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Best Overall - Editor’s Choice - Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
This lens is undoubtedly the best overall sony lens for video. It is one of the best sony zoom lenses for video. It manages to rival top prime lenses in video quality, partly due to the constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range.
This lens is a Sony wide-angle lens, making it a filmmaker’s delight, as many video makers prefer wide-angle lenses for their broad coverage. The max aperture is perfect for shooting video in different lighting conditions, apart from this lens’s wide-angle.
This lens uses two Direct Drive SSM to achieve fast, silent, and accurate focusing. Close-ups during video shoots are also quite achievable with this lens spotting an MFD of just 28cm coupled with a 0.19x magnification. Users also enjoy a button dedicated to holding focus which can also be customized to get easy access to settings.
This lens is well built and designed to work well in different weather, as with every quality lens. The makeup includes two Extreme Aspherical elements, two ED elements, and Nano AR coating. All aim to reduce the effects of glares and lens curvature on the videos.
Best Sony Prime Lens - Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
Prime lenses are the go-to lenses for producing exceptional images when making videos. While preference is a huge factor, there is hardly a better prime lens for Sony cameras than the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM lens. It is the best 50mm lens for Sony.
The wide f/1.2 maximum aperture makes this lens capable of quality performance in every lighting scenario. In addition, this wide max aperture is the perfect recipe for isolating subjects. Being a standard prime lens, its versatility is one of its most endearing. A good fit for different videography needs and is one of the best Sony Prime lenses for video.
Focusing on this lens is quite smooth, thanks to Extreme Dynamic (XD) focusing mechanism. Users enjoy subject tracking and fast and silent focusing. Furthermore, you get to enjoy a declicking feature while switching apertures. Perfect for videography.
While this lens is considered weighty for a prime lens, it has a sturdy build. The dust and weather-resistant build ensure that it can be used in less than perfect weather conditions. Also, the use of Extreme Aspherical (XA) elements and Nano AR coatings in the construction ensures that this lens is well equipped to counter various optical aberrations.
Best Sony Zoom Lens - Sony 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
While there are a lot of zoom lenses that can get the tag of the best sony zoom lens, this lens is arguably the best Sony zoom lens for video. The zoom range, which makes sure users enjoy the visual width of both Sony wide-angle and Sony telephoto lenses, allows this lens to cater for different video needs.
Originally designed for an APS-C sensor mirrorless camera, the effective focal length range increases from 18-135mm to 27-202.5mm when combined with a full-frame sensor camera.
While the maximum aperture is not as wide as its counterparts on this list, this lens produces amazing video quality. Furthermore, users get to enjoy an amazing range in the video’s depth of field due to the large aperture range.
To cater for shooting in low light conditions, this lens is embedded with the Optical Steady Shot (OSS) image stabilization which is perfect for situations when the camera’s shutter speed is low. The OSS is also designed to combine with the camera’s IS to produce superbly stable images and videos.
This lens uses the fast and silent linear autofocus motor as its focusing mechanism. In addition, there is a provision for a full switch between autofocus and manual focus. You also get a MFD of 45cm and a magnification of 0.29x with this lens.
Best Budget lens - Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN
While budget is a big part of lens acquisition, getting the best value on a strict budget is still important. This prime lens is a perfect example of good value for money. This lens was originally designed for APS-C sensor cameras, which means users can get up to 45mm in focal length for a full-frame sensor camera.
The wide maximum aperture allows for quality video in all lighting conditions. Users also get to enjoy different field depths in their videos. The Stepping Motor (STM) focusing mechanism used on this lens helps it achieve silent, precise, and fast focus. Boasting an MFD of 30cm coupled with a 0.19x magnification, close-ups and enhancing details during video shoots is easy.
When choosing a zoom lens for video, a constant maximum aperture should be a strong consideration.
The construction of this lens includes a couple of aspherical elements and high refractive index elements designed to help with aberrations such as distortions. Also, super multi-layer coatings have been added to the lens to help with flares and ghosting. Finally, this lens uses a Thermally stable Composite (TSC) build, which makes it usable in varying temperatures, and undoubtedly makes it one of the best Sony prime lenses for video.
Best Sony Macro Lens - Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro
Close-ups are a big part of video making, especially if you are invested in getting as many details as possible on a subject. While many lenses offer macro imaging abilities, some lenses are designed for this purpose. One such lens is the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 macro, arguably the best macro lens for Sony.
This lens is a prime Sony telephoto lens with exceptional quality. Being a telephoto prime alongside an f/2.8 max aperture assures users of good subject isolation when making videos. Users can achieve impressive detail enhancement of their subjects during video shoots with a magnification of 1x and an MFD of just 28cm.
Focusing on this lens is achieved with the Direct Drive SSM system, a precise and silent focusing mechanism suitable for video productions. In addition, this lens has a focusing ring designed to shift along the lens to help switch between manual and autofocus. Finally, this lens has a button which serves primarily as a focus hold and can also be assigned some functions for quick settings.
