Around $500: 7 Primes for Sony E Mount That Overperform

rokinon lenses
These Sony E Mount lenses perform miracles and prove that you don’t have go bankrupt to own one.

There are many photographers who scoff at the idea of purchasing cheap lenses. These photographers also look down upon anyone who uses anything but glass that can cost thousands of dollars. They believe that in order to create mind-blowing images you must spend beyond your means to get truly fantastic glass, but that is so far from the truth. The Sony E Mount system has been blessed with many first and third-party lenses capable of producing razor sharp images with gorgeous colors for around $500. After the break, we will take a look at seven Sony E Mount prime lenses that perform well above their weight.

The myth surrounding cheap lenses is false. Many years ago, this line of thinking may have been accurate, and lenses probably were sub-par. But now, so many lens manufacturers have the technology and know-how to create lenses that are light years ahead of where cheap lenses used to be. For under $500 you can pick up glass with wide apertures, that can produce razor-sharp images, and that can render gorgeous colors and bokeh. These budget prime lenses are constructed incredibly well, and they focus quickly. You honestly do not have to spend thousands of dollars to get great lenses these days, and shame on those who say it’s the only way. Here’s a quick look at seven of our favorite Sony E Mount prime lenses that you can pick up for around $500.

 

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary

 

sony e mount

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Fast aperture
  • Weather sealing to a point
  • Fast autofocus performance for the most part
  • Nice bokeh
  • Sharp, surprisingly sharp

Cons

  • To be honest, nothing

Buy now ($389.95): Amazon

 

Rokinon 20mm F1.8

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • A budget friendly lens with excellent performance
  • Smooth focusing
  • Feels nice

Cons

  • Big on the Sony E mount lineup of cameras
  • Though this won’t be a con to lots of people, it’s a very standard lens that is very clinical in its image creation
  • No depth of field scale

Buy now ($449): Amazon

 

Sony 28mm F2

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp at any aperture
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Nice, small size
  • Lightweight
  • Pretty affordable

Cons

  • Metal build on the exterior, though almost hollow feeling because it’s so lightweight

Buy now ($448): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: The ‘cheap items aren’t good’ myth extends to other products as well, which again, is unfortunate. But just like with the lenses listed here, this is not the case anymore, especially when it comes to things like camera bags. No matter what gear you have, you need a way to carry it around with you, and one of our favorite bags also happens to be one of the most affordable. The Portage Supply Mariner bag is perfect for Mirrorless camera users. It has space for a few lenses, your camera body, and accessories. The bag is made from canvas and leather and it’s weatherproof. It’s a win-win-win. Did we also mention that it’s incredibly affordable?

 

Rokinon 35mm F2.8 FE

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • Good bokeh
  • Focuses pretty much as close as the Sony version. It isn’t as accurate in low lighting or as fast though
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Weather sealing would have been nice but we understand why it isn’t there
  • Focus motors can be a bit loud at times with later cameras

Buy now ($279): Amazon

 

Lensbaby Burnside 35mm F2.8

 

sony e mount

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid aluminum construction means the lens can withstand considerable abuse during field use
  • Buttery smooth focus ring
  • Dreamy bokeh quality
  • Vignette Control is an interesting way to dial in your vignette and bokeh quality in camera

Cons

  • Lack of weather sealing
  • The front lens cap is of the pressure fit design, so forgetful or accident prone photographers should take care to put it away in a secure location while shooting with this lens
  • Clicked aperture ring means this lens may not be suitable for video shooters

Buy now ($499.95): Amazon

 

Rokinon 50mm F1.4 AF FE

 

sony e mount

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Contrasty images
  • Sharp photos
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Metal feeling build on the exterior
  • Autofocus that works pretty darned well

Cons

  • Autofocus isn’t as fast as Sony’s
  • Really wish it had weather sealing, but the price point isn’t really for that
  • Pretty big

Buy now ($499): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Regardless of how much you spend on your gear, one thing you absolutely want to do is take care of your investments. Lenses get exposed to all kinds of debris, and it doesn’t take long for grime to accumulate and cause problems. Cleaning your lenses is essential, whether it’s just wiping down the front element before a shoot, or doing a deep clean once a week. Looking after your gear will ensure that it remains operational for years to come. This cheap basic lens cleaning kit is all you need to take care of your lenses. Stick it in your camera bag and be prepared to clean on the go.

 

Sony 85mm F1.8 FE

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Fast focusing with the Sony a7r II and in good lighting it will focus quickly with the Sony a7
  • Nice feel; though not as great as the G Master 85mm f1.4 lens.
  • Weather resistance built-in
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Honestly, not a darn thing

Buy now ($548): Amazon