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Best lenses for the Sony A7R III and A7R IV

Best lenses for Sony A7RIII and A7R IV - man holding Sony A7R iv
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

With best lenses for the Sony A7RIII and A7R IV cameras, you'll have the tools you need to take advantage of these incredibly high-resolution sensors. The A7R mirrorless cameras are all about details, with full-frame sensors that are packed with pixels and deliver incredible resolving power. However, all that power won't mean much if you pair them with lenses that don't reach the same standards. That's where this guide comes in. 

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The high end of Sony's lens range is incredible these days, thanks in particular to the G and G master lens ranges. These optics deliver incredible sharpness, with superior optical paths that let you really get the best out of the A7R cameras. They've got other advantages too; the fact that the cameras have 5.5-stop image stabilization mean that the lenses don't need it, and can be lighter and more portable (which is much needed, as G Master lenses tend to be heavy in their own right).

We've aimed to pick out a range of lenses in different focal lengths for this guide – as long as a lens pairs well with the A7R III and A7R IV, it merits inclusion on this list. While these cameras pair best with expensive, high-quality lenses, we acknowledge that everyone's financial situation is different, so where possible we've also included budget alternatives to many of the lenses listed here. Just be aware that you generally won't get the same level of sharpness when using a cheaper lens!

No matter whether you’re looking for a wide-angle prime for landscapes, a sharp telephoto zoom for portraits, or a professional standard zoom for all situations, we’ve got you covered in our guide to the best lenses for the Sony A7R III and IV.

Best lenses for the Sony A7R III and A7R IV in 2022

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
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An improved version of an already sublime 24-70mm lens

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 20 elements in 15 groups
Dimensions: 88 x 120mm
Weight: 695g
Filter size: 82mm

Reasons to buy

+
F/2.8 constant aperture
+
Superb image quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Inevitably expensive
-
No in-lens stabilization

Was there anything wrong with the original Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM (opens in new tab)? No. Is this updated version better in every way? Absolutely. Honouring the name of its flagship G Master series, Sony has delivered a professional-grade zoom that is pin-sharp across its entire image frame, more comprehensively weather-sealed than the previous lens, and yet, somehow, is also 20 per cent lighter and 18 per cent smaller than the previous version. Witchcraft.

Handling has been revamped and is better than ever, the optical layout is completely revamped, and the lens boasts a new floating autofocus system powered by four XD (eXtreme Dynamic) linear stepping motors. It's incredibly precise, as we extolled in our review, and the technical quality is unimpeachable. Our exacting lab tests revealed a basically faultless lens across its zoom range.

Of course, all this quality comes at a cost. While we firmly think that the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II is worth its price tag, if your budget doesn't stretch that far, the original Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM is still a solid buy. Also worth considering is the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE (opens in new tab), a trinity zoom that received glowing plaudits in our review for the sheer value for money it offers. 

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
A semi-wide prime that's impressively sharp even when wide open

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.4
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 14 elements in 10 groups
Dimensions: 76 x 96mm
Weight: 524g
Filter size: 67mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good results at f1.4
+
Twin XD AF motors

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires meticulous focusing
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Fairly sizeable

A 35mm f/1.4 lens is nothing new, but the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 G Master is something quite special, if only for how good its results are at that maximum aperture. After all, more than a few lens have come with this aperture rating, while delivering wide-open results so soft that you might as well not bother. Not so with this G Master prime, as we discovered when we reviewed the lens – provided you nail the focusing,  the wide-open image quality is astonishingly good. It really expands the utility of the lens.

A good 35mm is ideal for street and general-purpose photography, and as such, it needs an autofocus system that can keep up. The Sony FE 35mm F1.4 G Master passes this test admirably thanks to its twin XD linear motors, which deliver friction-free autofocus with no moving parts. It is just silky smooth in every aspect of operation, including its declickable aperture ring. Every aspect of the lens feels well thought-through, and its quality makes it the ideal complement for the high-resolution sensors of Sony A7R cameras. 

If this lens is too expensive, then we'd also thoroughly recommend, the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* (opens in new tab), a tiny prime lens at the same focal length that's less than half the price, and received a high score in our review. 

Best lenses for Sony A7R III and A7R IV: Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master

(Image credit: Future)
The best super-telephoto zoom for Sony A7R cameras

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 22 elements in 16 groups
Dimensions: 94 x 205mm
Weight: 1,395g
Filter size: 77mm

Reasons to buy

+
Great handling
+
Impressively sharp
+
Compatible with teleconverters

Reasons to avoid

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Somewhat modest aperture range

We were hugely excited to see the coveted G Master line-up of lenses getting a 100-400mm optic, and the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master OSS did not disappoint. Blending superb sharpness with well-pitched handling that supports hand-held shooting, this is an ideal lens for long day capturing sports or wildlife on an A7R camera.

