Sony Lenses: The Year in Review, 2019


Sony, a frontrunner in the mirrorless game, had a productive 2019 that saw the addition of six new E-mount lenses to its lineup. Including two new APS-C lenses and three new FE telephoto lenses, Sony is gradually working on filling the missing gaps in its system, which is to be expected from one of the more mature camera systems at this point. Whereas recent entrants to the mirrorless, full-frame or otherwise, realm are building the foundations of a system, Sony has the luxury of refining its own lineup and has begun to cater to more niche applications.

Early in the year, Sony released a new G Master-series lens, indicating its premium performance, with the FE 135mm f/1.8 GM. This medium telephoto prime is characterized by its advanced optical design, which includes a series of extra-low dispersion elements as well as an XA (eXtreme Aspherical) to help achieve great sharpness and accurate rendering. Shawn Steiner had a chance to review this lens, calling it the “best portrait prime” and championing the unique focal length over the 85mm lens.

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Lens

Later in the year, Sony focused on super telephotos, with the release of two long lenses well suited to wildlife and sports shooters. Riffing on the 400mm f/2.8 GM from a couple of years ago, the even-longer FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS was released to much acclaim, including notable focusing performance, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, and an advanced optical design. For a bit more flexibility and a savings on weight, Sony also released the FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS tele zoom. Compared to speed and optical excellence, the zoom focuses more on usability and remains a hand-holdable lens with a useful range for a variety of subjects. Shawn Steiner, again, had a chance to take both of these telephotos for a review, noting the sure expectations of seeing the 600mm at the 2020 games while the 200-600mm should be a hit among most users looking for a great deal of reach.

Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS Lens

Contrasting all of the telephoto lenses of 2019, Sony’s final full-frame lens of the year is the petite and modest FE 35mm f/1.8. A hotly anticipated lens for walkaround shooting, this sleek wide-angle prime trades in speed and size for a profile that is perfect for travel shooting or just keeping your kit as compact as possible. This lens is a great alternative to heavier and larger lenses in the FE lineup and pairs well with the 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 to make a truly versatile three-lens kit.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens

Finally, for something a bit different, Sony also introduced two more zooms in 2019, both of which are specifically designed for APS-C-format E-mount cameras. Announced alongside the a6600 and a6100 cameras, the E 16-55mm f/2.8 G and E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS are two versatile lenses well suited for the smaller form factor of the APS-C system. The E 16-55mm f/2.8 G is the ideal standard zoom, featuring a bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture and a series of aspherical and ED elements for accurate rendering. The E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS, on the other hand, is a flexible 5x telephoto zoom that is perfect for portraits, sports, nature, and wildlife with its 105-525mm equivalent focal length range.

Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G Lens

What are your thoughts on Sony’s lenses of 2019? What lenses are you hoping to see from this company in 2020? Let us know in the Comments section, below.