Sony FE lenses: The honest Guide for the A7/A7II/A7III A7rII/A7rIII/A7rIV A7c A9

Choose the right lens for your Sony Alpha with the help of our independent knowledge gained by writing many in-depth reviews.

We are a team of five photographers who all use the FE system and this blog is focused on lens reviews. So we have an in-depth knowledge of these lenses not only because we use them all the time but also because we have reviewed many of them in detail. We are also independent from any lens manufacturer and when you check our reviews you will see that we do not hesitate to name any shortcomings of a lens. To easily compare specs check out our Sony FE-list.
We will also talk about lens aberrations, if you don’t know too much about these terms maybe have a look at our article Lens aberrations explained first.

In this article we mainly list lenses which have electronic contacts to communicate aperture and focal length to the camera. There are also quite a few lenses which have an E-mount but no electronic contacts. Most of these are SLR-lenses with a modified mount and  we decided against covering these because we think that most of them are not very attractive lenses. We do however cover some of the attractive ones that have been specifically designed for E-mount.
Last update: December 2021

It is always possible that some new or exotic lens is missing, we work hard on filling these gaps.

If you purchase the lens or anything else through one of the affiliate-links in this article we get a small compensation with no additional cost to you. 

All native full frame lenses for the Sony FE mount

Prime lenses

9-15mm

Laowa 5.6/9 FF-RL (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Sony A7III | Laowa 9mm 5.6 | f/5.6
Strengths Weaknesses
  • unrivalled focal length
  • sharpness and contrast
  • minimum focus distance
  • size/weight
  • no Exif data
  • vignetting/color cast

Recommendation: the world’s widest rectilinear lens and a better performer than either Voigtlander 10mm 5.6 E or Laowa 10-18mm 4.5-5.6.

Length: 74mm | Diameter: 63mm | Weight: 373g | Filter Thread: – | Price (July 2020): $799
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s homepage | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Voigtländer 5.6/10 Hyper Wide Heliar E (manual focus)

voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 review sample
Sony A7rII | Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 HWH E | f/16
Strengths Weaknesses
  • widest lens available
  • small size
  • good sunstars and flare resistance
  • huge vingetting
  • corner sharpness not great

Recommendation: now that the Laowa 9mm 5.6 is available only recommended if you need the best flare resistance or cannot live without exif data.

Length: 68.5mm | Diameter: 67mm | Weight: 375g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $1099
Review | Sample images | Samples in full resolution | ebay.com | B&H | amazon.com (affiliate links)


Laowa 4.5/11 FF-RL (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 11mm 4.5 zero-d distortion zero ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Sony A7rII | Laowa 11mm 4.5 | f/11
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness and contrast starting at f/5.6
  • 62mm filter thread
  • minimum focus distance
  • size/weight
  • no Exif data
  • non removable lens hood
  • vignetting/color cast

Recommendation: an interesting alternative to Voigtlander’s 10mm and 12mm offerings that unfortunately comes without Exif data.

Length: 58mm | Diameter: 63.5mm | Weight: 254g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $699
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s homepage | B&H | amazon.de | amazon.com | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Voigtländer 5.6/12 Ultra Wide Heliar E (manual focus) [discontinued]

Sony A7II | Voigtländer 5.6/III E | f/8
Strengths Weaknesses
  • small size
  • good sunstars and flare resistance
  • very little distortion
  • strong vignetting
  • corner sharpness not great: better than 5.6/10, weaker than 4.5/15 and 4/12-24.

Recommendation: If you know how to handle 12 mm and want a small lens which works very well against the light. It is discontinued, so you may only be able to find it used.

Length: 74mm | Diameter: 67mm | Weight: 283g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $849
Review | Samples | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/14 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • image Quality
  • small and lightweight for what it is
  • higher than average sample variation, check for centering within return period
  • no filter thread

Recommendation: Great lens for single shot landscape astrophotography and especially for taking pictures of the northern lights where stacking is not an option. Still an expensive niche lens and only worth the asking price if you actually need the f/1.8.

Length: 100mm | Diameter: 83mm | Weight: 460g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $1598
Lenstip review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.8/14 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • image Quality
  • comparatively low vignetting
  • fastest in class
  • higher than average sample variation, check for centering within return period
  • coma
  • flare resistance
  • very large and heavy
  • no filter thread

Recommendation: The aforementioned Sony lens offers least as good performance in a significantly smaller package for the same price. The Laowa 2/15 does not perform much worse for astro at less than half the weight and price. Only recommended if you can find a decently priced used one.

Length: 126mm | Diameter: 95mm | Weight: 1220g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $1599
Lenstip review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate Links)


Samyang FE 2.8/14 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • softer corners at wider apertures
  • rather heavy

Recommendation: Considering the alternatives available these days we find it somewhat hard to recommend.

Length: 98mm | Diameter: 86mm | Weight: 505g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $499
Photographyblog Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | Ebay (affiliate Links)


Laowa 4.0/14 FF-RL (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • 62mm filter thread
  • minimum focus distance
  • size/weight
  • higher than average sample variation, check for centering within return period
  • no Exif data
  • non removable lens hood
  • vignetting/color cast

Recommendation: we tried two samples and both had issues with centering, so better buy with return option

Length: 59mm | Diameter: 58mm | Weight: 228g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $549
Review | manufacturer’s homepage | B&H | eBay.com (affiliate links)


Laowa 2.0/15 FE Zero-D (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 15mm 2.0 fe venus optics review architecture
Sony A7rII | Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D | f/8.0
Strengths Weaknesses
  • great combination of speed, performance and size
  • minimum focus distance
  • sunstars (later samples)

Recommended to: astrophotographers and everyone else looking for a versatile UWA prime.
Later versions feature 5 straight aperture blades for nice sunstars, older ones 7 blades with rather fuzzy ones.

Length: 83.0mm | Diameter: 77mm | Weight: 520g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $849
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s online shop | B&Hamazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


NiSi 4.0/15 Asph (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

nisi 15mm 4.0 asph uwa review sharpness coma vignetting 42mp 61mp sony a7riv a7r2 a7r3
Sony A7RII | NiSi 15mm 4.0 | f/5.6
Strengths Weaknesses
  • good sharpness and contrast
  • minimum focus distance (0.2m)
  • sunstars
  • coma correction
  • flare resistance
  • no Exif data

Recommended to: a solid lens, but a bit slow compared to the similarly sized (aforementioned) Laowa 2/15 and a bit heavy compared to the Voigtländer 4.5/15mm

Length: 77mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 470g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $579
Review | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Voigtländer 4.5/15 Super Wide Heliar E (manual focus)

sony a7s milaneo voigtlander 15mm 4.5 e super wide heliar milaneo blue hour
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 SWH E | f/11
Strengths Weaknesses
  • small Size
  • good flare resistance
  • nice Sunstars
  • corners need f/11
  • strong vignetting
  • many copies have centering issues

Recommendation: if you are looking for a small but not so extreme UWA prime with great sunstars this is for you

Length: 67mm | Diameter: 66mm | Weight: 294g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $799
Review | Full resolution samples | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de | amazon.com (affiliate links)


18-21mm

Zeiss Batis 2.8/18

carl zeiss batis 18mm 2.8 sony a7s astro astrophotography astroscape coma milkyway milky way star stars
Sony A7s | Batis 18mm 2.8 | f/2.8 | ISO6400 | 20s | panorama from 4 shots
Strengths Weaknesses
  • great optical performance
  • manual focus experience
  • expensive

Recommendation: If you are looking for a great performing modern UWA with AF and don’t mind the high price. The Tamron 17-28mm 2.8 is a more flexible lens at roughly half the price though.

