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. But what are the best lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000 cameras?
E Mount Flexibility
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.
The Best Lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the best lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000 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.
- Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
- Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount Lens
- Sony 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
- Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3
- Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8
- Sony E 20mm f/2.8
- Sony 24mm f/1.8 E Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar
- Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN
- Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS
- Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro
2018 Update: New Best Lenses for Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000
Here are a few of the newer E mount lenses to try:
Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS E Mount Lens
This versatile zoom has an Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system that minimizes camera shake when shooting at slower shutter speeds in low light. A linear autofocus motor delivers quick, quiet, and accurate performance that’s suitable for video recording. With a relatively close minimum focusing distance of 1.5′ on a lens with this much range, the Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is ideal for a variety of subjects and is especially great for travel.
Zeiss Batis Prime Lenses for E/FE Mount Lenses
These primes have innovative OLED displays that highlight the focus distance and depth of field range for a quick assessment of your focusing parameters. Their fast maximum apertures make these lenses particularly good for interiors as well as nightscapes. The linear motors provide fast and quiet autofocusing, which is good for video.
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art Lens for Sony E Mount
This is the first macro in Sigma’s esteemed Art collection. It delivers lifesize 1:1 magnification and a new coreless motor for the smoothest possible AF.
Sigma 16mm f/1.4 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary E Mount Lenses
Sigma’s Contemporary line of lenses blends compact design with high performance for both video and photography shooting, with a special emphasis on quiet performance and corrected optical distortion. For this reason, Sigma’s Contemporary lenses are ideal for multimedia/multidisciplinary projects and for travel.
Best Lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000: Zooms
|Lens||Sony E 10-18mm
f/2.8 for A Mount
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||Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3|
|Minimum Focus Distance||10″||12″||1.2′||1.5′||1.6′||3.3′|
|Weight||8 oz||20 oz||10.9 oz||15 oz||16 oz||12.2 oz|
Sony’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. It produces both reasonably wide-angle shots and a good amount of mid-range zoom. It lacks the focal range of the kit lens but it has better sharpness and low light performance.
This lens has some light falloff at the edges. This is more noticeable at wider apertures and is generally a 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.
The 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 has a small amount of chromatic aberration (purple fringing) near the edges of the frame. Manage this 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 a versatile lens to take on your travels, this is an excellent choice.
Sony’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. Shooting both photos and video is 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 f/18-22. 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.
The 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. This lens produces sharp images, especially at the long end. But its biggest asset is its wide focal range, allowing for one lens to be used in a variety of settings. It has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 when zoomed out to 18mm (f/6.3 at 200mm). It is not as adept as others in very low light. 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. 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.
The 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.
This lens 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 Lenses for Sony a6500, a6300 and a6000: Primes
|Lens||Zeiss Touit 12mm
|Sony E 20mm f/2.8||Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA
E-Mount Carl Zeiss
|Sigma 30mm f/2.8
|Sony E 50mm
|Sony 100mm f/2.8
A Mount Macro
|Minimum Focus Distance||7″||8″||6.2′||12″||1.3′||1.2′|
|Weight||9.2 oz||2.5 oz||8 oz||4.8 oz||7.2 oz||17.6 oz|
Zeiss 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.
One 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.
If 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.
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens
Is 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!
Every 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 a6500, a6300 and a6000, especially when you consider the price. This lens gets the job done and does it without breaking the bank.
The Sony 100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro is one of the best macro lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000, 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.
With so many good and affordable options on the market, picking the best lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and a6000 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!
10-18mm f/4 OSS CC Image courtesy of John Shedrick on Flickr
16-50mm f/2.8 A Mount Lens CC Image courtesy of ROMA-94 on Flickr
16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS CC Image courtesy of Jonas Wagner on Flickr
PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS CC Image courtesy of alans1948 on Flickr
18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE CC Image courtesy of Dennis Jarvis on Flickr
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
20mm f/2.8 CC Image courtesy of AZEN HUANG on Flickr
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
50mm f/1.8 OSS CC Image courtesy of TSTS Sheng on Flickr
100mm f/2.8 A Mount Macro CC Image courtesy of Papooga on Flickr
*All pricing as of this writing and subject to change.
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