The OSS image stabilization makes shooting videos or details even easier, especially when shooting handheld. This special IS also combines well with the camera’s IS to help achieve optimally stable videos even in scenarios where low shutter speeds are required.
How to Choose the Best Sony Lens for Video
The Sony brand is one of the leading figures in the videography world due to the quality of cameras and lenses they produce. Being a top brand, they have quite many lenses specifically designed to meet various videography needs. On the other hand, different companies produce third-party lenses compatible with Sony cameras.
From Sony’s lenses to compatible lenses from third-party companies, the lens options for Sony are many. While Sony predominantly has Sony A-mount lenses and Sony E mount lenses, they have unified both kinds of mounts by stopping the production of their A mount lenses and promoting their E mount lenses.
Of the lens options now available for the Sony E mount, some are better for stills; some are better for making videos, while others are good for both. Considering all these lens options, it is quite understandable that choosing the best Sony lens for video can be challenging. Here are some tips to watch out for when choosing the best Sony lens for video.
Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens
This debate has been going on for a long time and it probably won’t be settled in a long time due to preferences. Like the best 50mm lens for Sony, prime lenses produce exceptional images while zoom lenses help cover more distance. In videography, both are good acquisitions, but their use is still largely dependent on the kind of videography.
Generally, if you are engaging in videography that will require you to be far from the subject, it is only proper to choose a zoom lens. Zoom lenses are also good for filling many videography needs without having to change lenses. For example, zoom lenses are preferred for sports, events, documentaries, news, e.t.c.
On the other hand, prime lenses are better suited to filming, vlogging, interviews, e.t.c. Generally, when the subject is not at large distances, then prime lenses are preferred.
Sometimes zoom lenses can be used in some prime lens cases, but the zoom lens should preferably be with a constant aperture and a focal length between wide-angle and mild telephoto. A good example is the Sony wide-angle lens discussed first in our article.
The focal length is a primary feature of a lens. It determines the range at which the lens can effectively work, which also describes the type of lens. The importance of focal length to lens choice is the feature that best describes the appropriate lens for a particular kind of videography.
The aperture(1) of a lens refers to a hole in front of the lens that opens on command to allow light into the image sensor through the lens. While the aperture works in hand with the shutter speed on the camera, it is the only one found on the lens.
The importance of aperture to video work can not be overemphasized because it can be the telling difference between two lenses with the same focal length. The biggest impact of aperture on video quality is the image clarity and image depth of field.
On a general note, lenses with wider apertures allow more light in, which means they can work better in low light scenarios (clearer). Another advantage of a wide aperture is the excellent isolation of subjects. This feature is especially useful in filmmaking.
While a wide max aperture in a lens is advantageous, lenses with medium openings can still work well, especially well-lit scenes. Also, lenses with wide apertures are generally more expensive.
The focus of a lens is very important to its quality. While every lens manages to achieve focus, some important considerations will qualify the lens as one of the best sony lenses for video.
With video making, one of the most important focus features is the sound of the focusing mechanism. No one wants to hear the mechanical whirring of the lens’ mechanism during playback. The speed and accuracy of focus are also important criteria to consider in a lens.
Lastly is the minimum focusing distance (MFD). The MFD indicates how far you can get to your subject before losing focus. This feature is very important for close-ups during video shoots and is usually at a minimum with some of the best macro lenses for Sony.
This is an important feature to check out in a lens that most videographers don’t pay attention to. Lenses with awesome features without good optical elements are still a waste of money. This is because they influence the quality of images the lens produces.
Every quality lens has elements specially equipped to help it against optical aberrations such as ghosting, flaring, coma, distortions, and the like. The exclusion of these specially designed lens elements will only result in bad images.
Although every lens manufacturer claims to have adopted these lens elements, intending buyers can only confirm the presence or absence of these aberrations from reviews of past users.
While the best Sony lens boils down to preference, our top 5 picks on the best Sony lenses for video in 2022 are good choices and will serve most of your videography needs.
Yes, you can. While it is not the most suitable option for filming (prime lenses are better for filming), a Sony zoom lens with a fixed maximum aperture and focal length ranging from wide-angle to mild telephoto will do fine.
Lens choice(s) is greatly influenced by the kind of videography you want to engage in. And while preference will always be a determining factor in the best sony lens for video, our Sony E mount lens picks are guaranteed to satisfy a range of video needs.
However, if we are to pick one lens from the ones listed above, it is the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 Gm lens because of its performance when making videos. In addition, the overall quality makes it the best value lens of the lenses listed in our article.
Do you agree with our choices of the best Sony lenses for video? If you were to replace one, which one would you replace? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments.
- Nasim M. (2020 April). Understanding aperture in photography. Retrieved from https://photographylife.com/what-is-aperture-in-photography