Best Sony APS-C Lenses for Traveling

APS-C systems have had something of a renaissance this year with tons of new releases after years of neglect. Sony was among the companies to get in on the action with a bunch of APS-C lenses.

Checking them out its easy to see why so many people are a fan of these compact systems. They are high quality, small and lightweight, and cheaper than full-frame. You can even use them on many full-frame systems without much hassle, just a crop.

This obviously makes them great for traveling, and if you want a rundown of some of the best Sony APS-C lenses for that you should check out this video by Jason Vong.

There are some basic features of travel lenses:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Wide maximum aperture
  • Reliable autofocus
  • Great image quality

You might need to balance some of these features depending on what is currently available on the market. It’s less necessary today actually since there are a lot of good Sony APS-C lenses out there.

The three on Jason’s list are the following:

One thing to note is that a couple of these lenses don’t have optical stabilization. This could be a problem for certain cameras without in-body IS. Photography isn’t a big deal, but video/vlogging will see the shakes. You could toss a compact gimbal in your bag to help with that.

Now for the lenses themselves. The very new 11mm is a great-looking lens. It’s ultra wide angle, equivalent to 16.5mm on full-frame, and that makes it great for capturing landscapes, interiors, and cityscapes. The wide look also helps for video and vlogging and it is very fast at f/1.8—close-ups and low-light will hugely benefit.

Image Credit: Sony

If you are looking for an alternative with a bit more versatility or stabilization you should look at the E 10-18mm f/4 OSS. This adds optical stabilization and has a versatile wide-angle field of view that is equivalent to 15-27mm.

It is getting old and starting to show its age. Another alternative for a faster aperture is the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8, though it gives up the stabilization.

The go-everywhere lens is the Sigma 18-50mm. It’s tiny, has that mid-range 27-75mm equivalent zoom, and is a fast, constant f/2.8. The size is what gets it on this list because there are plenty of other zooms out there that include more features, but you can’t beat being that small for traveling.

Image Credit: Sigma

Alternatives include the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8, which is longer and has IS, the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f/4, and the Sony 18-105mm f/4. These lenses are older and you may find them for a great price.

Last up is the 70-350mm. This is a stretch for when you need a telephoto zoom and it has the range. The equivalent zoom range is 105-575mm.

The only consideration is that it is relatively large compared to many other “travel” lenses and a bit slower.

Image Credit: Sony

If that isn’t in your budget there is the Sony 55-210mm lens – essentially the kit tele zoom. It’s lighter and smaller but probably won’t be equivalent for image quality. If you want faster you’ll need to look at the full-frame zooms, like the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM or the Tamron 70-180 f/2.8.

Now for how to carry it all. Jason recommends the Peak Design 10L Sling. I’ve used older versions of this bag and it is very nice and fits plenty without being too big for traveling. Add on a Peak Design Capture Clip and you will have a mobile setup.

For a bit more gear you can check out the Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip—this is good if you are deciding to add something like the gimbal.

As for the gimbal, that would be the Zhiyun Crane-M3. It’s small and works with even full-frame cameras, which means that with APS-C systems it can perform even better. The only problem he has is that you have to use Zhiyun’s QR system.

Image Credit: Zhiyun

Other accessories in the kit include:

Some good lens recommendations here. It shows that APS-C systems can do just fine and it isn’t always the best bet to go full-frame.

[source: Jason Vong]

Order Links:

  • Sony E 11mm f/1.8 Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Peak Design Sling 10L (B&H, Amazon)
  • Peak Design Capture Clip (B&H, Amazon)
  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip (B&H, Amazon)
  • Zhiyun-Tech CRANE-M3 Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon)
  • PolarPro Variable ND Filter (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony ECM-B10 On-Camera Shotgun Mic (B&H, Amazon)
  • Rode VideoMicro On-Camera Shotgun Mic (B&H, Amazon)
  • PGYTECH Mantispod (B&H, Amazon)

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.

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