Zoom lenses are great for giving you the most flexibility, enabling a range of focal lengths to be accessible without having to change the lens. However, it can be tough trying to decide what to buy when considering the best zoom lenses for Sony cameras.
When choosing a zoom lens, you need to think about which type of camera you’ve got. That’s made a little more tricky with Sony when you consider that the company currently offers both full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras for its DSLT A mount and E mount – so that’s four different types of lenses. If you’re shooting with one of the APS-C type cameras, such as the Sony A6500, you’ll need to consider the “crop factor” when looking at a lens. With Sony cameras, this equates to 1.5x the length written on the lens. So, for example, a 16-70mm lens actually offers a 35mm equivalent of 24-105mm.
Next, think about the type of zoom lens you want. In this piece, we have separated the choices into two options – standard zooms and telephoto zoom lenses. Standard zooms are great choices to use as “everyday” lenses, something you’re likely to have on your camera most of the time, being useful for a wide range of conditions. By contrast, you’ll want to use a telephoto zoom for subjects such as action, sports and wildlife – anything where you need to get closer to the subject.
Best zoom lenses for Sony – Standard
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master Lens
For: Full-frame E Mount | Street price: £2,299
One of Sony’s newest optics to be added to its stunning “G Master” range is the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. This standard zoom is incredibly sharp and gives you a good walk around option, with the wide angle being great for landscapes and architecture, while the shorter end is ideal for street photography. The wide maximum aperture is available throughout the zoom lens, making it great for low light photography and capturing a shallow depth of field effect.
Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 G Master Lens
For: Full-frame E Mount | Street Price: £1,899
Just like other manufacturers, Sony has a classic 24-70mm lens available for its full-frame E mount cameras. in fact it has two, but this version is the more optically superior G Master. It has a maximum wide aperture throughout the zoom range and boasts a great deal of sharpness. Use it for a wide variety of subjects from landscapes to portraits.
Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
For: Full-frame / APS-C | E Mount Street Price: £395
If you’re looking for a standard lens but don’t have the budget, the 28-70mm is a very affordable option. As a trade off you don’t get a wide aperture, but it’s a versatile lens which is suitable for lots of different subjects. It’s designed for full-frame cameras, but you can also use it with APS-C cameras.
Sony E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
For: APS-C E Mount | Equivalent Focal Length: 24-105mm | Street Price: £779
If you’ve got something like the Sony A6300 or A6500, then this lens would make for an excellent walk around optic. Zeiss is known for its high quality, and the construction of this lens matches well with the more advanced Sony E Mount APS-C cameras. An equivalent focal length of 24-105mm makes it suited to a good range of different subjects, including landscapes at the wide angle end and portraits at the telephoto end.
Sony E 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens
For: APS-C E Mount | Equivalent Focal Length: 27-157.5mm | Street Price: £469
This super flexible lens gives you lots of scope to shoot from a wide angle to a mid-length telephoto angle. You have an f/4 maximum aperture which should suit some shallow depth of field effects, especially when shooting at the full 105mm reach. It’s also a good option for those on a budget as you get a range of focal lengths available in one sub £500 lens.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Lens – Sony Fit
For: APS-C A Mount | Equivalent Focal Length: 27-52.5mm | Street Price: £649
For zoom lenses to have such a wide aperture as this special lens from Sigma is pretty unusual. With this wide angle lens, it’s like carrying a set of prime lenses, but without the hassle of having to swap lenses. Classic focal lengths like 28mm, 35mm and 50mm are covered, as well as having a wide aperture. It makes for a great walkaround lens, covering subjects like street photography and travel. It’s quite a big lens, but, it’s still smaller (and more convenient) than three equivalent lenses taking up space in your kit bag.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA SSM II Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens
For: Full-Frame A Mount | Street Price: £1,729
A standard zoom lens for your full-frame Sony A mount camera, like the Sony A99 II. This lens has been designed to reduce ghosting and flare, with super fast AF performance. It’s also dust and moisture resistant, which should appeal to those who spend a lot of time photographing outdoors.
Best zoom lenses for Sony – telephoto
Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G SSM II Lens
For: Full-Frame A Mount | Street Price: £2,799
An ideal lens for a variety of subjects, including sports and wildlife but also things like portraits. This lens is faster and quieter than its predecessor, making it ideal for use in quiet environments. A maximum wide aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range makes it ideal for use in low -light situations such as weddings and events.
Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di USD Lens – Sony Fit
For: Full-frame / APS-C A Mount | Street Price: £829
For ultimate telephoto flexibility, the Tamron 150-600mm, which works with both APS-C and full-frame sensors gives you a fantastic range to work with. That makes it great for sports, wildlife and action, getting you incredibly close to the subject. As a trade off, you have a relatively narrow aperture, but it’s worth remembering that when shooting at super long focal lengths, you’ll still get a shallow depth of field effect.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master Lens
For: Full-frame E mount | Street Price: £2,499
Anyone using Sony’s A9 or A7 range of cameras and shooting sports, action and wildlife will surely be tempted by the excellent 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens. Being a G Master, it has been designed for ultimate sharpness and performance. It is also dust and moisture resistant, and boasts super fast focusing speeds. If your budget is a little more limited, there’s also a 70-200mm f/4 option which is available for a cheaper price.
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master Lens
For: Full-frame E Mount | Street Price: £2,499
One of Sony’s newest lenses, announced at the same time as the Sony A9, this flexible 100-400mm focal length is perfect for sports, wildlife and action photographers. However, as a trade off, you don’t get the same wide aperture as you enjoy with the 70-200mm option. It’s still a G Master lens though, which promises extreme sharpness and high quality performance.
Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens
For: APS-C E Mount | Equivalent focal length: 82.5-315mm | Street Price: £279
This good value telephoto zoom lens is ideal for a range of subjects, including sports and wildlife. There isn’t a wide maximum aperture, but image stabilisation and a light construction make it well suited to E mount mirrorless cameras, such as the A6300.