Got a Sony APS-C camera, but not sure which lens to buy?
In this post, I’m going to run through my top lenses for Sony APS-C cameras
Sigma 16mm f1.4
First up is the Sigma 16mm f1.4, this wide angle autofocus lens has been a staple lens for APS-C cameras for a while now and for a good reason.
16mm means the focal length is very wide, meaning you’ll fit more in your shot with your camera closer. This is perfect for recording in smaller spaces, such as bedrooms which are perfect for YouTube videos. 16mm focal length will make your facial features slightly more exaggerated, but I find as long as you’re not sat right up to the lens it makes your face look great in vlog-style videos.
This lens’s low light performance is very good. This f1.4 on this lens refers to the maximum aperture, which is essentially how much light the lens lets in.
For example, for Sony APS-C cameras such as the a6000, a5100 or ZV-E10 it probably came with the 16-50mm kit lens, which is just as wide when fully zoomed out but has an aperture range of f3.5-5.6 which means it will be much darker. The image quality is excellent, very sharp with very little distortion makes it a big step up compared to the kit lens.
The autofocus is nice and fast and should always be able to keep up with a moving scene. The autofocus can be a little loud, but in most situations, it won’t be noticeable.
So lets talk about the price, unfortunately, this isnt the cheapest lens currently costing $370/£340 on amazon.
The Sigma 16mm f1.4 is an amazing wide angle lens which I think is the perfect upgrade from the kit lens for people who don’t need zoom and want a sharper image, brilliant low light performance, and cinematic and professional-looking blurry backgrounds.
Full reviews and links to buy all of the lenses featured in this video will be in the description.
Buy the Sigma 16mm f1.4 on Amazon*
Viltrox 13mm f1.4
With its wide aperture, you can get smooth and professional looking out of focus backgrounds. And its wide-angle makes it a really solid choice for wide landscape photography and paired with the wide aperture you get excellent low-light performance. I imagine would be perfect for astrophotography.
The image quality is incredibly sharp, especially in the middle of shots, and is still sharp at the edges. You will notice vignetting, which is the darkening of your shots, especially at the widest aperture setting of f1.4, but depending on your composition, this may be desirable.
The autofocus on the viltrox 13mm performs well, seeing as its a third party lens. Its quick, accurate, and the focus motor isn’t too loud.
A couple of things to note, the Viltrox 13mm has no stabilization built into the lens, so for video, you’ll have shakier images or be relying on the camera’s stabilization, with the ZV-E10 for example, which has digital stabilization.
So who is this lens for? If you want a super sharp lens with a wide angle with autofocus this is one of the best on the market, even rivaling the Sigma 16mm, which is an excellent lens.
The price is currently around $429 from their official site or amazon. So not a budget lens, especially in the APS-C space, but for a wide angle bright aperture lens, with autofocus you’re unlikely to find these specs any cheaper.
Buy the Viltrox 13mm f1.4 on Amazon*
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8
Next, we’re going to look at another Sigma lens, but this time a zoom, the 18-50mm f2.8
With a range of 18-50mm and a constant maximum aperture of f2.8 which is fairly wide.
This is an autofocus lens but it does not have in-lens stabilization, also it is not a power zoom lens meaning the zoom can only be controlled by twisting the barrel, and not with in-camera controls.
This lens costs around $500 £430, so clearly not the cheapest, but for the zoom range and wide aperture in an autofocus lens, it is comparable with other lenses on the market.
The Sigma 18-50 f2.8 is a great all-rounder, it has a solid zoom range making it suitable for a lot of types of shots. The wide maximum aperture of f2.8 makes it a great performer in low light and if you want professional out-of-focus looking backgrounds.
Image quality is sharp, especially in well-lit situations, and the fairly wide aperture means that low-light photography and video, while not looking perfect, will be much better than the performance you’d expect from say the 16-50 sony kit lens.
