Which Sony lens for which photographer?
For some time now, following our transition to full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras, we have been posting several articles on our blog to help you choose the right lens. The Sony E-mount range has been particularly dynamic during the last few years, as Sony, alongside third-party brands such as Tamron, Sigma and Samyang, have been working hard to quickly expand their lens offering. You will find the comprehensive list of all available Sony lenses on this page. It is regularly updated with every new release!
You can also find articles on the best 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm… lenses which are rankings according to the “technical” qualities of the lenses with the aim of giving you a more or less exhaustive list of everything available in E-mount.
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Nevertheless, while these rankings are in line with what we consider to be the best choices, whether on image or build quality, or even price, they do not really consider for which photographer the lens is best suited. Beyond image quality or AF performance, each photographer has their own requirements, limitations, and favorites.
So for today, it will be a short article, which, I admit, will make a change from the usual! If you are thinking about changing or upgrading your camera, have a look at our page detailing all current Sony mirrorless cameras, APS-C, and Full Frame.
Which Sony lenses are right for which photographers?
For the selection below, we decided to list the lenses according to the type of photographer, which was no easy task! So, we have split photographers into 4 categories:
- “Budget” photographers who are looking for the cheapest possible lens to the point of accepting many trade-offs such as AF reactivity or maximum aperture, but are still hoping to get a good quality lens,
- “Pragmatic” photographers who are both looking for the best compromise and willing to spend a bit more to achieve their goal. They, therefore, expect to get both a good image quality and a good AF at the very least,
- “Passionate” photographers, who seek beautiful lenses with good optical quality which are also pleasing to the eye, even if they have to accept slight compromises,
- “Top” photographers, who want the best, regardless of the price-tag, and will therefore accept very few compromises. They look for the best build and image quality, and the most reactive AF possible.
We will therefore try to offer, for most types of zoom and fixed focal lenses, the best selection for each photographer. Do note, however, that some of lenses can very well match two categories of photographers (for example, the 20mm f/2 from Sigma can be shortlisted by both pragmatic and passionate photographers).
A small chart...
While not being as simple as that, let us try to show you how you should choose a lens according to price and quality.
As you can see, from higher price levels onwards, thinking that spending more money will not make as much of a difference anymore is quite often legitimate. So, while we can notice some nice improvements in terms of quality, build and performance between a 300€ fixed focal lens and a 700€ one, it is usually much less obvious when the price exceeds 1000€. For zoom lenses, it is better to count on a higher budget (add 400-500€ more).
And a small table
We can notice some trends. Indeed, in our opinion, Tamron and Sigma zooms are excellent choices for those who have a small budget or wish to make what we would call the “smart choice”, while Samyang stands out a little more with its prime lenses. The Sigma “I series” prime lenses, with their metal construction and vintage look, would be better suited for passionate photographers.
Those looking for the best without compromise will find Sony happily standing out with its GM range since these lenses account for most of the best choices for each lens type. However, they come at a high price. Meanwhile, the Sigma Art range also stands out but at a more affordable price. We really hope to see more lenses coming out after the 35 and 85mm f/1.4.
That’s it! This peculiar and short article is at an end! Its purpose was to try to guide you towards the best choice according to the type of photographer you consider yourself to be. Hopefully, this summary chart will make your choice easier!
If you are looking either for a specific Sony lens according to the type of photography you want to shoot, or quite simply, for a specific review, have a look at our comprehensive section devoted Sony.
Talk to you soon,