The Phoblographer’s Guide to Sony Full Frame E Mount (FE Mount) Lenses

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28mm f2 lens review product photos (5 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Though it’s one of the newest lens mounts to exist, Sony has been hard at work creating new lenses for their brand new FE mount, which accommodates its full-frame 35mm-sized sensor. They’ve also worked closely with third parties to create lenses for the system and brought out at least one camera that everyone can enjoy. At the publication of this post, the system has been alive and present for only a couple of years, but they’ve managed to crank out a large number of lenses so far.

And as we’ve seen, these lenses are some of the best of our time. We’ve spent many hours and days testing these lenses and today, we’re presenting our findings for each in a single, large guide that isn’t sponsored by Sony. With that said, we have full editorial authority over what’s said in this guide.

So if you’re interested in investing in the Sony FE lens mount lineup of cameras, then here’s your guide to help you out.

Sony 16-35mm f2.8 f2.8 G Master

In our review, we state:

“Let’s take into account that you’re paying quite a bit of money for the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master FE, and then consider that, yes, you’re indeed getting a damned good image for that price point at each and every focal length. The professionals paying for this lens will really only get the best from it with higher resolution camera bodies, at least when it comes to sharpness. As we all know though, there is a lot more to a lens than just that. There’s of course the bokeh–which I feel is effective enough for story telling purposes. Then we can consider the color and the chromatic aberration. While there isn’t much CA to speak of, the color surely has me wanting.”

Read the review.

Buy Now ($2,198): Amazon

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4 ZA OSS

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f:4 ZA OSS Lens

In our review, we state:

“Holy jeez…

When we used this lens with a flash, we were able to get some of the best sharpness from a wide angle lens that we’ve ever seen. The sharpness from this lens beats the Rokinon 14mm f2.8, 24mm f1.4 and 35mm f1.4 altogether. Plus, it even starts to edge out to best some of Zeiss’s native prime lens offerings with perhaps the exception being the 15mm f2.8 and their 25mm f2.

If you get your hands on this lens and you’re creating images that aren’t sharp, then you’re probably doing something wrong. This lens is very, very sharp.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $1,348): Amazon

Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Batis

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In our review, we state:

The Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Batis is weather sealed; and I wasn’t exactly sure how well built it was until I decided to take a walk through Brooklyn to find out. During said walk, it started to pour pretty hard. The lens and camera both survived this.

To take shelter from the storm, I popped into a cafe. When the woman next to me was leaving, she spilled my tea which then spilled onto the lens. Amazingly both the lens and camera were fine. This restored my faith in the build quality of this lens.

Read the review.

Buy Now $1,499: Amazon

Sony Zeiss 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 OSS

Sony FE 24-240mm f:3.5-6.3 OSS Lens

In our review, we state:

“What we were most impressed by with this lens is the sharpness. It’s surprisingly sharp and even though our images looked pretty amazing on the LCD screen of the camera, they had me looking twice and cleaning my glasses to ensure that I wasn’t seeing things.

This lens is damn sharp–not as sharp as the prime lenses but for what you’re getting you can’t really complain.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $998): Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f4 OSS

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f:4 ZA OSS Lens

In our review, we state:

“During our tests, we were pleasantly surprised with the focusing abilities of the 24-70mm f4. It focused quickly at all times, barely ever misfocused, and overall just did a solid job that most pros would come to expect from their gear. In fact, we dare to say that it focused as fast as Olympus’s lenses on their cameras. To be clear, we found this to be true in lighting conditions both great and terrible.

For folks that decide to spring for this lens, they can surely know that at least it will focus well. In some situations, we actually thought that this lens was faster in focusing than some of the company’s primes.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $1,199): Amazon

Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis

Zeiss Batis 25mm f:2 Lens for Sony E Mount

In our review, we state:

“The Zeiss 25mm f2 is a lens that offers top notch image quality–and that’s what Zeiss customers have come to expect. In many ways, the Batis line represents the pinnacle of what’s possible with this company.

