is easily my favorite focal length but if I had to choose only one it would be the Laowa 35mm 0.95. The 35mm wide angle view coupled with a crazy f/0.95 maximum aperture allows for a visual impression no other lens can match.

Unlike most of the other f/0.95 lenses on the market this is not a mere special effect lens for shallow depth of field photography though, it is also very sharp and well corrected stopped down a bit. This is not only the widest f/0.95 lens or the fastest 35mm, it might also be the only f/0.95 lens that makes sense as an everyday 35mm being the same size as the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM while being more than a stop faster.

That being said I have more 35mm lenses than anyone needs, so I also use the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN for weddings/reportage and the Voigtländer VM 35mm 1.7 5m PCX filter for landscape shooting or when I want to travel as light as possible.

Jannik’s Choice: Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art

Jannik is busy at the moment but enjoys the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art to take pictures of his son.

David’s Choice: Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM

My previous choice was both the Sigma 35mm 1.2, and the Loxia 35mm f2. The Loxia was a bit lacking at wide apertures, but compact and great stopped down for landscape, and the Sigma was great at all apertures but huge. I seem to have settled on a single 35mm lens now: the superb GM 35mm 1.4. Its sharpness at all apertures is exemplary and it’s bokeh is as good as any 35 I’ve seen except the Sigma. Perhaps I would prefer some of that f1.2 goodness from the Sigma, but not when you compare these two: the bokeh difference is minimal, the size and weight difference immense. The GM can be your special occasion wide aperture lens, but it can also be your take everywhere lens.

Juriaans Choice: Nikon Nikkor 35mm 2.8

Until recently I was just another student without any budget for expensive lenses, therefore I only have used one 35 mm lens so far. For now it still does the job. Stopped down sharpness is very good and distortion is low.

However, if budget was no constraint there are some other 35 mm options I would gladly give a try. The Voigtländer (M-mount)1.7/35 would fit my needs very well. It is sharp across the frame, has high contrast and very nice sunstars. It would fit well between my Voigtländer 4.5/15 and Loxia 2/50, which also render 10 stroke sunstars.

Phillip’s choice: Voigtlander 1.2/40

Well… I know, this is not a 35mm lens. I wish it were though, since 35mm are a bit more universal than 40mm and integrate better into many kits. I want my “35mm” to cover a wide range of applications with a FOCUS on landscape and nature photography but I also want to use it to photograph people in different settings. I prefer to FOCUS manually when I am taking nature images and I am competent enough to capture most social settings well with manual FOCUS.

Before this I owned the Voigtlander 1.7/35 which is a little more compact and a bit better technically but it has no contacts so I had no exif and had to change focal length manually when swapping lenses. Also I found the FOCUS ring and limited close-focusing abilities a bit annoying. By getting the 1.2/40 for it I gained much better handling and speed which outweighted the penalty in focal length, price and sharpness. Both the Loxia 2/35 and Voigtlander 1.4/35 don’t perform well enough for me at wider apertures.

I have reviewed a couple of AF 35mm lenses but usually they are annoying to FOCUS manually and they lack nice sunstars and good flare resistance which I want for landscape images. So for know I stick with the 1.2/40 which is by far my most used lens but I still hope that one day there will be a Voigtlander 1.7/35 in E-mount which could be a bit more compact and be a bit sharper with nicer off-center bokeh.

Closing Remarks

We hope that this guide can help you in your purchase decision. If any questions are left unanswered don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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Thanks! Juriaan, David, Jannik, Bastian and Phillip

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The Team

The team, that are four gearheads: Bastian, Jannik and Phillip from Germany as well as David from Australia. All like to use manual lenses and have a passion for the outdoors. None the less they are specialized in different areas so they can provide you with a wider perspective.

thoughts on “Guide to best Sony E-Mount 35mm Lenses for A7/A9/A1 series”

I wonder why Cosina haven’t made E-mount version of their 35mm F1.7 with electronic contacts. Lack of F1.7-F2 lenses on E-mount could make it popular, even compared to M version, which has several competitors like Summircron or ZM.

So far we have only seen 1 out of 6 lenses from the “Vintage” line being ported to E-mount. I guess we might get a 35mm 2.0 APO Lanthar at some point.

