Buyers Guides |Best Sony lenses in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best Sony lenses in 2022

Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G
Buyers Guide

Choosing the best Sony lenses for your camera depends on your budget, of course, but also on a variety of other factors. We’ll run through these below, but first let’s explain the different Sony lenses you can buy.

Sony has two lens systems: the Sony E-mount and the A-mount. Sony E-mount lenses are designed for its current range of full-frame and APS-C format mirrorless cameras, while the A-mount is the system used by Sony’s now defunct range of DSLR-style SLT cameras. If you’re looking for the best Sony lenses to buy, you’re probably going to want an E-mount lens.

And if you’re still shooting on a Sony SLT camera, you might want to consider an upgrade. Take a look at our DSLR vs mirrorless technology comparison, and if you want to stay loyal to Sony, our guides on the best Sony cameras and which Sony A7 camera is best should help you find the best camera for you.

What Sony lens is best for my needs?

To ascertain what Sony lens is best for you, you need to understand Sony’s E-mount and how it is organised. Sony makes mirrorless cameras with both full-frame and APS-C size sensors (see our guide to understanding sensor size). Sony lenses designed for full-frame cameras have FE at the beginning of their name. A Sony FE lens won’t have any reduction in its field of view when using it on a full-frame Sony A7 camera. When using an FE lens on an APS-C camera or in crop mode, it will have a 1.5x reduction in field of view.

If you own a Sony full-frame camera, the best Sony lenses for your needs will be from the FE range.

If you shoot with an APS-C format camera from the Sony A6000 series, the best Sony lenses for you will be from the Sony E range.

But that’s not to say that you should never use full-frame lenses on APS-C bodies, nor APS-C lenses on full-frame cameras. Sony allows its full-frame and APS-C lenses to be used interchangeably with its full-frame and APS-C format cameras, and there are scenarios where each can be advantageous. Check out our guides on when to use APS-C lenses instead of full-frame and what is crop factor to learn more.

The best Sony lenses you can buy today

One of the knocks on Sony years ago was that its lens range was a bit limited. But the company has been very aggressive in recent years in building out its range. As a result, there’s now a Sony lens for just about every occasion. Here we’ve focused on the best Sony lenses to start your collection, choosing optics to cover all of the most common focal lengths.

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM

Sony unveils FE 35mm F1.4 GM lens

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.26x
  • Minimum focus distance: 27cm
  • Coatings: Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 524g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 76mm x 96mm

Weighing just 524g and measuring 76mm x 96mm, the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM is a lightweight, portable, all-purpose lens aimed at all genres of photography.

The FE 35mm F1.4 GM boasts an 11-blade aperture and promises rich bokeh. Sony has also include dual XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors which it says provides more precise AF racking and better resolution at any distance.

Other features include a focus hold button, focus mode switch and an aperture ring with switchable click stops. The focus hold button can also be assigned to several other functions via a camera body menu.

The lens body also boasts a dust and moisture resistant design and a fluorine front element coating that repels water, oil and other contaminants.

Price when reviewed
£1200
$1398
Check current price

For

  • Very lightweight
  • Fast aperture
  • Excellent bokeh

Against

  • Expensive

Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM

Specification

  • Product type: Standard prime lens
  • Announced: 16th March 2021
  • Mount: Sony FE
  • Format: 35mm full frame
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.2
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 14 elements in 10 groups with three Sony XA (extreme aspherical) elements
  • Coatings: Fluorine-coated front element, Nano AR Coating II
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.4m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.17x
  • Stabilisation: Body integrated
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Weight: 778g
  • Diameter x length: 87 x 108mm / 3 1/2 x 43/8 inches

Designed for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the FE 50mm f/1.2 GM is a first-rate lens that’s designed to get the most out of a high-resolution full-frame sensor such as the one found in the Sony A7 R IV.

With a maximum aperture of f/1.2, it enables very limited depth of field for selective focus images and fast shutter speeds with low ISO settings in poor lighting, making it attractive for portraits and wedding photography or video.

The 11-blade circular aperture is newly designed for smooth bokeh while the optical construction is fine-tuned to minimise spherical aberration.

For high detail resolution across the frame even at f/1.2, the FE 50mm F1.2 GM has three XA (extreme aspherical) elements. Sony’s Nano AR Coating II has also been applied to minimize internal reflections so that flare and ghosting are kept at bay.

Four XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors enable fast focusing and tracking for stills or 4K video with human Eye AF. In addition, the lens’s floating focus mechanism, which is controlled by a dedicated lens drive algorithm, ensures high resolution across the focus range.

The closest focusing distance is 40cm.

Designed for professional use with ease of control, the FE 50mm F1.2 GM has a Linear Response MF (Manual Focus) system, an aperture ring with a click on/off switch plus a focus mode switch and two customisable focus hold buttons.