Indeed, in our review we couldn't say enough good things about this lens. Its impressively complex optical path gives it excellent image quality across the board, while the handling is nothing short of impeccable. The focus operates smoothly, the three customisable buttons give you real customisability, and the ‘zoom smoothness’ ring lets you adjust the torque required to move the zoom in accordance with your preferences.

Best lenses for Sony A7R III and A7R IV: Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | C

(Image credit: Sigma)
A 24-70mm alternative that's cheaper and lighter

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Dimensions: 72.2 x 101.5mm
Weight: 470g
Filter size: 58mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good value for f/2.8
+
Light and portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fully weather-sealed
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Poor corner sharpness

We're always on the lookout for great budget alternatives to popular lenses, and this optic from SIgma is a doozy. The Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN | C knocks only 4mm off the wide-end of the standard workhorse 24-70mm focal length, and in doing so, delivers a lens that's light enough to take everywhere, at a seriously tempting price. The centre sharpness of the lens is excellent, as we discovered when we reviewed it, though we did note some drop-off in the corners that is worth being aware of.

Still, a constant aperture of f/2.8 on a lens this affordable is no mean feat. If you need an even cheaper option and can live with a slower, variable aperture, then try the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (opens in new tab), a neat little zoom we've reviewed that comes at a tempting price. 

(Image credit: Future)
It's heavy and pricey, but we promise it's worth it

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.2
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 14 elements in 10 groups
Dimensions: 87 x 108mm
Weight: 788g
Filter size: 72mm

Reasons to buy

+
Amazingly sharp
+
Rugged and weather-sealed

Reasons to avoid

-
Unavoidably bulky
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Vignetting at f/1.2

Full-frame Sony users finally get an in-house f/1.2 lens, and what a lens it is. The Sony FE 50mm F1.2 G Master is a spectacular nifty-fifty, boasting impressive sharpness right the way through its aperture range – yes, even at f/1.2. Sony has built this lens from the ground up with sharpness in mind, and its optical path includes three XA (extreme aspherical) elements that have been engineered to a surface-precision tolerance of 0.01 microns.

What this means, as we found in our review, is that the lens performance is absolutely stellar – blowing away its rivals from the likes of Canon and Nikon. Our lab tests reported basically nothing in terms of imperfections, except for some pincushion distortion, and a little vignetting at f/1.2 

The handling too is excellent. It's a heavy lens, as it needs to be with specs like these, but not exceptionally so in the pantheon of 50mm f/1.2 lenses. This is an all-around fantastic optic, and if its asking price isn't too dear for you, it'll deliver nothing short of spectacular performance. 

Best lenses for the Sony A7R III and A7R IV: Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN | C

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
A high-quality but affordable wide-angle, excellent for interiors

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 13 elements in 11 groups
Dimensions: 70 x 72mm
Weight: 370g
Filter size: 62mm

Reasons to buy

+
Portable, sturdy metal build
+
Aperture ring

Reasons to avoid

-
Noticeable distortion if uncorrected
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No focus distance scale

If you shoot architecture and interiors, or just prefer to take a wider perspective, the Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN | C is an ideal lens to pair with your Sony A7R camera. It's a small, metal-bodied and robust lens with loads of sublime handling features, not least of which is the aperture ring. A small point perhaps, but we always appreciate it when a lens-maker sees fit to add one.

With a high-quality optical path, the Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN | C produces images of impressive sharpness and detail – in our lab tests, we found that sharpness remained impressive even when the lens was used wide-open at f/2. There is noticeable distortion, though it's correctable via software, and colour fringing is pleasingly negligible even in the corners of the frame. 

(Image credit: Future)
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An ultra-wide, ultra sharp zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 17 elements in 14 groups
Dimensions: 97 x 137mm
Weight: 847g
Filter size: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Anti-flare coatings are superb
+
Small and lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

-
Much more expensive than f/4 version
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Lens hood isn’t removable

This ultra wide zoom kicks things up a notch compared with its f/4 cousin, both in terms of optical quality and price. However, for those that want uncompromising quality for their A7R III and IV this is the ultra wide to have. Capable of shooting as wide as f/2.8 makes it perfect for astrophotography and low light, and the Nano AR Coating II reduces flare and ghosting impressively.

Autofocusing is fast and accurate, capable of tracking subjects with ease because of the XD Linear Motors which operate speedily and quietly. There’s no traditional filter thread on the front element though – for that, you’ll need to attach gel filters to the rear of the lens.

Best lenses for the Sony A7R III and A7R IV: Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
An outstanding telephoto prime, perfect for headshots

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.8
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 13 elements in 11 groups
Dimensions: 93 x 130mm
Weight: 772g
Filter size: 82mm

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Weather sealed
+
Half the price of Sony's version

Reasons to avoid

-
No aperture ring

It's not every third-party manufacturer that's brave enough to go toe-to-toe with Sony's G Master lenses, but the Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE is one that pulls it off. This lens is half the price of Sony's version, and is absolutely excellent, earning a perfect score in our review. Its robust, weather-sealed build boasts exceptional handling, its autofocus perfectly synergises with the latest Sony cameras like the A7R IV, and its image quality is top-notch. We were seriously impressed with the results we achieved with the Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE in our lab testing – at f/4, the lens achieved incredibly consistent sharpness from the centre of the frame to the corners, which is not a result you see every day. 

