Sony FE lenses: The honest Guide for the a7 series

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 four 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 most 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.

In this article we only 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 the Laowa 2/15 and Mitakon 0.95/50 because those are attractive lenses for some photographers.

All native full frame lenses for the Sony FE mount (as of March 2018)

10-15mm

Voigtländer 5.6/10 (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: if you want the widest rectilinear lens available this is it.

Length: 68.5mm |  Diameter: 67mm | Weight: 375g | Filter Thread: none | Price (February 2018): 1080€/1099$
Review | Sample images | Samples in full resolution | ebay.com amazon.com (affiliate links)

Sony G 4/12-24

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharper than many primes
  • Size/Weight (compared to similar DSLR zooms)
  • Flare resistance
  • Sunstars
  • Size/Weight (compared to some primes)
  • Distortion

Recommendation: if you want an UWA zoom and 16mm is not wide enough

Length: 117.4mm  Diameter: 87mm  Weight: 565g Filter Thread: /  Price (March 2018): 1999€
MTF-graphs at lensrentals.com | Comparison with most other E-mount lenses | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Voigtländer 5.6/12 III (manual focus)

Sony A7II | Voigtländer 5.6/III E | f/8
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Super Wide
  • 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.

Length: 74mm |  Diameter: 67mm |  Weight: 283g | Filter Thread: /  | Price (March 2018): 849€/$
Comparison of the three Voigtländer UWAs | Jannik’s Samples | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Samyang FE 2.8/14

Strengths Weaknesses
  •  Low Price
  •  Softer corners at wider apertures
  • Rather heavy

Recommendation: We find it hard to recommend because f/2.8 is of limited use and Samyang has a reputation for unreliable lenses.

Length: 98mm | Diameter: 86mm | Weight: 505g | Filter Thread: / | Price (March 2018): $629
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Voigtländer 4.5/15 (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 had corner 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 (February 2018): 779€/799$
Review | Full resolution samples | ebay.com | ebay.de | amazon.com (affiliate links)

16-21mm

Sony FE 4/16-35 ZA OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very handy zoom range
  • Very good sharpness across the frame at f/5.6
  • Light for a zoom
  • Flares in demanding scenarios
  • Corner sharpness not up to the highest standards
  • Heavier than many primes

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 (March 2018): $1248
Phillip’s ReviewAmazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate links)

Sony GM 2.8/16-35

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Optical performance
  • Very handy zoom range
  • Light for what it is
  • Price

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 (February 2018): 2699€/$
Review at Uncle Ken |  Thread at Fred Miranda | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

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
  • Lightweight
  • Manual focus experience

Recommendation: if you are looking for a great performing modern UWA with AF.

Length: 80mm | Diameter: 100mm | Weight: 330g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (February 2018): 1499€/$
Review | Full resolution samples | amazon.com | ebay.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)

Tokina Firin 2/20 (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Rather affordable
  • Excellent sharpness from f/2
  • Good coma correction
  • At times problematic flare resistance
  • Unexciting sunstars

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

Length: 82mm  | Diameter: 69mm  | Weight: 492g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (March 2018): $699
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)(affiliate Link)

Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21 (manual focus)

Sony A7II | Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharpness and contrast
  • Flare resistance
  • Sunstars
  • Build quality
  • Size
  •  Some field curvature

Recommended to: This is the team’s favorite WA for the system. If you are a landscape photographer you should give it a strong consideration.

Length: 72mm  | Diameter: 62mm  | Weight: 394g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (March 2018): 1499€/$
Our Review  | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

24-28mm

Sony GM 2.8/24-70

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

Recommendation: The ideal no-compromise jack of all trades and behaves pretty much like a long black pipe full of f/2.8 primes. It is equally useful for landscape, portrait, documentation and also for action applications.

Length: 136mm  Diameter: 88mm  Weight: 886g Filter Thread: 82mm  Price (March 2018): 2198€/$
Our Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE 4/24-70 ZA OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Handy zoom range
  • Light for a zoom
  • Good flare resistance
  • Soft corners at 24mm
  • Softer at 70mm
  • Strong Distortion

Recommended to: Photographers who don’t print large often and value flexibility.

Length: 94.5mm  | Diameter: 73mm  | Weight: 430g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (March 2018): $1098
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Good sharpness (for a 4x zoom)
  • Very handy range
  • Better than 24-70mm 4.0
  • strongly relies on electronical correction (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 (March 2018): 1298$/1349€
Review at Opticallimits | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE 3.5-6.3/24-240 OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very handy zoom range
  • Soft corners at 24 mm
  • Softer at longer focal lengths
  • 800 g 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 on-lens-solution.

Length: 118,5mm | Diameter: 80,5mm  | Weight: 780g  | Filter Thread: 72mm  | Price (March 2018): $800
Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Zeiss Batis 2/25 T*

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very even across field
  • High contrast from f2.8
  • Fully usable across field wide open
  • Nice bokeh
  • AF
  • Light
  • Axial CA wide open (fairly correctable)
  • Slightly busy bokeh wide open at some distances (not more than any other fast 24-5)
  • Size (but not weight)

Recommended to: Anyone looking for a excellent, beautiful  fast 24/5 that doesn’t want the size and weight of an f1.4 (only available adapted) model, and wants AF. Landscape specialists may prefer the new Loxia.

