6 Sharp Prime Lenses For Sony E Mount Cameras Under $600

These prime lenses will help you get the most out of your Sony APS-C crop sensor camera.

Sony has done an outstanding job with their APS-C camera line up. The old Sony NEX system really started changing people’s view about crop sensor cameras. The release of the a6000, a6300, and the a6500 and all of the new technology they brought to the supposedly ‘non-pro’ APS-C camera world continued to push boundaries and made them firm favorites with photographers all over the world. The new Sony a6400 with its crazy fast autofocus system is about to hit the shelves, and we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some prime lenses that will really get the most out of this, and all of the other Sony APS-C cameras on the market.

Prime lenses offer their users a few distinct advantages over zoom lenses that are on the market. While many like using zooms for their versatility, they are never quite as sharp or as fast to focus as good, solid prime lenses. Prime lenses always have wide apertures too so you can shoot in more demanding lighting situations, and you’ll be able to get that creamy, smooth bokeh that so many photographers desire. Some of the lenses below are designed specifically for APS-C sensors, but there are also a few that are designed for Full Frame use; but don’t worry, they all play nice, and all produce outstanding results on Sony APS-C cameras. Here’s a look at six razor sharp prime lenses for Sony crop cameras.

 

Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye

 

prime lenses

Getting a true ultra wide lens on a APS-C body can be a struggle, but this Rokinon 8mm f2.8 fisheye lens solves that problem. This 12mm equivalent lens is a manual focus affair, but with focus peaking it’s easy to use. The aperture and focusing rings are nice to use, the images that come out of it are ridiculously sharp, and the colors that are rendered are sublime. The lens is also small and lightweight which makes it a joy to use. Being so wide there is some distortion, but it’s at very acceptable levels. If you want a lens that will give you an interesting, fun view of the world, the Rokinon 8mm f2.8 is the one for you. This is one of the prime lenses you should seriously think about getting if you like things nice and wide.

In our review we said:

“Though fisheye lenses are generally specialized lenses, this one was such a joy to use that I would keep it on all day and all night.”

Buy now ($279): Amazon

 

 

Pro Tip: If you plan on using wide angle prime lenses for landscapes or cityscapes you’re going to want to invest in a nice, sturdy tripod. The prime lenses on this list are crazy sharp, but to get the most of them when it comes to landscapes you want to make sure your camera is nice and stable. This tripod from MeFOTO is a stunner. It is capable of supporting 17.6lbs of gear, and it’s built to last.

 

Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary

 

The Sigma 16mm f1.4 is a true stunner for Sony APS-C shooters. With an effective field of view of 24mm and an aperture of f1.8, this lens is perfect for landscapes, cityscapes, street photography, and so much more. Off the bat you’ll see this is not a small lens, but it is still a joy to use with smaller APS-C bodies. This lens produces images that are sharp enough to cut, has some weather sealing, is fast to focus, and produces beautiful colors and bokeh. If you don’t mind the size, this is one of the first prime lenses you should pick up for your Sony a6xxx series camera.

In our review we said:

“There isn’t a whole lot to hate with the Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary. If you’re the type of photographer who shoots wide, does documentary style work, and needs a reliable lens in their bag, this is one of the best options you’ve got if you’re a Sony shooter.”

Buy now ($438.99): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Not all lenses and cameras have the luxury of weather sealing. If you’re not sure if your gear will hold up to the elements, you should pick up some weatherproof covers. These covers are easy to use, and they’ll protect your gear in the toughest weather. Best of all they’re cheap! Keep some in your camera bag.

 

Sony 20mm f2.8 (APS-C E Mount)

 

Mmmm pancakes! Not that kind, the lens kind! They’re delicious and this one is no exception. Small, lightweight, and easy to use, this Sony 20mm f2.8 compliments Sony crop bodies perfectly. It will turn your camera into a pocket monster. With an effective focal length of 30mm, this lens turns into a street photography assassin. It’s also perfect for documentary work, environmental portraits and more. Is it sharp? Yes. Creamy bokeh? More hazy but still really nice. Good colors? Oh the colors! You’ll cry tears of joy. It also focuses like a speed demon too.

