Sony cameras are ideal for recording videos.
Whether you’re shooting commercials, music videos or want to upload casual videos to YouTube and other platforms, their size and features truly make it the best right now.
If you want to improve the quality of your videos and make them look more professional, it’s time you invest in a really good lens.
When selecting the 8 best lenses in this video guide, we made sure to focus on image quality, sharpness, aperture size (which makes your background blurry) and overall design.
This guide is for all Sony E-mount cameras; A6, A7 and A9 series.
Best Sony Video Zoom Lenses:
Best Sony Video Prime Lenses:
We discuss all of these lenses below, but first let’s go through what matters when buying a lens for video.
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What’s Important for Video
Here are the 4 most important factors that make a good video lens.
Focal Length – Generally speaking, you want to be between 24 and 50mm. It’s what feels the most natural to us, so if you’re going for that daily/casual/interview look, stick to these lengths. If you want to do landscape then 24mm and wider is a must, whereas for sports and wildlife, check out the 70-300mm we recommend.
Aperture – Big apertures allow you to really blur the background and make your video footage look much more professional. It’s amazing how one simple change from, let’s say, f/5.6 to f/2.8, can make the same scene look entirely different. Zoom lenses go up to f/2.8 but are quite expensive, so if you want really big apertures without paying too much, get one of the primes we recommend. Besides that, they’re also usually sharper since they have less elements inside.
Auto Focus – This depends on what Sony camera you use, but luckily all lenses on our list have good focusing speeds. If you do it manually, then this is something you don’t have to worry about.
Image Stabilization – OSS only help if your subject is completely still, and you’re the “problem” (heavy gear, you’re tired, shaky arms etc.). It can help a lot when shooting static subjects such as landscape, architecture, still people etc. It will not stabilize a moving car, or anything that’s moving!
Best Sony Zoom Video Lenses 2018
The Sony 10-18mm f/4 G OSS is the widest zoom lens available for APS-C Sony cameras.
Aperture stays fixed at f/4 regardless of your length, which seems to be a standard for almost all Sony’s zooms and it’s something we like. While f/4 is not the best aperture for low light, it’s still better than f/5.6 or f/6.3, something that’s common when zooms under $1000.
If you like photographing landscape, cities, architecture and wide places when traveling, you’ll love the field of view. Auto focus is also quick and usable for shots on the go even though this isn’t aimed at sports shooters.
Distortion is very well controlled for a lens this wide, but vignetting at f/4 and 10mm will have to be corrected either in the camera or in post process, as you’ll most likely find it too strong.
The lens is also really light, yet feels solid and is mostly made of metal. It’s far from heavy at 0.50 lb (225g). The minimum focus distance is 0.82 ft (0.25m) and it takes 62mm filters.
It’s a perfect lens for landscape, streets, buildings, nature and even for traveling. It’ll be fine indoors too, but you will probably have to raise the ISO when in dim light.
A really useful feature is the OSS (stabilization) so if your camera doesn’t have it built-in, you can rely on getting around 4 stops of extra stabilization if you’re not stable enough. Video wise, this is one of the best options for A6500 shooters (or older models), simply because of how cheap yet powerful it is.
Sony 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS
The Sony 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS is a versatile, sharp lens for all sorts of landscape and wide angle situations and it’s designed for full frame Sony cameras. It will fit on A6 series, but is intended for A7 and A9 models.
If you prefer wide zooms over primes, there’s no better lens, especially at this price. The colors, contrast and sharpness are all great. While it’s usable at f/4, the corners might be a little too soft for some, at least when above 28mm.
Specification wise, the 16-35mm f/4 features AA (advanced apsherical) and 3 ED elements that help control the chromatic aberration and show less distortion. There’s also T* coating to reduce the flare and ghosting. It displays normal signs of vignetting and distortion for when under 20mm, but both can be corrected if needed.
