Best Lenses for Sony a7III
This is a guide to the best lenses for the Sony a7III full frame mirrorless camera in 2021.
We’ve narrowed the choices down to the native Sony FE lenses that offer the best bang for the buck.
Native lenses offer better build quality and dependability than 3rd party options, since they are designed specifically for one camera brand (1)
All the e-mount lenses below represent the best combination of quality, value, and performance (2).
At A Glance: Our Top 7 Picks for The Best Sony a7III Lenses in 2021
- Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
- Sony FE 28mm f/2
- Sony FE 35mm f/1.8
- Sony FE 55mm f/1.8
- Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8
- Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8
Here are the detailed reviews of top lenses for the Sony a7III:
Table of Contents
|Sony 16-35mm f/2.8||View Price →|
|Sony 28mm f/2.0||View Price →|
|Sony 35mm f/1.8||View Price →|
|Sony 55mm f/1.8||View Price →|
|Sony 85mm f/1.8||View Price →|
|Sony 24-70 f/2.8||View Price →|
|Sony 70-200 f/2.8||View Price →|
1. Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
Weight: 680 g (24 oz.)
Size (Diameter x Length): 3.5 x 4.8″ / 89 x 122 mm
Filter Diameter: 82mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.28m (11 in)
This is by far my number one lens for the Sony a7III. It stays on my camera all day while shooting action sports and events.
I love the versatility that the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 offers. At 35mm you can use it to shoot in a documentary style because it allows you to have a semi-wide perspective without getting too much distortion.
Many of the world’s most prominent photojournalists tout the utility of the 35mm focal length and I have become a believer.
Additionally, this lens also allows you to zoom out to 16mm to capture wide landscapes. I most often use this lens at either 20mm or 35mm.
Beyond the variety of focal lengths it offers, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 is extremely sharp throughout the aperture range and produces excellent quality images.
Chromatic aberration and distortion are very well controlled.
In terms of build quality, this lens is solid. It has a metal barrel with nice feeling rubber around the zoom & focus rings.
I have dropped it on two occasions and it has held up to the abuse very well.
As you would expect from a top quality G-Master lens (Sony’s highest designation of quality), this lens is impressive in almost every specification.
My only complaint so far is about the lens flare. When shooting directly into the sun, it tends to have some green flare that can be difficult to manage.
Aside from the lens flare, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 is my current favorite lens for the Sony a7III. If you want a very versatile wide angle lens, this is an excellent choice!
2. Sony FE 28mm f/2
Weight: 200 g (7 oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 2.5 x 2.4″ / 64 x 60 mm
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.29m (11.4 in)
The Sony 28mm f/2 is a favorite lens that has been used on the a7 series of cameras for almost 5 years. It is inexpensive, fast (max aperture f/2), and offers great performance.
I only tried it after owning several other prime lenses in similar focal lengths but was immediately surprised by what great value it was!
At 28mm it offers an excellent everyday focal length (not too wide or too telephoto) and it is very compact.
I appreciated the Sony 28mm f/2’s small size and weight when I used it on a mountain biking photoshoot.
Despite being compact and affordable, the Sony 28mm f/2 offers excellent performance. The f/2 aperture allows you to shoot in low light and isolate close subjects from the backdrop.
The sharpness of this lens is great and I never had any issues. On paper it is outperformed by some G-Master lenses but I never had any complaints!
If you’re coming from an inexpensive zoom lens, this lens will feel like a substantial upgrade in sharpness.
Something I have come to love about the Sony mirrorless cameras is how fast the autofocus system works. It’s great to have a lens that can keep up with this amazing performance.
The Autofocus on this lens is fast and silent!
I’m sure you can find an article that describes the detailed specs of how this lens performs but photographers that make great pictures rarely worry about these details.
To summarize, this lens has minimal issues and generally excellent performance.
Overall, the Sony 28mm f/2 is a great buy! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a less expensive prime lens in the 24-35mm focal range.
It will encourage you to zoom with your feet and has a slightly wider field of view than the 35mm f/1.8 lens listed below.
Its diminutive size and weight also pair wonderfully with the Sony a7III, and will mean you take your camera out with your every day to shoot with.
3. Sony FE 35mm f/1.8
Weight: 281 g (9.9 oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 2.6 x 2.9″ / 66 x 73 mm
Filter Diameter: 55mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.22m (8.7 in)
This lens is the most recent addition to my camera bag. When the Sony 35mm f/1.8 was released I immediately knew it would be added to my kit.
I think this lens is the perfect combination of performance and size. You can read more about it in my Sony 35mm f/1.8 review.
With a maximum aperture of f/1.8 it’s very fast and performs very well in low light but it is also compact enough to not worry about the size/weight when taking it on adventures.
Previously, I had been using the Sony 35mm f/2.8 lens which is incredibly compact but I often felt limited in low light by the f/2.8 maximum aperture. It was a very sharp and well-performing lens except in low light.