Length: 80mm | Diameter: 100mm | Weight: 330g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $1549
Review | Full resolution samples | amazon.com | ebay.com | B&Hamazon.de (affiliate links)


Samyang 2.8/18 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • decent sharpness stopped down
  • very small and lightweight
  • high vignetting
  • corner sharpness at wider apertures

Recommendation: not the highest quality lens in this focal length range, but a very affordable and small one that even comes with AF. Those that don’t want to delve into astrophotography or only rarely need an ultra wide angle lens might end up being very happy with it. Check for decent centering though, our review sample was decentered and we had to send it back.

Length: 61mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 145g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $299
opticallimits review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/20 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • fastest in class
  • price/performance
  • coma at f/1.4 and f/2
  • very large
  • very heavy
  • no filter thread

Recommendation: Since it doesn’t perform that well for astro and it is a brick of a lens we find it hard to come up with a use case. Any suggestions?

Length: 156mm | Diameter: 91mm | Weight: 1050g |  Price (December 2021): $899
lenstip review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate Links)


Sony FE 1.8/20 G

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • flare resistance
  • CA correction
  • Coma correction
  • Size/weight
  • GM-like build (declickable aperture ring, focus hold button, AF/MF switch)
  • uncorrected distortion as well as vignetting are high, but comparable lenses do not do any better, so in the end, none, really

Recommendation: a really great lens which was unfortunately a little late to the party as many of us already bought lenses like the Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 or Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM before. If you don’t have any of these (or similar) lenses already – but you are looking for one – the 20mm 1.8 G should certainly be on top of your list of lenses to consider.

Length: 85mm | Diameter: 74mm | Weight: 373g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $898
cameralabs review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Viltrox 1.8/20 (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • very sharp in the center from f/1.8
  • soft corners at wider apertures
  • heavy
  • large filter diameter
  • vignetting
  • coma

Recommended to: Honestly we find it hard to find a solid use case since it doesn’t perform well for astro.

Length: 102mm | Diameter: 77mm | Weight: 775g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $399
lenstip Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate Links)


Tokina Firin 2.0/20 FE MF (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • rather affordable
  • excellent sharpness from f/2
  • good coma correction

Recommended to: Astro photographers and landscape photographers on a budget.

Length: 82mm | Diameter: 69mm | Weight: 492g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $599
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate Links)


Tokina Firin 2.0/20 AF

The same optics as the manual focus Firin 2/20 but with AF, slightly lighter and more expensive.

Length: 81.5mm | Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 464g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $799
B&H | Amazon.com | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/20 Di III OSD M 1:2

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness infinity
  • flare resistance
  • lightweight
  • maximum magnification of 1:2
  • not so great image quality at closer distance away from the center
  • slow autofocus
  • very high distortion

Recommendation: the Tamron 20mm 2.8 sounds compelling on paper, especially because of the comparably low price and the 1:2 maximum magnification, but in the end you get what you pay for and it might be worth saving some money and then having a closer look at the Tamron 17-28mm 2.8.

Length: 73mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 221g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $249
cameralabs review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Voigtländer 1.4/21 Nokton E (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness and contrast
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • handling
  • very high vignetting
  • field curvature

Recommendation: The vignetting figures are record breaking high, so it isn’t a great choice for astrophotography. Only recommended if you really need the f/1.4, otherwise the Sony FE 20mm 1.8 G is probably a smarter choice.

Length: 80mm | Diameter: 70mm | Weight: 540g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $1199
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21 (manual focus)

loxia 21mm 2.8 coma stars milky way astro astrophotography
Sony A7s | Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/2.8
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness and contrast
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • build quality
  • size

Recommended to: If you like manual focus and distinct sunstars this is still a very good choice. If neither is the case be sure to check out the Sony FE 20mm 1.8 G.

Length: 72mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 394g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $1549
Our Review | Sample Images | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 3.5/21 Color-Skopar E (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness and contrast
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • build quality
  • size
  • price

Recommended to: those looking for a very small manual 21mm lens for longer hikes.

Length: 63mm | Diameter: 40mm | Weight: 230g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $699
Our Review amazon.comB&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


24-28mm

Sony FE 1.4/24 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness/contrast
  • bokeh
  • build quality

Recommendation: if you need a 24mm 1.4 for environmental portraits this is probably the best money can buy. Surprisingly small and lightweight for what it is.

Length: 92mm | Diameter: 75 mm | Weight: 445g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1298
Our Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/24 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses

Recommendation: The GM 1.4/24 is a better performer in a smaller package so price is really the only argument for this big lens.

Length: 116mm | Diameter: 85mm | Weight: 760g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $849
Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.8/24 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good image quality
  • nice bokeh
  • very lightweight
  • high vignetting
  • bit higher longitudinal CA
  • strong, wavy distortion

Recommendation: If you don’t care too much about having an aperture ring or nice metal finish but rather want to save some weight and money you may prefer this over the Sigma C 24mm 2.0 DG DN.

Length: 72mm | Diameter: 65mm | Weight: 230g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $449
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2.0/24 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • good flare resistance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight
  • high vignetting
  • strong, wavy distortion

Recommendation: A very well balanced lens and therefore a nice, cheaper alternative to the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM. Also for most a better choice than the one stop slower Sony FE 24mm 2.8 G and especially the Zeiss Batis 25mm 2.0.

Length: 74mm | Diameter: 70mm | Weight: 360g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $639
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/24 G

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • good flare resistance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight
  • very high distortion in RAW
  • high vignetting

Recommendation: A solid small lens with shortcomings that won’t bother most users in everyday shooting.

Length: 45mm | Diameter: 60mm | Weight: 162g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $549
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Samyang 2.8/24mm AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • flare resistance
  • vignetting

Recommendation: This affordable lens comes with a number of compromises to achieve its small size. If small size is very important to you it can still be a useful addition. As a general purpose lens we would prefer one of the other options in this focal length range.

Length: 37mm | Diameter: 61mm | Weight: 93g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $199
Our Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/24 Di III OSD M 1:2

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness infinity
  • flare resistance
  • lightweight
  • maximum magnification of 1:2
  • slow autofocus
  • manual focus experience
  • very high distortion

Recommendation: The Tamron is merely an easy recommendation if you want a wide angle macro lens. Beyond that application price is the only argument to get this lens though. Even if you shoot mostly nature where the distortion isn’t often an issue you will have to live with the focus issues. Have a look at Samyang 2.8/24, Batis 2/25, Loxia 2.4/25 or a more flexible zoom like Tamron’s own 2.8/17-28 first before making your buying decision here.

Length: 73mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 215g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $199
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma C 3.5/24 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • good flare resistance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight

Recommendation: A good lens, but then it is slower than many zoom lenses offering a 24mm setting and for $90 more you get the Sigma C 24mm 2.0 DG DN which is 1 1/2 stops faster while only being 130g heavier. If you are on a budget or you are looking for the smallest/lightest 24mm lens with AF there is still the Sony FE 24mm 2.8 G, Samyang 24mm 2.8 AF and the Tamron 24mm 2.8, so in the end this Sigma doesn’t look super appealing to us.

Length: 64mm | Diameter: 51mm | Weight: 230g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $549
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Zeiss Batis 2/25 

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good resolution
  • high contrast from f2.8
  • generally appealing bokeh
  • AF
  • lightweight
  • longitudinal CA
  • slightly busy bokeh wide open (at some distances)
  • size (but not weight)

Recommended to: After the release of the Sigma C 24mm 2.0 DG DN Sony FE 24mm 1.4 GM the Batis 25mm 2.0 has become really hard to recommend, especially when buying new from a dealer at full retail price.

Our review | Length: 78mm | Diameter: 92mm | Weight: 335g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1349
B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Zeiss Loxia 2.4/25 (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • class leading sharpness
  • flare resistance
  • contrast and clarity
  • bokeh
  • build quality
  • bit high longitudinal CA
  • price

Recommended to: The technically best 24/25mm lens in the system. Recommended to demanding landscape photographers who prefer 25mm over 21mm.

