User Characterization: You are a Sony a7 series user enthusiastic about landscape photography but you work on a very limited budget. You look for lenses with a great bang for the buck ratio and good characteristics for landscape photography.
In this post I give you my top picks and a few alternatives for affordable landscape lenses. These where my criteria for this list:
Very good across the frame sharpness at smaller apertures like f/8 or f/11.
High contrast and good flare resistance.
Lenses should be less than $200.
I see manual focus lenses as preferable for landscape photography.
I would like to have nice sunstars but at this budget this is quite difficult if not impossible.
Small size is a bonus.
This is the fourth part of a series on the best landscape lenses for the Sony a7/a9 series in which we explore sets of landscape lenses for different user types.
The very affordable Pentax is as sharp as good modern lenses at f/8 or f/11 and it maintains high contrast with good flare resistance which is rare for a legacy wide angle lens. Stopped down to f/14 it even draws a pleasant sunstar. But of course there is a catch: the Pentax is pretty rare and not easy to find. The best alternative I see is the more expensive Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 which isn’t better but more easily available.
There’s a gap in the Sony FE lens lineup that I find particularly irksome. There’s no AF 200mm f2.8. I don’t know when one will come either, because this is not a popular set of specifications. The lens makers think that you will buy a 2.8/70-200 zoom. But not only are they very expensive, they are very large and heavy. I would personally never carry one for the work I do, though of course many do, and many pros need to.
So what to do if that fast zoom is too heavy or expensive? I decided to have a look at a venerable and highly regarded Canon L series prime lens, the EF 2.8/200 L II. Adapted lenses work better than ever on the A7rIII, so it seemed like a good time to try it. Will it fill the gap, or should I be hoping for a Batis or Sony G?
User Characterization: You like landscape photography but you need a kit that can do more than just that. You look for the best jack of all trades with an eye on the budget and you appreciate autofocus.
The typical casual landscape phographers are people who shoot landscapes as well as portraits, parents on vacation (me for example 😉 ) or people who just don’t like to different lens kits for different use cases.
We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few (manual) legacy lenses in the 10-20mm bracket to give you a compact and independent resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony a7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adapted lenses we think are worth mentioning.
We have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on on the used market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.
If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.
Voigtlander 5.6/10 E
Status: Sample loaned by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian, who bought one for himself at retail after that. Still often in use.
At f/5.6 most of the frame is pretty sharp, only the extreme corners are somewhat soft. Contrast is always high.
You have to use f/11 for best across frame sharpness, the corners never reach excellent values.
Almost no distortion, quite good flare resistance, beautiful 10-stroke sunstars.
Small and lightweight, decently priced.
Widest rectilinear lens there is in a small package. Downsides are huge vignetting throughout the aperture range and maximum aperture of only f/5.6.