Sony has become one of the leading names in the world of digital cameras, especially in the full-frame division. Their A-series cameras have been pushing the frontiers of digital photography. Each release sets a new standard for mirrorless cameras.
But what about their lenses? They may not have the renown of Nikon and Canon in the lens department, but their FE lenses are truly excellent. There’s a high standard of build quality and image creation throughout the series.
We’ll go through the best Sony FE lenses in this post.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
What is the Sony FE Lens Series?
Sony FE lenses are compatible with Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. There is a series of E lenses, which are made for Sony’s APS-C crop sensor cameras. But the FE series is specific to their full-frame camera range.
The Sony full-frame cameras are those from the A7 and A9 ranges. And they are some of the most powerful mirrorless cameras on the market.
All Sony FE lenses can be swapped and changed with any Sony FE-mount camera. There’s an excellent array to choose from if you’re a Sony shooter.
You can use Sony E-mount lenses on FE-mount cameras, but the image will be cropped due to the different sensor sizes. The camera automatically switches to ASP-C mode.
There is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to Sony FE lenses. You can swap one lens for another. And you have a wide range of lenses to choose from. There’s everything from prime and zoom lenses to macro and telephoto lenses.
12 Best Sony FE Lenses
Now we’ll get stuck into the best Sony FE lenses. We’ll take a look at the details so you can make an educated decision when buying your next FE lens.
Remember, it’s impossible to define one lens as the absolute best. It depends on what you want to shoot. All Sony’s lenses are of excellent quality, but we’ll help you navigate the jargon so you can make the right decision.
For our top pick, we’re going for the best all-rounder. It’s a standard zoom lens that gives you a wide range of shooting options. If you were only allowed to leave the house with one lens, this is the lens you’d want to have.
It’s a zoom lens with a focal length range from 24 to 105mm, giving you a lot to play with. It’s a powerful zoom, so you can get those shots that are usually out of reach. It also gives you a minimum focusing distance of 38cm. It’s not macro, but that’s still close up.
The lens is comprised of seven glass elements. Four of which are aspherical, and three are extra-low dispersion elements. The elements are made with precision engineering, giving you corner-to-corner resolution.
The quality of the glass elements means there’s minimal if any, chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range. No matter what you’re shooting, the image quality will be pristine and clear.
The manual focusing ring is responsive and smooth. And the autofocus system is excellent, using Sony’s unique direct drive supersonic motor system (DDSM). It’s fast, quiet, and precise.
The Sony FE 24-105mm lens is a go-to lens for many photographers. You can switch from street photography to portraits without having to change lenses. It’s a top quality and versatile piece of equipment.
35mm prime lenses are often perceived as limited or job-specific. But the FE 35mm is a recent release from Sony, and it’s turning out to be a must-have prime lens. With its f/1.8 large aperture, this Sony EF prime lens is turning heads.
The lens quality is excellent. The special aspherical glass element ensures superb optical performance, with no distortion or aberration. But it’s the 9-blade aperture that sets this lens apart. This unique design allows for a wider maximum aperture.
35mm lenses are great for everyday shooting out in the street. But the f/1.8 aperture opens this lens up to new styles and techniques. Not only does it allow you to shoot in low-light situations, but it also gives you a beautiful and soft bokeh effect.
The autofocus is fast and precise. And it’s powered by a linear motor that makes very little noise. The focus hold button is a handy feature, allowing you to fix the focus position if you need to recompose the scene.
One of the most striking things about this FE lens is how compact it is. It’s 6.5cm wide and 7.3cm long. And the whole thing weighs only 280g. Sony has kept things tight, but they made no compromises in build quality.
The Sony FE 12-24mm GM is a wide-angle zoom lens. Or rather, it’s an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens. It gives an extraordinary wide angle of view, making it highly desirable to photographers in many areas.
Focal lengths don’t get much more wide-angle than 12mm. And when set to its widest setting, you can create some dynamic perspectives. You can emphasise distances and showcase expansive spaces.
The exterior of the lens has a basic design, but it hides a lens system of the highest sophistication. Within the lens lies three extreme aspherical elements, with another aspherical element for extra clarity. From 12mm to 24mm, this lens delivers superb image quality.
The autofocus system is impressive, even by Sony standards. The AF is driven by four linear motors, making it fast and accurate. It also has tracking abilities, so you don’t lose sharpness when shooting moving subjects.
The Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 G Master isn’t cheap. But if you can afford it, you won’t regret it. It’s a sublime piece of equipment.
The FE 85mm G Master is a Sony E-mount lens specifically crafted for portrait photography. If you’re a portrait photographer and you’re looking for a portrait lens to go with your Sony mirrorless camera, this could be the one for you.
