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Best Lenses for the Sony a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300, and a6000

Discover the best lenses for the Sony a6500, a6300, and 6000 cameras. We dive into 7 zooms and 7 primes we recommend for portraits, landscapes, and more!

Sony E Mount Lenses on Table Next to a6500 Camera

This post has been fully updated to reflect 2019 lenses and camera options.

The a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300, and a6000 are great mid-range mirrorless options in the Sony lineup. These APS-C (crop sensor) cameras are compact but powerful and good for people who want to take excellent photos but don’t want to haul around a heavy DSLR or full frame mirrorless camera.

Let’s take a look at the best lenses for the a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300, and a6000 cameras. We break up this list into 2 main categories: zoom and prime lenses, each of which has 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 and also can be more portable.

a6400 next to laptop on desk with microphone.

Intro to the a6000 Series

If you don’t already own an a6000 series camera, or are thinking about upgrading, here is a quick primer:

Though this series came out before the a7 series did, people think of the a6000 series as a “younger sibling” of Sony’s flagship full frame mirrorless collection. They sport a small 23.5 × 15.6mm sensor size and, thus, are smaller all around. They are simpler than the a7 series but still pack in a lot of useful features, including ultra fast autofocus.

Sony a6000

• Released in 2014.
• Maxes out at Full HD for video.
• No ports for external mics or headphones.
• No touch features on LCD.
• 360-shot battery life.

Sony a6300

• Released in 2016.
• Shoots UHD 4K video and 120 FPS slow motion.
• 1/8″ microphone port.
• No touch features on LCD.
• 400-shot battery life.

Sony a6500

• Released in 2016.
• Shoots UHD 4K video and 120 FPS slow motion.
• 1/8″ microphone port.
• Touchscreen LCD
• Built-in stabilization.
• 350-shot battery life.

Sony a6400

• Released in 2019.
• Shoots unlimited UHD 4K video and 120 FPS slow motion.
• 1/8″ microphone port.
• Touchscreen LCD with larger tilting range.
• 410-shot battery life.

Sony a6600

• Released in 2019
• Shoots unlimited UHD 4K video and 120 FPS slow motion.
• 1/8″ microphone and headphone ports.
• Touchscreen LCD with larger tilting range.
• Built-in stabilization.
• 810-shot battery life.

Choosing between the a6400 and a6500 looks tricky at first. Their numerical title order is out of step with their actual release date – the a6500 is older than the a6400. The a6400 is benefited from newer technology, with a 180° flipping screen, fast AF, and superb tracking – not to mention the long-awaited “limitless” video recording capabilities. It also sports a deeper grip. But the a6500 still boasts a wider ISO range, larger buffer for continuous shooting in RAW, and 5-axis in-body stabilization. Both feature 4K shooting, 3.5mm microphone ports, and slow motion capability. The newest (as of this writing) is the a6600. It has the best features of both the a6400 and a6500 but also offers a headphone jack and much-improved battery life.

E Mount Lenses for Sony a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300 and a6000

  1. Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS
  2. Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
  3. Sony PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS
  4. Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
  5. Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE
  6. Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3
  7. Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS
  8. Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8
  9. Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
  10. Sony 20mm f/2.8
  11. Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar
  12. Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
  13. Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS
  14. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro

7 Recommended Zoom Lenses for a6000 Series E Mount Cameras

All of the cameras in the a6000 line use the same system. They have the same size sensor and mount type. These cameras work with all Sony E mount lenses and can work with lenses of other mount types 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.

Each of these cameras are 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, but other lenses can offer different perspectives, wider apertures, better bokeh, and faster autofocus. If you want to level up your photography, you may want to go beyond the kit zoom lens.

Sony 10-18mm Lens

Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS ($35* for a 3 Day Rental)

The Sony 10-18mm f/4 is one of the best E mount landscape lenses for Sony a6000-series users – especially for those who like to shoot ultra wide. 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 built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system provides a 4-stop shutter speed advantage, making it significantly easier to achieve crisp, blur-free images and video. The internal focusing system allows for a rapid AF response time and extra-low dispersion glass prevents chromatic aberration and increases 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. With a minimum focusing distance of under a foot, you can also create exaggerated perspectives when shooting up close.

