sony camera lenses

Best Lenses for Sony A7

The Sony A7 is a mirrorless camera that gives the standard DSLR design a run for its money. What makes it stand out is the fact that it practically offers professional camera results, without costing as much or being as big as high end professional-grade cameras. Plus the fact that it can accommodate a number of different lenses means you can get more versatility out of it than other digital camera options.

As one of the most sought after cameras on the market, the A7 has seen a lot of different compatible lenses – both from the Sony brand and many others. If you’re looking for a great new lens to switch up the way you use your A7, check out our top product list and review for the best lenses for Sony A7 cameras.

A Guide to Buying Lenses for the Sony A7

If you’ve purchased a brand new A7, it possibly comes with an FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens. This is the standard lens that comes with each brand new A7 purchase, and offers just enough versatility to allow the basic photography styles.

However because the kit lens can only do so much, some photographers who want to achieve other styles with the A7 opt to buy other lenses. Find out how to choose the best lenses for Sony A7 model cameras by considering these buying tips.

  • Lens Type. There are several types of lenses which are categorized based on the subjects they’re best used for. Choosing one depends on the types of subjects you want to explore through your lens.
  • Ultra Wide Angle and Wide Angle. These lenses have a very wide angle of view, allowing them to capture more inside a single frame. So these lenses are best used for landscapes, building and home interiors, and other sceneries that are viewed best as a whole.
  • Telephoto. Telephoto lenses are made for the purpose of capturing distant subjects with substantial detail. This makes them ideal for sports and wildlife photography as they can zero in on subjects and give sufficient depth of field to highlight its target.
  • Macro. Macro lenses are used for macro photography, or the practice of capturing small items in much larger perspectives. These often include small insects, flowers, and other items that can only be fully appreciated under the magnifying perspective of a macro lens.
  • Standard. A standard lens is a versatile lens that can be used for a variety of purposes. Mostly, the standard lens is ideal for everyday photography and portrait photography as it can capture good detail with just enough background blur to highlight the subject.
  • Prime vs. Zoom. Lenses can also be categorized based on whether they’re prime or zoom lenses. The main distinction between these two types is that a prime lens can’t be adjusted, and can only be used with a fixed focal length. So if a prime lens is labelled as a 50mm lens, that’s the only focal length you can get out of it.

Zoom lenses on the other hand, have adjustable focal lengths so you can get more versatility out of them. The range of the length is often indicated with the name of the lens. Of course, these can give more room for experimentation, but they also often sacrifice image sharpness and clarity.

  • Aperture. The aperture of a lens is basically a small hole inside the mechanism that allows light to reach the sensor. Pentagonal apertures produce better sharpness, but produce poor quality out of focus areas compared to round apertures.

Another thing to consider would be aperture size. Larger apertures are better for capturing images in low light, but they are a lot slower than options with smaller apertures.

Top 5 Best Lenses for Sony A7

1. Sony SELF28F20 FE 28mm f/2-22 Standard-Prime Lens

The first on our list of the best lenses for Sony A7 is the Sony SELF28F20 FE 28mm f/2-22 Standard-Prime Lens. The prime lens is categorized as a wide angle lens, ideal for capturing images of landscapes and sceneries. The lens’s aperture is made up of rounded aperture blades which produce a perfect round aperture for pristine out of focus depth and drama.

The lens is designed to combat chromatic aberration and edge noise – a common problem with the typical wide angle lens design. At a fairly reasonable price, the Sony SELF28F20 FE 28mm f/2-22 Standard-Prime Lens definitely delivers professional-grade results with minimal effort.

Pros:

  • One of the more affordable options
  • Great entry-level lens for the A7
  • Compact and lightweight
  • With a wide-angle FOV
  • Has a wide aperture
  • Exceptional weather sealing
  • Works with add-on conversion lenses

Cons:

  • Produces soft edges at wide apertures
  • Shooting raw results in lots of distortion
  • Sometimes omits optical stabilization
  • Limited close focus

2. Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens

Another great pick is the Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens. The device features a 55mm focal length, placing it at the foot of the macro lens range. The prime lens however works great for a number of different subjects including portraits and food photography.

The lens boasts a circular aperture that improves the quality of out of focus areas. It also promises fast auto focus functionality, which makes it a great choice for those who want to use it for sports, action, and wildlife photography.

While the price tag on the lens can be pretty steep, it does produce professional quality shots. So if you’ve got some extra cash to spare, this lens is definitely worth checking out.

Pros:

  • Produces sharp images from edge to edge
  • Negligible distortion
  • Wide enough f/1.8 aperture for low-light conditions
  • Fast autofocus
  • Produces pleasing bokeh
  • Great build quality
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • No optical stabilization
  • Lens hood can be ineffective
  • Horrible flaring sometimes

3. Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens

With a 35mm focal length, the Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar FE ZA Full Frame Prime Fixed Lens is the perfect balance between a wide angle and a standard lens, offering superior versatility for a number of different photography styles.