This G Master lens has an aperture range from f/1.4 to f/16, giving you flexibility in the studio or on location. The lens has a constant f/1.4 max aperture that will help you maintain exposure. And it allows you to achieve an excellent bokeh effect.
The circular aperture system enhances the blurred bokeh effect. It uses 11 blades that maintain a circular gap through which the light can pass. This gives backgrounds and light sources a softer blur than many other lenses.
Optical quality is never in question with this lens. It uses a combination of extra-low dispersion (ED) and super ED glass elements. Even at the edges of your shots, chromatic aberration is not something you’ll have to worry about.
The autofocus is powered by a supersonic wave motor. That may sound complicated, but all you need to know is that it’s fast and precise. And you can barely hear it. If you want to change to manual focus, you can flick the switch in one second.
The Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master lens is a portrait lens by classification. But we shouldn’t pigeonhole it too much. It’s a versatile piece of equipment that can also be used for product, fashion, and fine art photography.
The Sony FE 90mm is the master macro lens for all of Sony’s full-frame cameras. It’s perfect for capturing precise and detailed subjects. The lens gets you close and gives you excellent image quality throughout its range.
It has a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture, reducing down to an f/22 aperture. That’s an excellent range for a macro lens. It also has the circular blade system found in many Sony E-mount lenses. This system helps achieve superb bokeh and focusing effects.
The autofocus is driven by a Direct Drive SSM system. There are two “floating focus” lens groups, each powered by its own motor. And despite having two motors, you won’t hear a thing. The near-silent motor makes it perfect for insect photography.
You also get a focus range limiter, allowing you to narrow down the search area of the autofocus. It can save time and makes the AF system even more precise.
One of the main selling points of this FE lens is the optical stabilisation system. Hand-held macro photography is tricky, as the slightest amount of shake can have a huge effect. But this system maintains excellent image quality even if you’re shooting by hand.
This is the best macro lens for Sony E-mount full-frame cameras. The build quality is superb, as you would expect from Sony, but the price isn’t out of this world. The FE 90mm G OSS is the lens you need for macro photography.
The Sony Sonnar T 55mm is a high-quality lens with a broad appeal among Sony full-frame camera users. It’s an excellent choice for street and travel photography. And the 55mm focal length gives an alternative look to a 35mm, giving you a narrower field of view.
You get an excellent aperture range, from f/1.8 to f/22. You won’t need to change lenses or push your ISO when conditions change. The aperture system uses nine blades that maintain a circular aperture.
The bokeh effect is not something often associated with prime lenses of this type. But when the aperture is wide open, you can achieve a beautiful burred effect. This is helped by the Sony blade system for the lens aperture.
That said, these types of effects aren’t the speciality of this lens. You might experience some light rings towards the edges if you push it too far in this direction. But for an everyday lens for Sony mirrorless cameras, it’s fantastic.
The size is slightly large for a prime lens. And this might put off some street photographers who like to keep a low profile. But for image quality and versatility, it’s of the highest order.
The price of a telephoto lens can often put people off. But for specific fields of photography, it’s an essential piece of equipment. And if you’re a Sony user, the FE 70-200mm G Master lens is the best in the business.
It’s a telephoto zoom lens with a focal length range of 70 to 200mm, giving you a huge variety of scope to work with. The glass elements are beautifully constructed, giving you pristine optimal quality. They have a Nano AR coating that prevents reflections and flare.
The lens has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, which maintains exposure quality and depth of field control. The circular blade aperture system also helps create a fabulous bokeh effect.
The autofocus system is terrific But it’s the optical steady shot image stabilisation that takes this lens to a new level of precision. Whether you’re experiencing camera shake or shooting a subject that won’t hold still, the stabiliser keeps everything sharp.
Telephotos are perfect for wildlife and sports photography. But the features and functions of the Sony FE 70-200mm make it ideal for portraits and telephoto macro photography. The dust and moisture-resistant build means you can take it out into the field.
This Sony FE telephoto lens isn’t cheap, so it’s not something to buy on a whim. But if you’re a professional with a Sony mirrorless camera, you can consider this an investment. The Sony FE 70-200mm G Master won’t disappoint you if you need a telephoto lens.
The Sony Sonnar T FE 35mm ZA is a pancake lens. It’s a prime lens, so it has no zoom capabilities. And it has a fixed 35mm focal length.
It’s categorised as a pancake lens because it’s shorter than it is wide. It’s a compact prime lens that’s lightweight and easy to carry. This pancake lens is perfect for street photographers who like to stay discreet.
But despite its small size, it’s a versatile piece of equipment. It gives you a wide aperture range, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. This goes down to f/22, giving you a lot of room to manoeuvre. This pancake lens gives you a wonderfully wide angle as well.
This Sony E-mount lens uses a Carl Zeiss T* coating for its optical elements. It practically eliminates lens flare and ghosting, giving you superb resolution right to the edge of the shot.