In our review we said:

“The 20mm f2.8 lens is a beautiful lens in that it will beg to stay on your camera with its small size and excellent color rendition.”

Buy now ($298): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Sony cameras are outstanding, but battery life (as with most Mirrorless cameras) is less than stellar. It’s always wise to carry extra batteries on you as Mirrorless cameras like to suck batteries dry in a hurry. These third party batteries work just as well as the OEM ones and they are a fraction of the cost. Grab some and you’ll be able to just shoot all day long.

 

Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE

 

The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 is one of the best prime lenses on the Sony platform. Period. Rokinon have always made outstanding lenses optically, but this one elevates the build quality, and throws in autofocusing to boot. With an equivalent focal length of 52.5mm on a crop body, this 35mm is essentially a nifty fifty. As you would expect from a Rokinon lens, images are super sharp, even when wide open at f2.8. Colors rendered have nice, natural tones to them and aren’t over saturated. The bokeh is nice and creamy too. The lens finds focus fast, and is accurate too. The best part is the price. When it comes to prime lenses on the Sony platform, is should be illegal to not own this one.

In our review we said:

“The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE comes in at a significantly more affordable price point than what Sony’s offering is–and the only major difference is its lack of weather sealing vs it’s Sony counterpart.”

Buy now ($278): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Make sure your prime lenses are always kept in great shape by regularly cleaning them. Everything from the front elements to the electrical contacts should be cleaned so that you can ensure you’re getting the best possible performance out of them. A simple lens cleaning kit like this one will help you keep you lenses functioning properly for years to come.

 

Sony 50mm f1.8 FE

 

Sony has a great 50mm f1.8 lens available, and while it is designed for Full Frame cameras, it works perfectly on APS-C bodies. In fact because of the crop factor of x1.5 this 50mm essentially becomes a 75mm which makes it great for portraits. The Sony 50mm f1.8 is small and lightweight; it’s made from plastic, but it feels great in the hand. For the price you’re going to get a lens that produces great crisp images, beautiful colors, pleasant bokeh, and it focuses quickly too. It’s really hard to go wrong with this lens, and it should be one of the prime lenses in your collection.

In our review we said:

“Sony’s 50mm f1.8 is right up there with the Canon 50mm f1.8 in terms of image quality. It’s got great color output, is very sharp, very little chromatic aberration (and even then you’ve really got to look for it) and bokeh that isn’t bad overall.”

Buy now ($223): Amazon

 

Universal Lens Caps

Pro Tip: If you’re anything like me you misplace lens caps, or struggle with them all the time. Instead of buying cheap plastic replacements you may find it beneficial to step up to more robust universal lens covers that not only protect the front element, it will protect the lens from rain, snow, and any other nasty thing mother nature can throw at you. These lens caps from KUVRD fit almost every lens on the planet. and they are easy to use. You can even color code them so you know which lens is which.

 

Sony 85mm f1.8 FE

 

The Sony 85mm f1.8. What a lens! This is without doubt, one of the sharpest lenses on the entire platform, in fact it is so good in terms of image quality I would say pick this one over the G Master which costs three time as much. On Sony crop sensor cameras it will have an equivalent focal length of 127.5mm. It’s quite possibly the perfect portrait lens. This lens is small for what it is, and it won’t look out of place on a smaller crop body. It focuses fast, it feels great in the hands, it has some weather sealing, and it produces images so sharp your jaw will hit the floor every time you use it. Colors look amazing, and the bokeh, oh the bokeh, it’s like silk. If you’re buying prime lenses and you pass on this, we can’t be friends any more.

In our review we said:

“If you were to ask me about what my favorite lenses are for the Sony full frame E mount camera system, the Sony 85mm f1.8 FE would surely be up there in the top 5. It’s compact, sharp, can focus quickly (emphasis on can), touts moisture and dust resistance, and overall delivers some of the most pleasing images I’ve gotten in a while.”

Buy now ($573): Amazon