Best Landscape Lens for Sony

Best Landscape Lens for Sony A7 and A9

Are you searching the best landscape lens for your Sony a7 or A 9 camera?

The Sony A7 series cameras are popular for their superb quality and performance, while putting a full-frame sensor in a very small, light-weight body.

Recently the new released Sony A9, although not specifically designed for landscape, can suit the need of landscape photographers very well.

But to get the absolute best out of your Sony, you’re going to need a lens that is of at least as good a quality as the camera.

To help you choose the best lens for that, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide followed by our recommendations

Note these tips and recommendations are all focused on landscape photography. For other kinds of photography, different lenses and lens-qualities might be better or more important

How to Choose a landscape Lens for Sony A7 - A9 Series Cameras

If you’ve already invested in a mirrorless camera as highly praised as the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, chances are you already have a pretty good idea of what you want from a lens.

To make sure your new lens will live up to your expectations, pay close attention to the following qualities:

Focal Length

By far the most important choice you’ll make regarding your lens is the focal length.

Although a wide-angle remains the most popular for landscape photography, telephotos or regular focal lengths can add a variety of new perspectives and creativity to your shots.

Ultra-wide angle (4mm-20mm) and Wide Angle (21mm-35mm)

Wide angle lenses offer a very broad field of view, allowing you to get more into frame.

The long depth of view can result in distorted perspectives, which can produce more drama and draw in the eye of the viewer.

With ultra-wide angle lenses the field of view is extremely large, and distortion will be even more dramatic.

Normal (35mm-60mm)

Using a normal focal length will allow you to give a very realistic view. Images shot with a 50mm focal length will closely represent the way things are seen with the human eye.

Telephoto (75mm-150mm) and Super Telephoto (150mm and up)

To isolate single details in your shot, using telephoto lenses is your best option.

You can also use them to create a new perspective, by moving further away from your desired subject and zooming in.

With a super telephoto you’ll be able to shoot from the greatest distances.

Prime or Zoom?

Whether you’ll opt for a prime or zoom lens largely depends on your personal preferences.

A prime lens has only one focal length, so to get your desired framing you’ll have to use your feet. This can be tricky when shooting in remote locations, such as cliff edges.

On the other hand, primes are considered to be a bit faster than zooms, and they are generally of a lighter weight.

Zoom lenses will ensure you can frame your image however you want without having to move too much.

The downside is that they are often a bit heavier and might not be as fast as prime lenses.

Most of Sony’s FE zoom lenses however are quite light-weight, and will still offer a great image quality.

Maximum Aperture

In the case of landscape photography, having the lowest maximum aperture really isn’t the most important feature of a lens.

In most cases you’ll want to opt for a higher aperture while shooting anyway, to ensure a large depth of field and get your entire landscape in focus.

If for example you’ll be using your Sony A series camera a lot during travels and might need your lens to perform very well in low-light situations (where a slow shutter speed is not ideal), a low maximum aperture is beneficial.

Take into account that faster lenses (those with a low maximum aperture) are often a bit more expensive.

Size and Weight

Sony is quite well-known for offering high quality in small packages; their cameras as well as lenses are light-weight, not too large and perfect if you’re often moving around with your gear.

If you’re known to be climbing or hiking a lot to get those great landscape shots, opt for the lightest lens options.

Build Quality

When it comes to choosing lenses for landscape photography, you’re going to want to pick a sturdy, weather-sealed lens, since you’ll be shooting out in the elements a lot.

A lens that can take some rainfall, extreme temperatures and a sandstorm or two is very desirable.

Since a large part of Sony’s clientele is made up of travel photographers, above mentioned needs are taken well into account.

A decent weather sealing is added to almost all FE lenses, and build quality is great – both inside and out.

For photographers wanting the absolute best of the best, Sony has launched their GM series. Similar to Canon’s Luxury line, these lenses promise the best quality on all parts.

Images will come out super sharp, bokeh is very smooth and natural, apertures are fast and all GM lenses are tightly weather-sealed. By choosing lenses with the GM label, you’ll make sure your lens lives up to your A7 or A9 camera’s quality.

Price

As with almost everything in life, you can make buying a lens for you’re a series camera as expensive as you want.

Prices for a high-quality lens range from $1000 to well over $2000. What the price tag of your lens will be completely depends on your personal preferences, country of purchase and of course your budget.

The Sony-Zeiss Relationship

Sony and Zeiss seem to be close friends, and they’ve been producing lenses for Sony together for decades.

Zeiss is known for their incredible quality, and competes with the absolute best lenses in the field.

They’ve produced some lenses for Sony on their own, under the names “Batis” and “Loxia”.

Sony and Zeiss have also produced some lenses together, combining the best of both worlds. These lenses have both the Sony and Zeiss label; look out for those to spot some great quality!