The lens uses the circular aperture system we see on many of Sony’s FE lenses. And it’s dust and moisture resistant, meaning you can take it out shooting even when conditions aren’t perfect.
The Sony Sonnar T 35mm pancake lens is a nifty piece of kit. It’s pocket-sized and lightweight. But there is no compromise in quality. It’s a perfect lens for photographers that don’t want too much attention.
The Sony FE 24-70mm G Master lens is a versatile zoom lens. It’s made for precision photography for any of Sony’s high-resolution full-frame cameras.
It doesn’t have the biggest zoom range. But the range from 24 to 70mm gives you a lot to work with. And the image quality is excellent throughout that range.
The quality of the glass is never in doubt with Sony FE lenses. But this zoom lens uses an extreme aspherical element in combination with the other extra-low density elements. It gives you precision with no aberration. And the nano AR coating also helps to prevent any distortion.
The lens gives you an excellent constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, with the aperture range reaching f/22 at the other end. That’s impressive for a zoom lens with such a large focal range. It gives you fantastic low light control.
You have a direct drive SSM motor for the autofocus system. It works smoothly with very little noise. And it works well for video as well as stills. The focus hold mode is another great benefit when using this lens.
The Sony FE 24-70mm G Master is a zoom lens of the highest quality. It isn’t cheap, but you are paying for an excellent zoom lens. It’s versatile and holds up when it comes to precision image capture.
10. Sony FE 28mm F2
The Sony FE 28mm is a handy little prime lens. It’s compact and light, and the image quality is excellent. It has become an ‘everyday’ lens for many Sony photographers.
It works well with all the Sony E-mount cameras. But it partners particularly well with the Sony a7 series.
The focal length is fixed at 28mm, meaning there’s no zoom. But that’s perfect for street photography. And the weight, which is only 200g, makes it ideal for travel photography too.
The glass element quality is not in question. And the lens uses the circular aperture system that is starting to set Sony lenses apart from the competition. The apertures range from f/2 to f/22, so you have fantastic creative control.
Sony lenses aren’t known for their low prices. That is in part due to their build and performance. This prime lens has build quality associated with Sony lenses, but you won’t have to break the bank to buy one.
The Sony FE 16-35mm G Master is a wide-angle zoom lens at the top of its field. It’s perfect for landscape and real-estate photography. And you can even use it for astrophotography with impressive results.
The aperture range is excellent to work with. The maximum aperture is f/2.8, and the minimum is f/22. That’s plenty of space to work with. And shooting close-ups with the f/2.8 will give you a beautiful bokeh effect.
Again, we see the Sony circular aperture system, but this time with 11 blades. This gives your soft-focus effects smoother edges without losing colour. And as well as the usual extra-low density glass elements, this lens also has two extreme aspherical pieces. Distortion is rarely a concern.
You get a solid autofocus system. And there’s the focus hold button that is another bonus. But one problem is the weight. It’s a hefty piece of gear that you’ll feel in your arms if you’re shooting by hand.
But despite the heft, the Sony FE 16-35mm GM lens is one of the best wide-angle zoom lenses on the market. Perhaps not quite as good as the FE 12-24mm GM, but it’s up there. Unfortunately, quality like this doesn’t come cheap.
If you need of a heavy-duty telephoto lens for a Sony E-mount camera, this could be the lens for you. The Sony FE 100-400mm GM lens gives you tremendous telescopic power with your Sony camera.
The focal length range starts at 100mm and goes all the way up to 400mm. That can change the rules of photography. You can capture animals at a distance without disturbing them. And you take sports shots from outside the arena.
As with all the other lenses on this list, this lens has excellent glass quality. And there’s the circular blade aperture. But the optical steady shot stabilisation system makes their telephoto lenses stand out. It ensures sharp and crisp images even when shooting from hand.
The lens has two supersonic wave motors to power the autofocus system. It’s precise and reliable, even when you’re shooting sports or animals on the move. And you can switch to manual focus in the blink of an eye. The focus hold button is another great feature.
A telephoto lens like this one is an investment. It isn’t cheap, but if you need a telephoto lens that has power and precision, the Sony FE 100-400mm GM lens could be the one for you.
Sony is making some of the best lenses for full-frame cameras right now. If you’re a Sony E-mount camera user, lens quality isn’t something you’re going to have to worry about. At least not if you stick to the Sony brand.
But there is a price tag to this standard of lens. Of course, this will depend on what you need. A prime lens will be cheaper than a telephoto lens. But there is an excellent array of Sony FE lenses to choose from.
I hope this list has pointed you in the right direction to select the best Sony FE lens for you.
If you’re looking at one of these telephoto lenses for wildlife photography, check out our Wonderful Wildlife course to make sure you get the best shots possible!