The lens is constructed with a round aperture for dramatic bokeh, and boasts a bright f/2.8 aperture that optimizes light for a number of different settings. The lens performs best for portrait photography and landscape photography. It would have made a great wildlife lens as well if not for its slow focus operation.

Pros:

  • Can produce highly sharp images
  • Very minimal to zero distortion
  • Compact, solid build quality
  • Produces beautiful bokeh
  • Reliable weather sealing
  • Has a built-in autofocus

Pros:

  • Can produce highly sharp images
  • Very minimal to zero distortion
  • Compact, solid build quality
  • Produces beautiful bokeh
  • Reliable weather sealing
  • Has a built-in autofocus

4. Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm F2.0

The Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm f/2.0 is a premium wide-angle lens compatible with the E mount of the AOS-C sensor cameras, including the Sony A7. It provides a 35mm equivalent focal length of 18mm and has a broad angle of view measuring 98.9 degrees.

This lens has a fast f/2.0 maximum aperture that greatly benefits low-light photography. With this feature, Rokinon designed this lens for landscape, architectural, and interior image photography. However, it is also suitable for bright conditions with the minimum aperture range of F22.

Additionally, the lens minimizes chromatic aberrations and distortions using two aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements incorporated into the optical design. The manufacturer applied a Nano Coating System (NCS) to all the lens elements to prevent lens ghosting and flare by reducing surface reflections.

With all these features combined, the lens improves light transmission and produces sharper, more contrast-rich, color-neutral images. The optical construction uses 12 glass elements in ten groups, and the diaphragm has six blades.

Extra features include a removable petal-shaped lens hood, which comes in handy for extremely bright conditions and shooting effects.

We don’t like that the lens has inaccurate distance calibrations on the focusing ring and no essential depth-of-field markings. These drawbacks make manual focusing more challenging, especially for those new to manual focus. Although this would not be a problem for experienced photographers, it’s something that Rokinon can improve on.

Pros:

  • Cheaper alternative for similar Sony lenses
  • Excellent for landscapes, architecture, interiors, and astrophotography
  • An excellent sharp lens
  • Pairs well with the Sony A7
  • Reduces image noise
  • Prevents ghosting and lens flare
  • Improves light transmission in low-light situations
  • Can produce crisp, brightly-colored, or vivid images

Cons:

  • Not great for macro shooting
  • Manual focus only; needs some experience
  • Inaccurate calibrations on the focusing ring

5. Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens

The Sony SEL90M28G FE is probably one of the finest universal FE lenses. It has a moderately fast aperture and focal length. It can produce excellent results for any challenges thrown at it.

Of course, mastering the manual focus will take some time for beginners, but overall, it gets the job done with the proper techniques.

This lens has 15 elements arranged in eleven groups and nine rounded aperture blades. It has a diameter of 79mm, is 130mm long, and weighs 605 grams. This lens is a bit long and heavy, but it surely does deliver exceptional results.

However, tied up with its excellent quality is the rather steep price tag. If you’re on a budget and plan to purchase cheaper alternatives, we advise saving up for this lens. It is a pretty good investment once you get to master how to use it.

This lens’ key features include a 1:1 magnification, an optical image stabilizer, a focus hold button, a focus limiter, a linear-coupled focus ring, and an internal focus. It is a macro lens, and it ticks all items on a checklist for any modern premium macro.

The internal autofocus mechanism focuses nicely and produces close to zero noise. This lens is one of Sony’s slower focusing lenses, but it is not as slow as several other models.

When it comes to optical performance, flare resistance works well, but not in all situations. There can be minor ghosting and significant flaring if you use the lens to shoot towards a strong light source. Sunstars are not a strength of this lens, as they can get fuzzy just midway to f/16.

On another note, this lens renders exceptionally smooth bokeh effects, and it is well-corrected for sphero-chromatism and axial chromatic aberrations. Furthermore, images taken with this lens show a very minimal amount of barrel distortion. It is one of the sharpest lenses available for the A7 at the moment.

Pros:

  • Good build quality
  • Low chromatic aberrations
  • Offers minimal to zero distortion
  • Produces dramatic bokeh effects
  • Produces exceptionally sharp images
  • Good flare resistance
  • Average vignetting
  • Has autofocus and manual focus
  • Easy manual focusing with the focus ring

Cons:

  • Questionable weather sealing
  • Long and heavy
  • Quite expensive; most expensive among the options
  • Lacks the features of actual focus rings

Conclusion

If you’ve just started your journey to being a photographer with the Sony A7, there are so many compatible lenses to choose from. The best lenses for Sony A7 include the Sony SEL28F20 FE and the SEL90M28G FE for a more complete kit.

Since they sit on opposite ends of the price spectrum, we suggest you go for the cheaper and easier one first. This approach will give you time to save up for your purchase of the more expensive lens. This allows you to practice your photography skills with what lens you already have.