It weighs 18.3 oz and balances nicely on all A7 bodies. Its minimum focus distance is 0.92 ft (0.28m) but it’s nothing to use as a lens for close up shots with 0.19x magnification. The 16-35mm f/4 is aimed at indoor, street, wedding, travel, landscape and group shots scenarios and it excels at that.
Aperture stays fixed at f/4 at all lengths which seems to be a standard with the majority of Sony’s lenses. If most of your work is done outdoors then there’s no point in buying the bigger, heavier and more expensive f/2.8 version. It has OSS built-in so if your camera doesn’t have it, you can rely on getting stabilized shots.
The Sony 18-105mm f/4 G OSS is our favorite all-around zoom lens. It may be a little bit heavy for some of you, but the quality at this price is absolutely worth it.
Focal length is great for pretty much everything; landscape, streets, indoors, portraits, animals, closer sports and much more. At 15.1 (around 500g) oz it’s not the lightest lens when compared to other Sony zooms, but it’s still pretty light to be honest. In return, you get a fixed f/4 aperture at all lengths and really sharp images.
Colors, contrast, sharpness are great, and it feels solid in hand as well. If you’re looking for that one zoom to do it all, this is it. Even if you have other lenses already, it’s still nice to own an all-in-one because sometimes you’re just not in the mood to carry all that extra gear.
It’s usable at f/4 but in certain the situations at 18mm, the vignetting is fairly visible. One stop smaller and it gets all better.
We also considered the Sony 16-70mm f/4, but for $300 more, all you get is less reach and a lighter lens. If weight is absolutely the most important factor to you then it will be a good all-around lens, but simply looking for the best value for your money, nothing beats the 18-105mm.
Sony 24-70mm /4 OSS
The Sony 24-70mm f/4 OSS provides a range perfect for a lot of popular types of photography, from landscape, food, portraits, to weddings, traveling and more.
It’s a lens you can carry as an all-around choice, although it’s not the most suitable for indoors due to its fixed f/4 aperture. It’s not bad, it’s just that you’d have to spend a whole lot more on the 24-70mm f/2.8 to get that 1 stop bigger aperture.
Since landscape photography is 99% outdoors, there’s no need to spend so much unless you’re also into astrophotography and need every little bit of light. Otherwise, we shoot landscape with smaller aperture anyways, in order to have a big depth of field (everything appears in focus and sharp).
Image quality wise, the lens is fairy sharp. Corners might appear soft at most lengths, even when stopped down a bit, but overall it performs solid. You will also notice some distortion and vignetting at 24 to around 35mm. Auto focus is relatively quick and quiet, so that’s a nice plus.
To sum up, this is a lens you buy because of its versatile range. It won’t blow you away with its performance, and while we think it could be slightly cheaper, it’s still a solid purchase. You’ve also got OSS which helps stabilize the image if you’re not stable (after a long day of walking, it’s easy to get tired).
Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS
The Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS is your best wildlife/birds/outdoor sports Sony lens right now.
Going an extra 100mm further than the telephoto standard 70-200 f/2.8, you do lose one aperture stop worth of light as it closes down to f/5.6 at 300mm. However, for outdoor use where you’ll most likely use it anyways, it will be excellent! Combined with the built-in OSS and good ISO performance, you don’t have to worry that much when the day gets darker.
For around $1000, you know the image quality better be good, and thanks to 2 x ED elements and 4 x aspherical elements, the aberration control and ghosting are very good. It delivers sharp images with good contrast and colors even when at 300mm. Ghosting is a common issue when shooting at long lengths so the Sony Nano AR coating helps tremendously.
As far as weight is concerned, it’s only a tad heavier than the 70-200mm f/4, but this is a common thing with telephoto lenses.
Auto focus is also quick and capable of focusing on fast moving subjects. There’s no point in a telephoto lens that can’t focus well, even if it’s optically amazing. If you want to record videos of animals, whether it’s in the zoo or outdoors, or even sports, races and planes, this is the one.