You’ll fall in love with the image quality for many reasons. Not only is the lens sharp, but it offers excellent bokeh. Even better, the lens is just genuinely sharp without the need for micro contrast. Add onto that the absolutely spectacular color rendition and you won’t have a single reason to complain.

If you can get over the weird HUD on top of the lens, then you’ll be happy to pick one up.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $1,299):  Adorama

Sony 28mm f2

Sony FE 28mm f:2 Lens

In our review, we state:

“Sony’s 28mm f2 is a fantastic lens. It offers great image quality in a small package, but we can’t get over the focusing performance. It isn’t terrible, but it could be better. We expected this lens to be the fastest focusing full frame E mount lens out there due to the wider focal length and light weight. However, it is a bit behind the rest–even the 35mm f1.4 Zeiss. Still though, you’re bound to be able to create incredible images with it no matter what Sony camera you mount it to. With beautiful bokeh, incredible sharpness, and great colors it’s very tough to beat.”

Read the review.

Buy Now ($448): Amazon

Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS

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In our review, we state:

“Just like the 70-200mm f4 OSS, this lens focuses very quickly depending on the focusing setting you’re using. If you have the center, medium focus point or large focus point in use then the lens will lock onto your subject rather quick. It slows down with the small focusing point.

Focusing with this lens overall is silent and accurate with both the Sony A7s Mk II and the Sony A7–even in low light situations it will hardly miss the subject. This lens focuses significantly faster than the 35mm f2.8–which in some ways makes sense but in other ways kind of shocks me.”

Read the review.

Buy Now $498: Amazon

Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia Biogon T*

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f:2 Biogon T* Lens for Sony E Mount

In our review, we state:

“Without a doubt, the Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia is an incredible lens. Before I finished writing this review, I ran it by Julius, the site’s Managing Editor. The lens totally deserves all the praise it can get, and we don’t feel like it’s their problem that the focus peaking doesn’t work out so well. Instead, we recommend using the zone focusing system to get the best images that you can.

There is so much to like about this lens: the feel, the colors (saturated but not as saturated as Zeiss usually is), the lack of major distortion, the lack of wide open vignetting (despite my personal liking of that), the size, and we can go on and on. But there is so much holding me back from purchasing one. The price is one part, but then there are also things like the way that Zeiss hasn’t put in weather sealing throughout the entire lens–which I feel like this lens needed.

But those are very personal, and otherwise the optic performs like “the one” for any Sony full frame camera user.”

Read the review.

Buy Now ($1,299): Amazon

Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8

Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f:2.8 ZA Lens

In our review, we state:

“The Sony 35mm f2.8 has some surprisingly great build quality to it. The manual focusing ring feels great and the overall size will be very comfortable in the hands of many. But where we were really surprised was where Sony said to us in our original press meeting that the lens and body seal is so tight that the contact doesn’t need rubber gaskets to complete the weather sealing.

Indeed, we decided to test this being the completely reckless journalists that we are ;).

One extremely stormy (rain and sleet) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Executive Editor Julius Motal and I went out onto a pier to shoot a model for the review. In the half hour that we spent shooting (we tend to be very quick and know how to get what we want in the camera with little fuss) the camera and lens never ceased to function or even showed any signs of slowing down.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $799.99): Amazon

Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZA

Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f:1.4 ZA Lens

In our review, we state:

“As far as the Image Quality of this lens goes, you have very little to complain about. The image quality is sharp, saturated, and overall very beautiful. It beats much of the previous lenses that Sony has offered but in many ways also rivals the company’s 55mm f1.4 for their A mount.

It’s much better than the Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia in terms of image quality–though Zeiss’s seems to be a bit more contrasty. For the most part it also really beats the 35mm f2.8 that Sony announced with the A7 series of camera when they were first introduced. In fact, this has to be one of the best 35mm lenses that we’ve seen in years. We don’t believe that it’s better than Sigma’s 35mm f1.4, but it’s very close.”

Read the review.