I totally forgot about Loxia 35 F2. Since FE 35 F1.8 beats the Loxia in resolution, Cosina might make APO-Lanthar.

A 2.0/35 APO Lanthar would indeed be welcome. However, since I’ve been using a ZM 1.4/35 almost exclusively for the past six months, I’d be delighted if Zeiss could port that design to a Loxia format to match the Sony filter stack. That would be something.

I can see how that would appeal. Personally my preference is for a more compact manual 35 than that lens could be, and refer an AF lens for super fast use, but of course we all have different needs.

The 35mm f/2 Summicron-M IV might be quite close to what you want–except in price. That pre-ASPH version seems to work well with the Sony filter stack.

Hi, Bastian– No, I have no proof that the lens that I mentioned works well on the Sony bodies. I relied on the repeated posts in the dpreview Sony and Adapted Lenses forums by “Rol Lei Nut,” who has for years demonstrated an interest in a wide variety of lenses with an emphasis on a lightweight kit. Over recent years he’s posted information like this: I’ve been interested in the little Summicron that he’s mentioned repeatedly, but since I already have a 35mm that suits me (except for its weight) I’ve not been interested enough to buy one. If you were to test one and find it good, though

As people say: a picture is worth more than a thousand words and I haven’t yet seen one to back that claim

Thank you for this Bastian. What would you recommend as the best 35 for concert photography…wide open apertures, fast AF, good and not too sensitive MF adjustments when the subjects are more still? I’ve been shooting 50 and 85 primes to date and shoot a lot of shows, but need a 35 prime to add to the bag. Thanks!

Top 7 Awesome Sony Mirrorless Lens in 2023 (Top 10 Picks)

If the size doesn’t bother you the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art. If the size does bother you the new Sony FE 35mm 1.8.

size is no bother, but the fast and accurate AF and image stabilization would be my primary parameters, as well as sharpness of course. THanks!

Oh, I meant the Sigma Art 1.4. That’s what I’m leaning towards now that they’ve done the firmware update and dropped the price a bit….

It would have been interesting to have the 7artisans 35mm f2 in your list in order to compare with the others. Thanks for your nice work.

We haven’t read a single good word on this lens being used on a Sony camera and considering the super low price of the 7Artisans 35mm 1.4 there is little to no point using that one.

Ich liebe Eure Berichte – duch diese habe ich als überzeugter Fuji – Fan zur A7iii gewechselt – und es nicht bereut. Eine kleine Ergänzung, das Minolta M-Rokkor 2/40 mm mit Leica M-Bajonet ist auch eine grandiose Linse. Offen noch weich, aber ab F 2,8 besser und ab F4 sehr gut mit tollen definierten, Sonnensternen. Wenn beim Team Interesse besteht, leihe ich es gerne für einen Bericht Euch aus. Macht weiter so, Gruß ans Team! Klaus

Ich sehe die Stärken des Objektivs, wir hatten allerdings schon Schwierigkeiten uns bei den 35mm Objektiven auf die genannten zu beschränken und im Kreise des Teams hat bisher keiner das Objektiv genutzt, da wir alle mehr Wert auf Offenblenleistung und Gegenlichtresistenz legen.

That’s a great summary article, extremely informative! Though I’m in strong doubts, whether I need the 35 mm lens at all, given the presence of 17-28, 28/2 and 55 mm in my kit. This segment already looks overcrowded. But, for new adopters to Sony the right 35 mm lens may be a jack of all trades. Probably it worth making a similar article about 50-mm lenses.

We are already in internal discussion about such an article for 50mm lenses but we might split it into two (one for super fast 50s and one for not so fast 50s).

These articles are not that much fun to put together though and we often have debates about balancing out the ratings and apsects of each lens compared to the others. Therefore it might take some time before we have the 50mm one(s) ready

I like the CV 35 1.7 or Pentax 31 Ltd which isn’t listed but is one of the best options IMO. Good post though!

Did you consider Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 in Canon Mount with the MC-11 adapter? Good (or great) MTF and reviews. Thanks for your interesting comparisons.

Of course we read Roger’s MTFs and were impressed but decided that it usually won‘t be worth the hassle to adapt it since there is the Sigma 1.2/35.