Length: 78mm  | Diameter: 92mm  | Weight: 335g  | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (March 2018): 1299€
Amazon.de (affiliate Link)

Sony FE 2/28

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Excellent 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
  • Axial CA

Recommended to: Most photographers since it is a very versatile lens 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 (March 2018): $423
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (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
  • Softer corners
  • Slow

Recommendation: It is a is a good enough lens with a handy zoom range well worth the $200 you pay for it in a kit.

Length: 83mm  Diameter: 73mm  Weight: 295g  Filter Thread: 55mm  Price (July 2017): 250€/$ used
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com| ebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE PZ 4/28-135 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Power Zoom
  • Little Focus Breathing
  • Constant aperture
  • Aperture Ring
  • Large
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Recommendedation: 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 (March 2018): $2498
Review |  Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

35mm

Sony FE 1.4/35 ZA

Sony A7R | Sony FE 1.4/35 ZA
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Bokeh (minus the onion rings and CA)
  • Sharpness
  • AF Speed
  • Size & Weight
  • Very high copy-to-copy variation

Recommendation: If you shoot reportages of events or your families make sure to check it out.

Length: 112 mm Diameter: 79mm Weight: 630g Filter Thread: 72mm Price (March 2018): 1498$
Review at admiringlight | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Samyang 1.4/35

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Cheap compared to the Sony FE 35mm 1.4
  • Sony FE 35mm 1.4 seems to be better in every regard

Recommendation: cheap alternative to the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 with unfortunately less smooth bokeh rendering

Length: 115mm | Diameter: 76mm | Weight: 645g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (February 2018): 698$/630€
Comparison to Sony by diyphotography | 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 (February 2018): 899$/749€
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Zeiss Loxia 2/35 Biogon T* (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: if you are looking for a compact 35mm lens for landscape and architecture which is stellar stopped down.

Length: 66mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 340g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price: 1099€/1149$ (February 2018)
Review | DatasheetSample images | Amazon.com | ebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE 2.8/35 ZA

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sony’s smallest lens
  • 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 (March 2018): $698
Phillip’s ReviewAmazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Samyang/Rokinon FE 2.8/35

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. There are various reports about loud and unreliable AF though which make it appear less desirable.
Length: 33mm | Diameter: 61.5mm | Weight: 86g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (March 2018): $265
Amazon.com | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Voigtlander 1.2/40

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Superb resolution across the field stopped down
  • Excellent resolution centrally at medium to long distances at wide apertures
  • High contrast
  • Lovely sunstars
  • Character bokeh which is good character, rather than funky, wide open and smooth bokeh a stop or so down.
  • Axial CA at wide apertures
  • Slight field curvature
  • Slight focus shift
  • Noticeably weaker performance near MFD at wider apertures

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.

50-55mm

Sony ZA 50mm f/1.4

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

Recommendation: If you don’t care too much about size and price this lens delivers and exceptional peformance and a rather distinctive look.

Length: 108mm  | Diameter: 84mm  | Weight: 778g | Filter Thread: 72mm  | Price (March 2018): 1398€/$
Review at admiringlight | MTF chart at lensrentals | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com| ebay.de (affiliate links)

Samyang/Rokinon FE 50mm f/1.4

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very smooth bokeh
  • Affordable
  • Strong CA
  • Sharpness
  • AF issues
  • Rather heavy for the performance

Recommendation: Unless you feel that you absolutely need f/1.4 the FE55 is the better, much lighter and not that much more expensive alternative.

Length: 98mm | Diameter: 74mm  | Weight: 585g | Filter Thread: 67mm  | Price (March 2018): $479
Sample images | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Sony FE 1.8/50 | f/1.8 | Sony a7
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Good sharpness
  • Decent Bokeh
  • Low Price
  • Light weight
  • s l o w and a little noisy AF
  • Softer Corners at wider apertures
  • Weaker (but still ok) flare resistance than FE 55
  • Axial CA

Recommendation:  Because of the very slow focus we find it quite hard to recommend the FE 1.8/50 even though the optics are solid.

Length: 60mm | Diameter: 69mm | Weight: 186g | Filter Thread: 49mm  | Price (March 2018): $198
Our Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Zeiss Loxia 2/50 Planar T* (manual focus)

Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharpness stopped down
  • Nice Sunstars
  • Build Quality
  • A little higher contrast than FE55
  • Nervous bokeh
  • A little softer corners at wide apertures, midzone dip until f/8.0
  • Rather expensive

Recommendation: A favorite of many landscape photographers but for most the FE 1.8/55 with its smoother bokeh, better sharpness and faster AF is the better solution.

Length: 60mm | Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 320g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price: $800 (March 2018)
Our Review | Datasheet | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very good sharpness in any scenario
  • Excellent flare resistance
  • Light Weight
  • Affordable
  • 1:1 Macro
  • Slow AF Drive
  • Only 7 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 (March 2018): $448
Phillip’s Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA

Sony A7R | Sony FE 1.8/55
Strengths Weaknesses
  •  Great balance between small size and very good performance
  • Very good across the frame sharpness from f/1.8
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Onion rings bokeh in some scenarios
  • Strong vignetting causes cats-eyes
  • Axial CA

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

Length: 70.5mm | Diameter: 64.4mm | Weight: 281g | Filter Thread: 49mm | Price (March 2018): 898€/$
Our Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

65-70mm

Voigtlander Macro 65mm F2 APO-Lanthar (manual focus)

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharpest FE-mount lens
  • Good bokeh (most of the time)
  • Nearly perfect CA correction
  • Build quality and handling
  • Focuses down to 1:2
  • Affordable for what it does
  • 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. One of the system-seller lenses in our eyes.

