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The best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras in 2022: how to expand your Sony system!

Best lenses for Sony A6000
(Image credit: Future)

With the best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras, you can really push the limits of what these APS-C mirrorless cameras can do. These mid-range models are hugely popular with loads of photographers and videographers, from beginners to enthusiasts, and even with some professionals looking for a second camera. 

As such, a comprehensive range of quality lenses has sprung up to make this one of the most tempting systems around right now.

You CAN use both APS-C format Sony 'E' lenses and full frame Sony 'FE' lenses on the A6000-series cameras. A full frame lens will be heavier and more expensive, but can make a great macro, portrait or telephoto lens – especially if you think you might upgrade to a full frame body later.

However, for shorter focal lengths and wider angles of view you do need an APS-C 'E' mount lens – specifically kit lenses or ultra-wide zooms. The crop factor of the Sony E bodies means that full frame lenses offer a reduced angle of view, curtailing their wide-angle capability with the smaller sensor.

The A6000 series is marked out by how well its cameras have lasted, and no model demonstrates this better than the original Sony A6000. It was originally announced back in 2014, but is still hugely popular and comes highly recommended among photographers; we still rate it as one of our best cameras for beginners, and likely will as long as it's in production, as it's only going to get cheaper. 

But there's lots more to love about the series, with subsequent entries such as the A6100 and A6600 adding features like 4K video, image stabilisation, improved autofocus and more. The A6000 is going to be part of the conversation for many years, and in terms of shooting power for money, represents some of the best value you can get in camera tech.

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

So let's talk about lenses! A new Sony A6000-series camera will likely come bundled with Sony's kit lens, the E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom. It's one of the better kit lenses out there, though we've had some dud samples too, and if you put some time into your image-making, you'll likely finding yourself wanting better optics, more zoom range or a wider maximum aperture (or all three). That's where this guide comes in.

We've split the guide into sections. First we deal with standard zoom lenses, which cover a similar range to the starting kit lens, but offer better quality and other features. Next we cover wide-angle zooms, which are great for landscapes and frame-filling architecture shots with dramatic lines. After that, it's telephoto zooms, for bringing distant action close to you, and finally, we pick our favourite prime lenses for Sony A6000 cameras. These are what you choose if you want the best optical quality you can get – and don't mind moving your feet.

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

Standard zooms

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
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
-
Barrel distortion at 16mm

If you like the focal range of your kit lens but want to make a leap to something offering better image quality, this is it right here. The Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G Lens is a sublime optic, with a constant f/2.8 aperture that give you amazing shooting flexibility in all different lighting conditions. Images are sharp as a tack across the board; there's a little barrel distortion at the very widest end, but it's easy to correct with software. The lack of optical image stabilisation might be a shame for some, but equally that would only serve to bump up the price of the lens, and we think the cost is well-judged where it is. For day-to-day shooting on a Sony A6000 camera, this is fantastic – and if it's too expensive, check out our next entry...
See full Sony E 16-55mm f2.8 G review

(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

Steppign up from a kit lens can be a considerable expense, but if you're on a budget then this mid-priced optic is a good choice. The Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS is certainly much more affordable than the G lens above, and gives the added bonus of extra reach, with a telephoto end of 70mm. This equates to about 105mm on the Sony A6000's APS-C sensor, putting all sorts of photography opportunities in play. The optical construction of the lens includes four aspherical elements and one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, as well as the Zeiss high-performance T* element coatings. The f/4 aperture is a little limiting, though it is at least constant, meaning you aren't forced to stop down at the telephoto end of the lens. Plus, while the lens is undeniably bulky, it only actually weighs 308g, so it won't overbalance an A6000 camera body.

(Image credit: Future)

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

Let's push our zoom range even further. There aren't a huge number of standard zoom lenses available for Sony's APS-C cameras, but before we start getting into the specialist wide-angle and telephoto zooms, there's one that's really worth considering: the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS. It's cheaper than the 16-55mm G, it's got a wider maximum aperture than the Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm, and its zoom range is longer than either of them, covering an equivalent span of 27-202mm. The lens is also compact and portable, and still performs well at its telephoto end. So, what's the catch? Well, optically the lens does need a little correcting, to the point where if you use a raw processing program that doesn't apply corrections automatically, you'll very much notice it. Still, for everything you get, we reckon that's not much of a price to pay. 

Wide-angle zooms

(Image credit: Sony)
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: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
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 customizable too, and Optical SteadyShot expands usability in low light. A fantastic lens for a great price.
See full Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS review

(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.
See full Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS review

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. 

(Image credit: Future)
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: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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.

How we test lenses

We test lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.

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

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.