Very good and thorough article. I’ll keep it in mind.when I got the Canon EF 35/2 IS USM it made my Sony 28/2 and various legacy 35 2,8s redundant (sharper, nicer bokeh). Can’t align my eyes with Sony’s belated 35/1,8’s bokeh, nor its price. The new Tamron 35 2,8 is interesting because I tend to use these at mfd and wide open.but the price in Europe is not near USD349. (USD 349 is approx what you get a used in good condition EF 35/2 IS USM for. With the MC11 its downfall might be the AF that won’t work for AF points close to the sides, nor will any points work in gloomy conditions, but optically and how it feels in the hand it’s a priceworthy thing)

Canon does have some versatile, nice and well priced 35mm lenses, for EF (35mm 2.0 IS) and for RF (35mm 1.8 Macro)…

Yes and they all have bad bokeh Getting good bokeh in 35mm lens is very, very, very rare. Only Sigma 35/1.2. Canon bokeh:

The CV 1.2/40 is absolute magic. And the automatic focusing aids make manually focusing it a lot of fun. If I could afford to… and I might stretch to find a way… I’d use it for stills and grab something slower cheaper for video. The 35 ART is a good all arounder for the money though.

best, sony, lenses, 2023

Amazing how bitter you guys often get over Sony 1.4/35 ZA. Feels like an ex that hurt your feelings really bad. We know how independent reviews can get emotional, right?

I think we all agree about the objective performance of that lens. Of course how one feels about a lens; how much that objective performance is annoying varies depending on one’s own personal history with it. I was lucky: I got a good copy, pretty even across the frame, on my first try. With good AF, decent contrast, nice bokeh and usable at many apertures I was quite happy with it – especially as it was better than most 1.4/35 lenses released up to that date. Though when I borrowed the Simga Art 1.4 and found it was slightly better (albeit with worse AF) I was surprised. That lens is a lot sharper wide open; enough to be more useful at f1.4 (once again to be fair you can’t say that about any previous 1.4/35) But anyone who has gone through many copies (and I know many people, not even necessarily picky ones who have done that) and found them unsatisfactory will be very annoyed. And looking at Rogers variation chart at Lensrentals, you see that you have no idea how one of these will perform – each one is so different. Some are pretty sharp centrally, but crappy at the edges. Others are pretty even, but only OK centrally. Others are sharp on one side of the image, but not the others. I remember and arugument between Rishi at DPR and a friend. Rishi said it was very even – more than Sigma, but much less good in the centre. The other said it was great in the centre, but crap at the periphery. Eventually they realised they were both right about their own copies! So if you have suffered (and it’s not a cheap lens) this way, yes emotion is likely! Now if you have a good copy, I wouldn’t recommend selling it unless you want the 1.2/35 Sigma, which is way better than the best copies. It’s also way bigger and heavier, and I can totally understand not wanting that (I went this route, because I use a lighter smaller 35 than either for travel or landscape). The Sigma 1.4 may be a little better optically, but it’s a bit bigger, heavier and has worse AF. There’s no doubt a good copy of ZA gets the job done. Bt if you don’t have a 1.4/35, I concur with Bastian that it’s probably not wise to buy the ZA rather than the Sigma 1.4, given what a lottery it is, and the price difference.

I noticed this too. No love for the good, old ZA and all the love for the new heavyweight Champion Sigma 1.2, at least until a Sony 35mm F1.4 GM shows up… As I received my ZA when all the stars were perfectly aligned, it “gets the job done” (i.e. produces superb photographs) for the time being. In fact, if I could only own one lens, it would be this 35mm F1.4 ZA. On a low MP body (like my A7III) it is even useable for landscapes stopped down…

A very comprehensive article, nice work! I will add several additional manual 35mm lens options from Voidgtlendar, maybe they can be included in the future. (1) Voidgtlendar 35mm F2 Ultron : A rather new lens for Leica M mount. Very good vintage looking lens with modern optical design. (2) Voidgtlendar 35mm F1.4 Nokton: The M mount predecessor of the E mount version with very similar characteristics. Price is cheaper and I would say it looks more attractive. (3) Voidgtlendar 35mm F2.5 Color-Skopar: A little nice M mount lens, seems working well on Sony body too.

I wish Voigtländer make a 35mm Apo-Lanthar for Sony E-Mount cameras. It’ll be grate if it is f1.7 or f1.8 vs f2.0. Or a 35mm f1.2 Nokton E aspherical. I love small lenses.