Length: 91mm | Diameter: 78mm | Weight: 635g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (March 2018): 999€/$999
Our Review | Amazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE 2.8/70-200 GM OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Speed
  • Zoom range
  • Not as sharp as competing lenses
  • Unreliable

Recommendation: If you use your Alpha for fast reportage work this lens is without alternative and will give you good results most of the time. You should treat it carefully.

Length: 200mm | Diameter: 88mm | Weight: 1480g | Filter Thread: 77mm | Price (March 2018): $2598
Review | compared to CaNikon| Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

Sony FE 4/70-200 G OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  •  Handy zoom range
  • Softer corners at the ends
  • 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.

Length: 175mm | Diameter: 80mm | Weight: 840g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (March 2018): $1498
Our Review | Amazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (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

Recommended to: A decent option if you like to travel a lot.
Length: 144mm  | Diameter: 84mm  | Weight: 854g | Filter Thread: 72mm  | Price (March 2018): 1253€/$

Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate Link)

85-90mm

Sony FE GM 1.4/85

Sony A7II | Sony FE 1.4/85 GM
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. 

Length: 108mm  | Diameter: 90mm  | Weight: 820g | Filter Thread: mm  | Price (March 2018): 1668€/$
Our Review | Jannik’s samples | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.comebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE 85mm 1:1.8

Sony A6500 | Sony FE 1.8/85
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Bokeh
  • Sharpness
  • Fast AF
  • Affordable
  • Size
  •  Flare resistance

Recommended to: Photographers looking for a good, small and affordable lens for a range of applications ranging from portraits to landscapes.

Length: 82mm | Diameter: 78mm  | Weight: 371g | Filter Thread: 67mm  | Price (March 2018): 649€/$
Our Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

Zeiss Batis 1.8/85 T* OSS

Sony A7II | Zeiss Batis 1.8/85
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharpness
  • Bokeh
  • Build quality
  • Optical stabilization
  •  Stronger Distortion

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 (March 2018): 1199€/$
Review | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com |ebay.de (affiliate links)

Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85 T* (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
  • Weight

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

Length: 95mm | Diameter: 63mm | Weight: 594g | Filter Thread: 52mm |Price (February 2018): 1399€/$
Review | Sample images | Full resolution samples | Amazon.com Amazon.de | ebay.com (affiliate links)

Sony FE 2.8/90 G OSS Macro


Strengths Weaknesses
  • Class leading sharpness up close
  • Good CA correction
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Vignetting
  • Stronger copy-to-copy variation
  • A little slower AF

Recommendation: If you are more serious about macro work this is your best lens in the system but it also works well for landscape and portrait work.

Length: 130,5 mm | Diameter: 79mm | Weight: 602g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (March 2018): $1098
ReviewAmazon.com  | Amazon.de | Ebay (affiliate Links)

100mm and longer

Sony FE GM 4.5-5.6/100-400

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Sharpness
  • Closeup-abilities
  • Fast AF
  •  Large & Heavy

Recommendation: The strongest tele-zoom in the system is without alternative for many applications.

Length: 205mm  | Diameter: 94mm  | Weight: 1395g | Filter Thread: 77mm  | Price (March 2018): 2899€/$
Sony 100-400 vs. Contax 100-300 | Amazon.com | Amazon.de | ebay.com | Ebay.de (affiliate links)

Sony FE GM 2.8/100 STF OSS

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Super smooth bokeh
  • Sharpness
  • Close to zero vignetting
  •  75% light loss 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 (March 2018): $1498
Review | another Review | Amazon.com | Ebay (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 and quite good MF experience
  • Good compromise in speed and quality to make a portable moderately fast prime
  • Great typical Zeiss bokeh (i.e. not low contrast)
  • Price
  • Cateyes at f2.8 same as 2/135 Apo Sonnar at f2 (this is not really a weakness in one sense: to get the cateyes at f2.8 the same as the f2 lens would require a front element the same size as the f2 lens, so you may as well have the bigger f2!)
  • Weight a bit higher than some expect for an f2.8 135 (though that’s expected for the performance)

Recommended to: 

Anyone who wants a high performance 2.8/135. If you want one of these buy this lens. It’s one of the two or three best lenses you can get for the system (but don’t buy it just because it’s optically a great lens if you don’t really want a 2.8/135!)
Length: 120mm  | Diameter: 99mm  | Weight: 614g | Filter Thread: 67mm  | Price (March 2018): 1999€
Our Review | Amazon.de (affiliate Link)

Bonus lenses without exif

Laowa 2.0/15 FE Zero-D (manual focus)

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
  • no Exif data
  • earlier(?) models show some sample variation

Recommended to: astrophotographers and everyone else looking for a versatile UWA prime.

