Sony’s full-frame mirrorless system has now been around long enough that there are too many lenses for any one person to be able to test out them all (unless that’s your job). There are also plenty of very affordable ways to enter the Sony ecosystem, with the A7III being the best bang for the buck nowadays.
If you are looking for some help in deciding what your next lens or lenses should be you should check out this video where photographer/filmmaker Stefan Malloch showed off his five favorites. It is a very good mix of focal lengths and types and even includes some third-party options if you are looking beyond the pricier Sony-made optics.
1. Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
This a good start to the list, because I think everyone should pick up a wide-angle lens sooner rather than later. The Sony 16-35mm f/4 has always been a solid performer. It works for landscapes, architecture, walking-around, the occasional portrait, and plenty more.
Also, for video shooters the optical stabilization is a handy feature. If you wanted to criticize something I guess you can go after the fact that it is only f/4, which is fair, but for most shooting it works just fine.
2. Samyang/Rokinon AF 85mm f/1.4 Lens (B&H, Amazon)
Perhaps the king of low-budget, quality glass is Samyang, who lenses are also branded as Rokinon. Everything got even better when the started making autofocus lenses for Sony E. One of the best is the classic 85mm f/1.4, which costs a third of that of the Sony G Master. A third!
The glass is still sharp and luckily this focal length doesn’t have too many issues with distortion. However, you will want to double check your copy to make sure it is working right since those low prices don’t come with the best quality control. If you do nab a good copy, it’s an amazing pick.
3. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
If you start shooting details at a wedding, food, product, or anything else that may require getting a little closer than normal you will need a macro lens eventually.
Sony’s option is the 90mm f/2.8, and I can verify from personal experience that it is amazing. It’s tack sharp, even wide open, has a unique manual focus mechanism that makes everything a bit more precise, and it’ll obviously reach that coveted 1:1 magnification ratio. You can even use it for portraits if you want it to fill multiple spots in your bag.
4. Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens (B&H, Amazon)
It wasn’t long ago that people were complaining there wasn’t a mid-range f/2.8 zoom for Sony. Now there are at least three options. One of the competitors is Tamron with their 28-75mm f/2.8, which happens to be one of the smaller and lighter picks.
Malloch loves this one – even over the Sigma- because it is a great combination of price, sharpness, and focus performance. It’s highly recommended, though it does lack the focus switches found on pricier lenses.
5. Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
The last lens is a big one. It’s hard to beat the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 for its zoom range and optical quality. It is a super sharp, has a surprisingly close minimum focus distance that adds to its versatility, and handles very well. It is also the most expensive lens on this list.
If you can afford it, this lens is one of the best for the range if you need something for a Sony a7III. There isn’t much third-party competition at these focal lengths and native glass is always going to guarantee perfect focusing performance with your camera.
Do you have any lenses you would recommend? I think I would have to call out the Sony 20mm f/1.8 since it is looking like an amazing performer.