Skip to main content

The best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras in 2021: how to expand your Sony system!

Included in this guide:

The best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras
(Image credit: Future)

The best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras let you really put these fast-shooting APS-C cameras through their paces! Sony's enduringly popular E-mount mirrorless series of cameras are some of the best cameras around for new photographers and experienced enthusiasts alike, and the range of high-quality lenses available for them is a testimony to their quality.

One of the most striking aspects of the A6000 series is how long-lasting the cameras have been. The original Sony A6000 was originally announced back in 2014, but is still easy to recommend to pretty much any photographer. You don't get 4K, but you still get a highly capable mirrorless shooter with utterly solid fundamentals, including exceptional autofocus. And the best part is, as the years go by, this camera only gets cheaper.

Sony hasn't rested on its laurels though; successor cameras like the A6100 and A6600 have pushed the series forward and added contemporary features like 4K and 5-axis image stabilisation. In terms of APS-C photography and video, the A6000 series offers some of the best cameras you can get right now, especially if you like shooting fast; the hybrid autofocus systems and burst shooting rates up to 11fps ensure you never miss the moment.

Sony A6000 vs A6100 vs A6300 vs A6400 vs A6500 vs A6600: how do you choose?

If you buy a new Sony A6000 camera off the shelf, it'll likely be bundled in with Sony’s E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens. While this is a decent lens, earning brownie points for its clever retractable design and decently sharp images, you can definitely do better. Depending on what you want to shoot, you may want to explore different types of lenses, which is why we've divided our guide into sections. 

First, we list the best standard zoom lenses; these provide a naturalistic perspective that's great for general, day-to-day shooting. Next, we go through wide-angle zooms, which give a broader field of view that's particularly good for landscapes and architecture, letting you fill the frame with dramatic lines. After that we list our favourite telephoto zooms, for those who want to get a little more reach, and lastly we run through the best prime lenses, which offer the top of the range in terms of image quality.

While new lenses are coming out for Sony E-mount APS-C cameras, it's worth nothing that the wider industry is experiencing supply chain issues at the moment. Consequently, lenses like Tamron's upcoming 18-300 mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC VXD lens, which was originally slated for the end of September, are still not quite available. We've kept this guide to lenses that you can buy straight away, as these are also lenses we know for sure are worth the money.

The best lenses for Sony A6000, A6100, A6300, A6400, A6500 and A6600

Standard zooms

(Image credit: Sony)

An outstanding standard zoom upgrade

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 24-82.5mm
Elements/groups: 17/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Optical SteadyShot: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.33m
Maximum magnification: 0.2x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x100mm
Weight: 494g
Reasons to buy
+Superb image quality+Fast constant aperture
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks optical stabilisation-New, so full price everywhere

It's fantastic to see such a well-engineered lens for Sony's APS-C range, and this is a sign that Sony is committed to ensuring these cameras are serious tools for amateurs and professionals alike. The Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G Lens is the perfect way to upgrade from the original kit lens; its constant f/2.8 aperture gives you real shooting flexibility, with a workhorse focal range that'll deliver pin-sharp images at al settings. Some could quibble the lack of optical image stabilisation, but others would argue that such omissions are what keep the price from spiralling out of control. If you're a serious Sony APS-C user, you absolutely want this lens in your kit bag.

best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras: Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS

(Image credit: Sony)

2: Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS

If you need a standard zoom with just a little more reach

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 24-105mm
Elements/groups: 16/12
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.35m
Maximum magnification: 0.23x
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions (WxL): 67x75mm
Weight: 308g
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding image quality +Constant aperture rating
Reasons to avoid
-Bigger than the 16-50mm -No retractable mechanism

Another lens that makes for a great step up from the kit lens, but at a much more affordable price than the G version. The Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS also gives you a little more reach with a telephoto end of 70mm, and offers top-notch optical quality thanks to the Zeiss-led design including four aspherical elements and one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, plus the Zeiss high-performance T* element coatings. Compare it to the kit lens and you'll notice more bulk as there's no retractable design, but you gain so much, not least of which is a constant f/4 aperture that means you don't have to stop down when shooting at the outer end of the range. Plus, the fact that the lens only weighs 308g means it balances really well on an A6000 body.

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

A great long-zoom standard lens for A6000-series cameras

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Elements/groups: 16/12
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.45m
Maximum magnification: 0.29x
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions (WxL): 67.2x88mm
Weight: 325g
Reasons to buy
+Effective zoom range of 27-202mm+Optical SteadyShot+Compact and lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Relies heavily on digital corrections

The choice of standard zoom lenses for Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras is narrower than you'd expect. The 16-50mm 'pancake' standard zoom sold with many A6000-series cameras is very small and convenient but not terribly good optically. Otherwise the Zeiss Vario-Tessar (above) is a good buy but has a constant f/4 maximum aperture, and while the brand new Sony E 16-55mm F2.8 G fixes that with a constant f/2.8 aperture, it's big and expensive... and none of them have much of a zoom range. This is why we really rate the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS. It's compact, neat and affordable, it offers a really good zoom range and – unlike almost every other long-zoom lens – it holds it performance even at full zoom. If you use a raw processing program that doesn't automatically apply lens corrections you'll see how much the digital corrections are needed, but if that's the price you pay for this level of optical quality, we'll take it!