Length: 83.0mm |  Diameter: 77mm | Weight: 520g | Filter Thread: 72mm | Price (February 2018): 850$
Review | Sample images | manufacturer’s online shop | amazon.com | amazon.de (affiliate links)

Zhong Yi Mitakon 0.95/50 (manual focus)

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
  • Crazy maximum aperture of f/0.95
  • Bokeh
  • Close up performance
  • Flare resistance
  • Axial CA

Recommended to: everyone into shallow depth of field photography

Length: 87.0mm |  Diameter: 72mm | Weight: 780g | Filter Thread: 67mm | Price (February 2018): 930€/850$
Review | Sample images | Amazon.com | ebay.com | Amazon.de (affiliate links)

Announced Lenses 

Tokina Firin 2/20 AF: The same optics as the manual focus Firin 2/20 but with AF and slightly lighter.
Length: 81.5mm |  Diameter: 73mm | Weight: 464g | Filter Thread: 62mm | Price (March 2018): unknown

Voigtlander 21mm F3.5: The only thing we know for sure is that this lens will be significantly smaller and lighter than the Loxia 2.8/21.
Length: 40mm |  Diameter: 63mm | Weight: ?g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (March 2018): unknown

Zeiss Loxia 2.4/25: After the success of the Loxia 2.8/21 the 2.4/25 promises even better performance, half a stop more for $200 less. We have very little doubt that it will be an excellent lens.
PDF with extensive specs
Length: 75mm |  Diameter: 62mm | Weight: 393g | Filter Thread: 52mm | Price (March 2018): $1299

Tamron 2.8/28-75: The manufacturers first E-mount lens only weights 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.

Voigtlander Macro APO-Lanthar 110mm F2.5: After the awesome 2/65 APO we have quite high expectations for this lens which will focus down to 1:1 and promises excellent CA correction.
Length: 100mm |  Diameter: 78mm | Weight: unknown | Filter Thread: 58mm | Price (March 2018): unknown

Sigma Art lenses with E-mount: These are huge lenses originally developed for SLR cameras with excellent image quality  and a rather attractive price/performance ratio. The advantage of the native E-mount version is that you no longer need an adapter like the MC11 and Sigma has promised a better AF performance. If weight is of little concern to you these could be an excellent choice but for most applications the size and weight will be quite limiting.

  • 1.8/14
  • 1.4/20
  • 1.4/24
  • 1.4/35
  • 1.4/50
  • 2.8/70
  • 1.4/85
  • 1.4/105
  • 1.8/135

Sony FE 2.8/400: Announced for summer of 2018 we expect excellent performance and a price above $ 10k.

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 is used for high quality lenses with superior optical performance
  • 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.
  • GM – Stands for G-Master, this is used for Sony’s highest quality lenses (a step above the ZA lenses).
  • (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.

Other articles

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The Team

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.

92 thoughts on “Sony FE lenses: The honest Guide for the a7 series”

  1. Sony FE 4/70-200 G OSS – need English translation.
    Please, delete this comment and the previous one. It’s just – I hope helpful – info for you.

  2. Thanks!

    A very nice summary. I always gets happy when I see that there is an update to this site. You always do such a good job with the reviews and test lenses in a way that I haven’t found elsewhere, like checking flare in depth. And the images that comes with the reviews are always very good as well.

    There are some other lenses available in FE-mount that you didn’t mention. Brian Smith has made a very good list of all available FE-lenses, see here: briansmith.com/sony-a7-a7r-a7s-lens-guide/

    He also keeps an E-mount adapter list updated which complements your extremely fine articles on that matter: briansmith.com/gear/sony-lens-adapters/

    Best regards from Sweden!
    /Anders

    1. Hi Anders – we drew a different line than Brian. We only included lenses with electronic coupling except of two lenses (Mitakon 0.95/50 / Laowa 2/15) that we see as so good/special and unique to (F)E-Mount that they are worth mentioning. Furthermore, we don’t have broad enough video competence and therefore don’t comment on the Fuji/Zeiss/Sigma Video lenses. Regards, Jannik

  3. Thank you very much for this nice summary based in your experience . I was thinking to order the loxia 21mm when I saw your comments and other reviews about the sony FE 12-24 . If the size doesn’t matter is the image quality of the FE 12-24 close to the loxia 21mm ? I know philippe has a preference for the FE 16-35 f/4 how you compare it to the FE 12-35mm. Thank you a lot Guys.
    Nabil

    1. First of all, the 12-24 focal range is quite different to 16-35. The latter is a versatile lens and suitable for documentary photography as well, the 12-24 is a more specialized lens. Optically, the 12-24 seems to perform a bit better than the 16-35, especially towards the corners.

      At least in my case, the 12-24 (despite of all optical excellence and convenience) could never replace the Loxia, because of:

      – weak flare performance
      – no filter thread
      – odd sun stars

      Regards, Jannik

    2. As far as sharpness is concerned the Loxia and the 12-24 are very close which is an astonishing feat by the 12-24. The Loxia offers less distortion, better flare resistance and nicer sunstars but not better sharpness.

      I find it very hard to compare a 12-24 to a 16-35. The 12-24 seems to be the sharper one though.

  4. Mammoth undertaking! Well done guys!
    I couldn’t agree more with that statement about ZA lens finish, “The outer barrel is made from metal which looks nice but scratches easily.” (So does the Batis finish BTW)
    After 6 months careful use with the ZA 55/1.8 and already that body has picked up more marks than my much used, 45 year old, Minolta MC (scalloped focus ring) 58/1.2. What a backward step. Fashion design over practicality!

    1. Sad but true – you can’t imagine how disappointed I was when I got the 4/16-35 and scratched it already after 2-3 uses. That was by far my most expensive lens at that time. I’ll get the 1.4/50 ZA today and hope that the scratch resistance has improved in the meantime.

