Best lenses for the Sony A6400 in 2022

Sony A6400
(Image credit: Sony/Digital Camera World)

To choose the best lenses for the Sony A6400 we strongly took into account size and price. We say the A6400 is one of the best Sony cameras because we think it has the best combination of features, versatility and price. It’s a compact and affordable camera – so surely its lenses should be as well.

We’ve used the Sony A6400, we’ve tested all these lenses, and if we were spending our own money, these are the options we would consider first. You can also check out our longer list of the best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras generally if you like, and many of the best Sony lenses will fit on the A6400 just fine.

We’ve tried to cover a range of interests, from travel to portraits to sports and wildlife. We’ve also taken A6400 video shooters into account as you’ll see from our comments, including a couple of affordable prime lenses which are great for stills photography but also give hassle-free gimbal shooting with lightweight and no zoom and no rebalancing for different zoom settings!

Above all, we’ve tried to balance suitability for the A6400’s size, good performance that can get the most from its 24MP sensor and value for money to reflect the A6400’s asking price.

When you’re buying lenses it’s easy to spend a lot more than you ever intended and way more than the camera cost in the first place. With the A6400 we think it’s important to choose the right lenses for the job that deliver good results without costing a fortune.

Best lenses for the Sony A6400 in 2022

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(Image credit: Future)
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The best long-zoom standard lens for the A6400, that's neat and simple

Specifications

Focal length: 18-135mm (27-200mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: f/3.5-5.6
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

Frustrated by the short focal range of the standard Sony 16-50mm kit lens? Then get this! With an equivalent focal range of 27-200mm in full frame terms, the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS is practically a superzoom, but remains compact, neat and affordable and – unlike almost every other long-zoom lens – it holds its performance even at full zoom. What we like about this lens is its neat, cylindrical design, its fuss-free exterior, easy operation and in-built image stabilizer. Like a lot of modern mirrorless lenses, it does rely on digital as well as optical corrections, but the result is a long-range kit lens with far better image quality across the range than we would normally expect from a lens of this type.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
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A pro-spec standard zoom lens, but without the pro price tag!

Specifications

Focal length: 18-50mm (27-75mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: Constant f/2.8
Elements/groups: 13 elements in 10 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.12m (W) 0.3m (T)
Maximum magnification: 0.36x (W) 0.2x (T)
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions: 65 x 75mm
Weight: 290g

Reasons to buy

+
Constant f/2.8 maximum aperture
+
Value for money
+
Image quality

Reasons to avoid

-
No stabilizer
-
Small... ish

The Sony A6400 is usually sold with Sony's 16-50mm power zoom kit lens, which is very compact and convenient but optically a bit poor. If you want a step up in quality, one option is Sony's rather massive and expensive 16-55mm f/2.8 G, but we would pick this instead. The Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN offers a constant f/2.8 aperture, just like the Sony lens, with classic 3x zoom range for a standard zoom. Given its constant maximum aperture, the Sigma is remarkably compact (our shot shows it fitted to our Sony A7R III, but you'll get the idea). It's a well-built, weather-resistant lens with super-fast and virtually silent autofocus and impressive image quality. All in all, this Sigma is a little(ish) lens that really does punch well above its weight.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
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A great super-wide zoom for travel photography and vlogging

Specifications

Focal length: 10-20mm (15-30mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: Constant f/4
Elements/groups: 11 elements in 8 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.2m (AF), 0.13-0.17m (MF)
Maximum magnification: 0.14x (AF), 0.18x (MF)
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions: 70 x 55mm
Weight: 178g

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-wide angle of view
+
Constant f/4 maximum aperture
+
Power zoom mechanism

Reasons to avoid

-
No stabilization
-
Quite expensive

Sony also makes an older 10-18mm f/4 OSS which is a little cheaper than this one and also worth considering. The 10-18mm has optical stabilization, which is good for stills photography, but this new E PZ 10-20mm F4 G has a power zoom, which is ideal for video, so take your pick. The Sony E PZ 10-20mm F4 G is especially good for vloggers who need to film themselves and their background because it gives a wider angle of view than a regular zoom. It's also a great travel lens, ideal for narrow city streets, tall landmarks and spectacular interiors. Sadly, none of the ultra-wide lens options for the Sony A6400 are cheap, but its such a useful lens to have that we recommend it anyway.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
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If you're more into sports and wildlife, this is the lens for you

Specifications

Focal length: 70-350mm (105-525mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: f/4.5-6.3
Elements/groups: 19/13
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 1.1-1.5m
Maximum magnification: 0.23x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 77x142mm
Weight: 625g

Reasons to buy

+
Very good image quality
+
Virtually silent autofocus

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow-ish maximum aperture
-
Quite expensive

For longer range subjects you need a lens with big magnifying power but also the optical quality for sharp results. So while there is a cheaper and smaller Sony E 55-210mm lens, this is the one we would recommend for sports and wildlife fans. The Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS is a fairly big and expensive lens, but it sports a 5x zoom range equating to 105-525mm on a full-frame body, so it's practically in super-telephoto territory. It might not have an ultra-fast maximum aperture, but the modest f/4.5-6.3 aperture rating enables a much more compact, lightweight build, and it does have Sony's OSS optical image stabilization system. It's a biggish lens, but offers huge range at an affordable price.

(Image credit: Future)
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This is a versatile everyday prime lens that can also do close-ups

Specifications

Focal length: 20mm (30mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 10-9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.11m
Max magnification: 0.5x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 72x64mm
Weight: 220g

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional sharpness
+
0.5x macro capability

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the fastest AF
-
Slightly chunky on the A6400

We said in the introduction that we wanted to include a couple of prime lenses, and this is the first. The Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 is actually a full frame lens, so if you decide later to upgrade to a full frame Sony, this lens will work just fine. On a full frame camera it's a wide-angle prime, while fitted to a Sony A6400 it's equivalent to a 30mm lens – perfect as a semi-wideangle 'street photography' lens, in other words. Not only that, its 1:2 close up capability means it's half way (literally) towards a full macro lens, so it does two jobs not one. Best of all it's not too big and not too expensive, despite first rate optical performance, so it's a great buy for Sony A6400 users.

(Image credit: Sony)
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This 'nifty fifty' full frame lens is perfect for portraits on the Sony A6400

Specifications

Focal length: 50mm (75mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Elements/groups: 6/5
Diaphragm blades: 7
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.45m
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 69x60mm
Weight: 186g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value
+
Lightweight, travel-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
No weather seals
-
Some vignetting at f/1.8

Here's another full frame Sony lens that makes a brilliant option for the Sony A6400. On a full frame camera, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 is a 'nifty fifty', a classic standard prime lens with an angle of view said to closely resemble the human field of vision. Fitted to the Sony A6400, with its smaller sensor, it gives the same angle of view as a 75mm lens, which is close to the ideal focal length for a portrait lens – it makes you stand a little further away, which delivers more flattering facial perspectives. The f/1.8 maximum aperture means you can create nicely defocused backgrounds, though if you're shooting video you may find there's some motor noise from the autofocus. At this price, though, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 is a bit of a bargain for Sony A6400 owners.

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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)