Best Travel Lens for Sony a6000

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The Sony a6000 has fast become one of our favorite cameras of all time. With its blisteringly fast autofocus, killer image processing, and a remarkably versatile lens system, it’s perhaps the best hybrid camera out there for the money.

If you’re looking for the best travel lens that works with the a6000, you’ve come to the right place. This page explores a broad range of options that will perform very well with your new camera. We’ve covered travel lenses, the sharpest lenses for sony a6000, and much more.

Read on to find your new favorite upgrade.

What Lenses are Compatible With Sony a6000?

Before we dive into our specific recommendations, it’s worth exploring what makes a lens compatible with the a6000. The a6000 uses Sony’s E-mount for its interchangeable lens system. There are currently around 40 different e-mount lenses available that will perform beautifully with your camera.

If you see a Sony lens that mentions an ‘E-mount,’ you’ll be good to go – these lenses have been specifically designed to play nicely with the APS-C sensor of your camera.

The a6000 is also compatible with Sony’s ‘FE’ lenses. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that you’ll be using a lens that’s actually built for full-frame sensors. It will still work, but you’ll have to deal with some form of multiplication factor.

Some users report luck when using a lens adapter to work with some Nikon lenses, but your mileage may vary.

How We Find Recommendations

We know there’s a ton of noise out there when it comes to researching products online. At Photography Focus, we’re dedicated to cutting through the chatter and finding recommendations that people will actually want to buy.

We want to find suggestions that are reasonable, well-reviewed, and genuinely worth the money. We consider the following when choosing recommendations:

  • Online reviews/ reception
  • Relevant features
  • Price
  • Reliability/ durability
  • Compatibility
  • Manufacturer track record

Best Travel Lens – Our Top Picks

Let’s jump into it! This section contains our recommendations for the best travel lenses available for the Sony a6000 in 2021. We’ve considered price, feature set, reliability, and overall optical performance to find the suggestions listed below.

Be sure to check out our other suggestions further down – we’ve hand-picked some other excellent lenses later in this review.

Excellent All-Rounder – Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Travel Lens

Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens for Sony E APS-C Mirrorless Cameras

Top of the list is this phenomenal Tamron lens. It combines speed, convenience, and optical performance into a footprint that is refreshingly small. The large f/2.8 aperture is maintained throughout the entire zoom range of this lens.

The result is a setup that delivers consistently good performance whether you’re shooting in wide angle, telephoto, or somewhere in between. For the price, it’s hard to find a comparable level of performance.

The relatively light weight and small size of this Tamron makes it an excellent candidate for the best travel lens around. A big thumbs up from us.

Pros:

  • Aperture is maintained throughout the entire zoom range
  • Excellent overall overall performance
  • Great zoom ratio
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Some may find the bokeh results a little distracting

Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens for Sony E APS-C Mirrorless Cameras
  • World’s first high-speed standard zoom lens for APS-C cameras with the focal length range of 17-70mm 4.1x zoom ratio
  • Outstanding optical performance with 16 elements in 12 groups featuring two GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lens -elements and one hybrid aspherical lens element
  • Upgraded VC effective in combination with Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, leveraging AI for video shooting
  • Close focusing capability with MOD of just 7.5” at 17mm / 15.4" at 70mm
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating

A Strong Entry Level Option – Sony 16-50mm OSS Alpha Travel Lens

Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-Mount Retractable Zoom Lens (Bulk Packaging)

If you’re looking for an affordable, no-nonsense option that will still perform well on your travels, this Sony-made lens is a great choice in our opinion. The zooming capabilities in particular deserve a lot of praise.

Zooming is remarkably smooth and whisper-quiet. The built-in image stabilization also caught our attention. While it might not win any awards for cutting-edge performance, it does a perfectly reasonable job of keeping your shots and footage noise-free.

When you consider that this lens is just a touch over $100, there’s not a whole lot to stick your nose up at here. Sony’s renowned anti-aberration technology has been used on the glass elements of this model. The result is a significant improvement to overall optical performance.