Length: 75mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 393g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $1349
Review | Amazon.de | Amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/28 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses

Recommendation: A lens for those who put performance above weight, size or price. Otherwise look at the 7Artisans 1.4/28.

Length: 134mm | Diameter: 83mm | Weight: 965g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


7Artisans 1.4/28 FE+ (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

Sony A7rII | 7artisans 28mm 1.4 | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • bokeh
  • sharpness
  • size
  • CA correction
  • build quality
  • price
  • light falloff
  • no Exif data
  • color cast in the corners
  • minimum focus distance of 0.7 m
    Recommendation: use it with a helicoid adapter

Recommended to: a great fast 28mm lens equally useful for shallow depth of field photography, environmentral portraiture and stopped down landscape shooting

Length: 69mm | Diameter: 60mm | Weight: 490g + adapter | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $436
Review | Sample images | B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de Make sure to get the FE+ version! (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2/28

Strengths Weaknesses
  • very good price/performance ratio
  • small & Light
  • smooth Bokeh
  • good central sharpness from f/2
  • sharp across the frame at f/8
  • serious distortion which usually needs to be corrected
  • softer corners at wider apertures
  • longitudinal CA

Recommended to: Most that are looking for a 28mm lens since it is a very versatile one which works well for a wide range of applications like reportage, nature, landscape and others.

Length: 60mm | Diameter: 60mm | Weight: 200g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $456
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


35mm

Laowa 0.95/35 Argus (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 35mm 0.95 worlds fastest lens review bokeh 42mp 61mp laowa venus optics venuslens fullframe contrast resolution bokeh optical vignetting fall off
Sony A7III | Laowa 35mm 0.95 | f/0.95
Strengths Weaknesses
  • unique parameters
  • amazing bokeh
  • sharp where it matters
  • build quality and size
  • decent CA and Coma correction
  • no Exif data
  • light falloff (also stopped down)

Recommended to: those looking for the world’s fastest 35mm or the world’s widest f/0.95 fullframe lens. Great choice not only for environmentral portraiture but also very good for stopped down landscape shooting

Length: 97mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 795g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s homepage | ebay.com | B&H (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.2/35 DG DN

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
Strengths Weaknesses
  • excellent bokeh, sharpness and contrast
  • low coma
  • GM handling
  • very large and very heavy

Recommendation: the best 35mm AF lens for wedding/portraiture/reportage money can buy if you don’t mind the size and weight

Length: 137mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1090g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1499
Review | Sample Images | amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 1.2/35 Nokton SE (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • bokeh
  • contrast/sharpness (mostly)
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • size/weight
  • high vignetting
  • visible CA
  • strong coma
  • performance at closer distances

Recommendation: nice bokeh, good contrast, good flare resistance stopped down, good enough sharpness and nice sunstars in a compact package

Length: 59mm | Diameter: 66mm | Weight: 387g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $999
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.4/35 GM

sony fe 35mm 1.4 gm gmaster za art 1.2 contrast resolution bokeh 42mp 61mp
Sony A7III | Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness at all distances everywhere in the frame
  • CA correction
  • size/weight
  • build quality/handling
  • bit high vignetting stopped down

Recommendation:. After the mediocre Sony 35mm 1.4 ZA this is finally the flawless 35mm f/1.4 the E-mount users deserve and that in a very compact package

Length: 96mm | Diameter: 76mm | Weight: 520g | Filter Thread: 67mm Price | (December 2021): $1399
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.4/35 ZA

review sharpness 42mp high resolution sample test vergleich comparison bokeh handling build quality a7riii autofocus af close macro
Sony A7rII | Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • bokeh (minus the onion rings and CA)
  • AF Speed
  • very high copy-to-copy variation
  • mediocre sharpness
  • expensive

Recommendation: After the release of the Sigma Art 35mm 1.2 DG DN and the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM used prices took a severe hit and they now reflect this lens’ actual value. And don’t buy one of these new at full retail, get one of the better 35mm lenses available now.

Length: 113mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 630g | Filter Thread: 72mm Price | (December 2021): $1010
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/35 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • bokeh
  • price/performance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • not as good as Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM?

Recommendation: A very well balanced 35mm 1.4 AF lens. Not as exciting bokeh as the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art, not as high resolving as the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM, but simply a well priced allrounder.

Length: 110mm | Diameter: 76mm | Weight: 645g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Cameralabs Review | amazon.comamazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/35 (former DSLR design)

sigma 35mm 1.4 art hsm dg sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • bokeh (mostly)
  • price/performance

Recommendation: A slightly slower focusing alternative to the latest Sigma and Sony lenses for a very fair price.
These days the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art DG DN is probably the better choice though.

Length: 121mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 740g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $799
Review | amazon.comamazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.4/35 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • decent sharpness
  • decent bokeh
  • price/performance
  • high vignetting
  • flare resistance
  • lack of controls

Recommendation: Your cheapest option to get a native 35mm f/1.4 lens with AF.

Length: 115mm | Diameter: 76mm | Weight: 645g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $499
Lenstip Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 1.4/35 Classic (manual focus)

voigtlander 35mm 1.4 nokton e classic review sony e-mount emount sharpness bokeh rendering vignetting
Sony A7rII | Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 Nokton E classic | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • small size
  • flare resistance
  • sharpness
  • coma/astigmatism
  • bokeh (unless you prefer it busy)

Recommendation: if you are after that vintage rendering but want to enjoy the benefits of a native lens and modern coatings.

Length: 39.6mm | Diameter: 67mm | Weight: 262g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $799
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/35

Strengths Weaknesses
  • small size
  • fast AF
  • sharpness (mostly)
  • bokeh (mostly)

Recommendation: A well balanced 35mm AF lens. Be sure to check out the Sigma C 35mm 2.0 DG DN as well as the Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 DG DN though, you might like their bokeh rendering and build quality (metal/aperture ring) more.

Length: 73mm | Diameter: 66mm | Weight: 280g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2019): $648
Review | Amazon.com | B&Hebay.com| Amazon.de (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.8/35 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness worse than competition but still decent
  • very lightweight
  • rather busy bokeh
  • longitudinal CA
  • high vignetting

Recommendation: There are certainly better 35mm lenses available, but the price+size/performance ratio can still be appealing. Be sure to check out some sample images though, to see if you really like this lens’ bokeh rendering.

Length: 65mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 210g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $399
Lenstip Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com | B&H (affiliate links)


Voigtländer 2.0/35 Apo-Lanthar E (manual focus)

voigtlander vm 35mm 2.0 e apo-lanthar review 42mp 61 mp sony a7riv a7rii a7riii contrast resolution sharpness bokeh
Voigtländer 35mm 2.0 Apo-Lanthar E | Sony A7III | f/2.0
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness at all distances
  • correction of optical aberrations
  • special aperture diaphragm
  • build quality and handling
  • size and weight
  • high vignetting even stopped down

Recommendation: The better Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0.

Length: 67mm | Diameter: 63mm | Weight: 353g | Filter Thread: 49/58mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Review | Sample images | Robert White (UK) | Cameraquest (US) | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Zeiss Loxia 2/35 (manual focus)

sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0 | f/11 | 10 straight blades
Strengths Weaknesses
  • image quality stopped down
  • sunstars
  • size and weight
  • wide open performance
  • bokeh

Recommendation: the Voigtländer 35mm 2.0 Apo-Lanthar E will be the better option for most

Length: 66mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 340g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $1149
Review | DatasheetSample images | Amazon.com | ebay.com | B&HAmazon.de (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2/35 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good sharpness
  • appealing bokeh
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight
  • vignetting and flare resistance only average

Recommendation: slightly slower and cheaper, but all in all better alternative to Sony’s 35mm 1.8 FE

Length: 70mm | Diameter: 68mm | Weight: 325g | Price (December 2021): $639
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | B&Hebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/35 ZA

Strengths Weaknesses
  • one of Sony’s smallest lenses
  • very good sharpness from f/2.8
  • rather average flare resistance
  • very strong vignetting

Recommended to: People who like to travel light without compromising on image quality.