Summary:

• Sharp in the center, softer in the edges.
• Relatively limited focal range.
• Has image stabilization.
• Has a constant maximum aperture, so you get f/4 even at the longer end of the range if you need it.
• Minimum focusing distance lets you get close to your subject.
• Great for landscapes, architecture, cityscapes, interiors.

Sony 16-70mm f/4 Lens

Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS ($46 for a 3 Day Rental)

The Sony 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS is among the best E mount zoom lenses for the Sony a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500. This lens has a wide focal range, allowing it to capture all types of subjects. Want to take closeup 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. The Optical SteadyShot image stabilization minimizes the appearance of camera shake on the long end of the focal range or when shooting in low light.

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.

Summary:

• Perfect “walking around” range.
• Has image stabilization.
• Constant maximum aperture, so you get f/4 even at the longer end of the range if you need it.
• Exhibits some barrel distortion.
• Great for events, candids, and street photography.

Sony PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens

Sony PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS ($30 for a 3 Day Rental)

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. This solidly-built, metal-barreled lens has a quiet motor and smoothly-turning focus rings which make shooting both photos and video a breeze. Handycam technology is used, along with a floating axis design, to provide smooth, quiet zooming performance that is also well-suited to movie recording. The dedicated focusing ring allows for direct manipulation of focus along with separate power zoom and manual focus controls for greater precision.

This lens produces images that are very sharp at 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 and is a great option for video.

Summary:

• Handycam technology for quiet performance.
• Perfect “walking around” range.
• Solidly built with a metal barrel.
• Has image stabilization.
• Sharpness declines at the extreme ends of the range.
• Great for videography, travel, events.

Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS on Table

Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS ($28 for a 3 Day Rental)

The Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens is an incredibly versatile lens for the beginner photographer. With the crop sensor, the 18mm wide end is solidly wide without going into ultra wide territory. The 135mm telephoto end will also provide a fair amount of reach for when you want to zoom in.

The variable maximum aperture is probably not fast enough for demanding photographers, but the image stabilization will help keep your photos sharp even when you need to slow your shutter speed a little bit to compensate in low light. Variable maximum apertures means that on the 18mm end of the range, you can open your aperture as wide as f/3.5. But on the telephoto end, your maximum is limited to only as wide as f/5.6. However, for a lens of this range, it does have a relatively close 1.5′ minimum focusing distance, which is nice in smaller spaces. This is a great and affordable travel lens.

Summary:

• Expansive focal range.
• Variable maximum aperture reduces low light performance at telephoto end.
• Affordable.
• Has image stabilization.
• Great for beginners, travel, events.

Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE on Table

Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE ($32 for a 3 Day Rental)

This lens is a lot like the lens above but with a little bit more reach on the telephoto end (but that includes a sacrifice in maximum aperture at that range). The 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE 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 – and even for video! Its quiet, linear motor is inherited from higher-end Sony camcorders.

Because of its variable aperture range of f/3.5-6.3, it is not as adept as some of the others in 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 both 18mm and 200mm.

As expected with a lens with this wide of a focal range, some barrel distortion will occur – especially near 18mm. Post-processing in Lightroom or Photoshop may correct these effects. The massive focal range makes this one of the best travel lenses for Sony E mount cameras.

Summary:

• Expansive focal range.
• Variable maximum aperture reduces low light performance at telephoto end.
• Has image stabilization.
• Linear motor adopted from higher-end camcorder lenses.
• Great for beginners, travel, events, wildlife, sports, and video.

Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS ($21 for a 3 Day Rental)

The Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens is a great sports lens for the Sony a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500. It’s also a superb choice for safari because you get all this range for under 1 pound. This lens will zoom in on your subjects from far enough away that you would never miss the action while also being just wide enough to capture environmental shots. 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 – a bonus to some, depending on your style.

The Optical SteadyShot image stabilization minimizes the appearance of camera shake by up to 4 stops and 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.

Summary:

• Mid-to-telephoto focal range.
• Variable maximum aperture reduces low light performance at telephoto end.
• Has image stabilization.
• No distortion but tendency to flare.
• Great for birding, outdoor sports, and safari.

Sony FE 70-300 Lens

Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS ($51 for a 3 Day Rental)

Providing a super telephoto range in a portable form factor is rare. The Sony FE 70-200mm is a sports-and-wildlife-dedicated lens that is also under 2 lbs. It features dust and moisture resistance for use outdoors and has a convenient Focus Hold button for critical shots. Its focal range equivalent on a crop sensor is 105-450mm, which is phenomenal reach. A special Focus Range Limiter lets you constrain the usable focusing range to either 9.8′ to infinity or the full range of 3′ to infinity for fast focusing during sports and wildlife shooting.

