Best lenses for Sony a6100
This is a guide to the best lenses for the Sony a6100 in 2021.
There are so many great lens options for this amazing 24MP compact camera, that it’s hard to know where to start!
The main consideration in choosing a lens for your a6100 is what type of subjects you plan on capturing.
This guide contains a few versatile lenses, as well as some that are more suited to capturing specific subjects like portraits.
Most importantly, all of these lenses match the small form factor of the Sony a6100.
Most photographers that choose a compact APS-C format camera want a lens that matches the camera body and these lenses deliver.
Check out the top 6 Sony a6100 lenses of the year so far.
Table of Contents
Best Lenses for Sony a6100 in 2021
|Sony 24mm f/1.8||View Price →|
|Sony 16-55mm f/2.8||View Price →|
|Sony 20mm f/2.8||View Price →|
|Sony 10-18mm f/4||View Price →|
|Sony 35mm f/1.8||View Price →|
|Sony 50mm f/1.8||View Price →|
1. Sony E 24mm f/1.8
- Excellent image quality
- Great low light performance
- Fast autofocus
- Corner-to-corner sharpness
- Not weather-sealed
- No stabilization
My initial impression of the Sony 24mm f/1.8 was how sturdy and professional it felt. After using it for several months, I have come to love this lens!
Despite the fact that it is around 10 years old, the 24mm f/1.8 is one of the best APS-C Sony lenses you can buy. It has amazing image quality and is the perfect focal length for so many different subjects.
It has the rugged feel of many of the higher-end Sony full frame lenses and the quality to back it up. It does this while remaining lightweight and having a very fast aperture of f/1.8.
The fast aperture of the Sony 24mm f/1.8 is great for shooting in low light. Because of this, it is a great lens for shooting indoors or in the evening.
It also allows you to get some nice bokeh and draw attention to your subjects if you get close enough.
Wide angle lenses aren’t known for their bokeh but this lens does have some nice blur if your subject is close enough relative to your backdrop.
Autofocus speed is excellent with this lens. Even in dark scenes, it never struggles to lock on and track moving subjects. When paired with the impressive autofocus of the Sony a6100, this lens is incredible at getting sharp images in the toughest scenes.
When it comes to image quality, I’m very happy with this lens. The awesome sharpness, great color, and low aberration of this lens make it worth the investment.
Maximum sharpness is reached around f/4 but I was very happy with the edge to edge sharpness, even wide open at f/1.8.
At around $1,100 (see the latest price here), it is certainly not a cheap lens, but it will last a long time and hold its value.
People often recommended investing in glass (lenses) over camera bodies because they last longer and can potentially give you a better bang for your buck than camera technology.
You will not be disappointed when you attach the 24mm f/1.8 to your a6100. It is an awesome lens and pairs really well with the Sony APS-C lineup.
My favorite part of the 24mm f/1.8 is the 35mm equivalent focal length (well, it’s actually 36mm). It is very close to the way I see the world, and the best choice for all round versatility.
Having worked as a professional photographer for almost ten years, I’ve honed in on the 35mm focal length as my all around favorite field of view.
While I love to use a zoom lens, a 35mm prime just simplifies everything, allowing me to concentrate on getting creative with the subject I’m shooting.
(Related: Comparison of 3 Sony 35mm lenses.)
With the 1.5x crop factor of the Sony a6100, the 36mm field of view is a very natural and effective focal length for everything from portraits to travel.
I certainly have a wide variety of prime and zoom lenses in my bag but if I am going to choose one best lens to document life, the Sony 24mm f/1.8 on an APS-C camera would be it!
If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly encourage you to check out this lens for your APS-C camera. It just may become your favorite!
2. Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8
- Sharp throughout the zoom range
- Excellent build quality
- Super snappy autofocus
- Auto/manual focus switch
- No image stabilization
- High price tag
The Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 is second on my list of the best options for the a6100 because it is an all around spectacular lens.
