7 Best Lenses For The Sony a6100 (…and 2 to avoid)

The a6100 is a step above Sony’s entry level mirrorless camera and is perfect for leveling up your skills and learning more advanced photography skills. So you’ll want to have high quality lenses that allow you to use the full potential of the camera.

My pick as the best lens for the Sony a6100 is the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens because of its combination of versatility, image quality and wide f/1.8 aperture make it unique and an exceptional choice for crop sensor Sony users.

But keep reading for my full breakdown of that lens and more options that might be a better fit for your specific needs.

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Top Pick

1. Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN | C

The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN | C lens is a great choice for Sony a6100 users due to its versatile focal length range, constant aperture, excellent optical performance, compactness, and affordability.

This lens is a standout and one that I would recommend for all of the Sony crop sensor cameras. It’s basically a crop sensor version of the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that can be found in the bag of many professionals.

The 18-50mm focal range on a crop sensor camera gives you the full frame field of view of 27-75mm so you’re getting a very versatile and useful focal length.

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN | C Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 12.1-30cm / 4.8-11.9in.
  • Filter Size: 55mm
  • Lens Construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 65.4 x74.5mm / 2.6in.×2.9in.
  • Weight: 290g / 10.2oz

The constant f/2.8 aperture allows for excellent low light performance and a shallow depth of field, which is great for creating bokeh (background blur) in portraits and other subjects.

This also opens up more potential for shooting in low light and is one of the major upgrades compared to some of the kit lenses that Sony packages with this camera.

But unlike those kit lenses, this is going to give you excellent optical quality and sharpness. You can produce everything from wall worthy landscape photos to professional level portraits.

Overall, you’re getting a very high quality lens at an affordable price that can do everything except long telephoto shots.

But if you want an even bigger focal range, then check out this next lens…


2. Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD

This lens covers a big zoom range and still delivers excellent image quality.

With a 17-70mm range (25.5-105mm full frame equivalent), it covers a wide to short-telephoto perspective meaning you can shoot just about anything with this lens.

In fact these top two picks could really be 1a and 1b because it really depends on whether you want the extra reach of the Tamron or the smaller and lighter Sigma, so I’ve done a little bit of comparison below.

Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 19-39cm / 7.5-15.4in.
  • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Stabilization: Yes
  • Dimensions: 65.4 x74.5mm / 2.6in.×2.9in.
  • Weight: 525g / 18.5 oz

Like the Sigma, it has a constant f/2.8 aperture which is great for low light shooting.

It also has built in image stabilization, which is helpful because the a6100 does not have in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This will let you shoot stationary subjects at slower shutter speeds than you could normally do handheld.

Two big reasons I put this lens in the runner-up position rather than the top spot was the size and cost.

At 1.2lbs/525g it’s almost double the weight of the Sigma which comes in at 10.2oz/290g. The Tamron is also about 10mm wider and 55mm longer. That’s enough of a difference that you’ll feel it on a long hike.

The Tamron lens also costs about $150 more than the Sigma.

In terms of image quality, you would be hard pressed to notice any difference on casual viewing, but my job here is to pixel peep so you don’t have to and I would give a very slight edge to the Sigma in terms of sharpness, even though both deliver excellent image quality.

Note For Video Shooters: If you want to shoot a lot of video, then go with this Tamron lens. In addition to the image stabilization (which matters a lot when shooting handheld video), the lens is parfocal (it doesn’t lose focus while zooming in and out) and has almost 0 focus breathing.

Budget Pick

3. Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Affordable and fast lens with great optical quality.

The combination of a fast aperture, effective focal length, compact design, and affordability makes the 50mm f/1.8 an attractive option for both beginners and experienced photographers looking for a high-quality yet budget-friendly lens.

I think every photographer should have a ‘nifty fifty’ in their bag and it’s a great lens for someone getting started who is budget conscious.