Equipped with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, this lens can perform admirably when shooting with slower shutter speeds but do note that it has a variable maximum aperture which will sacrifice your wide aperture options at the long end of the range. It’s sharp throughout but is a hair sharper at the wide end of the range. Stopping down your aperture will improve your results – typical of many zooms in this range. Do note that this lens does not have any panning or tripod-sensing modes, which might be sorely missed in a lens of this type meant for sports and wildlife.

Summary:

• Incredible telephoto range in a portable package.
• Dust and moisture resistant.
• Variable maximum aperture reduces low light performance at telephoto end.
• Has image stabilization.
• Sharp but best stopped-down.
• Great for birding, outdoor sports, and safari.

7 Recommended Prime Lenses for a6000 Series E Mount Cameras

Prime lenses are favored for their fast apertures, crisp detail, and relatively small size. While zooms are more versatile in situations where you need 1 lens to perform for a bunch of different subjects, primes are great for getting to know and love a certain focal length since each prime supports only 1 angle of view. You have to “zoom with your feet”, as they say. Primes are often easy to handle, great in low light, and ideal for beginners and pros alike.

Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Lens

Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 ($42 for a 3 Day Rental)

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 with ultra wide 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 you’re looking for a wide angle lens with sharp optics and a high build quality, the Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 is a great option. Touit is pronounced like “do it” and is the name of a small and agile parrot. This lens represents agility and mobility. It is designed to have a long working life with its rigid metal bayonet mount and rubberized control ring. It is designed specifically for crop sensor cameras like the a6000/a6300/a6400/a6500.

Summary:

• Reliable Zeiss construction.
• Exhibits some barrel distortion and unremarkable bokeh.
• Very little ghosting or flare.
• Great for street photography, landscapes, and cityscapes.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($21 for a 3 Day Rental)

From Sigma’s Contemporary line of high-performance lenses, this 16mm lens offers ultra fast, wide angle capabilities to E mount shooters. With the very wide f/1.4 aperture, photographers can get smooth, beautiful out of focus backgrounds. Sigma’s Contemporary line is known for having high quality optics in lightweight and affordable packages. It’s equipped with a stepping motor which provides, fast, smooth and quiet autofocus for shooting video.

This lens is well suited for landscapes, cityscapes, and interiors. It’s also optically designed to minimize sagittal coma flare, which means this lens a very good choice for night sky shooting. It is built with a special emphasis on quiet performance and corrected optical distortion.

Summary:

• Low distortion.
• Stepping motor suitable for video.
• Ultra wide field of view with fast maximum aperture.
• Great for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, interiors, astrophotography.

Sony 20mm f/2.8 Lens

Sony 20mm f/2.8 ($28 for a Three Day Rental)

One of the primary reasons people purchase mirrorless cameras like the a6000 series is because of their small size – which is largely negated when you put a heavy lens on the front. The Sony 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 when you stop down to f/5.6. The 20mm pancake weighs just 2.5 ounces and is under an inch thick, 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. It’s equipped with a stepping motor which provides, fast, smooth and quiet autofocus for shooting video. It is designed for crop sensor format which gives you an equivalent field of view of 30mm – a great length for street photography.

Summary:

• Sharp when stopped down.
• Stepping motor suitable for video.
• Unique wide-normal field of view.
• Ultra portable.
• Great for street photography, travel, events, candids.

Sony 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens

Sony 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar ($40 for a 3 Day Rental)

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.

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 lens produces good bokeh, especially for being so wide. The autofocus system operates with a linear motor and a stepping motor that is quiet enough for video shooting.

Summary:

• Very sharp.
• Exhibits some pincushion distortion.
• High amount of bokeh for its angle of view.
• Stepping motor suitable for video.
• Great for landscapes, group portraits , street photography.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($18 for a 3 Day Rental)

From Sigma’s Contemporary line of high-performance lenses, this 30mm lens offers an ultra fast aperture and a unique wide-normal angle of view. Sigma’s Contemporary line is known for having high quality optics in lightweight and affordable packages. It’s equipped with a stepping motor which provides, fast, smooth and quiet autofocus for shooting video.