Although the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is slightly larger, it makes up for that by a big boost in low light performance.
This lens produces images with excellent bokeh. I really love the ability to shoot wide open and isolate subjects even with the wider 35mm focal length.
When it comes to sharpness, this lens is excellent! I’ve always heard that other 35mm offerings had some sharpness issues but the Sony 35mm f/1.8 offers tack sharp images throughout the focal range.
If you happen to be shooting the high-resolution a7RIV you might notice a little loss of sharpness in the corners wide open, but otherwise, this lens is wicked sharp!
At 35mm, this lens is my favorite focal length. I’ve honed in on this medium-wide prime as my go-to lens for shooting a variety of subjects or taking with me when I’m not sure what I’ll encounter.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 is flexible enough to get a nice portrait without too much distortion and a wide scene setting shot if you step back from your subject. It’s the perfect combination when attached to a Sony a7III.
I also really love how fast this lens will focus even in the darkest scenes with the f/1.8 maximum aperture! It rarely hunts for focus even with fast-moving subjects in dim scenes.
Overall, this is my most used lens in my bag and the lens I know I can count on to perform in almost any situation.
I’d highly recommend the Sony 35mm f/1.8 prime lens if you’re looking for a fast prime that can do anything well!
4. Sony FE 55mm f/1.8
Weight: 281 g (9.9 oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 2.5 x 2.8″ / 65 x 71 mm
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.5m (1.64 ft)
A 50mm prime lens is a staple in almost every professional photographer’s bag for many reasons. When I switched to the Sony Mirrorless system I knew I would need a lens in this focal range.
I quickly settled on the Sony 55mm f/1.8. My three priorities of performance, size/weight, and affordability made this lens an excellent choice.
It comes in at a svelte 9.9 oz (281g) and balances very well with the Sony a7III. At one point I thought I had lost this lens because I picked up my satchel and thought it wasn’t in there because it was so lightweight I thought it must have fallen out!
The performance of the Sony 55mm f/1.8 is excellent, and pairs especially well with the Sony a7III. It’s a useful focal length, offers spectacular sharpness, great contrast, and produces smooth bokeh when shot wide open.
At f/1.8 the aperture isn’t as large as some of the other 50mm lenses I’ve used but I never had issue with this.
The low light performance and focusing of this lens is more than adequate, especially when paired with the awesome high ISO performance of the Sony a7III.
The thing I love most about the Sony 55mm f/1.8 lens is the mid-range focal length. It offers just enough field of view to capture a scene but it has the ability to bring the viewer into the frame with a hint of compression.
It’s not the same type of lens compression you get with a telephoto where the backdrop feels right behind the subjects, but the Sony 55mm f/1.8 offers a narrower field of view that encourages the photographer to be selective about framing.
Because of this perspective, I find myself gravitating towards it when shooting a variety of subjects (portraits, landscapes, products, etc).
It allows you to narrow in on the important things in an image without being as confining as a telephoto lens.
Overall, this lens is a top performer and fits the bill for a fast, mid-range prime lens! If you don’t have a 50mm lens or you haven’t had the chance to use one yet, definitely check it out.
5. Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Weight: 371 g (13.1 oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 3.1 x 3.2″ / 78 x 82 mm
Filter Diameter: 67mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.8m (2.62 ft)
There is nothing like the 85mm focal length for shooting a nice portrait. The lightweight, sharp and surprisingly affordable Sony 85mm f/1.8 is the ideal choice in this focal length!
Sony offers the 85mm f/1.4 GM lens if you want maximum performance but for me, the 85mm f/1.8 is the perfect balance of performance and value!
It completes my favorite trio of prime lenses (35, 55, 85mm) and consistently delivers excellent performance.
Many people say that 85mm is the ideal portrait lens focal length because it renders subjects with minimal distortion, but the main factor for me is the bokeh that it can create.
When shooting wide open at f/1.8 with this lens, the background falls nicely out of focus drawing your attention to the subject.
In addition to beautiful bokeh and minimal distortion the Sony 85mm f/1.8 offers excellent autofocus performance.
I really love using the eye track feature of the Sony a7III when shooting portraits with this lens.
Many people like programming the focus hold button on this lens to eye autofocus, making it that much easier to get tack sharp images.
I also really appreciate how compact his lens is for its performance. It is lightweight and small enough that I rarely hesitate to bring it with me even when hiking out to a shoot.
As expected, this lens offers excellent edge to edge sharpness throughout the aperture range. Sometimes sacrifices must be made to make a lens affordable, but I can’t seem to find anything to complain about with this lens!
At around 1/3 the price of the 85mm f/1.4 version, the Sony 85mm f/1.8 is awesome value for money!
