10 Budget Lenses Under $300 For Sony E-Mount
A few years ago, the landscape of Sony E-mount lenses was pretty barren. Thankfully, once mirrorless cameras started becoming more popular, the big brand name and third-party lens manufacturers realized that there was a void to fill. Now, we have many, many options when it comes to filling our lens bag.
Sony has their award-winning G-Master line of lenses for the absolutely eye-watering best optical quality, but they each come with a hefty price tag. Unfortunately, not everyone has pockets deep enough to afford the best of the best.
Yes, it is indeed possible to find cheap lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras. You just have to know where to look. Here at KEH, we've got pretty much everything under the sun when it comes to photography. We've taken a look so you don't have to.
Read on to discover 10—or more!—options for your Sony camera that don't cost a fortune.
You'll find fewer lenses designed for APS-C bodies like the a6000 line, but that's not because they are any less capable than their full-frame cousins. Sony has proven that smaller sensors can take photos and images just as well, and they are a great choice for traveling creators or those who aren't looking to blow the bank on gear.
Keep in mind that you can use full-frame E-mount lenses on APS-C bodies thanks to them having the same mount and flange distance. You'll just be using the center area of the resolution of that lens. Basically, it means that your lens will seem a little more 'cropped' than they would on the larger-sensor cameras.
This ultra-compact zoom lens collapses to just over an inch in length, making it perfect for travel and on-the-go shooting. It also features an optical stabilizer and power zoom mechanism, allowing for smooth movement when shooting video. Oh, and it's available in both black and silver. This one is a brilliant choice for anyone with an E-mount APS-C body.
While it may not be at the top of your list, this telephoto pairs perfectly with the 16-50mm above. Grabbing these two lenses together will give you tremendous reach and versatility for under $300 combined. Keep the 16-50mm on your camera for pocket-sized all-purpose shooting, or break out the telephoto zoom when you want to shoot some wildlife. The 55-210 is also available in silver if you're fancy like that.
The metal housing of this prime holds a wonderful walkround lens for those creators looking for impressive image quality on a budget. Sigma's Art line of lenses is designed to produce breathtaking images with modern appeal, and this affordable autofocus lens is no exception.
This portrait lens has a surprisingly wide aperture for such a low price point. Still compact & lightweight, the lens holds a staggering 9-bladed f/1.2 aperture that will give you surprising low-light performance or an extra shallow depth of field. Keep in mind that these stats do come with a slight sacrifice, as the lens is fully manual when it comes to focus and aperture settings. If 50mm is a little tight for your shooting style, there's also a 35mm f/1.2 available with similar stats and build quality.
Full-frame FE Lenses
As stated above, these full-frame lenses can be used for both APS-C and full-frame E-mount camera bodies. Typically, in budget lenses you'll find plastic bodies instead of metal, smaller maximum aperture settings or a lack of autofocus motors. Pick your poison, and let's take a look at some more glass.
This could be Sony's version of a full-frame kit lens. However, while we normally recommend upgrading or replacing the lens that comes pre-bundled in a camera, this is a great place to start if you're just entering the world of FE cameras. It's lightweight, responsive with internal focusing, and features Optical Steadyshot stabilization to avoid any vibration from shaky hands. You could certainly do a lot worse when it comes to a 'kit lens.'
Like the Samyang lens pictured at the top of this article, this Rokinon lens works wonderfully for gimbal use. While this lens will force you to be a little more hands-on with its manual focus and aperture rings, it works very well for taking in starry night skies and vast landscapes. You'll be hard-pressed to find an ultrawide lens at this price that isn't a fisheye.
This one is for the cine nerds out there. With aperture and focus marks on both sides of the lens, it's easy for video ACs to consistently hit their mark from either side of the camera. Once again featuring fully manual operation, this lens adds cine gears to both the focus and aperture ring, making it an excellent addition to your film rig. This lens also measures in T-stops instead of F-stops. Fancy.
While it's true that many Sony-branded lenses are up there in price, this prime lens shows that--Yes, they are capable of making a full-frame 'nifty fifty'. So named due to their outstanding affordability-to-performance ratio, we love 50mm f/1.8 lenses so much, we think every kit lens should be one. Make this one of your first lens purchases for your full-frame E-mount camera.
Yes, it's got a mostly plastic build quality, but that makes it super lightweight. This offering from Rokinon also brings autofocus, unlike some of the other offerings on this list. In a blog- and travel-friendly focal length, this lens is great for casual users—particularly those who want something that barely takes up valuable space in their camera bag.
Tamron is a third-party brand that is much-loved in the E-mount community for its affordable lenses of professional quality. If you haven't heard of them, this is a phenomenal place to start. This prime lens offers quick autofocus, macro capabilities and a minimum focus distance less than 6 inches. A perfect example of why we love third-party lenses. Tamron also offers a 20mm f/2.8 and a 24mm f/2.8 in the same lineup.
You may also look into some of the other third-party branded lenses if you're looking for a good deal on glass. Brands like Venus Optics, SLR Magic, 7artisans and Meyer-Optik Gorlitz often have interesting designs for a decent price.
I'm also a huge advocate for adapting older lenses to E-mount. If you've got any of the various Sony LA-EA4 type mount adapters. you can easily mount Sony or Minolta's A-mount lenses and get near-native autofocus speeds. These lenses are older designs and are only getting more affordable by the day.
Otherwise, I highly recommend looking into using manual photo lenses with their mount adapters. Mirrorless cameras are uniquely equipped to handle nearly any lens from the past, given their short flange distance. This means your favorite Canon FD, Nikon F, Pentax K, Minolta MC or MD, Leica M mount or M42 screw mount lenses can make a great vintage addition to your E-mount lens collection.
To see a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 adapted for video on Sony mirrorless, click here.