      I am always astonished that most of my Contax lenses look still almost like new. I have the impression that the glass scratches more easily than the Contax painting 😉

      Regards, Jannik

  5. Thanks for the list. Nice work. Loxia 21, Loxia 85, and Batis 18 are my favorite. Please include the Laowa 12mm if you are going to include the Laowa 15mm version.

    1. It is also a DSLR lens with just a built-in adapter.
      But we might include it when we got the chance to test the shift converter.
      Until then you can check out our review of a prototype of that lens.

  6. Very interesting reviews. Thank you for sharing!
    I have a question which no one has answered so far everywhere on the internet: how is the 16-35 GM compared to Batis 18 and 25mm? I have both the Batis-es, but consider to replace them with the GM.
    After reading your praise for the 12-24 I am now a little torn… I love its size/weight and that it doesn’t extend like the GM. But it doesn’t take filters.. I don’t use them so often, but especially for landscape and long exposures in daylight – it is an important aspect.

    1. Hi Stefan, I didn’t use the 16-35 GM and the Batis 25 so far, so I can’t give you a detailed answer. Nevertheless, I think that the GM could be a smart choice over the Batis primes. Sharpness seems to be on a very high level and the GM 16-35 is smaller than the GM 24-70. I’d expect the highest drawbacks in the flare performance. I think you should know if you need a 12-24 or a 16-35 lens, they are quite different tools.

  7. Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM versus F4 ZA OSS.
    Having the F4 version and mostly in landscape photography would it be worth to go for the f2.8.
    Must say that I’m mostly using this lens at f8.0 or f11 on my A7R2.
    Will there be any noticeably difference ?
    One advantage could be to have the f2.8 at 16mm in order to leave my Samyang 14mm home for astrophotography to reduce the carry-on weight when traveling with an airplane.

  8. Just had a 2nd go at comparing the “new” FE 85/1.8 with my Batis 85, (on A7), and I’m ready to sell…..not the FE, but the Batis!
    I didn’t expect that! (My 1st copy of FE was soft/glowy at F/1.8, but I knew from reviews, that the FE was better than that, so I found another. That is a problem with FE lenses, in my experience, much more copy variation.)

    In nearly every comparison the FE equaled the Batis, and in several I preferred the FE…even for flare control, (I really didn’t expect that either!) More veiling flare from the Batis, which is very hard to deal with in Lr etc.
    Not a lot of difference in “sharpness”, but the Batis has a rather warm, “muddy” look in comparison, whilst the FE is cooler and IMO “cleaner”, with an altogether “lighter” touch. e.g., Shadows block up with the Batis, whereas there’s much more shadow detail with the FE.
    Really the only ways I found the Batis better, was in build quality, and a slightly faster AF response.

    Of course, my Batis may not be the very best copy, but it is well centred and as sharp as the FE, so it can’t be a very bad one either…and perhaps I’ve managed to find a very good copy of the FE!

  9. Great info, gentlemen. Thank you for putting this together. I hate to lug the Sony f4 70-200mm G around when I travel. A light wight lens between 70-200 would be an ideal replacement but the Batis 135 is US$2000. I tried the Leica Elmar 135 f/4 with an adapter. Not sure if I want to fuss around with setting the IBIS every time I put it on the A7RII.

    Cheers,

    Douglas

      1. Thank you Bastian. I decided to get the Contax 135mm f2.8 Sonna and the Techart. Hope it’s good for landscape. The lens is so cheap that If it doesn’t work out, I won’t lose much.

        Cheers.

        Douglas

    1. It is an APS-C lens and this list only covers fullframe lenses that is why it isn’t listed. We plan to do a similar list for APS-C lenses but that will take time since it requires quite a lot of research.

  10. Hello Philipp,
    first of all thank you for your effort and time you spend for this blog. I like your tests an this side very much!
    But this time I have also some small critisism:
    1) Please do not write second-hand-experiences in your blog, test it yourself! (example: Sony FE 70-200 f2.8 GM: with most tests it is on the same level as the Nikon and Canon counterparts, not worse)
    2) Do not miscredit new lenses without testing (example: Samyang AF 50 f1.4 and Samyang AF 14 f2.8. I think dpreview opened a AF50 and they were positivly surprised about the build-quality. Who knows, maybe Samyang learned by their mistakes and build the new AF-series with longer lasting quality?
    Even the AF 14 2.8 should be tested properly. The link you included shows no well done sharpness-test. Please test yourself, before making a claim of less sharp corner compared to the MF-Version!
    I hope this article stays a negative exception and you follow your testing otherwise well done tests.
    Please take my critisism in a positive attitude to help make your side consistent on a high quality-level an thank you for the experiences you offer in this blog!

    Greetings from the baltic sea, Reinhard

    1. Hi Reinhard,
      I can’t test every lens so for this guide I had to rely on other pepople’s tests. But I had very high standards none the less. There are many reviews out there which aren’t well done and I can’t follow their assessment.

      I spend several hours to find solid evidence which contradicted lensrentals’ findings on the 70-200 but I didn’t. If you know a well done comparision which supports your assesment please link to it and I will have a look at it.

      For the Samyang 2.8/14 I couldn’t find a well done review so I mostly relied on sample images.

      Some time ago we prepared a guest review on the Samyang 1.4/50 AF under my supervision. In the end we didn’t publish it but from it I am pretty confident in my judgement.