This one might not be a showstopper, but it’s a fantastic entry-level travel lens if you ask us.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Great zoom functionality
  • Anti-aberration technology
  • Small footprint

Cons:

  • Is outshone by more premium options

Other Great a6000 Lenses

Looking for more must-have lenses for sony a6000? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

This section contains some other fantastic choices that cover a broad range of requirements. As always, we’ve considered price point, features, performance, and reliability to find recommendations that are genuinely worth the money.

Read on to learn more.

Best All-Around Lens for Sony a6000 – SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar

Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS

It’s worth noting at this point that the best lens for the a6000 will be a little different for everyone. The needs of a professional will vary wildly from those of a casual photographer. That said, we think this Vario-Tessar model is well worth a look.

It’s not the most expensive e-mount lens around, nor does it come with the most bleeding-edge performance. What it does offer, however, is an excellent balance of performance, price, and reliability.

It’s essentially an upgrade to the standard kit lens that comes with the a6000. For your ~$900, you’ll enjoy a substantial boost to your optical performance. This is achieved in part by Zeiss’ “T*” coatings that do a wonderful job of reducing aberrations and image noise.

If you’re looking for an all-rounder lens for your a6000, this one is well worth a look.

Pros:

  • Great balance of performance and cost
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent overall performance

Cons:

  • Doesn’t quite have the reach that we’d like

Best Landscape Lens for Sony a6000 – Sony GM F2.8 GM Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Sony SEL1635GM FE 16-35 mm F2.8 GM Wide-Angle Zoom Lens - Black

At comfortably over $2000, this is far from a budget option. However, it’s probably the best overall landscape lens available for e-mount cameras, including the a6000. With a stunningly flexible range, lightning-fast aperture, and excellent performance, it’s well worth the money in our opinion.

If you regularly shoot outdoor landscape shots, it’s definitely worth considering a lens like this, especially if you’re a professional. Another great use for this lens is when playing around with different focus effects.

The circular, 11-blade aperture on this lens gives users tons of control over the final result of their images. If you like experimenting with the focus effects for your landscape shots, take a close look at this one.

As you might expect on a lens of this price, you’ll benefit from Sony’s “Nano AR Coating” which does a great job of eliminating glare and noise when shooting outdoors.

Pros:

  • Brilliant range
  • Excellent overall performance
  • Good for focus effects (11-blade aperture)
  • Anti-glare coating

Cons:

  • It’s pretty expensive

Best Telephoto Lens for Sony a6000 – Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS Super-Telephoto APS-C Lens

Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS Super-Telephoto APS-C Lens

So, what about a lens for when you need serious amounts of extra reach? While there are a few options out there in 2021, we think the model linked above surpasses the bulk of the competition.

With an outstanding corner-to-corner G lens resolution, phenomenal autofocus, and, most importantly, a 70-350mm zoom range, we’re big fans of this one when it comes to long-distance shooting. You won’t have to worry too much about weight either – this thing is lighter than you might expect.

At just 22oz, this lens is significantly easier to take with you than other options at this price point. You won’t think twice about adding it to your bag if weight is your only concern. The “Optical SteadyShot” image stabilization that comes built into this lens does a great job of keeping your work stable and noise-free.

This one gets a big thumbs up from us.

Pros:

  • Super telephoto range
  • Surprisingly lightweight
  • The autofocus system is killer

Cons:

  • The autofocus system is fantastic overall, but it could be a bit faster

Best Video Lens for Sony a6000 – Rokinon 50mm F1.4 E-Mount Lens

Rokinon 50mm F1.4 Lens for Sony E Mount

If you’re looking for an e-mount lens that can produce great video footage, you should be looking out for two main factors:

  1. Optical image stabilization
  2. Low-light performance

Fortunately, this option from Rokinon has both by the bucket-load. Your videos will come out great, even in less than perfect lighting conditions. These superior video results are achieved in part by Rokinon’s “Ultra Multi-Coating” used on the glass elements of the lens.

This dramatically improves overall light transmission and helps your setup squeeze every last drop of performance out of your available light. If you’re into bokeh shots, the 9-blade aperture diaphragm on this lens will serve you well.

