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The Best Lenses for Sony Alpha Mount DSLRs Under $300

by Chris Gampat on 08/15/2011

Sony a58

Sony a58

Though they’re not as much of a household name as Canon or Nikon, Sony has become a formidable force in the world of digital photography. Consult our reviews index for lots of our Sony reviews. But we know that any camera is nothing without the lens. Following the tradition of our Best Budget Lenses list, we’ve got a specialized index of some of the best Sony lenses under $300. So which ones make the cut?

50mm f1.8

Sony 50mm F/1.8 DT- Designed specifically for Sony APS-C sensor sized cameras with a mirror, the venerable Sony 50mm F/1.8 The Best Budget Lenseswill be a prime choice of many users of the system. If you’re a bokeh lover, you’ll appreciate what this lens can do. Of all the 50mm F/1.8 lenses I’ve tried, this one perhaps has the best build quality to it with the exception of the new Nikon 50mm. On the camera, it will have around a 75mm field of view: which is a great portrait focal length. However, I’ve also found it to be good for landscapes, sports, events, street photography, photojournalism, and candids.

Like all 50mm lenses, if you’re able to throw down a bit more money then you can get the Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens The Best Budget Lensesdesigned for full frame DSLRs. Though it is more expensive, it is worth every penny. After having tried it out for a while, I was very pleased with the construction, image quality, and size.

The 50mm f1.8 is called the nifty 50 for many reasons that include:

- Versatility

- Excellent image quality

- Bang for your buck price

- Sharpness that is up there with some of the sharpest lenses at f4 and f5.6.

- Beautiful bokeh

- Decent build quality (for the most part)

- It will live on your camera

- It will spur your creativity on when you’re in a slump

- It was the lens that photojournalists exclusively shot with for years.

Here are some samples from around Flickr:

Elvis

Photo by jejemeloman

Wednesday Morning Harper 003-3

Photo by Brad Trump Photography

35mm f1.8

Kitayah @ Water Rats

Photo by Tomodo Photography

Sony 35mm F/1.8- This is another APS-C lens. Students, hobbyists, street photographers trying to remain incognito, and portrait shooters will come to appreciate the Sony 35mm F/1.8 The Best Budget Lenses. 35mm has become a favorite focal length of mine as of recent for its total versatility.

On an APS-C sensor it can be:

- a great portrait focal length; especially when combined with strobes and stopped down

- excellent for candid photography such as at parties, BBQs, and events.

- my personal choice for concert photography. APS-C DSLRs tend to render more detailed images due to the pixels being packed onto a smaller surface area. Combine that with great glass at a bang for your buck price and you’ve got yourself a no brainer winner. Seriously, what’s holding you back?

Plus, if you’re shooting in the dark, a slower lens may mean slower shutter speeds or needing to crank the ISO levels up to near nuclear meltdown levels.

- a favorite of mine for landscapes. Though I’m not typically a landscape photographer, I do like to do it every now and then. A zoom lens is usually too slow for me in terms of aperture. I often like to shoot wide open.

- wide enough for group shots

Here are some samples from Flickr user alsotyCheng

仆街

石中瓶

鯉魚旗

30mm f2.8 Macro

is a rose

Photo by Ed Gaillard

Macro fans rejoice! You now have a cheap and fast aperture macro lens that you can use to photograph all the flowers you want in the form of the 30mm f2.8 Macro lens! When you affix this little gorgeous gem onto your APS-C DSLR, you’ll end up with a 45mm field of view. Plus, it’s an actual Macro lens with a true 1:1 ratio—not 1:3 like other lenses try to pull off.

Since it’s a 45mm field of view, you’ll be able to use it for almost everything as well. Like portraits, landscapes, candids, and more. In fact, at the price point this lens may be the one that ends up spending the most time on your camera.

If you’re looking for a lens that can help you grow as a photographer, this could definitely be the one. Using this lens and your DSLR you’ll be able to:

- Take your food photography to a new level

- Get into product photography: especially with small stuff

- Get into portraits and photographing special areas like eyes

- Take a photo of the Bride and Grooms’ rings at the wedding

- Photograph those bugs in your garden

- Get a great shot of your puppy’s nose (providing he stands still)

With all that in mind though, I’d like to remind you that when you get down to the macro level, prepare to shoot stopped down. I’m talking about shooting at around f8 or f11 in order to get most of what you want to photograph in focus. You may also want to consider picking up a flash too if you do that.

Don’t let that intimidate you though: a flash and a macro lens are enough to keep you busy for a while to build your portfolio with lots of excellent photos.

So Close

Photo by kitch

Darker

Photo by AndyWilson

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