Walk Around Lens Suggestion For Sony A6000

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by charlesbecker-toronto, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Hi All. Any suggestions for a general purpose zoom lens for the Sony A6000? I'm looking for something that is better than the Sony 16-50 but less expensive than the Zeiss 16-70. Thanks! cb :)
  2. <p>What kind of focus mechanism are you looking for, autofocus only?
  3. Hi Parv-it doesn't have to be autofocus; I'm open to all suggestions. cb
  4. Zooms are not Sony's forte at the moment. If you are willing to use primes, you'll get much better results for not a lot of money.
  5. thanks Stephen-I agree. I use Sony's 35mm f1.8 which I quite like but I'd also like to see if there is a good zoom for me (and it would most likely not be a Sony).
  6. Before I switched to Sony my general purpose landscape lens was the Nikkor 18-70mm ƒ/3.5-4.5G ED DX AF-S. It was a kit zoom lens, and generally they are not exceptional, but this specific model got a good review by Thom Hogan. I used it for a couple of years and I was satisfied by it. It sells at around 200€ at the moment.
    Now, the problem is that I don't know how it compares, quality-wise, to the Sony 16-50, also considering that you need an adapter (which might have an impact, especially for wide-angle). That is, I'm not sure it's better than the 16-50.
    Just a suggestion if you perhaps have a chance to try it and look at the shots before buying - perhaps a rental, if you live in a place where rental is cheap and easy.
    PS I suppose you evaluated and discarded the Sony 18-105mm, right?
  7. I just started using a Sony A6000. For the quality and discipline I bought a Sony 35mm 1.8 lens to use as my 'walk around' lens. I haven't been disappointed. It has an effective FF focal length of 52.5mm close to the 'normal' focal length I used for years on M Leicas. I also bought the 55-210mm lens because I got such a good deal on it but it hasn't come out of the box yet. I think to complete my A6000 kit I will buy the little Sigma 19mm 2.8 lens. At some point I may move into zooms. I think my best choice would probably be the 18-105mm 4.0 Sony zoom. I don't see myself using any exotic adapters for non Sony lenses. I look at the Sony 16-50mm zoom and the Sony 10-18mm zoom lenses. At least the 10-18mm lens may be in the future if I start using the A6000 more. Good luck!
  8. Thanks for the replies. I currently use an NEX-6 and plan to upgrade to the A6000 or the rumored new A6100/a7000 or whatever it ends up being called. I'll have to keep the 18-105 in mind. Thanks again! cb :)
  9. I have the 16-50 on my NEX6. It's ok but fr a walk-around, the bigger problem I have is that as a power zoom, when it sleeps or is turned off, it retracts and is slow to wake up, needs to be reset to previous focal length, etc. Not sure I wouldn't replace it with the 18-55 depending on what I had at either end. The 18-55 is not expensive on the used market so it's something I keep thinking about.
  10. There's been a bunch of new technology recently added to the A7 line. Presumably sooner or later it should make its way
    to an A6100 or A7000. Sony does tend to work on short upgrade cycles. But so far it doesn't look like Sony has a really
    stellar offering in APSC mirrorless zooms. That's an area where Fuji has them beat.
  11. Andy-I have checked out both the Fuji XE-2 and XT-1 with the 18-55 lens and am very tempted. cb
  12. I use the Sony A6000 with the earlier kit soon, the SEL1855 lens. It's manual zoom.
    The 16-50mm current kit lens is better than you would think, actually pretty good. You do want to use the camera distortion correction or the lens correction in Lightroom, since uncorrected the distortion on the wide end is impressive.
  13. I use the Zeiss 16-70 - and I found my solution to its price - got it 2nd hand.
    Before that I used the 18-55 and that was OK... It does not retract like the 16-50, but some have noted that as an advantage. It is only slightly better optically but corrections can be applied in camera or in post. It is not bulky on the a6000 body by any definition. You just won't be easily pocketing it or dropping it in a purse. Same is true of any option to the 16-50, though.