You’ll have plenty of control over the focus and color temperature of your images. One feature that stands out to us with this option is the use of aspherical glass lens elements. These are ingeniously engineered to maximize color accuracy and improve overall optical performance.

If you’re looking for a great video lens for your e-mount camera that can also take gorgeous stills, we strongly recommend this option.

Pros:

  • Great low-light performance and image stabilization
  • Reliable video performance
  • High color accuracy
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Works best with manual settings

Sigma Lens for Sony a6000 – Sigma 56mm Fixed Prime Camera Lens

Sigma 56mm for E-Mount (Sony) Fixed Prime Camera Lens, Black (351965)

Despite the growing market for great mirrorless lenses, many users still rely on Sigma’s legendary line of contemporary lenses. This is no surprise to us – these products have a great track record for delivering the results you deserve.

This 56mm fixed prime lens from Sigma fits perfectly with e-mount cameras, including the a6000. It offers an ultra-portable footprint, killer focusing capabilities, and stunning overall performance. At just over $400, this one is well worth considering in our opinion.

If your camera uses Sony’s intelligent autofocus features such as tracking or face recognition (like the a6000), this lens will feel right at home. It “plugs into” these features very nicely and can significantly improve your overall ease-of-use when shooting.

Not all third-party lenses play so nicely with Sony’s built-in settings so this is great to see.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Works well with Sony’s focusing features
  • Excellent optical performance

Cons:

  • Isn’t as quiet as we’d like

Best Prime Lens for Sony a6000 – Carl ZEISS Sonnar T E 24mm f1.8

Sony Carl ZEISS Sonnar T E 24mm F1.8 ZA E-Mount Prime Lens

If prime lenses are more your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with this Carl ZEISS option. At over $1000, it’s more than some people will be willing to spend. For those with the money to splash, however, this thing can deliver some pretty impressive results.

It uses ZEISS’s legendary “Sonnar” optical design. Marketing lingo aside, this means it’s been engineered from the ground up to perform exceptionally well, even in poorer lighting conditions. While it’s been around for a few years now, this prime still does a great job.

Macro shots are handled very well and are possible at a distance as close as 16cm (¼ macro shooting). Set the aperture fully open and the 7-blade diaphragm can produce some pretty gorgeous bokeh shots, even if you’re a relative beginner.

If you can only pick up one prime lens for your a6000, we recommend taking a look at this one. It’s a touch pricey, but it brings a whole lot of bang for your buck.

Pros:

  • ZEISS’s “sonnar” design for killer optical performance
  • Great macro shots
  • Decent low-light performance

Cons:

  • Could be sharper

Zoom Lenses for Sony a6000

This section will run through a couple of excellent zoom E-mount lenses for sony a6000. We’ve balanced their features and performance against their cost and availability. If you need to get up close and personal – from a distance – check out our recommendations below.

Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G APS-C Zoom Lens

Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G | APS-C, Mid-Range, Zoom Lens (SEL1655G)

The advanced aspherical design of this APS-C zoom lens results in incredibly sharp images, even when taken from very far away. The 9-blade aperture diaphragm gives users the option to create beautifully smooth backgrounds for their landscape and portrait shots.

The reliability of this lens stood out to us in particular. Its weatherproof coating does a great job of standing up to elements such as dust and moisture. This kind of consideration is important when investing in a new lens.

The last thing you want to do is spend money on a model that will degrade after just a few months. Sony’s protective coating lends some welcome peace of mind here.

It’s a small thing, but we love the focus switch included on this lens which makes it a breeze to switch between manual and automatic focus modes.

Pros:

  • Very sharp images
  • Max focal length of 55.0
  • Awesome bokeh results
  • Great overall performance

Cons:

  • The angle could be a touch wider

Sony SEL70350G E-Mount APS-C 5X Super-telephoto Zoom G Lens

Sony SEL70350G E-Mount APS-C 5X Super-telephoto Zoom G Lens with up to 350mm Reach (525mm equiv.)