I love a medium wide angle prime like the Sony 24mm f/1.8 listed above, but a mid range zoom lens is more versatile.
The 16-55mm f/2.8 is a level above the previous offerings in this range, and is one of the most highly rated lenses for Sony APS-C cameras like the a6100.
It may not have the low light performance of a fast prime lens, but this lens does offer a large focal range and a constant aperture of f/2.8 (a full stop faster than previous offerings).
Having the flexibility of 16-55mm (equivalent to 24-83mm on full frame) is very versatile when shooting a variety of subjects. At the wide end, it is great for capturing big landscapes and at the telephoto end, it is excellent for tightly cropped scenes or portraits.
I love prime lenses, but I can’t deny the usefulness of zoom lenses for their flexibility and ease of use.
In addition to a flexible focal range, this lens also boasts a consistent f/2.8 aperture – something you won’t get on the cheaper ‘kit’ zoom lenses for Sony cameras.
Having this constant low aperture available through the zoom range makes it perform exceptionally well when photographing subjects in low light or documenting events.
Although f/2.8 isn’t as fast as most prime lenses, it is enough to shoot in most scenes. This is especially true when paired with the low light performance of the Sony sensors on cameras like the a6100.
The Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 was released alongside the Sony a6100 camera body and together they have incredible autofocus ability.
The a6100 claims to have the best autofocus speeds of around 0.02 seconds, and the Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 has been built to keep up.
In real world use, I find the autofocus on this lens to be nearly instant. It rarely hunts for focus except in the darkest scenes and was able to track moving subjects with ease.
Build quality is excellent and it is one of the most durable in this article. As a G-rated lens from Sony, the Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 is top of the line, and well deserves its ‘G’ badge!
Image quality is superb. I’m really happy with the sharpness throughout the zoom range and lack of issues with distortion & aberration.
Rubberized zoom and focus rings both feel similar to the more expensive G-Master lenses from Sony.
I also really appreciate the inclusion of an auto/manual focus switch and a focus hold button. Both of these features make this product stand above the others in terms of functionality.
The focus hold button is handy to have, especially when programmed to eye autofocus. The af/mf switch is very nice when shooting video that you don’t want to change focus (i.e. timelapse or interview sequences).
You can always turn the camera to manual focus through the menu system but having a dedicated switch is so much quicker.
Overall, I think this is an impressive lens and a great buy for anyone committed to having a lightweight, compact, and versatile APS-C setup with their a6100.
It also makes a great backup lens for event shooters that love working with a mid-range zoom.
At around $1,400, this lens isn’t cheap but it is a great value for the wide variety of focal lengths it covers!
3. Sony E 20mm f/2.8
- Lightweight and compact
- Great low light performance
- Smooth, quiet autofocus
- Well-controlled distortion
- No image stabilization
- Could be more durable
If you want the ultimate compact powerhouse of a setup from your compact Sony a6100, you should strongly consider getting this lens.
The Sony 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens is an amazing combination of compact size and quality performance.
I was initially skeptical that such a small lens could perform so well but I am happy to have the 20mm f/2.8 in my kit.
Mounted on a Sony APS-C camera like the Sony a6100, the 20mm f/2.8 becomes a truly pocket size camera setup. I love tucking this little package into my jacket and being able to create professional quality images with a superlight setup.
Pancake lenses are a joy to use, and are especially suited to small, lightweight mirrorless cameras like the a6100.
Build quality on the Sony 20mm f/2.8 is adequate for its size but it does feel like a mostly plastic design with an aluminum barrel. I wouldn’t bank on it being a super durable lens but because it is so lightweight, I think it will survive a drop.
I love that the lens hood maintains the compact profile but allows you to tuck this lens in a pocket without having to work about scratching the front element.
The focus ring has a knurled finish but because this lens has such a wide field of view and a minimum aperture of f/2.8, it doesn’t have a lot of focus range. Almost everything is in focus all the time.
