Thom's Preferred Sony APS-C Lens Set

Someone asked me recently which lenses they should get for their new Sony A6400 (besides the kit lens they got). That made me realize that I had recommended lens sets for the Nikon DX and FX cameras on, but haven't yet really built such things for all the mirrorless cameras here in the lens section. Today I'll tackle Sony APS-C (A5xxx, A6xxx bodies). I've add more mounts soon.


Sony's primes aren't my go to choices. For wide angle I prefer the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary, even though it's a bit of a big lens for the small APS-C bodies. It gives you a fast 24mm equivalent that outperforms pretty much all the other options I can find and have tried, and it's not particularly expensive.

bythom sigma 56mm

At the telephoto end, the 85mm equivalent you want is also Sigma: 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary. Also fast, also outperforms the other options, and also not particularly expensive. 

If you need a "normal" lens between those two, you could opt for the matching Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary, though the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is also a good choice. If you need a 35mm equivalent, the best choice is the Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. 

What, no Zeiss Touit or Batis lenses? No. They are pricey for what you get. That said, if you need to go wider with an autofocus prime than 24mm equivalent, the Batis 12mm f/2.8 is probably your best choice.


The Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS is a no-brainer for wide angle zoom (15-28mm equivalent). An excellent lens at a reasonable price, and well matched in size to the Sony APS-C bodies. 

bythom sony 10-18mm

From there, things get a little dicier. I'd say you have two basic choices: the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS, or the Sony 18-105mm f/4 OSS. The former isn't a perfect lens. Indeed, a lot of dedicated Sony users find things to gripe about with that lens, usually having to do with the edge and corner performance. Nor is the latter choice perfect, either. It's bigger, to start with (which compromises flash use), and it was really designed to be a power zoom for video. But optically I'm more impressed with it than the 16-70mm, plus you've now got more focal length range.


With the 10-18mm and 18-105mm you're covered in the 15-160mm (equivalent) focal range with two lenses. Add the Sigma 16mm and 56mm for low light work, and I think you're well covered for most work with four excellent lenses. This is probably the way I'd go for a solid base set of Sony APS-C lenses these days.

Obviously, you can (and should) add to that base set for any of your specific needs. 

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