  14. FE 28/2 would be a no-brainer.
  15. Fred, I have been inclined to agree, but I made a special trip to the camera store to look at that FE 28 f2 lens just last Saturday, and it is just too big! It is probably 3/4" longer than the Sigma 19 and 1" longer than the Sigma 30 that is the nearly equivalent 45mm. I'd say the Sigma 30 has to be the walk around choice. I don't know. I just find that we get lulled into accepting one feature or another and then you forget what you liked and wanted. The APS-C sensor has the capability to have very small lenses that really minimize the package size when putting the camera into a small bag. It is a shame that the Sony 20 2.8 might not be great. I wish I had one to test myself extensively because that would be a great "walk around" solution. I carry my camera to work everyday in a small messenger bag that is too small for a number of the lenses that some would probably suggest.
    I consider the Leica 40 cron-C to be small. The Leica 28 aspherical 2.8 Elmarit is small. The pre-aspherical 35 crons were small. ...and all those lenses are full frame. It should be possible to have very small APS-C lenses, AND I UNDERSTAND the issue of the angle the light is approaching the sensor. I have a feeling Sony has understood the issue from the beginning. Of course they have. They need to design retrofocus wides and can't really take advantage of the short flange distance with symmetrical design wides. That's probably why the 24 1.8 is so big. Oh well....
  16. Mark, most Sony E-mount lenses are not big (especially the 16-50mm pancake kit lens), after you compare them with the Fuji X lenses, all of which cover only APS-C.
    Besides, the FE 28/2 is not big at all for a full-frame lens. The Voigtlander 28/2 plus an M-adapter is more or less the same size, less AF and AE but costs more.
  17. Fred, I sound so opinionated only because I too was thinking the 28 FE is the no-brainer solution, especially when you consider that the Zeiss branded 24 1.8 is twice as expensive. It also gives you a full frame lens if you/OP later go that way. I just got discouraged because for now when I compared it side by side to the Sigma 30 actually on my APS-C 5n, it is much larger. Of course the Sigma is not full frame, and it is rather cheap in build comparison. I have the VC 28 /1.9, and I agree that overall the 28 FE is similar in size. That is about 2.5" dia. at base and 2 3/8" long. The VC is thinner on the end, which makes if feel more compact, but it is heavier. I just gravitate so much to the smallest lenses because in some situations, it makes them so much easier to have with you like in your pocket in a very thin non-bulky protective cloth for example as an extra lens. The APS-C 24 1.8 is 2 5/8" long, which does make the FE 28 seem compact in comparison. On an A7, the 28 is probably admirably compact, but for A6000 or especially a 5n/r/t, I wish there were more small options that take advantage of the crop. I realize that in the end, the e mount is designed for lenses that are about 2.5" in diameter, and the need to design lenses to get the light coming straight in to the sensor is going to make them longer than what I've been spoiled with by a few of the rangefinder lenses. To put my view on this in perspective, I've considered an A7 specifically because I could use it full frame with my Leica 40/2 Summicron C that I've read does fine on it, and then the overall package is really hardly bigger than an A6000 or 5 series with the 24 or 28 Sony lenses needed to get around equiv. 40 mm.
  18. There's an old short story by Sir Arthur C. Clarke where the guy in charge of an operation gives the head engineer a difficult task. The engineer responds, "Do you want fast, cheap or good? I can give you any two out of three." That applies to almost anything, including non-Leica-branded lenses.
  19. "Do you want fast, cheap or good? I can give you any two out of three."​
    "Small" can be added to the choices as well, and still only two is generally possible.

    I understand Mark's preference, but to me the Sigma 30/2.8 does not offer real speed advantage over the stabilized Sony kit lens (old and new), and is not smaller than my 16-50 pancake.
  20. To put it in perspective: the all-manual SLR Magic 23/1.7 is similar in size to the FE 28/2, but only covers APS-C and costs $400.