Buy Now ($1,598): Amazon

Zeiss 50mm f2 Loxia Planar T*

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f:2 Planar T* Lens for Sony E Mount

In our review, we state:

“If you’re a fan of the DSLR lens color rendition, then we’ve got great news for you. The Zeiss 50mm f2 Loxia has more vivid, punchier, and saturated colors than its 35mm f2 counterpart. It’s everything that you’ve come to know with modern Zeiss optics.

But what I’m personally really in love with is how it works with skin tones that gives me an almost Kodak Portra type of look. It’s a thing of true beauty and I haven’t seen anything like it since the Olympus OMD EM5 and the Voigtlander lenses.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $949): Amazon

Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 ZA

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f:1.8 ZA Lens

In our review, we state:

“In a word, the bokeh is velvety. Wide open, this lens will give you desirable results, and that only gets better as you stop down. For the bokeh connoisseurs out there, this is the lens to get. The 35mm f2.8 will give you nice results, too, but that lens doesn’t have the benefit of the 55’s attributes, namely: focal length and aperture. Your subject will be in focus, and will be framed by seamless bokeh.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $999.99): Amazon

Sony 70-200mm f4 ISS

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In our review, we state:

“When it comes to image quality, the Sony 70-200mm f4 OSS lives up to the Sony name and reputation of delivering incredible results. All across the board, you won’t have a major issue with the image quality. This lens renders images to be super sharp; originally I thought that the images weren’t so when viewing them on the back of the A7, but when imported I was completely shocked.

The bokeh? Same thing. And the colors? Yup…it’s all incredible.”

Read the review.

Buy Now $1,498: Amazon

Sony Zeiss 85mm f1.8 Batis

Zeiss Batis 85mm f:1.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

In our review, we state:

“This is one of Zeiss’s first lenses with weather sealing (the Loxia lineup are the only others) and so with that in mind we’re positive that it will be able to survive the rain. When we traveled with it in Portland and NYC, we didn’t exactly pull it out during the rain. However, we did pull it out on a boat ride and a warehouse shooting session involving lots of splashes. The lens and cameras stood up to the challenges with no problems.

What you’ll appreciate the most is the way that the lens feels. It’s solid and has extra grip thanks to the rubber ring Zeiss has made standard with their lenses in recent years.”

Read the review.

Buy Now (Usually $1,199): Adorama

Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS

In our review we state:

“The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS lens isn’t on par with the company’s G Master series of lenses–which if you’ll recall is designed to be the company’s highest end lenses. With that said though, we’ve taken this lens into light rain showers and through dust with little issues besides needing to wipe it down a tad. If you’re a photographer who is bound to take this into the thick and thin of the most unforgiving weather that the planet has to offer, then I’d look at the G Master series instead–or Pentax and Olympus. But for general use, I can’t help but recommend the build quality on the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS: it will satisfy the needs of many.”

Read the review.

Buy Now $1,298: Amazon

Rokinon 50mm f1.4 AF FE

In our review, we state:

“Further, the autofocus is pretty darned quick. Perhaps the only time I found it to be slow was when focusing on a face with a portrait, but even then it wasn’t terrible. Plus I had to activate Eye AF anyway afterwards. I’m not sure I’d use it for tracking and moving subjects; but that also has to do with the Sony a7r III and the fact that this is a third party lens. I’d surely use it for more stagnant subjects like for portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, etc. I’ve used it for candid moments, but those had very little activity happening.”

Read the review.

Buy now $598: Amazon

 

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD

In our review, we state:

“One of the things that makes the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD so appealing is just how good the image quality is. Not only is the lens capable of delivering sharp images, but the colors are very vibrant and the bokeh is smooth and beautiful. Add onto that the fact that you can also go to 75mm instead of 70 and you’ve got yourself a bit more of a bokeh advantage due to having a slightly longer focal length. Overall image quality is really top notch and, considering that you’re all going to process your images anyway, I don’t see a major reason to nitpick.”

Read our review.

Buy now $799: Amazon