Announced all the way back in February 2014, the Sony A6000 is probably the best-selling mirrorless camera of all time – and now thanks to its price is still one of the best camera deals you can get today. But what are the best lenses for Sony A6000 owners?
The Sony Alpha A6000 picked up the baton from Sony’s NEX 6 mirrorless compact system camera, and has been running ever since. Something of a speed demon, it boasts a super-fast hybrid phase/contrast-detection autofocus system and a blistering 11fps burst shooting rate. Image quality is excellent and handling is refined, with an OLED viewfinder and hinged rear screen, all packed into a robust body that’s small and lightweight enough to take pretty much anywhere and everywhere.
Despite subsequent iterations of A6xxx cameras that add various enhancements, like in-body image stabilization for the latest models, the A6000 has certainly stood the test of time. It’s still on sale today and is excellent value at the price. It’s most often sold in kit form, with Sony’s E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS. It’s a sensible choice, as the retractable design enables a particularly small and light stowage size, although the electrically powered zoom can feel a little gimmicky and is more appropriate for shooting video than stills.
Whatever the pros and cons of the 16-50mm kit lens, a main advantage of any ‘system camera’ is that you can choose the best optics to suit the way you shoot. For the A6000, we’d ideally want premium performance and image quality from reasonably small and lightweight lenses, preferably with optical stabilization, as sensor-shift SteadyShot isn’t featured in the A6000.
Our lens choices are picked for use on the A6000 (due to its enduring popularity), but they will also be suitable for use on more recent APS-C sensored models such as the A6100, A6300, A6400, A6500 and A6600. Here are our top choices for best lenses for the Sony A6000 and the its siblings.
1: Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
Best standard zoom for Sony A6000
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
The perfect step up from the Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens that’s sold with the A6000, this is a much higher-quality optic. It’s based on a Zeiss design that includes four aspherical elements and one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, as well as Zeiss’s high-performance T* coatings. It lacks the space-saving, retractable mechanism of the 16-50mm lens but gives a greater overall zoom range, along with a constant-aperture design that makes f/4 available at any focal length. It’s not as ‘fast’ as the more pro-grade Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master but is much more compact and affordable. Weighing in at 308g, it feels perfectly balanced on an A6000 body and is absolutely ideal for daily shooting.
2: Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
Best wide-angle zoom for Sony A6000
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
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.
3: Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS
Best telephoto zoom for Sony A6000
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
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.
4: Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS
Best super-telephoto for the Sony A6000
Mount: Sony FE | Effective focal length: 150-600mm | Elements/groups: 22/16 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Optical SteadyShot: Yes | Minimum focus distance: 0.98m | Maximum magnification: 0.35x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 94x205mm | Weight: 1,395g
Almost all of the lenses we’ve chosen for the A6000 are fairly compact, lightweight and affordable. This one is definitely an exception. It’s big, chunky and weighs in at nearly 1.5kg, making it feel rather a mismatch for a diminutive A6000 body. Even so, if you want monster telephoto reach, there’s no real alternative to a big lens. Being from Sony’s G-Master stable, this one has fully pro-grade build quality and premium performance. The autofocus system is super-fast, ideal for tracking fast-moving wildlife and sporting action, Optical SteadyShot is highly effective and image quality is exceptional. It’s expensive to buy but you get what you pay for - and a perfect choice for bird photography, safaris or airshows.
5: Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
Best all-in-one travel zoom for Sony A6000
Mount: Sony E | Effective focal length: 27-202.5mm | Elements/groups: 16/12 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Optical SteadyShot: Yes | Minimum focus distance: 0.45m | Maximum magnification: 0.29x | Filter thread: 55mm | Dimensions (WxL): 67x88mm | Weight: 325g
When looking for a ‘superzoom’ lens that delivers everything from wide-angle coverage to telephoto reach, in a single package, it’s easy to get carried away. We can often feel that more is merrier, especially at the telephoto end. Sony and Tamron both make 18-200mm superzooms for E-mount cameras like the A6000 but there are drawbacks. The widest available aperture at the long end of the zoom range shrinks to f/6.3, straying a little to the dark side. A bigger zoom range also generally comes with a greater compromise in image quality. This 18-135mm is our favored option. It’s more lightweight and easy to manage, pairing better with an A6000 body, and gives very good image quality. It also has a faster f/3.5-5.6 aperture rating.
6: Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Pancake
Best street photography lens for Sony A6000
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
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.
7: Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS
Best standard prime for Sony A6000
Mount: Sony E | Effective focal length: 52.5mm | Elements/groups: 8/6 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Optical SteadyShot: Yes | Minimum focus distance: 0.3m | Maximum magnification: 0.15x | Filter thread: 49mm | Dimensions (WxL): 63x45mm | Weight: 154g
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. The design makes perfect sense, as the lens would need to be substantially bigger and heavier if it had an f/1.4 aperture rating, and less well balanced on cameras like the A6000. Sharpness and contrast are excellent, thanks in no small part to quality glass that includes two aspherical elements and an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element. For handheld shooting under dull lighting, Optical SteadyShot is another bonus.
8: Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS
Perfect portrait lens for Sony A6000
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
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.
10: Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art
Best macro lens for Sony A600
Mount: Sony FE | Effective focal length: 105mm | Elements/groups: 13/10 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Optical SteadyShot: No | Minimum focus distance: 0.26m | Maximum magnification: 1.0x | Filter thread: 49mm | Dimensions (WxL): 71x106mm | Weight: 515g
Some lenses that carry a ‘macro’ badge only give around 0.5x magnification, but this Sigma gives full 1.0x magnification at its shortest focus distance. That means that something the size of a postage stamp will fill the whole image frame of an A6000’s APS-C format sensor, enabling amazing enlargement of tiny objects when viewing photos on screen or in print. The lens is a joy to use, with quick and precise autofocus and an electronically coupled focus ring that enables ultra-fine manual adjustments, often required in macro photography. There’s no optical stabilization but it would be of very limited value for extreme close-ups anyway. Posh glass includes two FLD (‘Fluorite’ Low Dispersion) elements, two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements, one high refractive index element and two aspherical elements. Image quality is razor-sharp, revealing levels of fine detail that are invisible to the naked eye.
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