Best Sony Prime Video Lenses 2018
Sony 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss
If you you don’t want to spend so much on a zoom lens, or prefer using prime lenses due to their bigger aperture and smaller design, the Sony 24mm f/1.8 is our widest pick.
Weddings, street photography, group shots, anything indoors, traveling… you name it. On an APS-C camera, it’s equivalent to a 36mm lens which is still quite wide and usable for a standard field of view.
There’s no OSS (stabilization) like with our other prime choices below, but at 24mm the depth of field is a lot bigger which means you can shoot with long shutter speeds and still get crisp results. If your camera has stabilization built-in, then there’s nothing worry about at all.
The lens is very sharp, images have rich colors and contrast. It’s also usable at f/1.8 but corner sharpness gets better as you stop down of course. Auto focus is also quick and silent, and it rarely hunts in bad light (review at PhotographyBlog).
Best of all, it’s compact, light and easy to use for both manual and auto focus. Lenses can hunt indoors, and at such moments you’ll have to focus manually.
Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS (APS-C)
The Sony 35mm f/1.8G OSS provides an excellent length for portraits, weddings, casual photography and low light scenes. It’s designed for A6 models, such as the A6500 and lower.
For low light photography, an aperture f/1.8 is always good to have. Compared to f/2.8, it lets in almost twice as much light and you’ll appreciate it when shooting in low light and trying to use a fast shutter speed, or keep the ISO low.
For achieving a shallow depth of field (blurred background), a big aperture is also a must, anything bigger or equal to f/2.8. This makes it great for portraits, weddings, pets and whenever you want your subject to pop out.
The lens is really light (5.5 oz/155g) and accepts 49mm filters. For shooting on to go, or traveling light, the focal length + weight make it an excellent companion. Its auto focus is quick and accurate although you can expect it to hunt a little bit in low light.
If you’re looking for your first inexpensive lens for video, we recommend this one.
Sony 35mm f/2.8 OSS
The 35mm length has always been considered the perfect choice for street shots and environmental portraits. The Sony 35mm f/2.8 OSS is probably your best lens if you’re looking for a small, affordable but sharp prime.
It was tough choosing between the 35mm f/2.8 and Sony 35mm f/1.4, but the latter costs more than twice as much and weighs 4.5x as much. Unless you shoot in low light and absolutely need the big f/1.4 aperture, you’ll be more than fine with f/2.8 even when shooting indoors.
The 35mm f/2.8 has 7 diaphragm blades, while the f/1.4 has 9. Bokeh looks good on both, but the f/1.4 is the winner here. If that’s worth the extra money depends on how much bokeh is important to you. For most people, it’s not really worth the extra price.
Besides streets, you can use it as an all-around compact prime for just about anything; travel, indoors, nature, events and casual photography. There’s no OSS but you’ve got that built-in the A7 second generation already.
If you have the budget for both versions, you’ll need to ask yourself whether a bigger, heavier, more expensive and slightly sharper lens is better than an extremely light, compact, sharp with 2 stops smaller aperture.
Sony 55mm f/1.8 OSS
The Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA is a well known, high quality lens that still manages to cost just below the $1000 mark. Your videos will look absolutely stunning.
If we had to pick one prime lens that would be good for a whole lot of different things (portraits, low light, casual, travel etc.), this is what we would pick.
At f/1.8 it’s already really sharp, especially in the center. Stopping down to f/2.8 or f/4 delivers impressive results, but it’s good to know that you can actually use an f/1.8 at f/1.8. Vignetting and chromatic aberration at f/1.8 will be visible, but it’s still fairly well considering better 50mm’s cost a lot more.
It’s quite light and small, so it’s perfect for hours of photographing (hiking, traveling, weddings). It fits very well with the A7 bodies and won’t make your back hurt. Thanks to 9 diaphragm blades, bokeh looks really good too.
Simply put, for both outdoor and indoor work, unless you shoot wildlife, you’ll love the 55mm f/1.8. The length, sharpness and size make it one of the most versatile primes for any Sony body, even though it’s designed for full frame models.