I started my portrait photography business with a crop sensor camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full Frame
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 45 cm. / 17.76 in
  • Filter Size: 49mm
  • Lens Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 68.6 x 59.5mm / 2.75in.×2.375in.
  • Weight: 186g / 6.6 oz

On the a6100’s APS-C sensor, it offers an equivalent focal length of 75mm, making it ideal for portraits and other applications where a slightly longer lens is beneficial.

The f/1.8 maximum aperture is excellent for low-light photography and allows for a shallow depth of field, creating a pleasing bokeh effect in the background. This is a great way to get that “pro look” without spending much on a lens.

Most primes are excellent optically and despite the low price tag, this is no exception. 50mm lenses are easier for manufacturers to make well and the result is a lens that is very sharp across the frame.

It is notably small and light, making it an easy lens to carry around, particularly when paired with the compact a6100. Despite the small size it has a decent basic build quality.

This lens provides smooth and relatively quiet autofocus performance which makes it a solid choice for video as well. But there’s no stabilization built into the lens.

Overall, this is an amazing option and one of the first lenses an aspiring photographer should pick up.

But if you want something that is a bit longer and more geared towards shooting portraits, then this next lens might be right for you…

Best For Portraits

4. Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN | C

This lens has a portrait-friendly focal length, wide aperture, high optical quality, and compact form that are great for photographing people.

The 56mm focal length might seem like an odd choice but it was specifically chosen to provide an equivalent field of view of approximately 84mm in full-frame terms on a crop sensor camera like the a6100.

This makes it an excellent choice for portrait photography, offering a flattering perspective and natural-looking compression.

This is coupled with a wide maximum aperture of f/1.4 allows for exceptional low-light performance and offers great control over depth of field, facilitating a pleasing bokeh effect (background blur), ideal for portraits and subject isolation.

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN | C Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/16
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 50cm / 19.7in.
  • Filter Size: 55mm
  • Lens Construction: 10 elements in 6 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 66.5mm × 59.5mm / 2.6in. × 2.3in.
  • Weight: 280g / 9.9 oz.

The design of the lens elements and the rounded diaphragm blades contribute to a smooth and aesthetically pleasing bokeh that looks great when shooting shallow depth of field photos.

Sigma’s Contemporary line is known for its advanced optical design, minimizing aberrations and flare while providing sharp, clear images. This ensures high-quality imagery across the entire frame.

The lens is relatively small and light, aligning well with the compact nature of the Sony a6100, making the overall package easy to handle and ideal for travel or day-to-day photography.

It also offers good build quality with a design that is resistant to dust and splashes, enhancing its durability for various shooting environments.

Prime Pick

5. Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA Zeiss

A compact but high quality prime lens that pairs perfectly with the a6100 for everyday shooting.

The Sony a6100 is an APS-C mirrorless camera known for its compact size, excellent image quality, and robust autofocus system. Even though it’s an older lens in the Sony mirrorless system, it is still a great quality lens.

The 36mm full-frame equivalent focal length makes it an ideal ‘walk-around’ lens for the a6100, suitable for a wide range of photography styles.

Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 15 cm. / 6.72 in
  • Filter Size: 49mm
  • Lens Construction: 8 elements in 7 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 63 x 65.5 mm / 2.5 x 2.625 in.
  • Weight: 225g / 8 oz

The a6100’s 24.2-megapixel sensor combined with the Zeiss lens’s superior optics ensures high-resolution images with great detail, color accuracy, and contrast. In addition, the f/1.8 aperture performs well even in low light or indoor locations.

The lens’s autofocus capabilities complement the a6100’s fast and accurate autofocus system, making it an excellent choice for capturing dynamic scenes, street photography, and portraits.

Despite the great features, the lens is compact and lightweight, making the combination with the a6100 ideal for travel, street photography, and everyday shooting.

Overall, the Sony 24mm f/1.8 ZA Zeiss lens is an excellent choice for the Sony a6100, offering a blend of versatility, superior optical quality, and a fast aperture. It complements the camera’s strengths in terms of image quality, autofocus performance, and portability, making it a valuable lens for a wide range of skill levels.

