Best lenses for the Sony A7 II in 2022

Best lenses for Sony A7 II
(Image credit: Sony)

The Sony A7 II has been Sony’s cheapest full frame camera for a while now, offering frankly ridiculous value for money, given that it comes with a 24MP sensor and in-body stabilization carried forward to the later Sony A7 III and Sony A7C.

What it didn’t have was 4K video. The A7 II was never going to be in our list of the best 4K cameras for video, obviously, or even the best cameras for vlogging, but for photographers happy with 1080 video, or not interested in video at all, that didn’t matter. After the original Sony A7 finally went out of production, the A7 II became the cheapest full frame Sony you could buy and one of the best cheap cameras to buy.

It’s all because of Sony’s policy of keeping older cameras on sale at reduced prices alongside newer ones. It was last-generation tech, but that didn’t matter for bargain seekers, beginners and students wanting to get a foot in the door to Sony’s mirrorless camera ecosystem.

There must be huge numbers of Sony A7 IIs out there today, and it’s still possible to buy it here and there, though not necessarily at the knock-down prices seen in its heyday.

The Sony A7 II is a full frame camera with a good 24-megapixel sensor, so it also needs lenses good enough to do it justice. At the same time, Sony A7 II buyers will be watching the cash, so we’ve also picked out lenses that offer real value for money and are sensible buys given the A7 II’s low cost.

Best lenses for the Sony A7 II in 2022

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(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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This alternative standard zoom is half the size of a normal lens

Specifications

Focal length: 28-60mm
Maximum aperture: f/4-5.6
Elements/groups: 8/7
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.3-0.45m
Maximum magnification: 0.16x
Filter thread: 40.5mm
Dimensions: 66.6 x 45mm
Weight: 167g

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-compact design
+
Excellent performance
+
Fast, silent AF

Reasons to avoid

-
Only a 2x zoom range

We start off this list with this pint-sized standard zoom originally introduced with the Sony A7C but also available separately. If you got your Sony A7 II with the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, you might be wishing you could swap it for something smaller. Or, if you bought your A7 II body only, this could be the perfect travelling companion. Optically, the FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 is remarkably good, despite its diminutive design. It doesn't have image stabilization, but then the A7 II does, so it hardly matters. The main disadvantage is the small 2x zoom range, which does hamper this lens's versatility somewhat.

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)
It's like getting a pro standard zoom but at an amateur price

Specifications

Focal length: 28-70mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 16/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.19m
Filter thread: 58mm
Dimensions: 72.2 x 101.5mm
Weight: 470g

Reasons to buy

+
Constant f/2.8 maximum aperture
+
Good value for a fast standard zoom
+
Light weight

Reasons to avoid

-
28mm wide-angle not 24mm

The Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN | C offers a real step up in class from the standard Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens by offering superior optics and a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. It's an affordable alternative to the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens, offering a slightly reduced focal range at a massively reduced price. The Sigma feels well built, the focus and zoom rings are smooth, and you can rotate from 28-70mm in one fell swoop. The one downside is that it's not fully weather-sealed, so we wouldn't recommend using it in pouring rain.

(Image credit: Future)
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Tamron's ultra-wide zoom opens up your perspectives, not your wallet

Specifications

Focal length: 17-28mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 13/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.19m (W) 0.26m (T)
Maximum magnification: 0.19x (W) 0.17x (T)
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions: 73 x 99mm
Weight: 420g

Reasons to buy

+
Superb optical performance
+
Fast constant f/2.8 aperture
+
Good weather-sealed build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Less overall zoom range than a 16-35mm

Every photographer needs an ultra-wide-angle zoom sooner or later, especially if you're into landscape or travel photography. The trouble is, these normally cost a packet, especially for full frame cameras – but then Tamron comes to the rescue with the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD. It's still not cheap, exactly, but it costs way less than its Sony-branded equivalents and it has a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture too. It’s smaller and lighter and beautifully balanced on a the A7 II camera body. However, it’s certainly not light on all-round performance and image quality, really punching above its weight. 

(Image credit: Future)
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This low-cost telephoto zoom gives you a lot of reach for not much money

Specifications

Focal length: 70-300mm
Maximum aperture: f/4.5-6.3
Elements/groups: 15/10
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.8m (W) 1.5m (T)
Maximum magnification: 0.11x (W) 0.2x (T)
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions: 77 x 148mm
Weight: 545g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact, lightweight build
+
Relatively inexpensive to buy

Reasons to avoid

-
No optical stabilization
-
Lacklustre edge-sharpness

The Sony A7 II is not really a sports camera so it's unlikely to be used solely for action and wildlife photography – which means a telephoto zoom might not be high on your list of priorities. This makes the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD ideal as an 'occasional' telephoto offering decent image quality at a very good price. You don’t necessarily need or want the most expensive fast glass all of the time, with big apertures, heavy construction and monster price tags. This Tamron lens continues a decades-long tradition of relatively inexpensive, compact, lightweight telephoto lenses with a versatile and practical 70-300mm zoom range.

(Image credit: Future)
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The widest of Tamron's three f/2.8 primes is astonishing value

Specifications

Focal length: 20mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 10/9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.11m
Maximum magnification: 0.5x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions: 72 x 64mm
Weight: 220g

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness
+
Compact, light and weather-sealed
+
Very short minimum focus distance

Reasons to avoid

-
Autofocus speed is a little pedestrian

We'll finish off with a couple of prime lenses at different ends of the scale. The first is this remarkable Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2, which isn't just an ultra-wide prime lens but also a half-life-size 'macro' lens capable of extreme close-ups. Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is the low, low price for such a useful lens and one with really rather good optical performance. If you don't want to stretch to the Tamron 17-28mm zoom, this will give you much of the wide-angle capability at a fraction of the price. 

(Image credit: Sony)
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This Sony portrait prime will give you nice background blur at a reasonable price

Specifications

Focal length: 85mm
Maximum aperture: f/1.8
Elements/groups: 9/8
Diaphragm blades: 9
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.8m
Maximum magnification: 0.13x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions: 78 x 82mm
Weight: 371g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Compact and light
+
Weather-sealed

Reasons to avoid

-
A little less background blur than an f/1.4

If you shoot portraits, you'll want a portrait lens, and while an 85mm f/1.4 is the classic choice, the f/1.4 aperture really pushes up the price. For that reason we'd recommend the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 as a lower-cost portrait lens better suited to the Sony A7 II. The maximum aperture is only a little smaller and it will still deliver almost as much background blur as an f/1.4 lens. It's only about a third of the cost and less than half the weight of the Sony f/1.4 version, so it lightens the load for handheld shooting and is easier on your bank balance. Handling is refined, build quality is impressive and image quality is excellent in all respects, making this lens a great buy.

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Rod Lawton
Contributor

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. 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. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com (opens in new tab) but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com (opens in new tab)