The difference between f/1.4 and f/1.8 is about 2/3 of a stop of light – i.e. to get the same exposure as 1/60 sec at f/1.8 you would use a shutter speed of 1/95 or 1/100 sec at f/1.4.
However, with the amazing high ISO of the Sony a7III, it’s easy to jump raise your ISO a little to capture a scene in lower light at f/1.8.
Sure, the bokeh will be creamier at f/1.4, but not enough to warrant the huge difference in price between the two lenses.
If you’re in the market for an excellent portrait lens that won’t break the bank, this should definitely be on your list!
6. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8
Weight: 862 g (30.4 oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 3.5 x 5.4″ / 88 x 136 mm
Filter Diameter: 82mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.4m (1.25 ft)
At one point or another, almost everyone wants a mid-range zoom lens. When Sony released the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens in 2016, it was immediately apparent that quality was their number one priority with this lens!
It offers prime-level quality in a very versatile zoom range! As I mentioned above, this lens outperforms the Sony 28mm f/2 prime lens when it comes to sharpness, illustrating how sharp it actually is!
This incredible performance does come at the sacrifice of size and weight but when you consider the wide range of focal lengths this lens offers, the weight seems more manageable.
The Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 was designed with quality and performance in mind. If you want the best quality in a mid-range zoom and aren’t concerned about size/weight, it is an excellent choice.
Something else that becomes immediately apparent when you pick up the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 is how well built it is – it is built like a tank and made to last through the rigors of use by a professional photographer.
With a consistent f/2.8 aperture, it performs well in low light and offers excellent focus speed. I rarely miss focus, even with moving subjects.
(Check out the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 review for some more shots taken with this lens paired with a Sony a7III.)
This lens offers a focus hold button as well as a handy zoom lock switch that keeps the lens from unintentionally extending to 70mm.
When you compare the somewhat steep price point with having a series of prime lenses, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 becomes a lot more affordable. It also offers the advantage of not having to switch lenses to get a variety of focal lengths.
If you’re on a tighter budget, there’s an f/4 version of this focal length from Sony (see my review of the Sony 24-70mm f/4), which offers great sharpness and decent overall performance in a lighter package, but there’s simply no denying it – the f/2.8 is better in every way.
This lens is a top performer and if you can afford it, don’t think twice!
7. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8
Weight: 1480g (52.21oz)
Size (Diameter x Length): 3.5 x 7.9″ / 88 x 200 mm
Filter Diameter: 77mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.96m (3.15 ft)
The 70-200mm is a staple in almost every professional photographer’s kit. If you haven’t tried one for your Sony a7III, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is an excellent choice.
It offers all the top performance characteristics of a G-Master lens and produces spectacular images. The contrast and sharpness of this lens are spectacular – see more in Chad Winstead’s Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 review (the image above was taken by him).
In the focal range of 70-90mm, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 shoots spectacular portraits. At the telephoto 200mm end, it delivers excellent compression of a scene or enough zoom to bring a far away subject into closer view.
I really love this lens’ ability to isolate a subject and draw attention to a far off landscape.
Some of my favorite images have been taken with this lens because of its ability to make the background appear right behind a subject instead of way off in the distance.
This lens is fully featured, offering selectable focus range, optical stabilization mode selection, auto/manual focus switch, and a focus hold button! The zoom/focus rings feel smooth but stable.
Compared with the Sony 70-200mm f/4 offering, this lens has a full stop more light and a sharper image. This does come at an increased size/weight as well as a steep prize tag.
These are my only complaints about the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, and in my mind and so many other photographers’, the price difference is completely justifiable – it’s simply a better lens than the f/4 version in every way.
This lens is an excellent buy if (similar to the 24-70mm above) your top priority is performance/quality. It’s the best of the best in this focal range, and arguably even better than anything Canon or Nikon have come up with.
As I said before, if you’ve got the budget, don’t think twice about picking up this lens!
Almost all the lenses available for the Sony a7III make great pictures but the lenses listed above give you the best picture making experience!
They also offer the best bang for the buck, aside from the two pro zooms mentioned at the end, which are more for professionals/those with larger budgets.
I love the characteristics of each of these lenses and they all have a place in my camera bag for different reasons.
Sometimes I gravitate toward the simplicity and low light performance of a prime lens and sometimes I need the versatility of a zoom lens.
I think the most important things to consider are: what do you shoot? and what is your style?
By answering these questions, you’ll be able to evaluate the above lenses to see what is right for you!
Is it size/weight, overall performance/quality, or price that drives your decision? You can usually pick two out of those three traits.
I hope this article was helpful in deciding what lens to buy for your Sony a7III! I’d love to know if you agree with my selections or if I missed something, so let me know in the comments below!
References: (1) https://digital-photography-school.com/brand-name-versus-third-party-photography-gear-which-is-better/ (2) https://www.sony.com/electronics/lenses
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.