      As I said: if you have evidence that my assesment is too harsh please send me some evidence and I will have a look at it and maybe change my assement. It certainly could happen but not because I didn’t do my research.

    2. I can only second this. If you did not test the lens yourself don’t rate it – else you are just repeating hearsay and Internet myths based on one bad rating (LensRentals). Sony did issue a firmware update for this lens, which also improves AF at infinity. So, LensRentals’ test revealed a firmware flaw which got fixed by Sony but this never got reported in the Net hence everybody thinks this lens is a poor price/value performer. My copy of the Sony FE 70-200 f2.8 GM is the best zoom in this range ever experienced (compared to the Minolta and Sony A-mount versions). It’s basically a range of top primes at 70mm, 100mm, 135mm and most importantly at 200mm – like the 24-70/2.8 GM I have. Tack-sharp at F2.8 in the center and mid-regions with very good corner sharpness, which peaks at F5.6. Lovely color reproduction and Bokeh rendering. It’s only disadvantage is weight – it’s heavy. And AF performance could be better – faster and in some cases more precise.

  11. Hi thank you for this wonderful write up. I am planning to purchase an a7rii or possibly wait for the a7iii, not totally decided yet but I have the a6000 to keep me content right now.

    Anyway, I have been doing tons of research into lenses for when I make the jump and had a few questions on your opinion. I shoot mostly landscapes and enjoy astrophotography, with occasional portraits for friends.

    On the wide end I plan to get the Laowa 15mm, but can’t decide whether I should stick to primes or go with one of the 16-35mm zooms after that. I’m very excited to see what Sigma comes up with for a 35mm, but purchasing it down the road and the Batis 25mm would probably cost nearly the same as the 16-35GM. Do you think that the Batis has enough of an advantage over the 16-35mm lenses to be worth sticking to primes? I would also be open to other lenses in that range, the Batis’ image quality seems great though which is why I refer to it.

    I also enjoy tele-landscapes. Originally I thought the 10-200mm f4 would be a good fit, but based on what I’ve read here and elsewhere I feel like it might not be worth the price tag for either of the 70-200 lenses. I’ve considered the FE85mm, but that leaves a lot of distance not reachable. Do you have a recommendation for which lens in the telephoto range would suit me best for landscapes?

    As a sidenote I plan to fill those gaps with the ZA55mm. Thank you for any advice you can give me! I understand everyone has different preferences and mine may be different than yours, but your experience is much greater than mine!

    1. Batis 25: I think the GM might actually a bit sharper than it but I am not sure about the flare resistance, here the Batis will probably outperform it.

      Landscape tele: Maybe start with the 85 and see how well that works for you? Apart from the expensive Batis 135 there are not many alternatives though.

  12. Hi this review has helped me a lot with deciding on lenses as I move to full-frame for my landscape photography hobby. My remaining dilemma is trying to decide between the 16-35ZA or a couple of prime lenses. (ie. Laowa 15mm, batis 25mm, and a 35mm)

    I like the convenience and versatility of the zoom and if I wasn’t into astrophotography I would probably choose it in a heartbeat. However, do to that I would probably end up with a prime lens like the Laowa 15mm anyway. I also love the 35mm focal length and I’m not sure I would like the softness of the zoom at 35mm.

    Do you have any advice to help me with this decision? Thank you!

    1. I don’t know how much of a pixel hunter you are but I wouldn’t call the ZA 16-35 soft at 35mm. Sure on a a7rii others will be a bit sharper but I think that unless you print really big the difference won’t really matter.

      Personally I don’t like using the ZA 16-35 too much because it is a bit large and the manual focus is kinda meh. BUT I usually enjoy the results I get with it a lot so it is one of two FE lenses I have owned for more than a year.

      The Laowa on the other hand is a very nice lens and for astro there isn’t really a competition between the two. But you would end up with three lenses, not just one.

      1. Thanks Phillip! In the end I think the Laowa will be the lens that convinces me to stick with primes. It might take a bit longer to build my kit due to cost, but the extra speed is pretty important and there are some great wide angle lenses in the Sony lineup to decide between. I could always purchase a vintage lens or two to fill the gaps for the time being 🙂

  13. Please enlighten me.
    Can I use 85GM instead of my beloved Nikon 85AiS for video work?
    Has it real helicoid in MF?
    Has it long travel from 1m to infinity?
    Has it engraved meters on it? DoF markings?
    Has it de-clicked aperture?

    I want ONE lens for both Photography and video.
    Now I use Batis for photo and Nikon AiS for video.

    1. No real helicoid but focus by wire, I think the travel distance depends on the speed with which you turn the ring, no DOF markings or distance scale but declickable aperture. So probably not ideal for your needs.

      1. No, that is wrong. The focus by wire of the Sony 1.4/85 GM features direct transmission of the focus ring movement to the focus distance. That means that the same movement of the focus ring will always cause the same movement of the focus plane, no matter how fast it is turned.

        No graved meters
        Has de clicked aperture
        Makes Noise when focusing
        No DoF Markings

        Not the best lens for video probably, but maybe better than the Batis. I’d prefer the Loxia 2.4/85 or the Sony FE 1.8/85 for that purpose if I were you.

        Jannik

  14. Very nice summary. You guys are doing an amazing work. Altough I don’t own (yet) any Sony A7/9, I never miss your reviews which are among the most valuable on the web. You, lensrental and FM forum are my holy trinity to have an idea about a lens. Keep going the good work!