The Sony FE 135mm f1.8 GM (opens in new tab) is a near-faultless lens, also achieving the full five stars in our review. If you need the absolute best, it's probably the buy, but the Samyang is an incredible achievement for half the price. 

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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A pocket rocket, this wide prime is ideal for those on a stricter budget

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 8 elements in 7 groups
Dimensions: 68 x 45mm
Weight: 162g
Filter size: 49mm

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight design suits A7 bodies
+
Strong, stylish build quality and design
+
De-clickable aperture ring

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite pricey for a 24mm f/2.8

This is the 'wide' model of a trio of lenses from Sony that offer portability in a compact design with the same external appearance, (the other two are a 40mm and 50mm). Three aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element help to minimize flare when shooting toward light sources, and minimize color fringing on contrasted subjects.

A fairly fast aperture makes it suitable for interior or any kind of low light shooting scenario and its circular aperture blades produce soft, flattering bokeh. Two linear motors in the lens make it speedy and precise when autofocusing, and a minimum focusing distance of 24cm keeps it versatile for up-close details, too.

Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM

(Image credit: Sony)
One of the finest portrait lenses you can buy

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.4
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
Dimensions: 90 x 108mm
Weight: 820g
Filter size: 77mm

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful bokeh
+
High-grade construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Inevitably expensive
-
Heavy

Many portrait photographers swear by the 85mm short telephoto focal length, and if you're looking to shoot compelling images of people, the Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM lens is one of the smartest buys you can make. Something that's critical in portrait photography is being able to produce images with smooth, attractive bokeh (the defocused areas of an image), and the G Master lens delivers that in spades thanks to its 11-bladed aperture.

Sharpness and image quality are exceptional, as we discovered when we reviewed the lens, and the high-grade construction means that handling is perfectly on point. If you need a cheaper alternative though, the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 (opens in new tab) comes at about a third of the price, and still delivers a lot of the characteristics that portrait photographers are looking for. 

(Image credit: Sony)
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A premium 50mm that’s super sharp and worth every penny

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.4
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 12 elements in 9 groups
Dimensions: 83 x 108mm
Weight: 778g
Filter size: 72mm

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra wide f/1.4 aperture
+
Great lens coatings reduce flare

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a 50mm prime
-
Not fully weather sealed

If you took a nifty fifty and put it on steroids, this might be the result. As expensive as it is, this 50mm gives you a big bang for the buck. It comes with an unsurprisingly wide aperture of f/1.4 which aids subject isolation and favors low light shooting and a T* lens coating is used to reduce ghosting and flare.

It’s able to produce smooth bokeh for gorgeous out of focus backgrounds because of an 11 blade aperture design that’s specially shaped to produce a round aperture for circular bokeh results. The Super Sonic wave Motor (SSM) enhances the lens further with fast, silent autofocus response.

(Image credit: Sony)
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A true 1:1 macro lens with in-built stabilization

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 15 elements in 11 groups
Dimensions: 79 x 130mm
Weight: 602g
Filter size: 62mm

Reasons to buy

+
In lens image stabilization
+
Excellent macro working distance
+
Great value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky

Fitted with helpful distance markers, this true to life macro lens has a 1:1 reproduction ratio (1.0x magnification) which a lens has to reach before it can be considered a true macro lens. It’s great value for money and focuses to infinity so it can be used as a standard lens too. It’s ideal for portraiture due to the longer focal length and wide f/2.8 aperture.

Optical SteadyShot (OSS) stabilization keeps the frame steady when shooting, which aids enormously when photographing macro subjects. A minimum focusing distance of 28cm brings tiny details to the fore and the autofocus/manual switch can be engaged via a pull on the focus ring itself.

(Image credit: Sony)
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A solid choice for gigging pros or enthusiasts that want reliability and clarity

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 23 elements in 18 groups
Dimensions: 88 x 200mm
Weight: 1480g
Filter size: 77mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good Optical SteadyShot stabilization
+
High quality sharpness and bokeh

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite big and very heavy
-
Feels oversized on A7 bodies

A classic 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens makes it into almost every professional photographer’s kit bag at one time or another, and many enthusiasts’ too. It’s so versatile that it performs well at a wide variety of subjects, perfect for low light concert photography because of its wide f/2.8 aperture which is constant throughout the zoom range, and ideal for portraits due to easy subject isolation.

The G Master quality shines through in this lens in the form of an XA (extreme aspherical) element and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements that keep color fringing and lens distortion to a minimum.

How we test lenses

We test lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.

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