Written by 10:35 am Photography, Photography Lenses, Sony

8 Best Lenses for Sony a7 III in 2021

Learn how to choose the best lenses for your Sony a7 III based on your photography style, needs, and preferences.

Display of 8 Sony E Mount Lenses

It is undeniable that Sony’s mirrorless cameras have revolutionized the industry. With a wide range of models, there’s a Sony camera for everyone. For many, the Sony a7 III is ideal because of its versatile range of features and attractive price point.

Of course, the camera body is only one part of the equation. Even the best camera is going to produce disappointing images if it doesn’t have a great lens attached to it. Fortunately, Sony’s FE mount has a wide range of fantastic lenses from both Sony and third party manufacturers. If you’re looking for the best lenses for your Sony a7 III, read on to get started finding your perfect lens.

Table of Contents

  1. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
  2. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
  3. Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8
  4. Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
  5. Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art
  6. Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM
  7. Sony 135mm F1.8 GM
  8. Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS

1. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

sony fe 24

If you had to get by with only one lens, it would be hard not to choose a top tier 24-70. The focal range gives you enormous flexibility from moderately wide to moderately telephoto. The f/2.8 aperture is fast enough for many situations and offers a relatively thin depth of field, making it a great choice for many portraiture approaches. Overall image quality standpoint is very sharp. Unless you’re looking for something extreme (f/1.x aperture, very wide or very telephoto), this lens won’t let you down.

If you want to save money, but get very similar capabilities Sigma and Tamron make fantastic 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses as well.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 24-70mm (36-105mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/2.8-f/22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 1.25′ minimum focusing distance
  • 84°-34° angle of view
  • 0.24x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Length: 5.35″
  • Weight: 1.95 lbs

2. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS

It’s not surprising that a 70-200mm comes next on our list as it provides extra telephoto reach.

You may question choosing the f/4 version over the more premium Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS. The reality is that it’s hard to go wrong with either lens. The 2.8 will give you the extra stop of light, thinner depth of field and closer minimum focusing distance. The tradeoff, though, is that it’s almost a pound and a half (or 76%) heavier than the f/4 version and is more than $1,000 more expensive. If you need the f/2.8, by all means go for that lens, but the f/4 is also a fantastic choice.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 70-200mm (105-300mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/4-f/22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 3.28′ minimum focusing distance
  • 34°-12° angle of view
  • 0.13x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Image stabilization
  • Length: 6.89″
  • Weight: 1.85 lbs

3. Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

sony fe on laptop

With the 16-35mm f/2.8 we round out the trinity of zoom lenses. Wide angle lenses can introduce certain challenges and they don’t cater to every photographer’s style. But if you need to add wider angles into your arsenal, this is the lens to go for.

Alternatively, if you want to go a little bit wider and save money (and don’t mind losing a stop of aperture), you can go for the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G. Or, if budget isn’t a concern and you want ultrawide with no compromises, Sony just released their FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM.

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Key Specs:

  • Focal Length: 16-35mm (24-52.5mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/2.8-f/22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 11.02″ minimum focusing distance
  • 107°-63° angle of view
  • 0.19x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Length: 4.79″
  • Weight: 1.50 lbs

4. Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS

sony fe lens

While 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses are the go-to for all around zoom lenses, 24-105mm 2/4 lenses have grown in popularity over recent years. They have one less stop of aperture, but in exchange add image stabilization. This gives a tradeoff of arguably better low light performance, letting you slow the shutter speed down (as long as the subject isn’t moving), at the expense of a thinner depth of field that f/2.8 offers. In addition, the 24-105mm has more zoom reach, is lighter and is far more affordable.

The most important consideration for most people, though, is that the 24-105mm f/4 G doesn’t sacrifice image quality or autofocus performance. It’s a top notch lens at an attractive price. Unless you absolutely need the f/2.8 aperture, this is probably a better choice.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 24-105mm (36-157.5mm equivalent for crop sensors
  • Aperture range: f/4-f/22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 1.25′ minimum focusing distance
  • 84°-23° angle of view
  • 0.31x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Image stabilization
  • Length: 4.46″
  • Weight: 1.46 lbs

5. Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

sigma lenses

Sigma’s Art series is perhaps the most successful third-party lens designed to rival Sony’s flagship line. In fact, for most of the lenses on this list there’s probably an Art version that can stand head-to-head with it.

Occasionally, Sigma even puts out something that Sony doesn’t offer. Sigma’s 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is the first lens this wide with an f/1.2 aperture designed specifically for Sony’s high megapixel, full frame cameras. The 35mm focal length is on the border between normal and wide angle, making it a great focal length for street photography and certain styles of portraiture (such as environmental portraits). The f/1.2 aperture is incredibly wide, offering fantastic opportunities.

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 35mm (53mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/1.2-f/16
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 11.81″ minimum focusing distance
  • 63.4° angle of view
  • 1:5.1 magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Length: 5.36″
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs

6. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

sony lens

Wide aperture, fixed focal length, telephoto lenses are pivotal components for many photographer’s lens kits. There’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from. The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM stands apart. It’s graded one of the sharpest lenses for Sony cameras (tied with the Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA lens). The 85mm focal length is long enough to eliminate most or all of the perspective distortion that comes from tight portraiture, and the f/1.4 aperture offers creamy smooth backgrounds.

