Wishing For New Sony APS-C Lenses

A while ago I explained why Sony doesn’t have high quality APS-C lenses. We’ve just seen Sony is committed to the full frame market, with the launch of the 600mm f/4 G Master and the much cheaper 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lenses. So is it wrong to write down a few lenses I wish Sony would launch? I don’t think so.

The Enthusiast Sports and Wildlife Shooter

The 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G lens is clearly aimed at enthusiasts. The $2000 price tag is really good for the reach users get. So why not launch an APS-C version? It doesn’t have to be a 200-600mm APS-C. In fact, it really doesn’t have to be a 200-600mm full frame equivalent. What Sony is missing from its APS-C lens line-up is a zoom to 300mm lens.

Sure, you could buy the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS full frame lens, but that’s $1100. Meanwhile, the 55-300mm DT f/4.5-5.6 SAM lens is under $300. It may have an old focusing system, but that’s an $800 difference. Sony could easily create an E Mount APS-C version, slap an $800 to $900 price tag and call it a day.

It doesn’t have to be a G lens. The 18-135mm is clearly a kit lens, yet it was praised for its image quality. Sony has the opportunity to repeat the performance with a new lens.

Until then, the furthest you can get with a Sony E Mount APS-C lens is the 55-210mm kit lens.

German DJ ATB, during his set at Untold Festival, Cluj-Napoca, August 2015.
Sony a5000, 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS | 210mm, 1/125s, f/6.3, ISO 500

A Nice Wide Prime

It’s no secret I’m a fan of wides, but Sony hasn’t delivered one to impress. Yet. I’ve said it before: in a shrinking camera market, I can understand why Sony is focusing on high-margin products, such as the new $13k 600mm f/4 G Master.

But having a nice 16mm in any city is a blessing. Sony could reiterate the pancake lens with a better optical formula. Or better quality control, which at this point has to be much better than in 2010. Sony could also drop the pancake format and go for a classic look and feel (think 28mm f/2) while increasing the aperture to f/2.

The key thing is to keep the lens fairly compact and light, otherwise people will choose the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN. And going to f/1.4 isn’t going to solve the issue for Sony, as it would be one expensive lens.

Her name is Elsa.
Sony a6300, E 16mm f/2.8 | 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 100

Other wide lenses for E Mount are the 20mm f/2.8 pancake and the 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss. A decent lens, priced for APS-C enthusiasts, at 24mm or less would be great to have.

A Good Ultra-wide

Going ultra-wide on Sony cameras is a bit of a challenge. You have three options. Get the expensive Carl Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8. Like $880 expensive. The second option is to buy the 16mm Sony pancake lens and the ultra-wide adapter. With a 0.75x magnification, this combination gives you a 12mm perspective. Or you could go with the third and arguably the best lens and buy the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2. The problem with the latter is it doesn’t have AF.

Sony has a chance to create something for the astrophotography enthusiast. Other uses for such a wide focal are real estate shots and architecture. Sure, you don’t really need autofocus for these types of photography, but there is a chance a situation may occur where you need it.

If Rokinon/Samyang can build a 12mm f/2 for $250, Sony can launch its own 12mm f/2.8 for about $400.

Visiting a cat cafe.
Sony a6300, E 16mm f/2.8, Sony VCL-ECU2 | 12mm, 1/80s, f/2.8, ISO 6400

Final Words

I know Sony has to carefully release new lenses, especially APS-C models. Staying profitable is what makes the company have great technology in its products (Eye AF, 20fps with no blackout, great low-light). Most opinions I’ve read are pointing towards high quality glass, such as a 16-55mm f/2.8 lens. There’s no doubt that this model would be more lucrative than any of the lenses I mentioned above. However, the beginners and enthusiasts are still using APS-C Sony mirrorless cameras. They too deserve good lenses.

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