Last, but certainly not least, is this APS-C E-mount lens from Sony. If you need a reasonably priced lens that can reach exceptional distances, this option is worth considering. With a super-telephoto X5 zoom, even those hard-to-reach subjects will be well within your grasp.

Sony’s XD Linear Motor is also worth mentioning here. It’s designed to squeeze every last bit of performance out of your camera’s special features. Sony has spent several decades building a fantastic reputation in the world of cameras.

Their products use features that make them, in some cases, truly unique. When you see motor designs like this, you’ll know your lens will come with the reliable Sony focusing systems you’ve come to expect.

Pros:

  • Takes advantage of trusty Sony focus features
  • Great zoom capabilities
  • Reasonably priced for the performance

Cons:

  • It’s fast but not groundbreaking

Things to Consider When Buying Sony a6000 Lenses

We believe the options recommended above represent fantastic value for money. That said, they’re far from the only options out there. We know there’s a good chance you’ll want to do some research elsewhere.

For this reason, we run through a few general pointers below. They’re designed to help you spot a killer lens out in the wild. The more you know about what makes a lens worth buying, the easier it will be to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Related

Think About Your Needs

The best Sony a6000 lens looks different for everyone. Your individual use case will determine the lenses that will work best for you. Ask yourself the following questions when shopping for lenses:

  • Are there one or two types of photography that I most often perform? These might be:
    • Landscape shots
    • Portraits
    • Macro images
    • Food photography
    • Street photography
    • Travel photos
    • Etc
  • Do I need an all-rounder or a specialized lens?
  • What’s the most I’m willing to spend on an e-mount lens?
  • Do I want to deal with some form of crop factor?

Use your answers to these questions to start narrowing down your search. The clearer you are about what you need your lens to achieve, the easier it will be to make the right purchase.

E-Mounts Vs FE-Mounts

We touched on this at the top of this review, but it bears revisiting. If you want to guarantee a predictable level of performance and don’t want to have to mess around with crop factors and other elements, it’s best to go with an E-mount lens.

Sony’s ‘E’ line of lenses are designed to work with APS-C sensors – the kind that’s found on your a6000.

FE-mount lenses can work just fine, but it’s important to note that they’re built for larger full-frame sensors. This means you won’t always be able to take full advantage of the features of your camera.

You’ll also have to deal with some form of crop factor. While FE lenses can still perform very well on an a6000, your mileage may vary.

Weatherproofing and Durability

This is especially relevant when considering travel lenses for your a6000. There’s no point spending $1000+ on a shiny new lens if it’s just going to break on you less than a year down the road.

Look for lenses with good ratings for durability and overall weatherproofing.

Many Sony lenses use intelligent coatings designed to protect against the elements. Pick up these models wherever possible.

Anti-Aberration and Aspherical Elements

This one is mostly relevant to more premium options, but it’s worth keeping in mind when considering any e-mount lens. Anti-aberration technology, in short, is designed to maximize the optical performance of your setup.

It does this by reducing the amount of image noise caused by light entering the lens. If you see a model using aspherical glass and other anti-aberration features, this usually translates to a better result for your images.

Price

The amount you spend on your new lenses is entirely personal. It’s worth thinking closely about how much money you’re willing to spend on a new accessory. Reasonable lenses can be picked up for under $400, but more premium models can easily run you much more.

While many more-premium lenses can easily climb past a $1000 price point, it’s worth remembering that you don’t always need to spend this much money to get the results you need.

In fact, if you’re a hobbyist photographer with more casual requirements, you might not even be able to take full advantage of the features on more expensive lenses. They’re designed for professionals after all.

Best Travel Lens for Sony a6000 – Conclusion

We hope this page has helped you narrow down your search. Use our recommendations as a ‘jumping off point’ for your own research. With over 40 E-mount lenses currently available, there’s a whole lot of choice out there.

We believe the suggestions on this page are some of the best available in 2021. Take the time you need to consider your requirements and we’re sure you’ll find a lens that’s perfect.

Whichever model you choose, we hope it serves you well. Happy shooting!