Length: 36.5mm | Diameter: 61.5mm | Weight: 120g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $555
ReviewAmazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Samyang FE 2.8/35 AF

The new Samyang is the smallest native lens. It is not quite as good optically as the FE 2.8/35, but still a good performer and very affordable. There are various reports about loud and unreliable AF though, which make it harder to recommend.

Length: 33mm | Diameter: 61.5mm | Weight: 86g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $219
Amazon.com | B&HAmazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/35 Di III OSD M 1:2

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • flare resistance
  • lightweight
  • maximum magnification of 1:2
  • slow autofocus
  • manual focus experience

Recommendation: 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 or you really want the 1:2 magnification.

Length: 73mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 210g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $199
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


40-45mm

Voigtlander 1.2/40 Nokton E/SE (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • superb resolution across the field stopped down
  • high contrast
  • lovely sunstars
  • character bokeh which is good character, rather than funky, wide open and smooth bokeh a stop or so down
  • longitudinal CA at wide apertures
  • slight field curvature
  • slight focus shift
  • noticeably weaker performance at closer distances

Recommended to: Anyone looking for an outstanding all purpose manual wide-normal lens which gives them both a wide aperture look for environmental portraits and other bokeh-centric images, as well as great modern performance stopped down.
Also comes in a lighter and cheaper “SE” edition with the same optics.

Length: 70mm | Diameter: 59mm | Weight: 416g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $1099/$899 for SE
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/40 (former DSLR design)

sigma 40mm 1.4 art dg sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff

Strengths Weaknesses
  • excellent sharpness and contrast
  • very good bokeh
  • almost apochromatic correction
  • less light fall off compared to the competition
  • very large and very heavy

Recommendation: One of the best corrected f/1.4 lenses for optical aberrations, but this correction came at a price in terms of size and weight. If you allergic to loCA this is your lens, otherwise we rather recommend the Sigma Art 35mm 1.2 DG DN.

Length: 157mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1265g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Review | amzon.comamazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Zeiss Batis 2/40 CF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharp
  • light
  • close focus
  • flare resistance
  • low CA & distortion
  • still mixed reports about AF reliability
  • non linear MF
  • sunstars
  • expensive

Recommended to: Anybody who needs a very good and versatile 40mm performer and who is not put off by the strange AF issues.

Length: 93mm | Diameter: 91mm | Weight: 361g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1349
Datasheet | Amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.5/40 G

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • decent flare resistance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight
  • high vignetting
  • high longitudinal CA

Recommendation: A solid small lens that looks quite expensive next to the Samyang 45mm 1.8 AF or the Sony FE 50mm 1.8.

Length: 45mm | Diameter: 60mm | Weight: 173g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $548
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Laowa 0.95/45 Argus (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 45mm 0.95 world's fastest lens e-mount review contrast sharpness resolution bokeh vignetting coma
Sony A7III | Laowa 45mm 0.95 | f/0.95
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Unique parameters
  • Nice bokeh at short to mid distances
  • Sharp where it matters
  • Build quality and size
  • Decent Coma correction
  • no Exif data
  • long distance bokeh
  • light falloff (also stopped down)

Recommended to: those looking for the world’s fastest 45mm lens. Unfortunately the bokeh in the corners at longer distances suffers from a combination of optical vignetting and field curvature, so best used for half body portraits or closer.

Length: 104mm | Diameter: 77mm | Weight: 865g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (November 2021): $799
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s homepage (affiliate link)


Samyang 1.8/45 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • strong CA
  • flare resistance
  • onion rings

Recommended to: Those who like the focal length and are willing to make a few compromises for an affordable and small lens.

Length: 56mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 162g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $399
Christopher Frost Review | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2.8/45 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • nice bokeh
  • very good but not record breaking optical qualities
  • small size, nice build quality, lightweight construction
  • reports of autofocus issues, especially at portrait distances
  • high vignetting

Recommendation: Every once in a while Sigma releases an unexpected lens and this was clearly the case here. This small and slow 45mm 2.8 is a strong contrast compared to the fast yet huge Sigma Art primes. This 45mm clearly has its fans because of its nice bokeh rendering, but most people will probably want to opt for a faster lens which can be had for less money.
The new lenses of this series feature the same build quality but usually offer more appealing maximum aperture values.

Length: 46mm | Diameter: 64mm | Weight: 215g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2021): $549
lenstip review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


50-55mm

Zhong Yi Mitakon 0.95/50 (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

mitakon 50mm 0.95 zhong yi optical dark knight speedmaster a7 series a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 a7s sony e-mount fe
Sony A7s |Zhong Yi Mitakon 50mm 0.95 | f/0.95
Strengths Weaknesses
  • maximum aperture of f/0.95
  • Bokeh
  • no Exif data
  • Close up performance
  • Flare resistance
  • longitudinal CA

Recommended to: those that like shallow depth of field and 50mm lenses

Length: 87mm | Diameter: 72mm | Weight: 780g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $659
Review of MKII | Review of MK III | Sample images | B&H | Amazon.com | ebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.2/50 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • nice bokeh
  • good correction of all optical aberrations
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)

Recommendation: The half-a-stop faster successor to the Sony FE 50mm 1.4 ZA. If you are looking for a lens with these parameters this one won’t disappoint. Just like the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 GM a lens with hardly any flaws, but that comes at a very substantial price.

Length: 108mm | Diameter: 87mm | Weight: 778g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1998
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 1.2/50mm Nokton E/SE (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • great bokeh
  • dreamy out of focus areas at f/1.2 to f/2.0
  • high sharpness and contrast starting at f/2.0
  • flare resistance
  • slight focus shift near the minimum focus distance

Recommendation: The best fast allround 50mm lens if you can live with manual focus.
Also comes in a lighter and cheaper “SE” edition with the same optics.

Length: 58mm | Diameter: 70mm | Weight: 440g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $999/$899 for SE
Review | Sample images | CameraQuest | B&H | Robert White | amazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.4/50 ZA

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharper than the Otus 1.4/55
  • Good CA correction
  • Low Vignetting
  • Smooth Bokeh

Recommendation: If you don’t care too much about size and price this lens delivers and exceptional peformance and a rather distinctive look. Now the Sony FE 50mm 1.2 GM may offer the more appealing package for most though.

Length: 108mm | Diameter: 84mm | Weight: 778g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1498
Review at admiringlight | MTF chart at lensrentals | B&HAmazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/50 (former DSLR design)

Nikon D800 | Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art | f/1.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • less vignetting compared to the competition
  • good coma correction
  • price/performance

Recommendation: It plays in the same league as the more expensive ZA 1.4/50 and is a good choice for astrophotography stitching thanks to good coma correction and comparably low vignetting.

Length: 126mm | Diameter: 85mm | Weight: 910g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $849
Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.4/50 AF

©Simeon Kolev
Strengths Weaknesses
  • very smooth bokeh
  • affordable
  • longitudinal CA
  • sharpness
  • AF issues
  • rather heavy for the performance

Recommendation: Your cheapest option to get a native 50mm f/1.4 lens with AF.

Length: 98mm | Diameter: 74mm | Weight: 585g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $399
Sample images | B&H | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.4/50 AF II

We haven’t used it yet and there are also no reliable reviews available yet (Dec 2021).

Recommendation: Compared to the predecessor this MK II version is noticeably lighter and a bit smaller. We also expect better optical correction.

Length: 89mm | Diameter: 80mm | Weight: 420g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $749
B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/50

Sony FE 1.8/50 | f/1.8 | Sony a7
Strengths Weaknesses
  • good sharpness
  • decent Bokeh
  • low Price
  • lightweight
  • AF issues on 2. Gen cameras
  • a little noisy AF
  • softer Corners at wider apertures
  • weaker (but still ok) flare resistance than FE 55
  • longitudinal CA
  • feels a little cheap

Recommendation:  A very affordable lens with solid optical performance.

