Last Updated on 03/18/2016 by Chris Gampat
Letters to the Editor is a recurring series where Chris answers specific emails/letters that could benefit more than one photographer, interesting questions or questions that come in often. Have a question? Send it to chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com with subject: Letter to the Editor: (Your name here).
Happy Friday everyone,
Letters to the Editor is continuing its Friday publishing schedule today with a letter asking about a specific lens upgrade for the Sony a7. Many of you are Sony users, so I’m sure that this question at one point or another will help you out too.
Just a quick note: I try to answer every email I can, but a lot of times I just can’t. I already pull 80 hour weeks and if my time was spent doing that all the time, then there would be no time to develop content for the site in a streamlined way. At six years in as a business though, I’m positive that most of you understand that. Some folks though, don’t. I’m not special, you’re not special, we’re all human beings.
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As mentioned over twitter, I just wanted to ask what you would recommend for an upgrade to the A7 kit lens. I’ve been considering the FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS. I shoot a bit of everything, mainly whilst travelling so I guess that would be landscape, though I also shoot profile shots too for cosplayers.
Thanks for answering!
I would probably say beginner/teetering on intermediate, I’m not using flash yet but I understand the basics of ISO, aperture and metering. My most recent works which is: https://www.flickr.com/
photos/0drift/albums/ 72157663313167653and https://www.flickr.com/ photos/0drift/albums/ 72157663286065814. I say work, photography for me is still a hobby
Anything up to £1000. Of course the cheaper the better. Manual focus is no issue but I’ve never owned a manual focus only lens
– Clement Ho
Okay, well first off I’m going to recommend that you check out my guide to Sony FE mount lenses. The reviews there should help you a bit. But as this is, it’s pretty complicated; but there are a couple of options and none of them are zoom lenses that I’d specifically recommend.
You’re correct though: the 24-240 isn’t a bad option for you but there are more thrifty options out there.
My favorite options for you:
Sony 28mm f2: compact, weather sealed, not a whole lot of distortion, fast to focus, and very bang for your buck. It’s affordable over at Amazon. The Amazon links on the Phoblographer redirect to your country’s listing if you’re in Canada or the European; and buying stuff from my links helps me keep the site alive.
Sony 35mm f2.8: This is my go-to lens. I love the 35mm focal length/field of view and with this lens I’ve never had a problem shooting portraits and landscapes. Sure, it’s only f2.8, but I’ve learned to live with that. Plus the a7 has such awesome high ISO rendition as it is so I have no problem cranking it up and nerfing the noise in post later. This is another really recommended lens.
So what do I think is best for you? Honestly, the 28mm or the 35mm f2.8 are great for travel, are the fastest to focus with the latest firmware updates, are plenty sharp, and have great color rendition. With portraiture, the 35mm will be better for sure. To help you with this for portraiture, I’ve got a guide on how to do it with 35mm lenses.
For landscapes, the zoom is nice but I personally really like prime lenses more. They force you to create better images by thinking carefully about your compositions, placement of the camera, etc.
Further, the kit lens for the a7 is really good. If you really need you need to upgrade it’s often because you need more zoom range or you need to be wider. The other option is because you need something with shallower depth of field. These prime lenses may truthfully give you the best bang for your buck here.
Hope this helps and thanks for writing in!