  21. The answer or lack of an answer to the walk around lens question is really a commentary on this or any camera system. Sony's problem IMO isn't that they don't have some good answers; problem is they don't have any great answers for the APS-C cameras for which size is presumed to be one of the main benefits. I own and have repeatedly tested the 18-55 against my other fixed lens options. I only use it for video for when the zoom is particularly helpful. It isn't sharp enough or fast enough IMO. I always regret having use it compared to my other options. I hear the compact 16-50 is worse, so that's out. I have shot the 16-70. I would be happy enough, but as others have noted; it's expensive. For a zoom of that range, I couldn't complain about the size, but the price is questionable for a slow f4 lens that is often cited as less than stellar. The 18-105 when in-camera corrected is admirably good. The price is ok. It's also huge. I mainly use the Sigma 19 and 30 2.8s. The optical quality is really excellent. They feel rather junky, but the low price means I don't feel totally tied to the system...yet.
    I recognize the speed, price, quality saying. It is a good measuring stick even if not an absolute truth because those terms are relative. The right solution will be fast enough, cheap enough and good enough. Considering the SLR Magic lens that Fred mentioned, I would at least have to agree that the 28 FE is a nearly perfect option for full frame anyway. It is certainly "enough" in a very good way in all categories. I would say the Leica 40-cron C is a perfect walk-around for the full frame 7 family. Most of the Leica 50 crons are also because I think finally that all makes for full frame digital that is finally at least as small as the classic full frame SLRs like the Nikon FM family.
    To me, the requirement for the Sony APS-C cameras is different. They are already tiny compared to the giant Nikon and Canon APS-C DSLR football family. I need the a6000 and my 5n and whatever comes after to expand as the solution/replacement for the Leica CL with that 40 Cron C or a tiny Rollei 35 with Velvia 50 in it. If the Sony 20 2.8 pancake were twice as long to improve quality a bit, it would still be much smaller than the Sony alternatives.
    Don't you all think that when it really comes down to the walk around lens that is really enough in all categories, it should be possible to have, say a 20-40 constant f2.8 zoom lens about the size of the 18-55, and sell it for about $600? It would be kind of like the Leica tri-elmar solution(s). They don't offer a large zoom range, but they offer a very attractive range. Equiv. 30mm is plenty in a pinch for pictures of kids in a classroom or cooking in a kitchen. 60 is enough for portraits, especially if you have the MP to crop a bit. 2.8 is fast enough with today's ISOs, and for a portrait, with subject about 7' away and background much further back, there will be a good noticeably shallow depth of field effect. To indicate that I would put my money where my mouth is, I bought new a Rollei qz 35w when they came out about 2000 for about $850 I think. It had a 28-60 2.8 to 5.6 fixed lens. The lens was actually great. The camera was just kind of ...beautifully made but big and clunky. I sold it. Oh well, more dashed dreams.
  22. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Tamron 18-200mm - which seems the best walk-around solution (esp. if you are like me and want some tele action). It might not be the absolute sharpest (esp. compared to a prime) but mine has produced very good results on my NEX-7 for many years. I've printed 16x20 on my Epson 7900 with good results and also done some panoramas I've printed even larger. I also have the 10-18, and Sigma 30 and 60. The Sigmas are very sharp, but I normally want a zoom for walk-around versatility.
    Most of the pictures from the last few years in my gallery were taken with this lens.
  23. IMO, the ideal "walk around" lens will be in the (effective) 35mm to 50mm range. That corresponds to an actual focal length of about 24mm to 35mm for APS-C sensors like the A6000. For a one-lens travel kit, a wide range zoom, 24-200mm equivalent, covers nearly all bases, with some sacrifice in speed or optical quality.