Length: 60mm | Diameter: 69mm | Weight: 186g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $248
Our Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 2.0/50 Apo-Lanthar E (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • class leading across the frame sharpness
  • CA correction
  • bokeh (most of the time)
  • excellent Handling
  • compact Size
  • flare resistance
  • expensive for an f/2 lens

Recommendation: The technically best 50mm lens if you can live with manual focus and slower speed.

Length: 61mm | Diameter: 63mm | Weight: 364g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $1049
Review | Sample images | cameraquest | Amazon.com | B&H (affiliate links)


Zeiss Loxia 2.0/50 Planar (manual focus)

Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness stopped down
  • nice Sunstars
  • build quality
  • A little higher contrast than FE 55mm 1.8 ZA
  • nervous bokeh
  • a little softer corners at wide apertures, midzone dip until f/8.0

Recommendation: Was once a favorite of many landscape photographers, but now the aforementioned Voigtländer 50mm 2.0 Apo-Lanthar E offers the better package.

Length: 60mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 320g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $999
Review | Datasheet | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.5/50 G

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • decent flare resistance
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • size and weight
  • high vignetting
  • high longitudinal CA

Recommendation: A solid small lens that looks quite expensive next to the Samyang 45mm 1.8 AF or the Sony FE 50mm 1.8.

Length: 45mm | Diameter: 60mm | Weight: 174g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $548
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony 2.8/50 Macro

Strengths Weaknesses
  • very good sharpness in any scenario
  • excellent flare resistance
  • lightweight
  • affordable
  • 1:1 Macro
  • slow AF Drive
  • only 7 straight aperture Blades
  • short working distance

Recommendation: A good choice for your expeditions into nature where optical qualities and low weight as well as close focus abilities count more than a slow AF drive.

Length: 71mm | Diameter: 72mm | Weight: 236g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2021): $548
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA

Sony A7R | Sony FE 1.8/55
Strengths Weaknesses
  • great balance between small size and good performance
  • Very good across the frame sharpness from f/1.8
  • Smooth bokeh in most scenarios
  • onion ring bokeh in some scenarios
  • strong vignetting causes cat’s-eyes
  • longitudinal CA

Recommendation: The FE 1.8/55 offers a great balance between small size and good performance. It can be used for a very wide range of applications, therefore it is a very popular FE lens for a good reason.

Length: 70.5mm | Diameter: 64.4mm | Weight: 281g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (December 2021): $898
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de | B&H (affiliate links)


65-75mm

Sigma C 2.0/65 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • smooth undistracting bokeh with low optical vignetting
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)

Recommendation: A solid lens without any major shortcomings but a rather odd focal length that doesn’t integrate too well into many kits.

Length: 75mm | Diameter: 72mm | Weight: 405g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $699
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Voigtlander Macro 2/65 APO-Lanthar (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • one of the sharpest FE-mount lenses
  • good bokeh (most of the time)
  • nearly perfect CA correction
  • build quality and handling
  • offers 1:2 magnification
  • rather large and heavy
  • does not focus to 1:1 as other macros do

Recommendation: It isn’t a small lens but a delight to use none the less and the optical performance is impeccable. A rather odd focal length though, so make sure it integrates well into your kit(s).

Length: 91mm | Diameter: 78mm | Weight: 635g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $999
Our Review | Amazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de | B&H (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2.8/70 DG Macro (DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • price
  • excellent sharpness
  • good CA correction
  • smooth bokeh
  • close to no distortion
  • AF-Limiter and AF/MF switch
  • slow AF
  • very indirect manual focus (720°)
  • extends a lot when focused close

Recommendation: Recommended to those who want the performance of the Sony 2.8/90 for half the price and who can work with the slower focusing as well as the significantly shorter close focusing distance and focal length.

Length: 105.8mm | Diameter: 71mm | Weight: 562g | Filter Thread: 49mm | close focusing distance (1:1): 70mm | Price (July 2020): $469 | review (EF-version) | User Report on mirrorlessons.com
Amazon.com | B&H | Ebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.8/75 AF

Recommendation: The lightest, smallest and most affordable lens in this focal length range. Build quality and handling are inferior to the Sony FE 1.8/85 and bokeh is about on the same level: smooth most of the time but somewhat nervous in more challenging situations. Sharpness is also inferior unless stopped down quite a bit. Also make sure to check it for decentering, as our first copy was severly decentered.

Length: 69mm | Diameter: 65mm | Weight: 230g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $349
lenstip Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


85-90mm

Sony FE GM 1.4/85

Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM gmaster portrait bokeh sharpness a7rII a7rm3 a7riii 42mp review
Sony A7rII | Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM | f/5.6
Strengths Weaknesses
  • spectacular Bokeh
  • sharpness
  • build Quality
  •  a bit noisy and slow AF

Recommendation: Don’t look any further if you need a high end 85mm portrait lens, it is one of the special lenses in the system and offers one of the smoothest bokeh renderings of all. 

Length: 108mm | Diameter: 90mm | Weight: 820g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $1798
Review | Sample Images | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.comebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/85 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • bokeh
  • sharpness
  • build quality
  • size/weight
  • colour correction
  • distortion requires correction for architecture (but post correction resolution is still outstanding)

Recommendation: This might be Sigma’s best balanced f/1.4 Art prime so far. With a very complex design they managed to create a lens which is sharper yet almost 200g lighter than the Sony 85mm 1.4 GM. It’s the f/1.4 lens for everyone who used to have an f/1.8 because they are smaller and lighter. The bokeh connoisseur might still prefer the GM for less cat’s eyes and even smoother bokeh rendering in some circumstances though.

Length: 96mm | Diameter: 84mm | Weight: 625g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $1199
cameralabs review | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/85 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharper than GM 1.4/85
  • price/performance

Recommendation: Now that the mirrorless version (see entry above) has been released there is little reason to get this lens.

Length: 152mm | Diameter: 95mm | Weight: 1245g | Filter Thread: 86mm | Price (December 2021): $1099
Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate links)


Samyang 1.4/85 AF

Strengths Weaknesses
  • price
  • sharpness
  • bokeh (minus cat’s eyes)

Recommendation: Nicer bokeh than the FE 1.8/85 and sharper than the GM 1.4/85 in the center this is a really attractive portrait lens.

Length: 99.5mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 568g | Filter Thread: 77 mm | Price (December 2021): $529
Review at FM | Amazon.com | B&H Photo (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/85 

Sony A6500 | Sony FE 1.8/85
Strengths Weaknesses
  • bokeh
  • sharpness
  • fast AF
  • affordable
  • Size

Recommended to: This was once the only cheap 85mm AF option for E-mount, now you might also want to consider the Viltrox/Tokina 85mm 1.8 or the Samyang 85mm 1.4 AF.

Length: 82mm | Diameter: 78mm | Weight: 371g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $548
Our Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Zeiss Batis 1.8/85 OSS

Sony A7II | Zeiss Batis 1.8/85
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • bokeh
  • build quality
  • optical stabilization

Recommended to: Since the FE 1.8/85 is very close in performance for half the price we can only recommend it to those, to whom the better flare resistance and superior build quality is very important.

Length: 81mm | Diameter: 92mm | Weight: 475g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1249
Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com |ebay.de (affiliate links)


Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 STM AF PFU RBMH / Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8II FE

Sony a7II | Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 STM AF PFU RBMH | f/1.8
Strengths Weaknesses
  • strong distortion
  • flare resistance
  • AF reliability

Recommended to: We reviewed the first version here which in general is very strong performer. Sharpness is very good combined with very good bokeh. The biggest drawbacks are the mediocre flare resistance and the high amount of distortion. Besides that I encountered severe back focus issues at certain distances with the first version. AF on the second version seemed to be much more reliable when I tested it, but it was still not perfect.
Bokeh and sharpness are both the same on the MKII but you will get better AF and safe a lot of weight. I don’t know how reliable the construction of the MKII is though, as that seems to be the place where they cut weight. The sample of the MKII I bought was decentered so I had to return it.
These days it seems that the first version is discontinued, the second version is widely available.
A good option for who is on a budget and wants a portrait lens with great bokeh.