Wide-angle zooms

(Image credit: Sony)

4: Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS

Best wide-angle zoom for Sony A6000

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: : 15-27mm
Elements/groups: 10/8
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.25m
Maximum magnification: 0.1x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 70x64mm
Weight: 225g
Reasons to buy
+Ultra-wide viewing angles +Constant aperture 
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly pricey-Lacklustre sharpness at f/4

Fit this lens to your A6000 and it can feel like taking the blinkers off your camera. The shortest focal length of 10mm is equivalent to using a 15mm lens on a full-frame camera, delivering a massive viewing angle of 109 degrees. The lens is very similar to the Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS in terms of layout and handling, with a constant-aperture f/4 rating and Optical SteadyShot built in. Ideal for cramped interiors, sweeping landscapes and any time you want to exaggerate the effect of perspective, this lens takes over where the 16-70mm leaves off, with a bit of overlap to play with. Image quality is very good apart from slightly mediocre sharpness when shooting wide-open at f/4, mostly in the longer half of the zoom range.

Telephoto zooms

(Image credit: Sony)

A useful telephoto with real range

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 105-525mm
Elements/groups: 19/13
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 1.1m
Maximum magnification: 0.75x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 77x142 mm
Weight: 625g
Reasons to buy
+Generous zoom range+Optical stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Slow maximum aperture

Considering how new this lens is and its impressively broad telephoto zoom range, the price it's set at is incredibly reasonable. It's well-suited to a huge range of fast-paced photographic genres like wildlife and sports, making it a perfect partner for the speedy A6000 cameras. Its optical design includes an aspherical element and three extra-low dispersion elements, all of which contribute to superb image quality right through the zoom range. Controls are customisable too, and Optical SteadyShot expands usability in low light. A fantastic lens for a great price.

(Image credit: Sony)

6: Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS

Best low-cost telephoto zoom for Sony A6000

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: : 82.5-315mm
Elements/groups: 13/9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 1.0m
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 64x108mm
Weight: 345g
Reasons to buy
+Serious telephoto reach+Long ‘effective’ zoom range 
Reasons to avoid
-Narrow aperture at long end -Sharpness drops off

Costing only about a third of the price of the Sony 16-70mm and 10-18mm lenses we’ve looked at so far, this one maintains a fairly compact and lightweight build, especially considering that it’s a telephoto lens. Thanks to the 1.5x crop factor of the A6000 and other Sony APS-C format E-mount camera bodies, the lens gives an ‘effective’ zoom range of 82.5-315mm in full-frame terms, with powerful telephoto reach at the long end. Downsizing is mostly thanks to the fairly narrow aperture rating, which shrinks from f/4.5 to f/6.3 as you extend through the zoom range. Physically, it enables a much better balance on an A6000 camera than lenses like the more-upmarket Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 and f/4 constant-aperture lenses, which are also much more expensive to buy. However, sharpness from the lightweight 55-210mm drops off a bit at longer zoom settings and could be better at the widest available apertures.

(Image credit: Sony)

A full frame supertelephoto Sony zoom that's almost affordable!

Specifications
Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 24/17
Diaphragm blades: 11
Autofocus: DDSSM
Stabilizer: Yes
Min focus distance: 2.4m
Max magnification: 0.2x
Filter thread: 95mm
Dimensions (WxL): 111.5x318mm
Weight: 2,115g
Reasons to buy
+3x supertelephoto zoom range+Optical stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for a regular 'G' lens-Very heavy

Fast supertelephoto lenses on full frame cameras are always expensive, and the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS is no exception, but compared to fast supertelephoto primes it's actually not THAT expensive, and probably just about falls within an achievable price range for keen amateurs. Strictly speaking, this is a full frame FE lens, but it will work just as well on an APS-C A6000-series camera, where it gives a huge effective focal range of 300-900mm! When you’re shooting wildlife, birds, aircraft or sporting action and you can’t get as close as you might like, this lens really covers the distance. Designed for Sony’s full-frame E-mount cameras, it picks up the baton from our previously recommended Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS, extending the telephoto reach by 50 per cent, with virtually no compromise in all-round performance and at a substantially lower price.