With that in mind, the autofocus works very well. I don’t think it has to move much to achieve focus and is therefore very accurate at tracking subjects.
What surprised me about this lens was the image quality. For such a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive lens, I definitely expected a drop in IQ.
I was pleasantly surprised that the quality of images it can produce is actually quite good! It doesn;t have the best optical performance, but at this size/weight and price, it’s certainly impressive.
The sharpness is great and only degrades slightly towards the edges/corners. It does have some distortion but it is mostly correctable using the profiles in Lightroom.
Lens flare, however, isn’t the most pleasing with this lens so I wouldn’t expect to get beautiful sun stars but that isn’t really the intended purpose of this lens. (See: how to get rid of lens flare)
The Sony 20mm f/2.8 is built to be a compact lightweight lens that makes great images in most scenarios.
When compared to most smartphone cameras, this lens isn’t much larger (when mounted on the Sony a6100), but it produces substantially better images!
At around $350, the Sony 20mm f/2.8 is amazing value for money. It is also a versatile focal length that can be used to capture a variety of subjects.
If you want a super compact and lightweight lens for your Sony a6100, don’t forget about this little guy!
4. Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
- Value for money
- Compact and light
- Excellent image quality
- Great autofocus and subject tracking
- Performance suffers in low light
- Some distortion evident
Anyone looking for an incredible wide angle lens to pair with the Sony a6100 should check out the Sony 10-18mm f/4 lens.
This lens was one of the first I purchased for my Sony APS-C cameras because it offered a similar focal length to my favorite full-frame lens, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM.
With an equivalent focal length of 15-27mm, the Sony 10-18mm f/4 is an awesome lens for capturing the big landscape style images that are so popular on Instagram.
At the wide end of 10mm, you will be able to capture big scenes without having to stitch panoramas together, and at the zoomed-in 18mm end, this lens is good for documenting scenes with a little less distortion.
The build quality of this lens is good. It feels durable yet lightweight and has survived several drops.
I also appreciate how compact and lightweight it is! I’m sure the design has some plastic, but it has been durable and rugged enough to survive years of use.
Although it has been out for some time, the autofocus is still fast and accurate. I never have trouble tracking moving subjects as long as there is adequate light available.
One thing to note – the f/4 minimum aperture can be somewhat limiting if you are intending to shoot in low light scenarios.
In low light scenes, I switch to the Sony 24mm f/1.8, because it allows me to use a much lower ISO and focus more quickly.
Optical Steady Shot (OSS) is a nice inclusion, which helps with its low light performance. This optical image stabilization allows you to shoot at lower shutter speeds handheld but it doesn’t solve issues with shooting moving subjects.
I’m very happy with the image quality of this lens. It has great sharpness and I’ve used it to create some of my favorite portfolio images.
The distortion can be challenging if you are shooting subjects with straight lines. Any tilt will result in substantial warping of buildings, especially at the 10mm end of the zoom range.
Most of the images I shoot are in nature where distortion is less of a problem unless you have vertical trees filling the frame. Most of the time a little distortion goes unnoticed.
Lens flare is surprisingly well managed. I don’t have many issues shooting into the sun and the sun stars it creates are nicely balanced.
At around $900, this lens is excellent value for money! It offers similar performance to much more expensive lenses and allows you to get a unique focal range on your Sony a6100.
If you want something that is great for capturing big landscapes and Instagram worthy travel images, definitely check this one out.
5. Sony EF 35mm f/1.8
- Compact and well-balanced design
- Auto/manual focus switch & focus hold button
- Weather-sealed and durable
- Fast and silent autofocus
- Relatively pricey
- Occasional fringing
If you want a “nifty fifty lens” for your Sony a6100, I highly recommend the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8. It is the only Sony full frame lens in this article, but it’s still an awesome option for your APS-C camera.
Released in 2019, it has an equivalent focal length of 53mm, which makes for a great all around focal length on the APS-C sensor a6100.