MK I/MK II | Length: 92mm/92mm | Diameter: 79mm/80mm | Weight: 636g/483g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $399
Review | B&H | ebay.comebay.de (affiliate links)


Tokina ATX-M 85mm f/1.8 FE

Strengths Weaknesses
  • strong distortion
  • flare resistance
  • AF reliability

This lens seems to be a copy of the Viltrox (first version) above here.
It’s a bit more expensive, performs the same and seems to have the same AF issues.

Length: 93.2 | Diameter: 80mm | Weight: 645g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $499
B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85 (manual focus)

loxia zeiss 85mm 2.4 carl sony a7r ii review comparison
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4
Strengths Weaknesses
  • optical performance (sharpness, contrast)
  • sunstars
  • smooth bokeh

Recommended to: whoever values optical perfection over speed and does not mind manual focus.

Length: 95mm | Diameter: 63mm | Weight: 594g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (December 2021): $1449
Review | Sample images | B&HAmazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Laowa 5.6/85 Macro 2:1 (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 85mm 5.6 2:1 ff ii macro twice life size makro mirko 42mp 61mp resolution bokeh sharpness contrast
Sony A7III | Laowa 85mm 5.6 Macro | f/5.6
Strengths Weaknesses
  • smallest 2:1 macro
  • good sharpness
  • undistracting bokeh
  • CA correction
  • no Exif data
  • 7 straight aperture blades
  • flare resistance

Recommended to: those looking for the smallest 2:1 macro and don’t mind a low number of straight aperture blades and mediocre flare resistance

Length: 81mm | Diameter: 59mm | Weight: 258g | Filter Thread: 46mm | Price (December 2021): $449
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s homepage | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com (affiliate links)


Sony G 2.8/90 OSS Macro


Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • good CA correction
  • smooth bokeh
  • Manual Focus clutch
  • vignetting
  • stronger copy-to-copy variation
  • a little slower AF

Recommendation: If you are more serious about macro work this is one of the best lenses in the system that also works well for landscape and portrait work.

Length: 130.5 mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 602g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $998
Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2.8/90 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)
  • lightweight despite metal casing
  • very high vignetting
  • high uncorrected distortion
  • flare resistance

Recommendation: There are many faster lenses available for the same price, so this one is less for the portrait aficionados and more for those looking for a very lightweight travel/landscape lens with AF.

Length: 64mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 295g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2021): $639
Lenstip Review | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


100mm+

Tokina Firin 2.8/100 Macro

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good sharpness
  • smooth bokeh
  • above average CA
  • slow AF
  • manual focus feel
  • Extends a lot

Recommendation: If you are looking for a Macro on a budget the better corrected Sigma 2.8/70 appears to be the more attractive option but if you find one for a good price it can yield good results if you are willing to put up with the focus.

Length: 123mm | Diameter: 74mm | Weight: 570g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2021): $599
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sony GM 2.8/100 STF OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • super smooth bokeh
  • sharpness
  • close to zero vignetting
  • 75% light loss due to STF filter
  • rather heavy
  • build quality not up to the expectations

Recommendation: The GM STF 2.8/100 has a very narrow range of applications when you want limited bokeh of excellent quality and here it excels. More often a GM 1.4/85 will be the better alternative.

Length: 118mm | Diameter: 85mm  | Weight: 700g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1498
Review | another Review | Amazon.com | B&H | Ebay (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.4/105 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • excellent optical performance
  • bokeh

Recommendation: It offers outstanding performance and very shallow depth of field but weigts about as much as two bricks.

Length: 157mm | Diameter: 116mm | Weight: 1720g | Filter Thread: 105mm | Price (December 2021): $1599
lenstip review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 2.8/105 DG DN Macro

Strengths Weaknesses
  • high resolution
  • great correction of all optical aberrations
  • build quality/handling (AF/MF-switch, aperture ring)

Recommendation: a slightly cheaper but not necessarily worse alternative to the Sony FE 90mm 2.8 G Macro

Length: 134mm | Diameter: 74mm | Weight: 715g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (December 2021): $799
Lenstip Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Voigtlander 2.5/110 Apo-Lanthar Macro E (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • among the sharpest FE-mount lenses
  • good bokeh (most of the time)
  • nearly perfect CA correction
  • build quality and handling
  • rather large and heavy
  • straight aperture blades detrimental to bokeh stopped down

Recommendation: If you enjoy manual focus and need a longer lens this is an outstanding but also substantial solution.

Length: 100mm | Diameter: 78mm | Weight: 771g | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (December 2021): $1099
B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 1.8/135 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • superb resolution at all apertures and locations in the field
  • low chromatic aberrations
  • low distortion & vignetting
  • great contrast
  • 1:4 max magnification
  • action-ready AF and linear MF
  • superb build quality
  • large and heavy in absolute terms (although lightest and smallest lens in class)
  • flare resistance

Recommended to: Anyone who is looking for an extremely versatile, fast and impressively performing 135mm lens.

Length: 127mm | Diameter: 90mm | Weight: 950g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $2098
Review | B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | Ebay.com | Ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 1.8/135 (former DSLR design)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • excellent optical performance
  • price

Recommended to: Users who want one of the very best lenses ever made but don’t want to spend the extra money on the Sony GM. Otherwise get the slightly lighter Sony GM which is even sharper and offers superior AF.

Length: 141mm | Diameter: 91mm | Weight: 1225g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1399
lenstip review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Zeiss Batis 2.8/135 Apo

Strengths Weaknesses
  • stunning resolution at all apertures and locations in the field.
  • superb colour correction
  • great contrast
  • great flare control
  • good close focus
  • fast AF
  • price
  • cat’s eyes at f2.8 same as 2/135 Apo Sonnar at f/2
  • weight is a bit higher than some expect of an 135mm f/2.8 lens

Recommended to: Anyone who wants a high performance 2.8/135 and doesn’t mind the staggering price tag.

Length: 120mm | Diameter: 99mm  | Weight: 614g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1749
Review | B&H | Amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/400 GM OSS

Recommendation: A pricy special purpose lens for wildlife and sports photography. If you need it you already know it.

Length: 359mm |  Diameter: 158mm | Weight: 2895g | Filter Thread: 40.5mm (rear) | Price (December 2021): $11,998
B&H (affiliate link)


Sony FE 4.0/600 GM OSS

Recommendation: A pricy special purpose lens for wildlife and sports photography. If you need it you already know it.

Length: 449mm |  Diameter: 164mm | Weight: 3040g | Filter Thread: 40.5mm (rear) | Price (December 2021): $12,998
B&H (affiliate link)


Zoom lenses

UWA Zooms

Laowa 4.5-5.6/10-18 FE (manual focus, no electronic contacts)

laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness
Sony A7rII | Laowa FE 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 | 10mm | f/5.6
Strengths Weaknesses
  • very interesting and unrivalled focal length range
  • sunstars
  • minimum focus distance
  • size/weight
  • no Exif data
  • corner sharpness
  • flare resistance
  • vignetting/color cast
  • distortion at wide end

Recommendation: the only UWA zoom for full frame starting at 10mm. Versatile and fun lens, but comes with a few compromises.

Length: 81mm | Diameter: 70mm | Weight: 499g | Filter Thread: 39mm (rear) | Price (December 2021): $849
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s online shop | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/12-24 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • …but price and missing filter thread

Recommendation: a real achievement in terms of optical engineering. If you need the maximum aperture and at the same time the 12mm focal length (e.g. for astrophotography) and you don’t mind the staggering price tag you will not regret buying this one. 

