The 12 Best Lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000

The 12 Best Lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000

Mirrorless cameras have been making waves in the photography world in recent years and Sony may be the leader of the pack. The a6500, a6300, and a6000 are mid-range mirrorless options in the Sony lineup. These APS-C (crop sensor) cameras are compact, but powerful, pieces of equipment that are good for people who want to take excellent photos but don’t want to haul around a heavy DSLR. While all kinds of photographers have jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon, it is the people who like to take their cameras everywhere who love them the most. Use our guide to the best mirrorless cameras to find some of our other favorite picks and help you decide what’s the best for you.

All three of these cameras use Sony’s E Mount lens system. These cameras have the same size sensor and mount system and benefit from the same lenses. These cameras work with all Sony E Mount lenses and can work with other mounting systems with the use of an adapter. Photographers who are switching from a DSLR to the Sony system or those who have a specific lens they love often use adapters so their E Mount cameras can work with almost any lens. With a good adapter, lens options aren’t a limiting factor with these mirrorless cameras.

The a6500, a6300, and a6000 are all sold as standalone bodies or as part of a kit with Sony’s 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. The 16-50mm kit lens covers a versatile focal range and isn’t a terrible performer but it can certainly be improved upon. The 16-50mm is a decent place to start but other lenses can offer different perspectives, wider apertures, better bokeh, and faster autofocus. If you’re serious about photography you’re probably going to want to go beyond the kit lens.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the best lenses for these three cameras. We’ll be breaking this list into prime and zoom lenses—each of which have their own benefits. Zoom lenses give you the versatility of multiple focal lengths in one package. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length but are known for being exceptionally sharp.

Best Zoom Lenses for the Sony a6000, a6300, and a6500

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount Lens Sony Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3
Lens Sony E 10-18mm
f/4 OSS
Sony 16-50mm
f/2.8 A Mount Lens
Sony Vario-Tessar
T* 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3
Focal Length 10-18mm 16-50mm 16-70mm 18-105mm 18-200mm 55-210mm
Widest Aperture f/4 f/2.8 f/4 f/4 f/3.5 f/4.5
Stabilization Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minimum Focus Distance 10 in. 12 in. 1.2 ft. 1.5 ft. 1.6 ft. 3.3 ft.
Weight 8 oz. 20 oz. 10.9 ft. 15 oz. 16 oz. 12.2 oz.
Weather Sealing No Yes No No No No
Autofocus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost $750 $750 $1,000 $600 $750 $350
Rental $50 $55 $66 $44 $45 $30

1. Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS

($50 weekly rental, $750 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-1

Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS

The Sony 10-18mm f/4 is one of the best E Mount landscape lenses for Sony a6000, a6300, and a6500 users; especially those who like to shoot ultrawide. The 10-18mm f/4 is tack-sharp in the center with only minor softening at the sides of the frame. Distortion is minimal for a lens this wide. The Sony 10-18mm f/4’s stabilization system uses gyro sensors built into the lens to prevent the blur that can be caused by camera shake. This lens uses extra low dispersion glass to prevent chromatic aberration and increase contrast. The Sony 10-18mm f/4 is super solid and well-built, which is good considering that it is most likely to be used by landscape photographers who are out in the elements.

2. Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount Lens

($55 weekly rental, $750 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-2

Sony 16-50mmSony’s 16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount lens is one of the best all-around lenses for these three cameras. On an APS-C camera, this focal length is incredibly versatile, allowing for both reasonably wide-angle shots as well as a good amount of mid-range zoom. This lens may have the same focal length as the kit lens, but it is light years better in terms of sharpness and low light performance. This lens has some light falloff at the edges which becomes more noticeable at wider apertures but this is generally a very minor problem. At the longer end this lens produces nice, smooth bokeh. While this lens has an A Mount it can be used on the cameras with an adapter. The adapter adds additional cost but for the improvement in image quality compared to the kit lens of the same focal length, we think it’s worth it.

3. Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS

($66 weekly rental, $900 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-3

Sony Vario TessarThe Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS is the best E Mount zoom lens for the Sony cameras. This lens has a wide focal range, allowing it to capture all types of subjects. Want to take close up portraits as well as wide landscape shots? This lens will let you do it. The 16-70mm f/4 lens has Carl Zeiss anti-reflective coatings to cut down on glare and ghosting. This lens does have a small amount of chromatic aberration in the form of purple fringing near the edges of the frame but it is fairly minor and can be managed by stopping down your aperture. The 16-70mm f/4 has some barrel distortion typical of wide-angle lenses but it is not severe. If you want one super versatile lens to take on your travels or use while walking around town, this is an excellent choice.

4. Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS

($60 weekly rental, $600 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-4

Sony e PZ 18-105mmSony’s E Mount 18-105mm f/4 G OSS lens is a well-priced option for photographers wanting an upgrade from the kit lens in terms of quality and focal range. For this price, this is really good glass. This solidly built metal-barreled lens has a quiet motor and smoothly turning focus rings which make shooting both photos and video a breeze. This lens produces images that are very sharp near the center, especially when shot between f/4 and f/5.6. Sharpness near the edge of the frame deteriorates at apertures from f/18 to f/22 but it is not enough to be a problem for most people. This is a versatile lens that performs well in a variety of conditions.

5. Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE

($45 weekly rental, $750 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-5

Sony 18-200mmThe Sony E Mount 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 is a good option for photographers looking for a high-quality wide to long-range zoom. While this lens is known for taking very sharp images, especially at the long end, its biggest asset is probably its wide focal range, which allows for one lens to be used in a variety of settings. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 when zoomed out to 18mm and f/6.3 at 200mm, so it is not as adept as some of the others in very low light situations. But if you are shooting in well lit areas, it is more than capable. This lens produces no noticeable fringing throughout most of its focal length and only a tiny amount at 18mm and 200mm. As can be expected with a lens with this wide of a focal range, some barrel distortion is evident in photos, especially near 18mm. Post-processing in Lightroom or Photoshop may correct these effects. The wide focal range makes this one of the best travel lenses for these Sony cameras.

6. Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3

($30 weekly rental, $350 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-6

Sony e-mount 55-210mmThe Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens may be the best sports lens for these cameras. This E Mount lens’ 210mm maximum focal length lets you zoom in on your subjects from far away so that you never miss the action. This lens doesn’t have significant distortion but it does exhibit a fairly large amount of sun flare when the sun is near the frame. The Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 has Sony’s built-in image stabilization which does an excellent job of preventing image blur. While this lens may not be able to handle low light as well as some others, when it comes to well-lit sports and wildlife shooting it does a good job, especially for the price.

Best Prime Lenses for Sony a6000, a6300 and a6500

Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA E-Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro
Lens Zeiss Touit 12mm
f/2.8
Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA
E-Mount Carl Zeiss
Sonnar Lens
Sigma 30mm f/2.8
EX DN
Sony E 50mm
f/1.8 OSS
Sony 100mm f/2.8
A Mount Macro
Focal Length 12mm 20mm 24mm 30mm 50mm 100mm
Widest Aperture f/2.8 f/2.8 f/1.8 f/2.8 f/1.8 f/2.8
Stabilization No No No No Yes No
Minimum Focus Distance 7 in. 8 in. 6.2 ft. 12 in. 1.3 ft. 1.2 ft.
Weight 9.2 oz. 2.5 oz. 8 oz. 4.8 oz. 7.2 oz. 17.6 oz.
Weather Sealing No No No No No No
Autofocus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost $700 $325 $1,000 $170 $300 $750
Rental $60 $52 $58 $18 $27 $55

1. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

($60 weekly rental, $700 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-7

Zeiss Touit 12mmZeiss is known for making high-quality lenses that take crystal clear photos and the Touit 12mm f/2.8 is no exception. This E Mount lens is designed for landscape photographers who love shooting ultrawide prime lenses—and it excels at its job. While this lens does produce some moderate barrel distortion, this can be almost entirely corrected in post-processing. Ghosting and sun flare are very minimal with this lens although its bokeh leaves something to be desired. If creamy backgrounds are your thing, this isn’t the lens for you but if you’re looking for a wide-angle lens with sharp optics and the highest build quality, look no further than the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8.

2. Sony E 20mm f/2.8

($52 weekly rental, $325 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-8

Sony 20mm f/2.8One of the primary reasons people purchase mirrorless cameras like the a6000, a6300 and a6500 is because of their small size—which is largely negated when you put a heavy lens on the front. The Sony E Mount 20mm f/2.8 is a “pancake” style lens that represents a solid upgrade from the kit lens in a tiny, flat package. This lens produces images that are fairly sharp in the center at f/2.8 and very sharp by the time you hit f/5.6. The 20mm f/2.8 weighs in at just 2.5 ounces, making it a really good choice for people whose primary concern is weight. Photographers who want their mirrorless camera to feel like a point and shoot will love this lens.

