The brand new Sony a6500 has a feature that will make a lot of photographers happy; built-in 5-axis body stabilization.
Simply put, the body of the A6500 will help you stabilize images even if the lens does not feature OSS (Optical Steady Shot). With most other brands, this is done through the lens, but many don’t have stabilization included.
While this is something Sony has been doing for a long time, it’s never been put in an A6000 series camera before. If you own plenty of non-stabilized lenses and want better results at low light photography (such as weddings, night time, indoors, no tripod), you’ll definitely want to upgrade.
This also means you don’t have to pay too much attention to whether a lens you’re about to buy has stabilization, since you’re already covered.
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Best Sony A6500 Zoom Lenses
Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS
If you want a wideangle lens for landscape, architecture, night time or anything wide, you’ll love the Sony 10-18mm f/4 OSS.
It’s a perfect match for the A6500; it’s light and compact, has great image quality and was designed for the APS-C sensor (which the A6500 uses).
The aperture is fixed at f/4, meaning you can expect to get a lot of light even when shooting at 18mm. A lot of zooms have smaller apertures as you zoom towards the end of their focal length, but luckily this is not the case here.
However unless you’ll be shooting indoors a lot, you don’t even have to worry about the size of the aperture. The 10-18mm is excellent for landscape, cities, sky, traveling etc. and most photographers shoot with a small aperture to get everything in focus. For 4K videos, having OSS in the lens is also a big plus as your videos will look less shaky.
At 10mm, you can expect some vignetting but it depends on what you’re taking a picture of. If your background is really bright, you will have to change it in post process, but this is a common thing with ultra wide lenses.
Sony 18-105 f/4 G OSS
The Sony 18-105mm f/4 G OSS is a great lens for all-around/travel photography, when you don’t know what you’re going to shoot but need to be ready for anything.
The 18 to 105mm range is where the majority of photography happens anyways, and that includes landscape, portraits, weddings, concerts, most outdoor activites and a lot more. It’s not the lens you would choose for extreme wildlife photography, but with 105mm on an APS-C sensor, you can easily shoot sports as well.
While many big zooms tend to be barely acceptable when it comes to quality, the 18-105mm is the opposite. From 18 to 105mm it delivers great, sharp images with rich colors, and stays at a fixed f/4 aperture so it’s usable in low light situations.
It also comes with OSS, Optical System Stabilization to reduce the amount of blur when you’re shooting with a slower shutter speed or aren’t completely stable. For 4K videos, this is also ideal as blur can easily be visible when recording at long lengths.
For even more reach, there’s Sony 18-200mm f/4.5-6.3 but it costs more, is bigger and weighs more and has a smaller aperture at 200mm. Personally I’d go with the 18-105mm unless you specifically need the extra reach over better aperture values and quality. All in all, it’s a lens you can count on using in any given situation without carrying a ton of weight, so it’s the ideal travel lens as well.
Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3
Want an affordable telephoto lens for sports and animals? Check out the Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3, a very affordable lens with lots of reach.
Because the A6500 has an APS-C sensor, it means you need to multiply your focal length with 1.5x to see what length you’re actually getting. This means that the 55-210mm is actually equivalent to a 82-315mm lens (equivalent on full frame, to be clear). Don’t worry, nothing happens in your camera or your lens. Mounting on a Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS would get you even closer, but at a higher price.
The range of this lens is enough for casual sports, races, trips to the zoo and even some wildlife. However, one of the reasons it’s so affordable is because at 210mm, the minimum aperture is f/6.3, so while it’s perfectly good for outdoor photography, you will definitely need to raise the ISO when it gets darker. The A6500 is okay when it comes to high ISO performance but if you’re only going to use it indoors, we suggest looking at something with bigger apertures.
For outdoors, whether its action or still photography, this is a great choice.
Best Sony Prime Lenses
Sony 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss
For street photography, landscape, wider portraits and indoor photography, the Sony 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss is fantastic.
It’s got great optical quality, colors and is very sharp. While f/1.8 is usually never used in landscape, it helps knowing you can use such a big aperture if shooting indoors or at night time. On the A6500, it’s equivalent to a 36mm lens.
The auto focus is quick, silent and reliable in different conditions. There is no optical stabilization, but wide angle lenses rarely feature it. The closest focusing distance is 16cm (6.2″), it’s got DMF (direct manual focus) so you can focus manually without switching the AF/MF button.
It’s not the most affordable lens out there, but if you want something sharp, wide and with f/1.8 that can focus quickly, this is it.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN
If there’s a lens we absolutely love, it’s the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC. It’s extremely sharp and is actually one of the sharpest lenses available for Sony’s E-mount. Quick auto focus and f/1.8 for when you want professional like quality shots with blurred background.
The bokeh is also quite good thanks to 9 rounded aperture blades (the more, the nicer bokeh) which is a big plus for portrait photography, or whenever you’re looking for that shallow depth of field look. There’s also the Sony 35mm f/1.8 designed for E-mount cameras as well, but it’s around $100 more expensive and not as sharp as our Sigma winner, however it does come with OSS.
Sigma’s 30mm is brilliant for almost all types of photography, and if you’re simply looking for a compact, light lens that you can use for animals, streets, portraits, general shooting, night time etc., it’s a perfect choice. Dpreview gave it a gold award with an overall 87% score.
Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS
Like the 24mm above, the Sony E 50mm f/1.8 is a prime lens with a focal length good for all sorts of photography, from weddings, people, indoor/parties, streets and so on.
Every photographer should use a 50mm lens, they’re just so versatile. On the A6500 it’s equivalent to a 80mm lens, but that’s still great for all-around photography.
It’s got good image quality and colors, is affordable and focuses quickly. Due to f/1.8, it’s great for both low light shots and blurring the background. Sharpness gets a lot better at f/2.8 and onwards, but the lens is usable even at f/1.8. To help you in darker conditions, it also features Optical System Stabilization that works up to ~4 stops.
For around $300, you can’t go wrong with it though.
Sony 85mm f/1.8
The Sony 85mm f/1.8 is a lens you need to have if you’re into one of the following: portrait, concert or wedding photography.
The 85mm length combined with f/1.8 will make your shots looks absolutely stunning. It’s quite long, which automatically makes your background look even more blurred than when shooting with something wider, and the 9-blade circular aperture is designed to make bokeh look even more appealing.
It features a double linear motor to make sure auto focusing is quick, silent and accurate in all conditions. Since you often use manual focusing for portraits/concerts, the lens also allows you to focus manually without switching the AF/MF button constantly.
The 85mm f/1.8 is designed for full frame cameras, so it’s not as compact or lightweight as others on this list, but you’ll be happy to know it balances vera63y nicely on all A6000 bodies, including the A6500.