Length: 137mm | Diameter: 100mm | Weight: 847g | Filter Thread: rear gel  | Price (December 2021): $2898
cameralabs review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/12-24 G

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharper than many primes
  • size/weight
  • flare resistance
  • sunstars
  • distortion

Recommendation: If you want an UWA zoom and 16mm is not wide enough or sharpness is the most important aspect for you. 

Length: 117.4mm | Diameter: 87mm | Weight: 565g | Filter Thread: – | Price (December 2021): $1773
MTF-graphs at lensrentals.com | B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 2.8/14-24 DG DN

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • flare resistance
  • CA correction
  • coma correction

Recommendation: if the GM 12-24mm 2.8 is too expensive or you simply don’t need the 12mm angle of view this is a really great alternative and you won’t feel like giving anything up in terms of optical qualities.

Length: 131mm | Diameter: 85mm | Weight: 795g | Filter Thread: –  | Price (December 2021): $1299
lenstip review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/16-35 ZA OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • very handy zoom range
  • very good sharpness across the frame at f/5.6
  • flare resistance
  • corner sharpness not up to the highest standards

Recommendation: This is a lens for landscape photographers who want a one lens solution and who are willing to accept a few smaller trade-offs.

Length: 98.5mm | Diameter: 78mm | Weight: 518g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1098
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/16-35 GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • optical performance
  • very handy zoom range
  • light for what it is

Recommendation: If you need faster or better lens than the 4.0/16-35 and have the necessary funds.

Length: 122mm | Diameter: 89mm | Weight: 680g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $2198
Review at Ken Rockwell0 | Thread at Fred Miranda | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/17-28 Di III RXD

tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 2.8 review comparsion sharpness resolution contrast 42mp 61mp test sony a7rIII a7rII a7riv
Sony A7rII | Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 | 20mm f/11
Strengths Weaknesses
  • good image quality, especially at the wide end
  • flare resistance
  • fast, compact and lightweight
  • limited zoom range
  • color cast in the corners at the wide end

Recommendation: The cheaper alternative to the Sony GM 2.8/16-35 if you are okay with the restricted zoom range. Also a good alternative to most of the smaller f/2.8 primes.

Length: 99mm | Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 420g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $899
Review | Full resolution samples | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Standard Zooms

Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM

Sony A7II | Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • bokeh
  • zoom range
  • speed
  • build quality

Recommendation: The ideal no-compromise jack of all trades. It is equally useful for landscape, portrait, documentation and also for action applications.

Length: 136mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 886g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1998
Our Review | Standard zoom shootout Part 1 | Part 2 | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma Art 2.8/24-70 DG DN

Recommendation: What has been written about the Sony GM 2.8/24-70 above applies here as well. Which of these two lenses is sharper at what focal length seems to depend more on sample variation than anything else. The Sony might have an edge when it comes to bokeh and AF though, whether this is worth the premium you can only decide for yourself.

Length: 123mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 835g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1099
lenstip review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Samyang FE 2.8/24-70 AF

We haven’t used it yet and there are also no reliable reviews available yet (Dec 2021).

Recommendation: This is the heaviest of the 24-70mm 2.8 zooms for E-mount but said to be parfocal, so should be very interesting for those also interested in video

Length: 129mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1027g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $999
B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/24-70 ZA OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • handy zoom range
  • good flare resistance
  • soft corners at 24mm
  • soft at 70mm
  • strong distortion

Recommended to: Photographers who don’t print large often and value flexibility as well as small size.

Length: 94.5mm | Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 430g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $698
Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/24-105 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good sharpness (for a 4x zoom)
  • very handy range
  • good bokeh (for an f/4 lens)
  • useful for close up photography
  • better than 24-70mm 4.0
  • good build quality
  • strongly relies on electronical correction (high distortion and vignetting)

Recommendation: The best balanced standard zoom lens for the FE system.

Length: 113.3mm | Diameter: 83.4mm | Weight: 663g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $1098
Standard zoom shootout Part 1 | Part 2 | Review at Opticallimits | B&HAmazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma C 2.8/28-70 DG DN

Recommendation: Slightly lighter and smaller than Tamron’s 28-75mm 2.8 lenses.

Length: 102mm | Diameter: 72mm | Weight: 470g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $799
Camera Labs review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/28-75 Di III RXD

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • size
  • price
  • macro Feature
  • bokeh (at longer distances)
  • flare resistance

Recommendation: The manufacturer’s first E-mount lens only weighs 550g which could make it an attractive lens for those who want a fast standard zoom but don’t want to carry the heavy GM 2.8/24-70. This very well balanced zoom should be considered by anyone who finds himself confronted with dynamic scenarios like parties, events or family life.

Length: 118mm | Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 550g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $879
Our Review | Standard zoom shootout Part 1 | Part 2 | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8/28-75 Di III VXD G2

We haven’t used this lens yet and there are also no reliable reviews available yet (Dec 2021).

Recommendation: The predecessor already was a good lens, our main issues were the lack of controls and the bokeh rendering in some situations. Buttons and switches have been added, if the bokeh has been improved as well this will be a real winner.

Length: 118mm | Diameter: 76mm | Weight: 540g | Filter Thread: 67mm Price | (December 2021): $899
amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 OSS

Sony A7 | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Useful zoom range
  • Very affordable
  • Light weight

Recommendation: It is a good enough lens with a handy zoom range, but these days the Sony FE 4.0-5.6/28-60 OSS will do the same thing in a much smaller and lighter package. Don’t buy it at full retail, there are plenty available on the used market.

Length: 83mm | Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 295g | Filter Thread: 55mm | Price (December 2021): $99 used
Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0-5.6/28-60

Recommendation: Introduced as small kit lens for the Sony A7c. Optical qualities are very solid, more solid than those of the aforementioned, much bigger and heavier Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 OSS. If you are looking for a small lens that covers a useful range in a very light and compact package this is worth a closer look.
Many people sell their kit lenses, so you should easily find one on the used market.

Length: 67mm | Diameter: 45mm | Weight: 167g | Filter Thread: 40.5mm | Price (December 2021): $498 (~$250 used)
B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/28-135 G PZ OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • power Zoom
  • little Focus Breathing
  • constant aperture
  • aperture Ring

Recommendation: This is a lens optimized for filming and quite impractical for photography. We do not film so we won’t rate it.

Length: 165mm | Diameter: 102mm | Weight: 1215g | Filter Thread: 95mm | Price (December 2021): $2398
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | Ebay (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.0-2.8/35-150 Di III VXD

We haven’t used it yet and there are also no reliable reviews available yet (Dec 2021).

Recommendation: a very unique lens that wants appeal to wedding photographers looking for a one-lens-solution

Length: 158mm | Diameter: 89mm | Weight: 1165g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1899
B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Super Zooms

Sony FE 3.5-6.3/24-240 OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • soft corners at 24 mm
  • softer at longer focal lengths
  • 800g heavy
  • distortion

Recommendation: We find it hard to recommend. We would prefer a good bridge like the RX-10 or Panasonic TZ1000 to have a very versatile one-lens-solution.

Length: 118.5mm | Diameter: 80.5mm | Weight: 780g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $948
Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)


Tamron 2.8-5.6/28-200 Di III RXD

Recommendation: None of us is personally using a superzoom lens and we find those hard to recommend, as they rarely allow you to make use of the potential of a full frame camera, being severly limited in terms of maximum aperture. Offering f/2.8 at the wide end is merely some argument for the marketing department. Not because the image quality is not sufficient here, but rather because the maximum aperture drops fast as you start to zoom.
We would prefer a good bridge like the RX-10 or Panasonic TZ1000 to have a very versatile on-lens-solution. Still, the Tamron offers better performance (also at the price of a significantly narrower zoom range) compared to the Sony 24-240mm

Length: 114mm | Diameter: 74mm | Weight: 576g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $649
cameralabs review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Tele Zooms

Tamron 2.8/70-180 Di III VXD

tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 2.8 review comparsion sharpness resolution contrast 42mp 61mp test sony a7rIII a7rII a7riv distortion sunstars starburst
Sony A7rII | Tamron 70-1 80mm 2.8 | 180mm | f/2.8
Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • bokeh (mostly)
  • minimum focus distance
  • size/weight
  • lack of controls
  • non-linear manual focus

Recommendation: This was the first actually decent fast telezoom for E-mount. Not everything is perfect, but in the end it is a really compelling lens nonetheless. Better than Sony FE 70-200mm 2.8 GM MK I, way cheaper than MK I and MK II.

