You might be wondering why I’m writing a post about the best Sony a6000 lenses. After all, there are currently 13 great Sony mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses… so why write a post that focuses specifically on the best lenses for the Sony a6000?
The answer is quite simple – the Sony a6000 is widely regarded as the best selling mirrorless camera of all time. That’s quite a statement, considering its two more recent successors (the Sony a6300 & a6500), and all the other amazing mirrorless cameras available in 2018.
With so many happy owners around the world, it’s only natural that there’s a lot of interest over the best lenses for Sony a6000 shooters.
The Sony a6000 really is excellent value for money. It can easily stand head to head with more expensive DSLR cameras, with impressive performance and handy portability, all available for under $500 (see the latest price here).
Last month I was fortunate enough to borrow a selection of Sony E-Mount lenses to test with my Sony a6000 camera.
After shooting more than 5,000 images (thanks 11 fps!), I’ve curated a selection of recommended lenses that I believe should be on the wish list of every Sony a6000 owner. I’ll be adding the images shot with each lens to the review in the coming weeks…
The 5 Best Sony a6000 Lenses
- APS-C Focal Length: 52.5mm
- APS-C Focal Length: 90mm
- APS-C Focal Length: 40-105mm
- APS-C Focal Length: 18mm
- APS-C Focal Length: 30mm
The Sony a6000 uses standard E-mount lenses (as opposed to full-frame FE lenses), originally designed for the Sony NEX (‘New E-mount eXperience’) series of mirrorless cameras.
The Sony a6000 was actually the first of the new breed of E-mount cameras to lose the NEX branding, even though confusingly, it still looks much like its NEX predecessors.
Fortunately, there are more than 40 Sony E-mount lenses in production (far more than the number of Fujifilm lenses), giving Sony a6000 a great selection to choose from, with more being added each year.
There are also a number of competitively-priced non-Sony lenses which work well with the a6000, which I also include below.
So here’s my selection of the 5 best lenses for the Sony a6000. You can use it as a guide for recommended Sony lenses for any of the other APS-C E-mount mirrorless cameras, but I’ve concentrated specifically on those that perform well with the a6000.
Focal Length: 35mm (equivalent to 52.5mm)
Weight: 154g (5.5 oz.)
Size (Diameter x Length): 63 x 45mm (2-1/2 x 1-13/16in.)
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.3m (0.99ft)
Price: (Latest price here)
I’m a big fan of prime lenses and recommend them to all level of photographer. They’re the quickest way to get better at composition, simplifying the picture taking process by removing the variable of multiple focal lengths (as offered by zooms).
Don’t get me wrong, zooms have their place in photography. However, I believe every photographer should have at least one small, fast prime lens… and for Sony a6000 owners, this Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS lens is it.
If you own a mirrorless camera as small as the Sony a6000, it seems silly to put an enormous lens on it. Paired with this dinky 35mm lens, the camera will be a pleasure to shoot, and still fit into a jacket pocket – something DSLR camera owners can only dream of (see my mirrorless vs DSLR buyer’s guide).
On the cropped sensor (APS-C) Sony a6000, this lens will give roughly a 50mm field of view, which is ideal for a whole range of subjects. 50mm is a popular focal length since it gives an un-distorted view of the world, and can be flattering for portraits, without making the subject feel detached like a longer lens can.
By ‘fast’ prime lens, I mean that the lens aperture (as represented by the f-number) is wide enough to allow faster shutter speeds and lower ISOs in low light.
In other words, the f/1.8 of this Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens will allow you to take photos with the Sony a6000 in low light without a flash, much easier than with a ‘slower’ lens such as the kit lens that comes with it. (The smaller the f-number, the larger the aperture).
An aperture of f/1.8 also means that you’ll be able to get that coveted blurred background look that really separates lesser cameras. Sure, your iPhone ‘portrait mode’ may be able to do something similar, but the process is much slower with the mobile phone and it’s fancy A.I.
As for image quality, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens delivers images that simply aren’t possible with the kit lens that comes with your camera. Sharpness is impressive at f/1.8, and continues to improve to around f/4 where the sharpness and overall contrast excels for a lens of this price.
On the topic of price, at around $400 (see latest price here), you may hesitate, especially as a lens for the Sony a6000 which only costs slightly more! However, a camera is only as good as its lens, and by investing in the Sony 35mm f/1.8, you’re really making the most of your a6000’s abilities.
The ‘OSS’ refers to Optical SteadyShot (image stabilization), a feature that is rare on prime lenses. In combination with the fast f/1.8 aperture, this makes the lens excellent for low light shooting, allowing you to keep the ISO of your Sony a6000 as low as possible to create noise-free images.
All in all, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens is the best prime lens for Sony a6000 owners who a small and lightweight setup with excellent optical performance – it’s in many respects the perfect travel camera/lens combination. Highly recommended!
Focal Length: 60mm (equivalent to 90mm)
Weight: 190g / 6.7oz.