I am quite happy with my Sigma 35mm 1.4 which is on my camera most of the time, but I still find myself using the lens the sigma was supposed to replace, an older Canon FD 35mm f2 convex as I think it is does quite well for BW photos.

In Italy the Sigma is 800€ new while the Samyang is 500€, there is a little more difference than in US, I think if I find a good refurbished around 400€, the samyang is worthwile.

I think Voigtlander has another 35mm f1.2 Nokton for Leica. Do you use it? I see some good reviews about it….

I read varying reports on it. It will suffer the same as all the other fast rangefinder lenses and it is too big to attach a 5m PCX filter, so I am not too interested. The Voigtländer 40mm 1.2E is probably the better choice here.

Bastian, you are one of Voigtlander photographers. Could you please tell them we need a new 35mm f1.2 or 1.4 or 1.7 for Sony EF??

Thank you for your answer. It is not a good news about a big company like Cosina. I’ll send an email and ask them why they do not upgrade their old 35mm Sony lens.

Hi, thanks for the great and competent reviews. I also prefer light and compact lenses and easily accept MF if it saves a kilo or two ;-). Now that Voigtländer announced the 35mm 1.2 Nokton for e-mount in May 2020 – I would like to get an early opinion from you as to the comparison with the Sigma 35 1.2. Is the new Nokton (almost) as good for wedding pics as the Sigma? Can I save kilos here or better not? Sorry, I don’t get lenses for testing from manufacturers for free. If I want to use I have to buy but it’s hard to return after purchasing here in Switzerland neither is renting an option in my area. So obviously your tests and opinions are very much appreciated.

Have a look at my Voigtländer VM 35mm 1.2 III review, it has many comparisons to the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art.

I always follow your reviews with interest. I keep picking up interesting things from there. Now I would like to purchase a 35 mm lens for my street photography in addition to my Sony FE 50 mm 1.4. Which would be your first choice in this? Thanks in advance.

Hey! Great review! Love the site! also! Quick question, I’ve been looking to buy the CV 35mm 1.7 with the 5mm pcx adapter, but has proven to be difficult considering that I live in Chile :D. Do you have a recommend shop where i could gather all the required pieces or have all the lens plus adapter assembled? Thanks for your time !

Unfortunately I think there is no shop selling all the components. But apart from the Optosigma filter itself the other parts should be easily available even in Chile, nothing special

Hello! Is there any vintage lens in the 30-40mm range that can at least somewhat keep up with the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art? I’m kinda in love with vintage lenses, don’t need AF and all that jazz and sora on a budget.

Very nice discussion. Don’t overlook weather sealing. When inclement skies appear it is my Batis 40 which does the job, and it focuses very close. It’s also very light weight. Using a threaded 67mm hood (such as the hood from my V’lander 65) atop a CPL is slick. Wish it made aperture stars, but for that I have a Loxia 35. When Phillip reviewed the Batis 40 he was critical of the throttled maximum aperture at MFD, however at MFD I am usually using f/11-f/16 for needed DOF. And at wide apertures focused on infinity it maintains corner sharpness.

Just when you finished a very useful and comprehensive list, two new and very interesting alternatives are launched, sigma 35/2 dg dn and the long awaited Sony 35/1.4 gm. Both relatively light and compact. I’m already looking forward to your reviews. In particular your view of their rendering. Could the little sigma perhaps be an AF equivalent to the ultron? Or the gm a half as large alternative to the enormous sigma 35/1.2?

I have to agree — this is a terrific analysis, but Sony might have thrown a wrench into things. The weight of the new Sony GM 35mm f1.4 makes it incredibly appealing as a fast autofocus option for those of us who are balking at the Sigma because it’s so massive — sincerely hope the guys will have an opportunity to review it!

I’ve a Sony A7II, I’m looking for a compact and ligthweight lens (a 28mm or a 35mm) with a decent aperture ( 2.8 it’s already good for my use) and tropicalized for my travels ( I use to travel with motorbike), Trekking session and Climbing sessions. I would love something such as the tamron 35mm F2 (close-up possibility, tropicalized, cheap, lihtweight), but I’m afraid of the AF (I’ve read the AF is not so good). Some alternatives are the Sigma 35mm F2, or the Sony 35mm 1.8. I don’t need a supefast AF ( landscapes, statics subjects, travel photos or people). what do you suggest me? Does the Tamron AF is so bad?