Length: 149mm | Diameter: 81mm | Weight: 805g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $1099
Review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/70-200 GM OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • not as good as the competitor’s 70-200mm 2.8 options
  • reliability
  • price

Recommendation: Don’t buy this one new at full retail price anymore, get the better MK II version (see next lens) or the Tamron 70-180mm 2.8 for half the price.

Length: 200mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1480g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $2298
Review | compared to CaNikon | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)


Sony FE 2.8/70-200 GM OSS II

Strengths Weaknesses
  • image quality
  • bokeh
  • CA correction
  • build quality
  • silent and fast AF
  • weight

Recommendation: This lens just starts to become available but so far it looks like the update Sony users deserved. Don’t be fooled into buying the old one at full retail anymore!

Length: 200mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1045g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $2798
Lenstip review | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.0/70-200 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • softer corners at the ends of the zoom range
  • stabilizer less effective than competition

Recommendation: A jack of all trades which delivers solid results for a very wide range of applications but excels at none of them.
A bit overpriced, better have a look at the Tamron 70-180mm 2.8, which is cheaper, smaller, ligther, a full stop faster and only a negligible 20mm shorter.

Length: 175mm | Diameter: 80mm | Weight: 840g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1498
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay | B&H (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.5-5.6/70-300 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • zoom range
  • small size (for a 70-300 that is)
  • sharpness up to 200 mm
  • copy-to-copy variation
  • sharpness at 300 mm
  • bokeh
  • price

Recommended to: Very pricy for what it is. Better have a look at the Tamron 70-300 or the Sigma 100-400 instead.

Length: 144mm | Diameter: 84mm | Weight: 854g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (December 2021): $1173
Review | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)


Tamron 4.5-6.3/70-300 Di III RXD

We haven’t used this one yet.

Recommendation: The cheapest telezoom option in this focal length range for Sony E-mount cameras.

Length: 148mm | Diameter: 77mm | Weight: 545g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $499
B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 4.5-5.6/100-400 OSS GM

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharpness
  • closeup-abilities
  • fast AF
  • works with Sony teleconverters
  • large & heavy
  • flare resistance could be better

Recommendation: A very capable tele zoom that unfortunately comes at a high price.

Length: 205mm | Diameter: 94mm  | Weight: 1395g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (December 2021): $2498
Review | Sony 100-400 vs. Contax 100-300 | B&H | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | Ebay.de (affiliate links)


Sigma C 5.0-6.3/100-400

Strengths Weaknesses
  • sharp
  • a bit smaller and lighter than the Sony GM 100-400
  • good correction of optical aberrations
  • AF fast for a third party option
  • flare resistance
  • slower maximum aperture than the Sony GM 100-400
  • build quality is solid but very plasticy
  • no tripod mount in box
  • doesn’t offer different AF modes

Recommendation: This lens is optically so good that image quality shouldn’t be a deciding factor between this lens and the Sony FE 4.5-5.6/100-400 GM OSS. The build quality is not up to professional standards, still this is the best long telephoto option for everybody on a budget who can get along with the slower maximum aperture.

Length: 197mm | Diameter: 86mm | Weight: 1135g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (December 2021): $949
cameralabs review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)


Tamron 5.0-6.7/150-500 Di III VC VXD

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good resolution
  • close focusing
  • fast and accurate AF
  • size
  • not compatible with teleconverters
  • focus shift when stopping down to f/8.0
  • flare resistance

Recommendation: Tamron’s cheaper and more compact alternative to Sony’s FE 200-600mm 5.6-6.3 G.

Length: 210mm | Diameter: 93mm | Weight: 1725g | Filter Thread: 82mm | Price (December 2021): $1399
Camera Labs review | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sigma C 5.0-6.3/150-600 DG DN OS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • good resolution
  • very good color correction
  • close focusing
  • fast and accurate AF
  • size
  • flare resistance
  • sample variation issues

Recommendation: Sigma’s cheaper and more compact alternative to Sony’s FE 200-600mm 5.6-6.3 G. Apparently there are some issues with sample variation though, best have a look at the cameralabs review.

Length: 267mm | Diameter: 109mm | Weight: 2100g | Filter Thread: 95mm | Price (December 2021): $1499
Camera Labs review | B&H | ebay.com | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)


Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • long reach
  • good sharpness
  • snappy AF
  • affordable compared to the super tele primes
  • Internal zooming therefore well balanced on a gimbal across the focal length range
  • sturdy and weather resistant
  • compatible with Sony’s teleconverters
  • the outer dimensions of the lens may ask for a bigger backpack
  • limited compatibility to A7RIV (AF issues)
  • OSS effectiveness could be better

Recommendation: It is light for a lens in this class but still a heavy lens that not everybody can or want to carry and handhold the whole day. A unique feature in this price class is the internal zooming that makes zooming smooth and easy while keeping the physical dimensions constant. A tripod with a gimbal can help here for stationary work.

Length: 318mm | Diameter: 112mm | Weight: 2115g | Filter Thread: 95mm | Price (December 2021): $1898
opticallimits review | amazon.com | amazon.de | B&H | ebay.com (affiliate links)

Some tips on how to choose a lens

As a team we have bought and sold hundreds of lenses. Some we used a lot more than we anticipated and others a lot less. Based on that experience here are a few tips on how to choose the right lens fro your needs.

  1. Buy a lens because you actually need it. Not because some guy on a YouTube likes it a lot. To learn what focal lengths and  apertures you use most and what characteristics you care about in a lens we can only recommend to get one lens at a time and to really learn to know it. Maybe one of our reviews can help you to identify what exactly you (don’t) like about that lens. .
  2. Don‘t put too much emphasis on performance. For example the 1.4/24 GM is certainly a technically much better lens than the ZA 1.4/35 but a 35mm lens has more applications so it will probably see a lot more use and give you more memorable results.
  3. Think about your whole kit and not just individual lenses. For example both Phillip and Jannik were initially deeply impressed by the Voigtlander 2/65‘s performance but ultimately sold it because it didn‘t integrate well into their kit and stayed at home too often.

Manual lenses

Almost any lens can be adapted on the Sony a7/a9 series. We have a guide to very affordable (<$99) manual lenses and one for still affordable (< $499) lenses and also a Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series Beginner’s Guide.

If any questions remain unanswered don’t hesitate to leave a comment 🙂

Legend

  • G – Sony’s equivalent to Canon’s L
  • GM – Sony’s other equivalent to Canon’s L.
  • OSS – “Optical Steady Shot”: Sony’s marketing name for lenses that feature an image stabilizer.
  • ZA – Lenses which have been developed in cooperation by Sony and Zeiss and are produced by Sony. The outer barrel is made from metal which looks nice but scratches easily.
  • (manual focus) – Completely manual lenses. You need to use the focusing ring and the aperture ring on the lens to focus and set the desired aperture value. Exif data is still submitted though.
  • (no electronic contacts) – These lenses do not feature electronic contacts so they do not communicate things like focal length or current aperture value to the camera
  • (former DSLR design) – Sigma took their older DSLR lenses and just added a non removable adapter tube to turn them into E-mount lenses. These lenses are usually bigger and heavier than they need to be for mirrorless cameras and it seems they are being replaced piece by piece with improved mirrorless designs.

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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.

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