The best lenses for the Sony A7 II in 2024

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 cameras for filmmaking, 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.

Rod Lawton
Rod Lawton

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. He has used practically every interchangeable-lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium-format cameras, so he has the expertise to select the best Sony lenses for you.

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Best lenses for the Sony A7 II in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best everyday lens for the A7 II

(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 offers good build quality, with a zoom ring action that’s so smooth you can rotate fully from 28-70mm with ease. Our only real complaint is that it’s not fully weather-sealed, so it’s not suited to rainy conditions.

Read more: Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN | C review 

Best travel lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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

This pint-sized standard zoom was originally introduced with the Sony A7C, but is 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 that hardly matters. The main disadvantage is the small 2x zoom range, which does hamper this lens's versatility somewhat.

Read more: Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 review

Best wide-angle zoom lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Future)
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 like the A7 II – but Tamron has come 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 also smaller and lighter, and nicely balanced on the A7 II. 

Read more: Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD review

Best wide-angle prime lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Future)
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

The remarkable Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 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. 

Read more: Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD review

Best street photography lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
A budget alternative to Sony's own Gold Master 35mm

Specifications

Focal length: 35mm
Maximum aperture: f/1.4
Elements/groups: 11/9
Diaphragm blades: 9
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
Maximum magnification: 0.18x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions: 75x115mm
Weight: 659g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Weather sealing

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger than the competing Sony GM
-
Not a zero-distortion lens

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE II has all the bases covered for keen street photographers, with a wide aperture that helps you maintain fast shutter speeds even as the light dims. 

This Mark II version adds a two-way Custom switch that enables you to use the focus control ring for either for autofocus override or de-clicked aperture control, which is something videographers really value. But the big appeal here is the price compared with the competing Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 G Master.

Read more: Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE II

Best portrait lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Sony)
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. While an 85mm f/1.4 is the classic choice, the optic path needed to achieve 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 that’s 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 typically much cheaper and less than half the weight of the Sony f/1.4 version. Handling is smooth, build quality is solid and image quality is very good.

Read more: Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 review

Best telephoto lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Future)
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 designed as 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. 

Read more: Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD review

Best superzoom lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
Sigma's big sporty super-telephoto finally comes in Sony mount

Specifications

Focal length: 150-600mm
Maximum aperture: f/5-6.3
Elements/groups: 25/15
Stabilizer: Yes
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum focus distance: 0.58-2.8m
Maximum magnification: 0.34x
Filter thread: 95mm
Dimensions: 109.4 x 265.6mm
Weight: 2,100g

Reasons to buy

+
Superb sharpness
+
One of few mirrorless options

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky and heavy
-
Non-removable tripod collar

A retooling of the already excellent DSLR lens, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports is a great lens for bird photography, airshows and all manner of different sporting occasions.

The autofocus is excellent, though you'll need to make sure your camera is set up properly to take advantage of it. The build quality of the lens is also impressive – while no one is going to pretend this is a lightweight lens, it handles well, with tactile zoom and focus rings and a series of on-body controls for functions like AF speed, stabilization intensity, and in a new feature for the mirrorless version, Zoom Torque control to adjust the resistance of the zoom ring.

Read more: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports review

Best macro lens for the A7 II

(Image credit: Future)
A macro lens is great for those evocative close-ups

Specifications

Focal length: 90mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 15/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Stabilizer: Yes
Min focus distance: 0.28m
Max magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 79x131mm
Weight: 602g

Reasons to buy

+
Full 1.0x magnification
+
High-precision auto and manual focusing

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster stabilization for full macro
-
Fairly expensive for its class

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens provides full 1:1 magnification, so small objects are reproduced on the A7 II’s image sensor at life size. When you’re gettin in that close, accurate focusing is essential, so this lens offers controls such as a push-pull switch in the focus ring for toggling between manual and auto modes, plus a  focus hold button and an autofocus range limiter. 

The 90mm focal length is good for portrait shots as well, although the f/2.8 maximum aperture doesn’t compare with those in dedicated portrait lenses.

Read more: Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS review

How to choose the best lens for the Sony A7 II

The A7 II, like all Alpha 7 cameras, uses the Sony E lens mount. Sony’s own E-mount lenses have either FE or E in their model names: all work on the A7 II. FE lenses are designed for use with full-frame Sony cameras, including the A7 II, so these should be your first choice. If you are buying a third-party E-mount lens, check that the lens is designed for use with full-frame Sonys.

Sony lenses with an E (rather than FE) prefix are designed for APS-C format cameras such as the A6000 series. On the A7 II, they produce a cropped image, so they’re not an ideal choice.

Check out our guide to the best Sony lenses if you want to know more

How we test lenses

The lens experts in our testing lab run a range of tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the centre of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths.

There's more to it than just the technical side, though! Beyond the lab, our reviewers test lenses in real-world environments – and sometimes on professional shoots! We work with lenses both indoors and outdoors, in studio conditions and in natural light, with as many different subjects as is possible (or appropriate – there's no point testing a landscape lens' ability to shoot a portrait!). 

We take into account everything from handling and ease of use to speed of autofocus and the overall quality of the images produced. 

Find out more about how we test and review on Digital Camera World

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 but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com