As we’ve reviewed all of the Sony E-Mount and FE mount lenses to date, we thought we’d pop the 11 top scoring lenses into a list so you can easily see which are the best.
A little lens background
You can use Full-Frame FE-mount lenses on APS-C Sony E-Mount cameras, and this will give you a 1.5x crop of the lens. For example, a full-frame 50mm lens will give the equivalent of a 75mm lens. You can also use APS-C E-mount lenses on full-frame Sony E-Mount cameras, and this will use a cropped area of the sensor, with the resolution of the image depending on the camera used. This will make an APS-C 50mm lens equivalent to 75mm.
1 – Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS (Full-Frame)
This is a large and impressive looking lens that offers an equally impressive performance. Sharpness is excellent and Chromatic Aberration is almost zero centrally and generally kept under one pixel at the edges. At f/22 diffraction reduces edge sharpness but results remain good and flare is also totally absent. Images have good contrast and almost anything can be added to the shooting repertoire for the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS.
2 – Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master (Full-Frame)
Even though this lens is ideal for portrait photography, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM is actually ideal for a wide variety of subjects. It’s a very fine lens that’s incredibly well made and is a joy to use. Resistance to flare is excellent, sharpness is outstanding and CA (chromatic aberration) is almost zero in the centre of the field, and is contained to less than one pixel at the edges. Distortion is also commendably low and the lens produces beautiful bokeh. It’s superb in every respect and received the ‘Editor’s Choice’ accolade as a result.
3 – Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA (Full-Frame)
The Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA full-frame prime lens is designed to be used with Sony E-Mount cameras and it’s another excellent offering from Zeiss / Sony. Image quality is excellent, sharpness is superb and CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very much under control. Flare does have some effect and when shooting against the light there can be a drop in contrast and there is a small amount of barrel distortion but really, it’s an insignificant figure. The bokeh of the lens is very smooth and overall, images are crisp and clear.
4 – Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master (Full-Frame)
Zoom lenses do have strengths and weaknesses in their performance, but there is little to complain about with this Sony FE 24-70mm f/1.8 GM lens. Sharpness at its best is excellent to outstanding, CA and distortion can be addressed in software, although centrally CA is very well controlled anyway and flare is non-existent. Images are excellent and the bokeh is indeed beautiful in fact, it’s quite sublime at times. The Sony lens represents a level of performance that can only be found in the most expensive lenses. It is itself quite expensive, but given that prices may yet ease over time it is within the realms of being a realistic price.
5 – Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS (APS-C)
Our lens reviewer described this lens as a ‘belter’ and thanks to its price point, sharpness levels and overall image quality, it’s easy to see why. The Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS does have a few Chromatic aberration problems but this flaw is easily overlooked taking into account this lens’ positive attributes. Auto focus is very fast and accurate and optical stabilisation is a nice feature to have and it allows sharp hand held images to be taken in around half the time with shutter speeds as low as 1/10sec.
6 – Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS (APS-C)
The Sony E35mm f/1.8 OSS might seem expensive but the performance it delivers does make it a worthwhile purchase. Sharpness is very good from maximum aperture, and can even be considered as outstanding as the lens is stopped down. Other optical anomalies, such as CAs, falloff and distortion are also kept well in check and the lens is lightweight as well as compact which will please many.
7 – Carl Zeiss Sonnar E 24mm f/1.8 ZA (APS-C)
This lens delivers a performance worthy of the Carl Zeiss name, especially in the centre of the frame, where sharpness is excellent, or even outstanding when stopped down. The Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 Sonnar T* lens is a premium piece of glass that doesn’t disappoint. Contrast holds up very well when shooting into the light and there are very few instances of flare, even in very harsh lighting conditions. Sharpness is excellent but there are a few problems with CA however, the amount of fringing will be acceptable for many.
8 – Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
This lens is a high-level performer that does the job efficiently. Don’t be put off by the f/4 maximum aperture as it’s not really much of a disadvantage. In fact, the size and cost of the lens actually make it a serious contender for those in the market for a new telephoto lens. The only slight drawback is the possibility of some flare, but fortunately, this does not seem to be a major problem. Our reviewer was happy to ‘Highly Recommend’ the 70-200mm f/4 G OSS and said it was ideally suited to the Sony Alpha 7R II.
9 – Sony FE 28mm f/2.0 (Full-Frame)
The Sony FE 28mm f/2 has a lot going for it, delivering high levels of sharpness in a lightweight and compact body that has a reasonable asking price. It’s a shame the aperture has to be stopped down to improve performance towards the edges of the frame and to reduce chromatic aberrations, but overall the lens performs well. The lens is quite resistant to flare although contrast can be noticeably reduced when shooting into the light.
10 – Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Power Zoom (APS-C)
The price alone will ensure the Sony E PZ 18-200mm f/e.5-6.3 OSS becomes a niche item, but if money is no object, and you require the best quality, most convenient solution for general picture taking, then this lens could be for you. This lens is quite resistant to flare and retains good contrast, even when shooting into the light and Chromatic aberrations are pretty well controlled. Sharpness levels are excellent and so is the build quality.
11 – Carl Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 T* (APS-C)
Zeiss have yet again produced a lens with optical characteristics worthy of the Zeiss reputation, that’s well designed and solidly built. Although the Carl Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 T* does carry a premium price, the additional cost isn’t so much that it will put this lens beyond the reach of everyone, especially those serious about using quality glass with their camera. Sharpness levels ar excellent, Chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are very well controlled and shouldn’t pose issues for most images, distortion is very mild and falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is incredibly well controlled.