If you want the f/1.4 aperture with slightly more reach, the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens gives fantastic performance at a slightly lower price point.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Key Specs:

  • Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Key Specs:
  • Focal length: 85mm (127.5mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/1.4-f/16
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 2.62′ minimum focusing distance
  • 19° angle of view
  • 0.12x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Weight: 1.80 lbs

7. Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM

sony fe 135 mm next to notebook

For some people, the 85mm focal length (or even Sigma’s 105mm) simply won’t be long enough for their portrait shots. 135mm is one of the most popular focal lengths for headshots and other tight portraits thanks to its elimination of perspective distortion and the thin depth of field that separates the subject from the background. Sony’s FE 135mm f/1.8 GM is the perfect lens for these shots, giving incredible sharpness and bokeh with fast, accurate and quiet autofocus performance.

For a third party option, the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art is another fantastic lens choice.

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 135mm (202.5mm equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 – f/22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 2.3′ minimum focusing distance
  • 18° angle of view
  • 0.25x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Length: 5″
  • Weight: 2.09 lbs

8. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro

Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS

Macro lenses are underrated options. While macro photography is somewhat niche and won’t appeal to everyone, there are real advantages to using a macro lens in certain situations.

Even if you’re not trying to shoot macro, it’s not uncommon to try to focus on objects right at the edge of a lens’s minimum focus distance. Macro lenses can focus far closer, making these edge cases no problem. More importantly, though, the fixed focal length of macro lenses tend to be incredibly sharp and, often, far more affordable than many other f/2.8 zoom lenses.

Of course, there are some tradeoffs. You won’t get extreme apertures such as the 85mm f/1.4 or 135mm f/1.8 or the flexibility of a 70-200mm f/2.8, but you can still get great separation and background blur in the f/2.8-f/4 aperture range.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Key Specs:

  • Focal length: 90mm (135mm Equivalent for crop sensors)
  • Aperture range: f/2.8-22
  • Sony E mount
  • Format coverage: full frame
  • 11.02″ minimum focusing distance
  • 27° angle of view
  • 1x magnification
  • AF/MF
  • Image stabilization
  • Length: 5.14″
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs

How to Choose a Lens

When choosing your lens, there are a number of variables that will help you determine your best option. Take the time to figure out the features you’ll most commonly use. Consider the following characteristics (and make sure you know how to decipher the lens’s name).

Focal Length

The focal length you need is dependent on your photography style. If you shoot wildlife and can’t get close, you need a long telephoto lens. If you shoot the interior of tight spaces, a wide or ultrawide is necessary. For street photography, something that approximates your natural viewing angle might be best.

Many photographers choose to get what has been dubbed the trinity of zoom lenses consisting of a wide angle (typically a 16-35mm zoom lens), a modest wide to modest zoom (24-70mm) and a telephoto zoom (70-200mm). These three will cover most situations.

Aperture

It’s tempting to assume that it’s best to choose the widest aperture lens. After all, lenses with wide apertures often have better build quality and you can always stop down if you don’t need a thin depth of field. This isn’t always a bad approach, but there are some tradeoffs that may make fast lenses undesirable for you. Not only are they going to be considerably more expensive, but they are also generally larger and heavier. Some landscape photographers, for example, will choose f/4 versions of lenses instead of f/2.8 simply to save space and weight when carrying their equipment in remote locations.

Stabilization

The value of stabilization cannot be overstated. While many photographers have produced incredible work with no stabilization, the benefits of stabilization are enormous, especially in low light situations. When looking for a lens for your Sony a7 III, stabilization isn’t quite as important thanks to the fantastic in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system built into the camera. Sure, combining IBIS with lens-based stabilization can be more beneficial, but it’s not a make or break consideration.

Focus Capabilities

The majority of lenses have autofocus capabilities, though there are some niche lenses that are manual focus only. Often these lenses sacrifice autofocus for extremely high image quality and/or shockingly low prices for what they offer. Every lens on this list has very good autofocus.

Build Quality

Not all lenses are built equally. Some include more plastic, which saves weight and cost but may be less durable. For many photographers, the most important aspect of build quality is weather sealing. If you anticipate needing to shoot when the weather turns bad, consider looking for a lens that’s weather sealed. The Sony a7 III itself has quite good weather sealing, but that will only help so much if the lens introduces a weak point. If you never shoot outdoors, weather sealing won’t be particularly important.

Size and Weight

If you’re going to be carrying your camera around all day, size and weight could well be a real consideration. As is common with mirrorless cameras, the a7iii is a fairly small, light camera. If your lens is larger than you need, it could eliminate the size benefits of the camera body.

Price

Think about what features you really need and what you are willing to pay for them. If an f/1.8 version of a lens will work just as well for you as an f/1.4 version, that’s an easy place to save a little money. You might choose a non stabilized version of a lens and stick with the a7iii’s IBIS. And while third-party lenses were once, quite frankly, third rate lenses, in recent years manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron have made huge leaps, offering lenses that rival (or in some cases beat) first-party lenses, often at considerably lower prices.

The Sony a7 III is a fantastic camera that gives photographers a wide range of top notch features at a great price point. But you won’t be able to take full advantage of its capabilities if you don’t have great lenses to go with it. The best lens for the Sony a7 III will depend on your needs as a photographer, but all of these lenses will give you a great starting point. Best of all, you can rent all of these lenses and more to find the best lenses for you.

Tags: , Last modified: February 12, 2021
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