3. Sony 24mm f/1.8 E Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar

($58 weekly rental, $900 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-9

Sony 24mm f/1.8If you are upgrading from the kit lens and only the best will do, the Sony 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens is an excellent choice. Sure, you’ll be losing some flexibility by switching from a zoom to a prime lens, but you will be rewarded with sharper images and better low light performance. The 24mm focal length is wide enough for landscapes but not so wide as to be unusable for portraits—and Zeiss glass is some of the best in the business. This lens has strong light falloff at f/1.8 which can be mitigated by enabling the camera’s “shading compensation” feature. This lens’ minor pincushion distortion can be controlled with in-camera distortion compensation. This E Mount lens produces good bokeh, especially for being so wide. If you are the kind of photographer for whom only the best will do, this is the way to go.

4. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN

($170 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-10

Sigma 30mm f/2.8Is the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN as high quality of a lens as some of the others on our list? No, but it isn’t meant to be. Instead, it’s a very affordable prime lens for Sony E Mount cameras that offers super sharp optics for under $200. This lens produces sharp images with only a hint of softening near the corners when shot wide open. A very minimal amount of barrel distortion is present near the edges of photos shot with this lens. The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens is a great gateway to prime lens photography. It’s a versatile focal length that works well for street photography, portraits, and more!

5. Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS

($27 weekly rental, $300 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-11

Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSSEvery company seems to be making a version of the “nifty fifty”—a fast, inexpensive 50mm lens that is a great entry point for many photographers into prime lenses or upgraded glass. Sony’s E Mount version of the nifty fifty delivers with good low light performance and bokeh. This lens is very sharp around f/4 and, for the price, produces very good bokeh. This is one of the best portrait lenses for the Sony a6000, a6300 and a6500, especially when you consider the price. This lens gets the job done and does it without breaking the bank.

6. Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro

($55 weekly rental, $750 retail)
best-lenses-for-sony-a600-12

Sony 100mm f/2.8The Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro is the best macro lens for the Sony a6000, a6300, and a6500, especially if having autofocus is important to you. This lens is able to focus at just a foot away from the subject, making tiny objects look big with a 1:1 reproduction ratio. This lens produces clear images for those who like taking up-close photos of tiny things and has the ability to shoot at magnification levels from 1:1 to 1:10. Fringing is fairly heavy at f/2.8 but pretty much gone by f/5.6. If you shoot using any of these three lines, this is your macro lens. This is an A Mount lens but it can be used on E Mount cameras with an adapter.

Conclusion

With so many good and affordable options on the market, picking a new lens for a Sony a6000, a6300, and a6500 can be a challenge. If you’re having hard time deciding which lens to buy, renting provides you a more informed decision. Few things will give you the confidence to know you made the right choice like getting your hands on these lenses and taking them for a spin!

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS CC Image courtesy of John Shedrick on Flickr
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount Lens CC Image courtesy of ROMA-94 on Flickr
Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS CC Image courtesy of Jonas Wagner on Flickr
Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS CC Image courtesy of alans1948 on Flickr
Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE CC Image courtesy of Dennis Jarvis on Flickr
Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 CC Image courtesy of naql on Flickr
Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 CC Image courtesy of WEi WEi on Flickr
Sony E 20mm f/2.8 CC Image courtesy of AZEN HUANG on Flickr
Sony 24mm f/1.8 E Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar CC Image courtesy of Miguel Discart on Flickr
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN CC Image courtesy of CC Image courtesy of Miguel Discart on Flickr
Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS CC Image courtesy of TSTS Sheng on Flickr
Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro CC Image courtesy of Papooga on Flickr

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Vivian Liu specializes in family and pet photography. She also spent 2 years as a photographer for Rebuilding Together Peninsula, which rehabilitates homes and community facilities for low-income homeowners and neighborhoods. Her passion is making photography accessible to everyone with straightforward recommendations and approachable tutorials.

3 Comments

  1. Hi, I noticed the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens is not on the zoom list. Is it because it’s a full frame lens so maybe not necessarily designed particularly for the 6300 series? Or do you not like it as much?

    Reply
    • That lens is also suitable for a crop sensor camera and will provide a field of view closer to 36-360mm when paired with something like an a6300. That lens is on the more expensive side to purchase (or at least it was when this was published) so I believe the author was trying to keep the list below $800-ish for each lens (with the exception of the Sony Vario-Tessar T* E Mount 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens, but at f/4 across the entire zoom range, that is a relatively fast lens and those always ring up a little higher brand new).

      Reply
  2. For macro i prefer the zeiss 50mm macro.

    Reply

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