  15. Man you guys are the best. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the updates on your blog.
    I torn between 60 2.0 voightlander, 85mm 1.4 GM, 135 Batis, 18 batis and the loxia 21mm 2.8.
    I already own 35mm 1.4 Zeiss.

    Love wide angles for nice background portraits and tele portrait lens.

  16. Dear Phillip, You and your team is doing really awesome work. I would personally love the “Voigtländer 4.5/15”, Although it is of manual focus but it is pocket friendly. The pic you shared for this model is a great one. Thanks.

  17. Considering that there are now plenty of options in the 50-65mm range, and adding the huge difference in prices for the different lenses at stake, my thoughts are leaning to the classic 55mm f1.8 or the newer but MF Voigtlander 65mm f2. I know you love both, but would like a hint here because I’m building my pro system now and will always need a fixed combo lens (35mm, and here I will wait for Sigma, and something in the middle range). What do you guys think? And of course many thanks for your help.

  18. New to Sony A7rii, but have used my 5dmkiv since it came out with some great lenses like sigma art 35/85 1.4, nifty fifty, canon 70-200 2.8 us ii. I do event photography in addition to street, portraits and such. I feel that the 50 1.4 is the way to go considering the focusing speed. The other 50/55 are in a better price range, OBVIOUSLy, but I was curious if the autofocus is just THAT much better on the 50 1.4 than the 50 1.8 / 55 .

    FYI – I’ve been exploring manual focus with my canon lenses and the fotodiox adapter. I really enjoy it, but don’t trust myself at events with so many people moving and manual focus. But I’m getting there!!!

    Thanks for article! Has been the most helpful yet!!

  19. Zeiss FE Vario-Sonnar T* 3.3/25-50
    The one lens I really wish Sony (or any other manufacturer) will make is a medium speed 25-50. To be honest I don’t think the A7 needs five 50mms to choose from. What it does need is a SMALL walkabout zoom which is optically superlative and compact. 25mm is wide enough for most landscapes without massive distortions to correct. 50 is perfect for street photography. Keep it a 2x Zoom allows optical excellence to be achieved much more easily. Keep the aperture modest keeps the lens small. Such a lens will be about the size of the 1.8/55 (maybe a smidgen fatter) and it perfectly complements the A7-series’ compact bodies. Keep it simple, keep it this side of $1500. No need for Optical IS, Macro or any non-essentials. Such as lens will be particularly welcome given the lack luster performance of the Sony-Zeiss 4/24-70. As a bonus, this becomes a 38-75 on the APS-C A6000-series. Again, a very useful range.

  20. Hi Philip & collegues.

    I don’t see the new Loxia 25mm included in the guide. Is that because the review is not wrapped-up? This lens will make us to be all on the fence in the search of the ideal landscape light line up.

    Cheers.

    Fede.

  21. Hahaha, why did you link Uncle Ken’s review (16-35)? Your reviews are objective and Ken is exactly opposite 🙂
    Let me confess, i like his reviews. Even though he has a standard line for every new lens “Sony 1234 is the greatest lens…”, what i like is some minute data points that he always gives.
    Funniest thing about his reviews is that he will proclaim one camera the best, and in some other review, he will rubbish it in the same breath.
    Review equals entertainment @ken 🙂

  22. Hi. Some comment on the Samyang 35/1.4: I think the sharpness is actually better than Sony Zeiss for portrait distance and infinity. The DIYphotography review was done in macro distance, where the Samyang’s corner deteriorates, like the Laowa 15/2.
    It replaced my Sigma 35 Art for astrophotography because of even better coma correction. The AF also works flowlessly with mark 3 cameras. Of course there are some downsides as mentioned: flare, bokeh, and a slightly warmer tone. An interesting lens nonetheless and I like it more than I expected 😀

  23. Hi, thank you for your reviews and summaries- great job.
    There are some gaps though. I’m using wit my Sa7 also Voigtlander CS 21mm f/4 (great lens, super sharp on both FF and APSC, and very compact) and Samyang FE 35mm f/2.8 (similar to Zeiss pancake for FE, Samyang is cheap, amazing and flawless lens). Any particular reason why those two are not included in this list? They are great and more affordable options among the listed extreme expensive lenses…

  24. Just a thought. There is a lot of Minolta and Sony A-mount glass that actually communicate electronically via the LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 adapter (As this was your stated criteria).
    I know the adapters has somewhat questionable performance in some circumstances, but some combinations are usable. For example, the Minolta 20/2.8 is almost on par with the Loxia 21 at f8 (I’ve compared them on the A7RIII) and a viable landscape option at almost a tenth of the price.
    The 70-400G is also working well on the A7 bodies with the EA3 adapter.
    On the other hand the 135/1.8 is performing so-so with the the EA4 adapter if you want to use AF-C. Hard to get a single frame in absolute focus. Better in AF-S and still a stellar lens in MF.

    1. As do allmost all Canon EF and many Nikon lenses. For this already very expansive list we had to define a cutoff point and we decided on the criterium, that it must have an E-mount, communicate with the camera and cover FF. We have other guides where other lenses are considered but I don‘t think that it would make sense to include even more lenses in this list.

  25. Hey Bastian,

    i would like to hear your opinion to the Laowa 15 2.0 compared to the zeiss 16-35 f4. Is it on the same (or better) level in the optical quality?