    I would not discount Sony zoom lenses. Lens design always requires compromises. Zoom lenses generally shift focus (non-parfocal) when the focal length is changed*, because this is easily overcome by AF itself. In terms of optical quality, Sony (and Zeiss) optimize resolution and flatness of field at the expense of distortion. Distortion is almost perfectly corrected (<0.5%) by Sony in firmware in both RAW and JPEG images, or in Photoshop/Lightroom if you prefer. Sony keeps the maximum aperture to about f/4 to minimize the size and weight of their zoom lenses. If you look at samples taken with Sony 16-35/4 and 24-70/4 lenses, they are exquisitely sharp from corner to corner, but have a noticeable 3% distortion before correction.
    * If parfocal zoom is important, it is available in high-end video lenses. Expect to pay $45K or more for the convenience.
  24. Sony's 20/2.8 eliminates the need to set and reset focal lengths. The 16-50 zoom is fine, but a little bit slow sometimes. People who actually shoot with them don't complain much about the quality.
  25. I have continued to wonder about the FE 28 f2, but I just happened to run across a comparison on DXO comparing that lens to the Sigma 30 2.8 and Sony 35 1.8 dated April 30, 2015. It says they are all very close but that the Sigma at 2.8 is the sharpest. They were using the older plastic barrel type instead of the newer smooth metal barrel version, but they are very close. The point is that the Sigma is half the price of the FE 28 and enough shorter to be more handy. Having said that, I really wish Sigma would make that 30 3.8 in a better feeling barrel with better manual focus action even if they charged 50% more. It is such a good lens optically. Perhaps the design of the focusing mechanism prevents that.
  26. I am new to the Sony camera world, with an A6000, having been a 'Canon person' since the 1970s, my latest being a 70D. I bought my A6000 with the two kit lenses the 16-50mm and the 55-210mm. However, I find having to continually to change between the two lenses a real bother. I decided I needed just one all purpose lens. On my Canon 70D my regular lenses were either the EFS 15-85 mm or the EFS 18-135mm lenses. Having read about all the Sony E lenses, nothing really seemed to suit, so I eventually decided on the SEL 18-200mm lens. This will cover about everything I might want to shoot. One might say 'what an enormous lens', and yet it weighs less than the Canon 15-85 mm lens, and not much more than the Canon 18-135mm lens, where optically it is superior. I find holding the camera with my right hand and supporting a zooming the lens with my left hand, a very easy set up.
    I had thought I might use my Canon lenses with an EF/EFS to E adaptor. However the Comlite adaptor weighs 140gm, which adds considerably to the total weight, and there is the very slow automatic focussing. I will, however, use it with my Canon 100mm L. f2.8. IS macro lens, and my 300mm L.f4. IS lens, using manual focus.
    Time will tell whether I have made the right choice!
  27. Hi Anthony-thanks for the input; I appreciate it. cb :)
  28. I really like the Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS (15-27mm equivalent).
  29. Back to the kit lens 16-50mm -- Planning a recent vacation trip, I tested this against the excellent 24mm Zeiss and the also vs. the very highly regarded 55mm f/1.8 Sony/Zeiss.
    At f/8, the kit lens is just fine. To me, this makes it an excellent lens for "walk around" in daylight, typical vacation pix. Indoors, portraits, or seeking background bokeh, that would be another story. But, outdoors at f/8 it will give excellent results.
  30. I just purchased a (graphite) A6000 for $398 and a (silver) Sigma 19/f2.8 DN A for $178. I will add my 55/f1.8 FE lens and use that as a 28-85 two lens combo when I don't want to carry my A7r.
    I do have an old 18-55 (I think it is) that came with a Sony NEX 5N but I expect the two primes is all I'll use.
    The recent deal on the A6000 was too good to pass up.
  31. I believe the 18-55 kit lens that came with the NEX 7 and other cameras contemporary to it is a better quality lens than the 16-50. For a while, I thought about getting a 16-50 for my NEX 7 because I wanted that 2 degrees of extra wide angle. But I've read a lot of reviews of that lens that don't give it particularly high marks, so I've decided to just stick with my 18-55 until I can afford something better. It's actually a very capable lens, so it might be something for you to consider.

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