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Find the right lens for your use case

Last updated: 23 September 2023

I took the data from my Big List of Lenses and used it to generate shortlists of lenses for a number of different scenarios. The goal of this page is to be a starting point for your lens exploration.

For more complex operations visit the Big List of Lenses itself. There you can view more parameters, as well as sort and filter the results.

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5 Lightest E Mount prime lenses

Lens name Year Weight Price
Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE 2017 108g $220
Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE 2018 119g $200
Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA 2013 120g $600
Samyang AF 18mm F2.8 FE 2019 145g $330
Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G 2021 162g $600

Sometimes your goal is just portability and it's hard to beat a lightweight prime lens on that ground. These are the five lightest Sony E mount lenses. Samyang has three entries in this ranking with their cheap and simple lenses, but there is also one older and one newer Sony model present.

5 Lightest E Mount zoom lenses

Lens name Year Weight Price
Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 2020 167g $500
Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS 2013 294g $400
Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G 2022 352g $1200
Tamron 20-40mm F2.8 Di III VXD 2022 365g $700
Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD 2019 420g $800

Lenses on this list are lightweight and flexible, packing a lot of functionality but still staying portable. The list consists of Sony and Tamron models; the top entry wins by a large margin, although not without sacrificing focal range and aperture size.

5 Lightest E Mount lenses with an aperture ring

Lens name Year Weight Price
Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G 2021 162g $600
Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G 2021 173g $600
Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G 2021 174g $600
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE 2020 209g $310
Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN 2019 215g $550

Pick a lens from this list if you want maximum portability and comfort. Lenses with dedicated aperture ring match especially well with smaller cameras, i.e. those with a limited set of controls or with controls that are harder to reach. Sony wins here, top three models come from the same G line. Please note that Samyang's entry doesn't have a dedicated aperture ring, but its focus ring can be switched to aperture control mode.

5 Lightest E Mount zoom lenses with an aperture ring

Lens name Year Weight Price
Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G 2022 352g $1200
Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G 2023 487g $1100
Laowa 12-24mm F5.6 Zoom (⚠️ MF) 2022 496g $650
Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II 2023 548g $2299
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II 2022 694g $2300

Maximum portability, flexibility and comfort. It comes at a cost, both literally, and also in the form of higher weight overall. Sony dominates the list with recent zoom models that feature an aperture ring. Also present is a single Laowa model, please note that this is a lens with manual focus only.

Flexible macro lenses

Lens name Year Length Price
Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro 2016 71mm $550
Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro 2018 133mm $570
Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS 2015 131mm $1100
Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro 2020 136mm $800

These are lenses with maximum magnification ratio of 1:1 that also come with autofocus. The former makes them more than appropriate for macro usage, the latter means that they will be easy to use in other contexts too.

Oddities, or the most specialized lenses

Lens name Year Weight Price
Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS 2015 601g $1100
Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS 2017 700g $1500
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS 2018 2895g $12000
Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS 2019 3039g $13000

This list consists of prime lenses with optical stabilization. Stabilized lenses are less popular in the E Mount ecosystem because of the popularity of internal stabilization. Prime lenses are even more rare here, usually zoom lenses are the ones that benefit from stabilization the most. So a prime lens with OSS means something unusual, in this case it's an older macro lens, a unique STF lens and two expensive telephoto primes. And now we know they have something in common.

Largest focal range

Lens name Zoom Weight Price
Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS 10x 2484g $2000
Sony FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS 10x 780g $1050
Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD 8x 1154g $1300
Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD 7.14x 575g $730
Sony FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS 4.82x 1214g $2500

These lenses offer the most flexibility when it comes to the amount of focal lengths covered. Top entries achieve 10x zoom.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed this summary. I plan to update this page to add newly released models and to account for newly added lenses in the database (now working on adding Voigtländer lenses); come back often for the most up to date results.

For feedback, data correction or problems with viewing this page, please contact me via Mastodon at: @merelyrandom.