Size (Diameter x Length): 60.8mm x 55.5mm / 2.4in x 2.2in
Filter Diameter: 46mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 50cm / 19.7in
Price: (Latest price here)
Here’s a bit of a curve ball from Sigma in this guide to the best lenses for the Sony a6000. Remember that you don’t always need to match brands when buying lenses for your camera…
If this lens didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have hesitated to include the Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens – it’s faster, includes image stabilization, and is great value of money now that it’s dropped in price to under $300 (exact price here). However, this Sigma has changed all that…
The Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN is the best portrait lens for the Sony a6000. With an APS-C equivalent focal length of 90mm, your subject will look in perfect proportion, with their features compressed like reality (as opposed to distorted by a wide angle lens).
Medium telephoto focal lengths such as this one allow you to stand about 6 foot away from your subject and still fill your viewfinder’s frame with their head and shoulders for a flattering head shot.
Does that mean this Sigma is only suitable for portraits? Not at all – it just means that you’ll need to be able to stand back far enough to fit everything into your frame. Telephoto lenses can be used for landscape photography to provide beautiful compression of the scenery, making background mountains appear closer to a foreground element, for example.
Despite being solidly built, the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN is actually rather light, making it another ideal prime lens companion for your Sony a6000.
Being lightweight also means focusing is silent and completely unobtrusive – something that the video shooters will appreciate.
Images taken with the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN are incredibly sharp and contrasty, with vivid colours straight out of camera. The f/2.8 aperture combined with the focal length delivers beautiful, creamy bokeh which will help separate your subject from the background.
There’s no noticeable vignetting, distortion or chromatic aberration… basically this means that your photos will look pretty darn good, with no fiddling necessary afterwards in Lightroom!
As for the price, well at a little under $250 (see latest price here), this impressive little lens is by far the best value lens you can attach to your Sony a6000 – you’ve gotta love cheap camera gear that performs as well as the more expensive stuff!
Note that this lens is also available with a different mount for micro-four-third cameras, so be sure you select the correct one for your Sony a6000 when ordering (check the box marked ‘Sony NEX’). It’s also available in black or silver.
Focal Length: 28-70mm (equivalent to 40-105mm)
Weight: 295g (10.5oz.)
Size (Diameter x Length): 72.5 x 83mm (2-7/8 x 3-3/8in.)
Filter Diameter: 55mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.3-0.45m (0.99-1.48ft)
Price: (Latest price here)
The ‘FE’ as opposed to ‘E’ in this zoom lens’ name refers to the fact that this is actually a lens meant for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras. It actually comes bundled as a kit lens with the Sony a7 camera. So, why am I recommending it here as one of the best Sony a6000 lenses?
Normally I wouldn’t recommend purchasing any expensive lens made for full frame cameras to use on a cropped sensor body like the Sony a6000. However, with this Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS the rule book goes out the window.
At less than $300 (check the latest price here), this Sony zoom lens is an absolute bargain, and perfectly suited to the Sony a6000. It also means that if you ever decide to upgrade to a full frame Sony, you’ll already have your first great lens waiting in your camera bag!
The 40-105mm equivalent focal length makes the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS particularly useful for subjects that change distance frequently, such as when photographing children, or for sports photography.
Using a full frame lens on a cropped sensor camera basically means that the edges of the lens won’t be in use. On wide angle lenses, this ‘missing width’ may be an issue, but on longer lenses such as this one it doesn’t really matter.
As an additional bonus, in using the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS on a Sony a6000, you’re actually ‘cropping’ the edges of the frame, thus eliminating any edge softness that may have otherwise existed on a full frame camera. Make sense?!
The image quality is impressive as can be expected from a lens that’s meant for pro-grade full frame cameras. It’s sharp, contrasty and produces great bokeh – more due to the focal lengths at which you’ll be shooting as opposed to the aperture.
On the topic of aperture, you won’t be shooting much after dark without a flash with f/3.5-5.6. However, I do appreciate the inclusion of Sony’s excellent Optical Steady Shot that compensates for the minor hand movements that are particularly common when shooting at longer focal lengths, and can cause blurred images.
Another nice feature of the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS is weather-sealing, but unfortunately you won’t be able to take advantage of this with the Sony a6000 which doesn’t offer it. However, a weather-sealed lens also means that it’ll be built to last, no matter what camera body you attach it to.
If you’re looking for a great zoom lens for your Sony a6000 at a bargain price, look no further than this little beauty.
Focal Length: 12mm (equivalent to 18mm)
Weight: 245g (8.64oz.)
Size (Diameter x Length): 72.5 x 59mm (2.85 x 2.33 in.)
Filter Diameter: 67mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 7.87”(0.2m)
Price: (Latest price here)
After adding a small fast prime and a telephoto zoom to your Sony E-Mount lens collection, the next one you’ll want in your camera bag is a wide-angle lens… or in this case, an ultra-wiiiide angle lens!
The Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS has been made especially for mirrorless cameras (be sure you get the correct one for the Sony a6000 here). For a wide angle lens to remain wide angle on a cropped sensor body like the a6000’s, it needs to be truly WIDE. With its equivalent 18mm field of view, you can create some really compelling, immersive images with this fun lens.
The obvious use of wide angle lenses is to shoot vast landscapes, but another usage is to tell more of a story in one image by including a foreground element, and multiple background elements. At 18mm you can place a subject in the centre of the frame (to minimise distortion), and still have enough ‘room’ around them to show their environment – it’s a skill, but a great way to really improve your photography.
One thing to note is that the Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS is a manual focus lens. Normally I wouldn’t recommend lenses that you need to twist yourself to focus, but with a wide angle lens, it’s excusable since so much of the image will fall into focus without much fine-tuning – any objects from about 2 metres away to infinity will be in focus simultaneously.
With an aperture of f/2, you can use the Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS in lower light too without needing to bump up the ISO of your Sony a6000. Another advantage of wide angle lenses is that small movements when photographing aren’t as noticeable in the final image, meaning you can also benefit from slower shutter speeds without needing to raise the ISO.
Sony offers several wide angle lenses, but none of them are as affordable, nor as fast as this one from Rokinon. Part of the price difference is admittedly due to lack of motor to power any AF, but also the cost-saving is due to the brand name itself. Sad but true.
As for image quality, the Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS really impressed me for a lens of this price. Images are sharp and rich in colour and contrast, with surprisingly low distortion. Zooming in to your images reveals just how sharp the details are resolved, particularly in the centre of the frame.
Some photographers completely discount this lens when they read the words ‘manual focus’, but I really recommend that you give it a second thought. Spending almost twice the price on an alternative with AF just doesn’t make sense to me, especially when the focus on wide angle lenses like this is so forgiving… and the quality of the Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS is so impressive.
If you want to create images that include more of the surroundings and tell more of a story in every click, this is my recommendation of the best lens for Sony a6000 owners who crave that wide angle look.
Focal Length: 20mm (equivalent to 30mm)
Weight: 69g (0.15 lbs)
Size (Diameter x Length): 62 x 20 mm (2.4 x 0.7 in.)
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.2 m (0.6 ft)
Price: (Latest price here)
I love ‘pancake’ lenses and wish that Nikon made one (I’d definitely include it in my roundup of the best Nikon lenses if they did!) Canon has one (reviewed here), and now Sony does too thanks to this little gem of a lens.
At only 69g (0.15 lbs) and barely thicker than a lens cap, the Sony E 20mm f/2.8 is a great combination with the Sony a6000, or any cropped sensor Sony mirrorless camera in fact.
Having a smaller, lighter and more pocketable camera isn’t just for portability’s sake though – you’ll be much less obtrusive and noticeable when using this combination, meaning more candid photos and a subject who’s more at ease.
The 30mm equivalent field of view also lends itself well to run-and-gun style shooting on the street. There’s a little distortion, and images could be a bit sharper when shot wide open at f/2.8, but stopping down your aperture to around f/5.6 yields better performance.
As with other pancake lenses, the Sony E 20mm f/2.8 isn’t renowned for delivering stellar image quality. It’s more a popular lens for photographers who put a priority on keeping their small mirrorless cameras… small. I fall into this category, since I know that any issues with sharpness or contrast can be largely fixed after the fact with one click in Lightroom.
Having a tiny lens on the end of my Sony a6000 really makes using it more of a pleasure than any other more capable lens might.
35mm on a full frame camera is my preferred focal length since it’s just so versatile. Using the Sony E 20mm f/2.8 took a little getting used to (that ‘extra’ 5mm is more noticeable than I expected), but it’s still ideal for almost everything I need to shoot in an average day. Obviously, for purely flattering portraits, something like the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN discussed previously would be better.
If you’re looking for a good value lens that will make your Sony a6000 feel exactly as it’s intended, look no further than this. Yes, there are certainly Sony lenses that perform better optically, but none of them can be mistaken for a camera lens cap!
Best Sony a6000 Lenses | Final Words
In this roundup of what I consider to be the best Sony a6000 lenses, I’ve concentrated on those that I feel reflect the price of the a6000 itself.
It seems counter-intuitive to me to buy a camera that’s around $500, then spend 2 or 3 times the amount on a lens.
I also tried to stick to lenses that won’t look and feel ridiculous on the small bodied Sony a6000… although at times (with zoom lenses), this was difficult to achieve.
Sony created the E-mount lens line-up specifically for its mirrorless cameras, and in doing so, created lenses that all function very well on cameras like the Sony a6000. If you look at the reviews of any of the Sony E-mount lenses, you’ll see mostly 4 or 5 stars, from thousands of happy users.
It was tough to choose just 5 lenses that I believe are the best Sony a6000 lenses from such an impressive selection, but I believe that the ones reviewed in this line up will stand you in the best stead with your beloved little camera :-)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – do you agree with my selection?
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.