Primes

(Image credit: Sony)

8: Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Pancake

Best street photography lens for Sony A6000

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 30mm
Elements/groups: 6/6
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.2m
Maximum magnification: 0.12x
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 63x20mm
Weight: 69g
Reasons to buy
+Super-small and lightweight +Great for street photography
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre image quality at f/2.8-No optical stabilization

A mere slip of a thing, this pancake lens measures just 63x20mm and weighs a mere 69g. Couple it with an A6000 and you have a perfect package for street photography. The effective focal length of 35mm is ideal, and the outfit is small enough for you to shoot candidly without drawing attention to yourself. It’s one of the few lenses in our roundup that lacks Optical SteadyShot but the f/2.8 aperture rating is faster than that of most zoom lenses. The only catch is that, when shooting wide-open, sharpness is merely good rather than great and vignetting (darkened image corners) is quite noticeable. At apertures of between f/4 and f/8, image quality really comes alive.

(Image credit: Sony)

9: Sony FE 35mm f/1.8

Best standard prime for Sony A6000

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 52.5mm
Elements/groups: 11/9
Diaphragm blades: 9
Optical SteadyShot: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.22m
Maximum magnification: 0.24x
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions (WxL): 66x73mm
Weight: 280g
Reasons to buy
+Sharp wide open+Fast focusing+Balances nicely
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe a touch pricey

The so-called ‘nifty fifty’ is a highly popular lens category on full-frame cameras, where it gives a standard viewing angle and natural perspective. Take the 1.5x crop factor of the Sony A6000’s image sensor into account, and this lens has an almost identical 52.5mm focal length and typically fast aperture of f/1.8. This new lens is a better option over the much older Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS, with a number of improvements. This includes a 9-blade aperture diaphragm that sees out of focus areas rendered beautifully smooth, while focusing is fast and precise. Finally, the optical performance is excellent, delivering sharp results even wide open. 

Best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras: Samyang AF 12mm F2.0 E

(Image credit: Samyang)

10: Samyang AF 12mm F2.0 E

An affordable lens that's great for astro and wide-angle shooting

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 18mm
Elements/groups: 12/10
Diaphragm blades: 7
Optical SteadyShot: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.19m
Maximum magnification: 0.09x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 70x59mm
Weight: 224g
Reasons to buy
+Affordable and durable+Fast, near-silent AF
Reasons to avoid
-Fringing/vignetting require correcting-No external focus switch

Samyang gives an arguably overdue refresh to its ultra-wide 12mm lens in the form of an autofocus motor, which it somehow packs into an impressively lightweight 224g body. At a price significantly lower than a lot of Sony's native offerings, this is a tempting lens for any A6000 photographer who wants to expand their repertoire a little. Its wide perspective (18mm equivalent) is hugely versatile, and can be very effective once you get used to using it. The fast f/2 aperture rating also makes the lens useable for astrophotography. Handling of the lens is good, with a pleasingly robust build quality that's also weather sealed. 

Lab tests do reveal a few visual aberrations in the lens, notably lateral chromatic aberration in the corners of frames, and a little barrel distortion. All of this is easy enough to correct, and indeed this can be done in-camera, but it is something to be aware of. This is an impressive lens for the price and the size, and makes for a solid addition to any A6000 stable. 

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony’s G Master is ideal as a ultra-fast standard prime

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 52.5mm
Elements/groups: TBC
Diaphragm blades: 9
Optical SteadyShot: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.27m
Maximum magnification: 0.23x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 76x96mm
Weight: 524g
Reasons to buy
+Twin XD AF motors+Outstanding optical quality
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly expensive-Big on an A6000-series camera

Want a standard prime faster than the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8? You're in luck. The Sony Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 has been around for a while now, but Sony's blessed users with another fast 35mm prime with the arrival of the FE 35mm f/1.4 G Master. Be under no illusions, this is a premium optic that delivers a spectacular optical performance, though it comes at a price. It's not the smallest 35mm prime we've seen, so the balance on an A6000-series camera is as good as when it's mounted on a full-frame Alpha, but the handling really impressed. A great lens, but you will have to pay for it. 

(Image credit: Sony)

12: Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS

Perfect portrait lens for Sony A6000

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Effective focal length: 75mm
Elements/groups: 9/8
Optical SteadyShot: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.39m
Maximum magnification: 0.16x
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 62x62mm
Weight: 202g
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for portraiture+Fast aperture and Optical SteadyShot
Reasons to avoid
-Lackluster corner-sharpness -Aperture could be better rounded

With an effective focal length of 75mm on an APS-C format Sony body like the A6000, and a fast f/1.8 aperture, this is a great lens for portraiture. You’ll be able to take head and shoulders and half-length portraits from an ideal distance, not crowding your sitter while being close enough to engage with them. The f/1.8 aperture enables a tight depth of field, so you can throw the background out of focus and make the person you’re photographing really stand out in the image. Corner-sharpness is a little poor at apertures wider than f/5.6 but that shouldn’t be an issue in portraiture. The aperture remains fairly well-rounded when stopping down a little from f/1.8 but, based on seven rather than nine diaphragm blades, it could be better.

Read more:
The best Sony cameras
The best 150-600mm lenses
The best 100-400mm lenses
The best 50mm lenses
The best 70-200mm lenses
The best budget telephoto lenses
The best macro lenses
The best fisheye lenses
The best lenses for astrophotography