Best For Landscapes

6. Sony E PZ 10-20mm f/4 G

This lens delivers the perfect focal length for shooting wide angle landscapes on your a6100.

The Sony E PZ 10-20mm f/4 G is a great lens for the Sony a6100, particularly for users looking to explore the realms of wide-angle photography.

The 10-20mm focal range on an APS-C sensor like the a6100’s offers an ultra-wide to wide-angle field of view, equivalent to approximately 15-30mm in full-frame terms. This is ideal for landscapes, architecture, interior photography, and creative wide-angle shots.

The f/4 constant aperture provides consistent exposure across the entire zoom range. While not as wide as some other lenses here, it still allows for a decent amount of light and if you’re shooting landscapes then you’ll probably be shooting between f/8 and f/16 anyway.

Sony E PZ 10-20mm f/4 G Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: APS-C
  • Aperture Range: f/4 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 13-17cm / 5.16-6.7in.
  • Filter Size: 62mm
  • Lens Construction: 11 elements in 8 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 69.8mm × 55mm / 2.75in. × 2.25in.
  • Weight: 178g / 6.8 oz.

I was really happy with the optical performance as well. It produced good color and contrast and was very sharp all across the frame.

For adventure landscape shooters, this lens is compact and lightweight which makes it great for hiking out to remote landscape shooting locations. But that doesn’t take away from its build quality and weather sealing.

A unique feature that’s popular among video shooters is the power zoom. This allows for smooth zooming providing a cinematic quality to zooming movements.

Alternative Option: If you’re looking for a wide angle prime but 16mm isn’t cutting it, then check out this Samyang 12mm f/2.0 E lens.

Best Telephoto

7. Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2

A full frame lens that works perfect with the a6100, this telephoto is perfect for sports and wildlife.

The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is a telephoto zoom lens that’s part of Tamron’s lineup designed for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, but it’s also compatible with APS-C models like the Sony a6100. This lens is notable for its relatively compact size, fast aperture, and high-quality optics.

The 70-180mm range provides a telephoto reach, which on the Sony a6100’s APS-C sensor, translates to an effective 105-270mm. This is ideal for shooting subjects like sports and wildlife, and portrait photography.

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Specs

  • Lens Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full Frame
  • Aperture Range: f/4 – f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 27-85cm / 10.6-33.5in.
  • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Lens Construction: 19 elements in 14 groups
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Stabilization: Yes
  • Dimensions: 81mm × 149mm / 3.2in. × 5.9in.
  • Weight: 810g / 26.6 oz.

The constant f/2.8 makes shooting fast moving subjects easier because you can use faster shutter speeds even when you’re not shooting in bright daylight.

Compared to other f/2.8 telephoto lenses this Tamron lens is relatively compact and lightweight, making it more manageable for handheld shooting and travel.

While the optical quality isn’t quite as good as the pro-level 70-200mm GM lens, its still exceptional in its own right. You have to zoom in significantly to see any difference and this lens is much much less expensive.

One feature that was a pleasant surprise was the close focusing capability, which will let you explore macro photography as well.

Upgrade Option: If you want the best possible image quality plus an extra 20mm at the long end (and are willing to pay a big premium for it) then check out the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II.

2 Lenses You Should Avoid For Your a6100

These aren’t necessarily bad lenses, but I listed them here because they seem to be pushed a lot by retailers and you can do a lot better for a similar cost with the options above.

Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 OSS

This is the kit lens that usually comes with the a6100. It’s not a terrible lens, but there are better options for you at around the same price.

The problem here is that Not the best optics but is very versatile when I want to travel with only one lens.

Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS

Lenses with huge zoom ranges and a variable aperture in this range are usually less expensive but you’ll be compromising image quality.

And that’s the case with this lens. It’s great for snapshots or traveling if you only want to take one “do it all” lens. But you’re just not going to get the image quality or the ability to use wider apertures to control depth of field in your photos.

So if you just want a less expensive lens, then its an ok choice, but if you want to get the most out of your camera, then I would recommend saving up for the lenses on this list.

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