Have a closer look at the Sigma 2/35 which both David and I appreciate a lot. It is the 35mm lens we have been waiting for so long: Relatively compact, very smooth rendering, good optical correction overall, great build quality, and relatively affordable. Macro is a weakness though: It doesn’t FOCUS very close and it has quite a bit of SA and lower sharpness at close distances. If macro is a priority though, then the Tamron is an option. Yes, the AF is annoying but it does 1:2, is super sharp and very affordable.

In my experience the autofocus is just slow not bad otherwise and it’s the optically superior lens. If you don’t need the lightening fast autofocus just get the Tamron

Hello, and thanks for all your hard work documenting all this! As I’m writing this, Sony’s f/1.8 is on sale for 500€, whereas Sigma’s f/2 costs 600€ here in Germany. Is it worth the 100€ increase in price?

What about the newer Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART DG DN? It is considerably lighter and smaller than the original HSM version.

Hi Derek, it is indeed a fine lens, using it for a few months now. While it’s not in the same league as the 1.2 and the Sony GM 1.4, it still improved a lot over the older sigma ART version, is much cheaper and lighter then the 1.2 / Sony GM, has fast AF, weather sealing, aperture ring… I think it more competes against the Sony FE 1.8, but didn’t like the rendering of the 1.8…

Sony Lens Mounts: A Mount vs E Mount

Buying lenses and cameras can be confusing because there is such much jargon around. And when it comes to specific manufacturers like Sony, you have to try to understand their technology as well.

So, in this post, I want to clearly and simply explain the main differences between the Sony A and E Mounts. They are both featured on a huge and impressive range of cameras from Sony, but they are actually quite different systems.

Ready to get your learning hat on? Let’s go.

Different Types Of Cameras

Fundamentally, the A Mount was designed for Sony’s DSLR cameras. That is, cameras with a mirror inside them.

The Sony E Mount system was designed instead to suit the more compact and lighter mirrorless style cameras that are slowly taking over the photography world. (Yes, we can debate this).

Note about NEX vs E mount: Sony originally used the E mount of the NEX cameras and have since used it across a whole range of cameras like the A6000 range. So, in short, the NEX mount and E mount are the same thing.

If you take a look at Sony’s visual interpretation of these systems you can quickly see what the big difference is.

These mounts have to accommodate lenses that are placed quite differently relatively to the sensor, which is why things are so different.

Sony A Mount on a DSLR with the sensor in blue, the mirror in black

Sony E Mount on a mirrorless camera with the sensor in blue

Sensors Lenses

Although both of the mounts are quite different, they can both be used with full frame (35mm) and APS-C sensors. So, when you head out in the wild (so to speak) you will see Sony’s of various types with one mounting system or the other.

Camera Sensor Format (Relative Sizes). Courtesy of Wikicommons

This also makes things more interesting and flexible because you can re-use lenses amongst the same mount systems even if the sensors are different sizes.

Sony FE vs E Lenses (Same E Mount)

A full frame lens for the E-mount will have an “FE” designation on the lens. This is because the lens is wider to accommodate the larger sensor (it needs more light to fill the sensor). However, because the APS-C is quite a bit smaller, you can still use the FE lenses on an APS-C camera. In fact, it’s often a great idea because the center of the lens is sharper and has less distortion, so the APS-C will use more of the best part of the lens.

You can also do the reverse, and use E designated lenses on a full frame E mount camera, the only thing is, you will end up with a severely cropped image. Possible? Yes. A great idea? Probably not in most cases.

So, long story short: E Lenses are intended for the E-mount cameras with APS-C, while the FE lenses are meant for the full frame E-mount cameras.

Sony A Lenses (DT Lenses vs Full Frame)

The same thing happens with the Sony A mount system. There are two types of lenses. Those for full frame, that have no designation at all (unlike the FE on the E mount) and the DT lenses that are intended for the APS-C cameras.

A mount to E mount adapter

Mount Adapters

To make things even more flexible, some people choose to use a lens adapter for their more expensive lenses to save on having to buy them again.

Sony sells an A mount adapter for E mount cameras so you can make use of your A mount lenses.