It is also much higher quality than the older Sony E 35mm f/1.8, designed for APS-C cameras.
The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 is a G-rated lens and includes great features like an auto/manual focus switch and a focus hold button.
The AF/MF switch is handy if you ever shoot video and don’t want the camera to hunt for focus while shooting a timelapse.
The focus hold button can be programmed to a variety of things like eye-autofocus or automatic exposure lock.
The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 maintains the low light performance of f/1.8 and has excellent sharpness (even wide open). All of this is achieved while still remaining lightweight and compact.
Similar to the Sony 24mm f/1.8 mentioned above, this lens has a rugged feeling metal exterior and a smooth finish except for the grippy knurling on the focus ring.
When mounted on the Sony a6100, this lens balances quite nicely! An additional benefit of this lens is the full frame compatibility if you decide to move up to the a7/a9 series from Sony.
Some people say that sharpness can be an issue if you use a full frame lens on an APS-C sensor but I haven’t found this to be the case with the FE 35mm f/1.8.
Autofocus on this lens is very fast and silent. I never have issues tracking fast moving subjects with continuous AF.
As expected with most recent high quality lens designs from Sony, there are no major issues with distortion or chromatic aberration.
It may not be as wide as some photographers want, but it could still be a great lens for astrophotography, because of its low light capability and high image quality – see other great Sony lenses for astrophotography.
Although it is a little more expensive than the previous APS-C version, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 is still great value for money. The quality and performance make it worth the additional cost.
I hoped Sony would release this lens for a long time. After owning it for several months, it has exceeded my expectations and lives on my camera most of the time!
6. Sony EF 50mm f/1.8 OSS
- Creamy bokeh
- Light and compact
- Optical SteadyShot (OSS) stabilization
- Great value for money
- No weather sealing
- Some softness
This lens surprised me. At first, I wasn’t sure I would like it, but it quickly grabbed my attention.
50mm is not typically a favorite focal length for a prime lens, but I found myself picking it up on several occasions. The 75mm equivalent will compress a scene and direct the viewer’s eye.
Lens compression is a great tool to bring backgrounds closer to the viewer and make it feel like a backdrop is closer than it really is.
The f/1.8 aperture combined with a 75mm equivalent focal length on the Sony 50mm f/1.8, will allow you to create dreamy bokeh that isolates your subject from the backdrop.
The other lenses in this post don’t come anywhere close to creating that classic portrait look.
Also, the medium-telephoto focal length of the Sony 50mm f/1.8 will create pleasing images that show proper proportions of faces in portraits.
If you’re taking head-shots or photographing people, this lens is a great choice.
One thing to remember, though, is that it will likely be too ‘zoomed-in’ if you plan to shoot indoors in small spaces, but is definitely lots of fun to shoot outdoors.
This lens is also surprisingly compact for what it offers in terms of fast aperture. Other lenses with these specs tend to be much larger/heavier.
The sharpness is good, especially for the low price point of this lens (check the latest price here).
The design is similar to the 35mm f/1.8 and appears to be mostly plastic.
This does help to keep the weight down though, and at just 202g (7.1 oz.) it balances really well on a small mirrorless camera like the Sony a6100.
Overall, the 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent choice for someone looking to take beautiful portraits without spending a ton of money on a lens!
At this price point, I’d definitely recommend it as one of the first lenses to buy for the Sony a6100.
With all the amazing offerings from Sony, I hope you’ve found this list informative, and can now make a better choice on the best lenses for your Sony a6100.
Choosing Sony e mount lenses is always a balancing act of combining the right features with size/weight and versatility.
(Unfortunately, the pocket size 10-400mm f/2 zoom lens hasn’t been released yet so you have to make some tough choices!!)
The great thing about lenses for Sony cameras in general is that they tend to hold their value and you can always re-sell one if you decide to upgrade or re-evaluate.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the selections above and which lenses you’ll be selecting to pair with your a6100. Let me know if the comments below!
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.