Best lenses for the Sony A7C

Best lenses for the Sony A7C
(Image credit: Sony)

Choosing the best lenses for the Sony A7C (opens in new tab) means taking into account its compact, rangefinder style design, its orientation towards content creators and videographers, and its low price point as the cheapest current full frame Sony Alpha mirrorless camera.

The A7C is one of the best cameras for vlogging, not to mention one of the best 4K cameras for video. We've been a bit lukewarm about it since its launch, given that it's a fairly modest reheat of existing Sony camera technologies, but at the price we have to admit it is one of the best Sony cameras, at least for beginners or new Sony users. 

But this isn't simply going to be a repeat of our main guide to the best Sony lenses. We like to match the lenses with the camera. There are lots of high-end constant aperture Sony G Master lenses that would be fine on a Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) or Sony A1, but would be overkill on this cheaper model – both financially and physically.

The Sony A7C is the company’s smallest full-frame camera and isn’t blessed with the best grip, so it makes sense to choose lenses that are going to balance with it as nicely as possible. Sometimes the ‘best’ lens to put with a particular camera isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ lens you can buy!

We’re also keeping an eye on the price, because one of the reasons for buying the A7C is for its relatively low cost – so owners of this camera are likely to be looking for cost-effective lenses too.

So with all that in mind, these are what we think are the best lenses for the Sony A7C right now.

The best lenses for the Sony A7C in 2022

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(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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Sony's pint-sized retracting kit lens is our top recommendation for this camera

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 8/7
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Linear motor
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.3-0.45m
Maximum magnification: 0.16x
Filter thread: 40.5
Dimensions (WxL): 66.6x45mm
Weight: 167g

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-compact design
+
Excellent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited zoom range
-
Minimum focus changes with zoom

Sony fans are spoilt for choice when choosing a standard zoom. But while the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master is the professionals' choice, it costs a fortune and weighs a ton. The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art (opens in new tab) is half the price but still huge, and while there are also worthy rivals from Samyang and Tamron, it's the modest Sony FE 28-60mm f4-5.6 (opens in new tab) kit lens that we'd recommend as the perfect everyday companion for the Sony A7C. It's true that for a kit lens it has an extremely modest 2.1x zoom range. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it performs extremely well – far better than you might expect from a retracting kit lens. As a kit lens it’s limiting, but still rather good. It was initially launched as the kit lens for the Sony A7C, but now it's available separately and when it's fitted to a regular Sony body you get a camera/lens combo that's really compact for a full-frame camera.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
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This neat and compact ultra-wide zoom is perfect for travel and landscapes

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 13/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: RXD
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.19-0.26m
Max magnification: 0.19x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x99mm
Weight: 420g

Reasons to buy

+
Fabulous image quality
+
High-grade weather-sealed construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly limited overall zoom range
-
No optical stabilizer

Every photographer needs an ultra-wide zoom, whether they realize it straight away or not. And given the Sony A7C's special suitability for travel, this Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD fits the bill perfectly. No full-frame ultra-wide zoom will be small, but the Tamron is neater and certainly easier to carry than Sony's own wide-angle monsters – and a lot easier to afford, too. Despite the Tamron's price, it features high-end, weather-sealed build quality, a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture rating, quick and virtually silent RXD (Rapid eXtra silent stepping drive) autofocus system and, best of all, terrific image quality. Corner-to-corner sharpness is particularly impressive for an ultra-wide-angle lens, even when shooting at the widest aperture. It doesn’t quite match Sony’s 16-35mm lenses for maximum viewing angle but it comes very close, and it’s great value at the price.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
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For the longer end of the zoom scale, this Tamron telephoto is hard to beat

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 19/14
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: RXD
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.27-0.85m
Max magnification: 0.22-0.5x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 81x149mm
Weight: 810g

Reasons to buy

+
Remarkably compact and lightweight
+
Advanced autofocus system
+
Impressive image quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Inner barrel extends when zooming
-
No optical stabilization

The Sony A7C is not a sports camera and it's unlikely you would use it for wildlife either, so we wouldn't suggest any long-range super-telephotos for this camera. But a short-medium constant-aperture telephoto is useful for all sorts of other subjects, from portraits to weddings and event photography – and this Tamron, again, undercuts Sony's own offerings in both weight and cost. By shortening the maximum focal length slightly to 180mm and utilizing some clever design work, Tamron has managed to shoehorn nearly the same telephoto range as a classic pro telephoto into a much smaller and lighter package, while retaining the same fast and constant f/2.8 aperture rating. There’s no real compromise in image quality and all-round performance, making this lens a real winner at the price.

(Image credit: Future)
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This versatile Tamron wide-angle prime can double up as a close up lens too

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 10-9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: OSD
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
-
Barrel distortion needs digital correction

We haven't included a true macro lens in our list of the best lenses for the Sony A7C but this lens (pun warning) is the closest thing. It's also a great substitute for the brilliant but bulkier Tamron 17-28mm ultra-wide zoom if the space in your kit bag is tight. In fact, Tamron offers a trio of wide-angle primes for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras, with 20mm, 24mm and 35mm focal lengths. But if you're going to go wide, it may as well be the widest of the bunch. All three lenses share a common aperture rating of f/2.8 and a filter size of 67mm. The primes have a tough act to follow, as we’ve been hugely impressed with the Tamron 17-28mm and 28-75mm constant-aperture f/2.8 zooms. Keeping in step, this 20mm lens is very lightweight in build and price tag, but goes large on performance with sumptuous image quality.

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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This is middle lens in set of three brilliant pint-sized primes from Sony

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 9/9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.28m
Max magnification: 0.2x
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 68x45mm
Weight: 173g

Reasons to buy

+
Very slim, very light
+
Excellent image quality
+
Declickable aperture ring

Reasons to avoid

-
Only f/2.5
-
Expensive given its specs

The Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G is the middle lens in Sony’s new series of compact full frame mirrorless lenses, and a perfect size and portability match for the Sony A7C. For anyone fed up of the front-heavy feel of Sony’s big, heavy zooms, it's perfect, completely changing the balance and feel of the camera. Like the other two primes in this new series (24mm and 50mm), it’s small and light, and has an aperture ring which can be de-clicked for video. These three lenses are even the same size and weight (near enough), and share the same 49mm filter thread. Compact prime lenses have gained popularity amongst vloggers because they are so easy to use and balance on a gimbal.

(Image credit: Sony)
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A portrait photographer’s dream lens, and this one is affordable too

Specifications

Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 9/8
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Double Linear Motor
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.8m
Max magnification: 0.13x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 78x82mm
Weight: 371g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Compact and lightweight
+
Weather-sealed construction

Reasons to avoid

-
No optical image stabilizer
-
More depth of field than an f/1.4 lens

Sony does make a premium FE 85mm f1.4 G Master lens, but it's very expensive and too much for the modest A7C, which is why we recommend the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 for this camera instead. It's only about a third of the cost and less than half the weight of its f/1.4 G-Master stablemate, so it lightens the load for handheld shooting and is much easier on your bank balance. Handling is refined, build quality is impressive and image quality is excellent in all respects: center-sharpness is absolutely outstanding, even when shooting wide-open, and it remains highly impressive right out to the extreme corners of the frame. Indeed, there’s virtually nothing to be gained in sharpness by stopping down to f/2.8. The quality of bokeh doesn’t match that of the f/1.4 G-Master lens but it’s nevertheless very dreamy, and remains smooth when reducing the aperture a little.

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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)