Which lenses are the top picks for Sony’s highly rated upgrade – A6300?
Sony’s recent addition to their camera range, the A6300, marked a significant improvement on its predecessor, the A6000. With a sturdier construction, improved autofocus capabilities and a vastly enhanced 4K video capacity the A6300 has earned some great reviews.
One downside to all this praise is a lack of enthusiasm for the standard lens included when the camera is bought in kit form (body and lens). To be honest the 16-50mm lens is not up to the standard of its Canon and Nikon counterparts.
So, does it then make sense to buy the body alone and use another lens? If so, which lenses should you use to get the best out of what is otherwise a top-notch mirrorless camera?
Naturally this depends on what you primarily aim to use the camera for. Wildlife photography has different requirements than portrait work, for example. Below, we shall look at some of the best lenses in a number of different categories, bearing in mind that a body which can cost in the region of $1,000, deserves a lens that will do it justice.
Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 OSS
- Carl Zeiss mid-range zoom lens. Compatible with E-mount Full Frame cameras and E-mount APS-C cameras
- Minimum Focus Distance : 1.15 ft (0.35 m), Maximum Magnification ratio : 0.23x, Focal Length : 16-70 mm
- High lens technology in a compact body
- Optical Steady Shot image stabilization. Zeiss T anti-reflective coating
- When using a flash, always remove the lens hood and shoot at least 1 m (3.3 feet) away from your subject
Although by no means cheap, this lens, the result of a collaboration between Sony and Zeiss, is the stand-out general purpose lens, with a decent focal range suitable for travel/landscape and portrait work. The focal length is equivalent to 24-105mm on a 35mm camera and its optics are very good indeed. Featuring OSS image stabilization and fantastic clarity even right into the corners of your images, the Vario-Tessar is certainly a great quality lens. The downside though is the price. At nearly $1,000 this effectively doubles the cost of the A6300, but if you can afford it, this comes top of the list.
- Great image quality
- Quite light (10.9oz)
- Good focal length
- OSS stabilization.
Sony 18-105mm f/4 OSS
- This version is originally intended for sale outside the US and may contain adapters, manuals, and warranties not compatible with US standards.
- Model: SELP18105G
- Lens Mount: E Mount
- Format: APS-C
- High Quality G Series Lens
Similar to the Vario-Tessar above, this is a more affordable all round travel/portrait lens. With a focal length greater than the Vario-Tessar, at 27-158mm equivalent on a 35mm camera, this gives you all the versatility you could want in an all round lens. Not quite as sharp as its pricier alternative, the optics on this lens are still good quality, it focuses well and has the same OSS stabilization to help keep your images as sharp as possible. Coming in at around $600 it is considerably cheaper than the Vario-Tessar and is certainly a good investment.
- Longer focal length
- Cheaper than the Vario-Tessar
- Good optics
- OSS stabilization.
- Heavy (at 15.1oz it can seem a little too much for the relatively compact A6300 body).
Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS
- 10-18 mm super wide-angle zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F4
- Minimum focal length of 10 mm (15 mm in 35 mm-camera equivalency)
- Minimum Focus Distance : 0.82 ft (0.25 m), Maximum Magnification ratio : 0.1x
- Superbly detailed images;Aperture Maximum: f/4 ; Minimum: f/22
- Built-in OSS image stabilization (Optical SteadyShot).Constant F4 max aperture for noise-free low-light shots
For those who want to invest in a serious wide angle lens it’s hard to see past the Sony 10-18mm. With an equivalent focal length of 15-27mm this is a very good lens with great sharpness and low distortion levels, although not a perfect performer in low-light situations. It is quick to focus and is a very lightweight lens. These advantages, of course, don’t come cheap and with a price tag of around $850 this is one for those who are serious about their photography.
- Good optics
- Lightweight (7.9oz)
- Quick to focus.
- Not the best in low light.
Sigma 19mm f/2.8
- Three glass mold aspherical lenses provide excellent correction for distortion, color aberration and field curvature
- Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even at the maximum aperture
- The superior telecentric optical design improves image quality throughout the frame
- Lens not zoomable
This is a good quality lens which comes in at a much cheaper price than the Sony 10-18mm above. With an equivalent of 28.5mm this lens isn’t as wide as the lower end of the 10-18mm range, obviously, but it still has great sharpness, focuses quickly and is a very small and lightweight lens. As far as value for money is concerned it’s hard to beat the quality offered at such a low price of around $200.
- Very cheap
- Lightweight (4.9oz)
- Quick to focus
- Only 1 inch thick
- Not the widest angle available
- No OSS stabilization.
Sigma 60mm f/2.8
- Minimum focusing distance of 50CM
- Maximum Focusing magnification ratio of 1:7.2
- Excellent for taking shots with a pinpoint focus on a subject.
- Fast and large apertures lens for mirror less camera systems
- Choice of silver or black finish.
If portrait photography is more your thing then there are a number of decent lenses out there that function well on the A6300. The Sigma 60mm is a good lens for close-up work with an equivalent of 90mm. Nice and sharp with quick focusing the Sigma will allow you to work with a shallow depth of field and create some nice bokeh. This is a compact and lightweight lens that performs well and is great value at around $220.
- Quick to focus
- No OSS stabilization
Telephoto lenses generally don’t perform that well on mirrorless cameras but one that is worth a quick mention is the Sony 55-210mm which has an equivalent reach of 315mm but doesn’t function best in low-light conditions although it is comparatively light for a telephoto lens at 12.2oz.
Related article: Sony a6300 vs a6000
A price tag of around $350 means it isn’t too expensive but the serious wildlife photographer shouldn’t really be working with anything less than a full frame camera.
The range of Emount lenses is increasing all the time, which is good news, and there is something out there for most photographers and all their varying demands.
One option that could be considered is the purchase of an adapter ring allowing you to connect your Nikon or Canon lenses to the A6300 but you should be aware that the cheaper ones could significantly affect performance, particularly autofocus.
Given the constraints of space we haven’t been able to go into too much depth here, but rest assured that there are a whole host of lens options out there for the Sony A6300.
You will almost certainly find something that suits both your photographic needs and your budget. The best lens for you is out there and the A6300 is a fantastic piece of equipment for those who don’t wish to go full frame but who desire a top-class mirrorless camera.