    1. This depends on what you want to shoot, the lenses neither share a focal length nor the maximum aperture.
      If you need the f/2 the 15mm will be the obvious choice, if you want the convenience of a zoom lens I wouldn’t bother with the 15mm.
      Theses lenses are so different, the differences in “optical quality” are meaningless for the decision.

      1. Hey Bastian, thanks for your reply. You are right, it is difficult to compare because of the 1mm less and the 2.0. But if i use the Laowa at f8 and the 16-35 on 16mm and f8 too… which one would you prefer ?

  26. Really appreciate such honest reviews. You and your team are a great help to fellow photographers ard the globe.
    With the A7 cameras, I was wondering if there is there a reason non have tried or considered testing the 28-85 Zeiss zoom on the Sony?From the film days, it was said that this zoom is like having a series of primes all in one zoom.

    1. Happy to help 🙂

      I think you refer to the Zeiss C/Y 28-85? To be honest that thing is rather big and Zeiss’ MTF data suggests that it isn’t as good as a prime so none in the team found it interesting. Both Jannik and David own and like the 3.4/35-70 which is reasonable in size and very good in performance.

      1. Apologies for not being clear. Yup, I was referring to the the C/Y 28-85. I tot it was due to some techincal problems that made you guys omit this lens. Thanks, I will take a look at the C/Y 35-70.
        Again, kudos to you and your team. You guys are great!!! 😉

  27. Appreciate your honest reviews. I would like to see some Sigma art lens comparison as well. Especially the Sigma 35mm art, because that lens with mc11 is lighter and cheaper than Za 35 1.4. and, I heard that it focus as fast as native lens on A7Riii with mc11.
    Thanks:)

  28. I’m looking for a new UWA lens, and am comparing the Sony 16-35mm F4 with the 16-35mm F/2.8. So I ended up on your splendid site! Thanks for all the effort you put in it.
    Now my question: the f/2.8 version is more expensive than the f/4, and it is heavier and bigger (so not a real travel lens).
    Now I wondered, what are the negative consequences of having a f/4 instead of a f/2.8? I could come up with the following: 1) it is, obviously, one stop slower, so for the same exposure a lower shutter time or a higher ISO value is required; 2) an f/4 cannot produce a depth of field that is as shallow as an f/2.8; 3) auto-focus is probably slower in dark situations; 4) the f/2.8 bokeh cannot be achieved.
    What would be other consequences (that I overlook)?
    Thanks for the answer!

    1. The same question also applies for the 24-70 F/2.8 GM versus the 24-105 G OSS. Here I can get a larger range, but at the cost of a stop (but improved IBIS). But what more is (negatively) influenced by choosing for a F/4 instead of an F/2.8?

      1. Did you pay attention to the pro/con lists that we provided for every lens?
        By comparing those you will get a pretty good impression of the differences.

  29. Really glad I came across your website. Great articles and perspective. I no longer need to wait for Dxomark lens reviews which are just not up to par with yours.

  30. What happened to the FE 24-240mm? It’s not on your list. I find that it’s the best full-service travel zoom. It might not equal a G or ART Lens, but no one has produced a competitive lens that lets me shoot a wide shot and then zoom in for a close-up. If Tamron would come out with an FE version of their Canon full-frame 28-300mm, I might consider it. I simply can’t take the time to switch lenses while I’m on the road, so a long zoom is a definite requirement for me.

    1. I can see the temptation; but the peripheral resolution is better on most rx10 series cameras, and the bokeh not hugely different. Of course there are advantages to using a full frame body with a superzoom, especially on a tripod at base ISO, but then that is not the usual use case for superzooms. On balance I think if most of us here were looking to make compromises for an all in one wide range kit that’s what we would do. But as with any set of trade-offs we will all balance them differently…

  31. Hi,

    in the last 4 months I spent quite some time on choosing a 50mm 1.4 for my A7rii as a companion for my Loxia50.

    I hear a lot that the Sony Zeiss 50 is the new king of the hill in terms of 50mm focal lengths. So I testet it in a Shop against the Otus out of curiosity! I can say it is equally as sharp BUT in terms of look and clarity the Otus played a whole different game!

    So much actually that despite the much cheaper price, the great build quality, the great AF AND MF performance, the weather sealing I still purchased the Otus (used).

    Somehow images from the Otus are looking different! I’m not sure other people are seeing this but at least if you guys write the Planar50 is sharper, than you should at least test it for yourself! You never know what is special about the Otus until you own one:-)

    Best
    Christian

  32. Hi Philip I have around $1000 budget for lens.
    I will soon receive Sony A7III body.
    I read your guide like everyday but still getting confused which lens to buy.
    I want all purpose lens. I am not a professional just love to capture landscapes, streets, some friends family pictures.
    Can you please suggest some good lens I should go for?

    Thanks

  33. I need your help. Long story super condensed. I’m an amateur that enjoys sharp photos. I come from a Nikon D7000 with 50 1.8, 35 1.8, Tokina 11-15, and my latest and biggest investment Sigma Art 20 1.4

    My needs: Tired of lugging around anything bulky and heavy. I love to shoot at wide angles and after the sigma I am drawn into super sharp looking photos.

    I’m leaning on buying the Sony A7iii. I seek recommendations on a wide angle sharp lens. Budget is around $1000-1300 at the most. I’m intrigued by the $400 Sony 28mm, $1300 Batise 25mm, and anything else you recommend? Thanks!

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