Happily, for those who don’t mind shooting in bad weather, it’s sealed against dust and moisture. Its also has a fluorine coating on the front element to protect it from fingerprints, dust, water and oil.

The FE 50mm F1.2 GM is available to order from Wex Photo Video in the UK and B&H Photo Video and Adorama in the USA.

Price when reviewed
£2100
$1998 / €2300
Check current price

For

  • Incredible detail resolution
  • Huge maximum aperture
  • Dust and moisture resistant

Against

  • High price
  • Focus ring not customisable
  • Noticeable vignetting at f/1.2

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Sony launches FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM wide-angle zoom

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle zoom lens
  • Announced: May 2017
  • Mount: Sony FE
  • Format: 35mm full frame
  • Focal length: 16-35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 8 elements in 10 groups with two Sony XA (extreme aspherical) elements
  • Coatings: Fluorine-coated front element, Nano AR Coating
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.28m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.19x
  • Stabilisation: Body integrated
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Weight: 680g
  • Diameter x length: 88.5 x 121.6mm

Designed for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM is a top-notch lens that’s designed to get the most out of a high-resolution full-frame sensor such as the one found in the Sony A7 R IV.

It’s not cheap, and it relies purely on the camera’s stabilisation system, but the quality of the results that it produces is impressive, making the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM very desirable for landscape photography.

Further good news is that’s extensively sealed against dust and moisture and it can accept 82mm screw-in filters and filter holders.

Get the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM at Amazon UK

Price when reviewed
£2300
$2200
Check current price

For

  • Accepts front-mounted filters
  • Great performance
  • Dust and moisture resistant

Against

  • High price

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

Best telephoto zoom lens for Sony E-mount

Specification

  • Product type: Telephoto zoom lens
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 70-200mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 21 elements in 18 groups (including 6 ED lens elements, 2 aspherical elements, 1 fluorite element, 1 SR lens element
  • Coatings: Sony Nano AR Coating
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.96m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.25x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 1480g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 88 x 200mm

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is an excellent lens. Its sharpness is outstanding, maintaining its image quality into the corners, especially if you stop down a little.

If you shoot in very low light on a frequent basis, that extra stop of light brought by the f/2.8 is useful. If you want the absolute best results and you don’t mind the extra weight, the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is the lens to go for if you’re a Sony user looking for a telephoto zoom.

Even in dim light its focus acquisition is lightning fast, and the lens is capable of capturing plenty of detail.

You can find the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£2129
$2729
Check current price

For

  • Sharp from edge to edge
  • Fast and super-quiet AF
  • Excellent handling

Against

  • A bit on the heavy side

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

Specification

  • Product type: Short telephoto lens
  • Mount: E-mount
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 11 elements in 8 groups
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.8m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.12x
  • Coatings: Sony Nano AR Coating
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 820g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 89.5 x 107.5mm

As far as 85mm primes are concerned, Sony’s FE 85mm F1.4 is its finest portrait lens. Sitting in Sony’s G Masters series of optics, the lens features a circular, 11-blade aperture which produces stunning bokeh effects.

Meanwhile, its dual sensor system provides ultra-precise focus.

Build quality is superb. The lens is weather sealed and offers a number of nice features, such as a AF / MF switch on the lens barrel and a ‘de-click’ button that turns off the steps on the lens’s aperture ring when you’re shooting video.

Overall, you can depend on the FE 85mm F1.4 GM to focus accurately and quickly, with consistently impressive image quality.

You can buy the Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£1499
$1798
Check current price

For

  • Great for both video and stills
  • Wonderful bokeh

Against

  • No stabilisation

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: price, release date confirmed

Specification

  • Product type: Telephoto zoom lens
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 100-400mm
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 150-600mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4.5
  • Minimum aperture: f/40
  • Construction: 22 elements in 16 groups
  • Coatings: Sony Nano AR Coating
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.35x
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.98
  • Coatings: Sony Nano AR Coating
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 1395g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 94mm x 205mm

Sony’s furthest reaching E-mount lens, the FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS Super Telephoto Zoom (model SEL100400GM) delivers fast, precise AF capabilities in a lightweight design.

Designed to shoot fast-moving action, it offers a double linear motor and a Direct Drive SSM actuator for more precise, yet quiet, operation. The double motor system allows rapid focus lens drive acceleration to capture the sudden motion that is common with sports and wildlife photography.

Meanwhile high precision positioning control and a newly optimised AF algorithm help the FE 100-400mm find and focus on the subject quickly.

Weighing 1,395g, it’s not light, but it has some wonderful features, such as a zoom torque adjustment ring allowing photographers to adjust the level of torque in the ring to zoom faster or slower. There is also a focus hold button to which you can assign a number of custom functions, such as focus mode selection, AF area selection or the Eye AF lock feature.

You can find the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£2149
$2498
Check current price

For

  • Double linear motor for quiet AF
  • Superb AF performance
  • Excellent handling

Against

  • A bit on the heavy side
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