Equipped with a high-refractive index element, this lens produces little-to-no spherical aberrations and distortion for increased clarity and definition. It has a minimum focusing distance of under a foot, which is great for closeup work. It is ranked in the top 5 of primes for crop sensor E mount shooters according to DXOMARK.

Summary:

• Sharp with very few aberrations.
• Unique wide-normal field of view.
• Stepping motor suitable for video.
• Scores highly against other lenses in its class.
• Great for group portraits, street photography, candids.

Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS ($19 for a 3 Day Rental)

Every brand has their own version of the affectionately-called “nifty fifty” – a fast, though inexpensive, 50mm lens that is a great entry point prime for many photographers. Sony’s version offers good low light performance and bokeh. This lens is very sharp around f/4 and, for the price, produces very good bokeh.

The Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS is equipped with both a linear motor and stepping motor for exceptionally quiet and continuous AF, making it suitable for video projects. It offers Optical Image Stabilization, which is uncommon in a lens of this class, and also sports a Direct Manual Focus feature to give you fine manual focus control even after the AF has locked onto the subject.

Summary:

• High quality and affordable.
• Stepping motor suitable for video.
• Has image stabilization.
• Great for street photography, candids, beginners.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro Lens

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro ($48 for a 3 Day Rental)

While a bit big for an a6000 series camera, the Sony FE 90mm is worthy of any E mount list. It’s very popular and scores excellently on DXOMARK. Offering a 1:1 magnification ratio and a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens works as well for portraits as it does for macro work. It features a focus hold button that, when pressed, keeps the lens locked to that focusing distance. This makes delicate macro shooting and wildlife tracking easier.

This lens is equipped with a linear motor which provides, fast, smooth and quiet autofocus for shooting video. It also offers Optical Image Stabilization to minimizes the appearance of camera shake when shooting at slower shutter speeds. The 90mm focal length is long enough to give you distance between you and your macro subject (you often don’t want to be too close to insects and other small living creatures) while also being long enough for some wildlife subjects. The bokeh potential is strong with this lens, a great feature for portraits.

Summary:

• Scores excellently for its class.
• 1:1 magnification ratio.
• Relatively large and heavy.
• Has image stabilization.
• Great for macro work, portraits, some wildlife, some indoor sports.

Sony a6300 and Sony a6500 with 24-70mm and 16-35mm Lenses

Tips for Choosing a Sony Lens

Sony E mount lens offerings have exploded in the last few years. So much so that it’s getting more and more difficult to narrow down the best ones – especially that combine quality with versatility and price without being too large or complex. More brands are coming on board with E mount versions of their lenses, particular for cinema. The future of E mount looks very bright. Here are some general tips to supplement the recommendations above to help you find the perfect lens:

Gold Master Series: If you see “GM” in the lens title, that means it’s part of Sony’s G Master series. These are designed for full frame cameras, like the a7 series, but mount perfectly well to a6000 series cameras. They support high resolution sensors and feature beautiful bokeh, superior handling, and leading technology for the fastest, most precise autofocus. They are also expensive.

Gold Series: A predecessor to G Master. High-grade lenses with fast maximum apertures.

Optical SteadyShot: When you see “OSS” in a lens title, you’ll know it comes with image stabilization.

Power Zoom: Somtimes you’ll see “PZ” in a Sony lens title. On these lenses, there is the option to activate zoom using a rocker switch instead of just zooming by hand with a control ring. This can provide much smoother results when shooting video. Its technology is borrowed from Sony’s Handycam line.

Special Note on FE: You will see lens titles with “FE” in them and others that just say “E Mount”. This is confusing because FE looks like a mount type – it’s not. “FE” designates that it’s built for full frame sensors. Fortunately, Sony’s full frame mirrorless cameras – like the a7 III or a7R IV – are E mount just as the APS-C mirrorless cameras (a6500, a6300) are. All FE lenses are compatible with both types of camera. However, not all non-FE E mount lenses are compatible with full frame – some are built specifically for crop frame. But the a7 series cameras all have a crop frame mode, so if you’re ever stuck using a crop frame lens on one, just switch into that mode!

We hope this helps you find your perfect lens – whether to rent for a one-time occasion or to purchase and have forever. Check out all of our rentals here and our used gear sales here.

*As of this writing. Pricing subject to change.

Tags: , , , , Last modified: June 3, 2020
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