Even though manufacturers have been trying to optimize their mirrorless lenses for both stills and videos there are some outliers in the bunch that are so much better for video than the rest.
Sony has taken things up a notch with their lineup, delivering some lenses that are specifically optimized for video production. A good example is the addition of Power Zoom in some recent releases.
If you are shopping for a lens for shooting video with a Sony camera you might be curious to find out which lenses are the best. You’ll want to check out this video by filmmaker Armando Ferreira that highlights a set of native options.
1. FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS
If you can only take one lens with you it is hard to beat the versatility of a 24-105mm. Sony took care with this one to optimize it for video. It’s not exactly parfocal but it’s as close as you can get.
It also has a very closer minimum focus distance for getting those much-desired close-ups. Add on the Optical SteadyShot stabilization and the in-body stabilization of many of Sony’s cameras and you have a sharp, effective, and stable lens for shooting video.
The only potential hold-up with this lens is its relatively slow maximum aperture of f/4. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem with modern Sony cameras with their great low-light performance. For one-lens kits this is going to be the one to beat.
2. FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
Now, if you want a gorgeous image it is hard to beat the 50mm f/1.2. Armando calls this the “b-roll king.” The normal perspective, outstanding sharpness, and stunning bokeh when shooting wide open is basically impossible to beat.
Even when stepping back a tad to create a wider shot you can still create images with insane separation from the background.
Being the fastest native E-mount lens from Sony does give it a nice advantage. The tech is solid, too, with the latest XD Linear AF motors for smooth and silent tracking in video.
A linear response manual focus setup makes it easy to perform focus pulls as well. The physical aperture ring can be de-clicked to make operation great.
3. FE PZ 16-35mm f/4 G
Gimbal work and vlogging has some specific requirements, and Sony seems to be aiming right for that market with the new FE PZ 16-35mm f/4. It’s tiny. It’s lightweight.
And, it has an internal Power Zoom mechanism that is perfect for remotely controlling the lens even when you have it mounted to a gimbal or drone where you can’t lose balance.
Some cameras, like the FX3, even have dedicated zoom rockers that make it easy to operate. If you are looking for a good wide-angle zoom for everyday use and vlogging this is the perfect lens.
4. FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II
I don’t think any professional has a kit without a 24-70mm f/2.8. The latest Sony version elevates things even more with an even more compact design, the fast f/2.8 aperture, and some video-specific upgrades.
The actual specs are that it is 22% lighter and 18% smaller, and you feel it. Sony even added the physical aperture ring to this model as well.
A somewhat rare feature is the ability to control the feel of the zoom ring from smooth to tight. For precise video moves you might want to set it to tight so you can get that clean move. Again we have the latest XD linear AF motors for fast and quiet AF.
This is one of very few lists where I have no notes. All these lenses are spectacular for video – and that is coming from someone who has the opportunity to take all these for a spin. There are some primes you might want to think about for specific uses, but otherwise all of these lenses are great.
[source: Armando Ferreira]
- Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony FE PZ 16-35mm f/4 G Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Lens (B&H, Amazon)
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