The 5 Best Lenses for Sony A7 and A9 Series Cameras

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2

If a very fast, wide-angle prime is what you’re looking for, this 25mm f/2 lens from Zeiss is exactly what you want.

It’s part of the Batis line designed especially for Sony, and unlike the Loxia line lenses from Batis do have autofocus.

Another thing that sets this lens apart is the HUD on top of the lenses, that will occasionally display information such as the depth of field and focus distance.

Not extremely useful, but since it doesn’t affect battery life it shouldn’t interfere with your shooting either.

What’s great about this lens is the incredible build quality you’d expect from a Zeiss prime; weather sealing is superb, and you won’t have to worry if you drop this glass once or twice.

The compact design (81 x 78 mm) is also very beneficial for landscape photography, as is the light weight (335 grams).

The focus ring is not as smooth as it has been on other Zeiss lenses, but it’s still workable. Image quality does not disappoint, as sharpness is quite good and color rendition is simply amazing.

Overall: a great wide-angle option.

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 

This manual focus prime lens from Zeiss is quite similar to the Batis prime discussed above.

Very compact and lightweight, this lens is perfect for taking on long hikes or challenging climbs; you will not be weighed down by your equipment in the slightest.

The reason this lens can be so small and light is because Zeiss has made great use of the shorter mount-to-sensor distance on mirrorless cameras; the lens can be made quite small and still have the right proportions to function well, without having to completely redesign the interior parts.

The look of this lens is very traditional, with an aperture ring and aperture, depth of field and focus ring markings.

But, despite the old-school look, the lens performs as great as any modern Zeiss lens, and does report information about aperture and focus to the camera.

A great choice if you’re only looking for wide angle perspectives, don’t mind the lack of autofocus and want a high-end lens that will perform great without weighing you down on the go.

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS

If primes aren’t really your speed but you still want to enjoy the Zeiss quality in your wide angle lens, maybe opting for this ultra-wide angle zoom is the answer for you.

This lens is the result of one of the many collaborations between Zeiss and Sony, and comes with the quality you’d expect from such a lens.

The centers of images throughout all focal lengths are very sharp, and edges and corners are acceptably sharp as well.

Some distortion and vignetting does occur on both extreme ends of the zoom range, which would have to be corrected in post processing.

However, chromatic aberrations are well controlled, and the lens even offers some nice bokeh when shooting wide open at 35mm.

It’s also quite compact, well-built and tightly weather-sealed. If you’re willing to lose some aperture range for zoom possibilities, definitely choose this lens over the previous two.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Another one of Sony’s high-end GM lenses that outperforms all other standard zooms in build quality is the FE 24-70mm f/2.8.

This lens has some very sturdy casing in place, finished with tight weather sealing. It also balances surprisingly well with the small, light camera bodies of the A7 and A9 series, despite it being relatively long.

The lens delivers some beautiful image quality, with especially great center sharpness.

Corner sharpness suffers slightly when shooting with a 2.8 aperture, and some vignette will occur here as well (especially around 24mm).

When zooming in to the other side of the zoom range, some distortion will be visible. But, by activating image auto-correction, these minor issues are easily fixed.

The price is a bit on the high end, but this is by far the best standard zoom lens for your Sony A7 and A9 series camera - definitely worth the investment.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

This great telephoto zoom lens offers the staple telephoto focal length range of 70-200mm, with a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Sharpness of this lens is of superior quality, right into the corners from f/4 onwards. When shooting with f/2.8, corner sharpness suffers slightly, but is still acceptable.

This glass also offers a very smooth bokeh, and a highly praised 5-axis image stabilization system.

For all this quality you’ll pay a higher price, something quite common for these kind of telephoto lenses, but it’s well worth it considering the amazing build quality.

Weather-sealing is also great, and thanks to the internal focus the lens will not change size, which is very convenient for balancing.

A removable tripod ring is provided with the lens, allowing you to rotate the lens (with camera attached) while mounted on the tripod as well as balance it in a convenient middle point.

This is truly the highest quality telephoto zoom lens you’ll find for your A7 or A9 camera. If, however, you’re in search of a more budget-friendly option, you could opt for the f/4 version of this lens instead.

Conclusion

Which ones of these great lenses will ultimately make the cut for you will completely depend on your personal photography needs.

If you’re the kind of landscape photographer that likes to stick to the traditional way of shooting landscapes, the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 will probably suit your needs best.

On the other hand, if you like to mix it up and find new perspectives for you images, the high-end Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 could be a great fit for you.

Of course, budget will also play a big role, and depending on what kind of lenses you already own you might choose one over the other to complement your current glass. In the end, what’s important is how you’ll use your lens and camera. 



Best Landscape Lens for Sony

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About the Author Luca

Hi, I am Luca, founder and editor in chief at photographyambition.com. I am crazy about photography and I always have a camera with me. When I am not busy with my day job, enjoying my family or taking photos, I am on Photography Ambition to share what I have learnt so far.

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