The lack of in-lens stabilization is a shame, as if you’re using a camera with stabilsation, it will make your video look very shaky.
If you’re looking for a flexible zoom lens thats compact and an improvement on the kit lens then the sigma 18-50mm f2.8 is the perfect choice.
Buy the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 on Amazon*
Viltrox 23mm f1.4
Next we’ll have a look at the Viltrox 23mm f1.4, which is a fixed focal length lens.
This lens is 23mm for APS-C sensor,. It has a very bright maximum aperture of f1.4, making this a fast lens, letting in a lot of light.
It also has autofocus which is a huge plus, putting it on par in terms of specs with the popular Sigma lens, like the 16mm we looked at earlier.
The price is currently around $279 from their official site or amazon. For a wide-angle bright aperture lens, with autofocus, is a really great deal.
The f1.4 gives nice professional-looking out-of-focus backgrounds, and that wide aperture suits indoor shooting as it performs better under low light. The image quality is surprisingly sharp for a lens of this price point. So if you’re looking for a lens for shooting YouTube videos, this lens could be a good choice.
So overall the Viltrox 23mm is a sharp, wide-aperture lens with autofocus available for under £/$300. For that set up it is very well priced and performs well, it’s good for shooting video, as I mentioned earlier I’ve been using it to record my videos, so its an option for a YouTube lens, and I’ve also been using it for video calls and be happy with the quality.
Buy the Viltrox 23mm f1.4 on Amazon*
Sony 18-105mm f4
Let’s look now at something a bit bigger than the Sony 18-105mm f4, A much long zoom range than we’ve looked at so far, this flexibility makes it a great all-round lens. It has autofocus and as its Sony lens, has optical stabilization built in, making it a great lens for video.
Good in studio videos and for some wildlife sports photography. The constant f4 aperture means its low light performance isn’t on par with the rest of the lenses we’ve looked at, but at max zoom of 105mm f4 is very respectable. And the main thing I love about this lens is its sharpness especially when shooting outdoors, its an excellent choice for portraits if you just want one lens.
The price of 18-105 £420 /$600, which is expensive, but its performance as a video lens is unrivaled especially if you need good zoom and are mostly using it outdoors.
Buy the Sony 18-105mm f4 on Amazon*
Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3
Let’s now go even bigger, and that’s the Sony 70-350 f4.5-6.3
This lens has a massive 70-350 zoom lens making it by far the longest zoom lens in this post. This lens is the perfect wildlife and sports lens made for APS-C cameras. With Optical stabilization built-in, it’s a lens that if zoom, whether it be for photos or video is the aim, then this is the lens for you. The f4.5-6.3 means its not the best in low light, but thats not why you’d be buying this lens as its sharp with fast autofocus great for outdoor shooting.
The min zoom range of 70mm means it’s totally unsuitable for shooting like the video I’m making here as it would be way too zoomed in, which is worth bearing in mind.
Of course, it’s a big bulky lens, so not very travel-friendly, and this translates to the price, which RRP is $900, though often reduced and I just picked mine up new for $500, so worth shopping around for if this is the upgrade path you want.
Buy the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 on Amazon*
Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3
If you’re looking for a much cheaper route into telephoto lenses then the Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 is worth a mention.
Costing£ 210 / $225 the 55-210 is a cheaper lens, with a longer zoom range, I’ve been using this lens for around 3 years and still use it a lot for wildlife photography, and anything where you are further away from your subject.
This is again has stabilization built into the lens, which steadies your shots, very useful when recording video.
The quality is nowhere near as sharp as the Sony 70-350, and the zoom range is much shorter, but as a low-cost alternative, it’s well worth considering.
Buy the Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 on Amazon*
And a final quick mention for the Sony 16-50mm kit lens
While I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying this lens if it came with your camera, use it! I just used this lens for around a year before upgrading and it really helped me realize what I needed from an upgrade, and how to get get the best out of it.
So they’re my top APS-C lenses, any lenses you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you.