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  Recommended Sony Alpha lenses for general-purpose, everyday photography and kit lens upgrades

 
General-purpose zooms are designed to handle most day-to-day shots, offering wide-angle to telephoto coverage. Unless you’re a specialist photographer, you’ll probably keep a general-purpose zoom fitted to your DSLR more than any other lens. Indeed if you bought a DSLR kit, you’ll already have a general-purpose lens, so why buy another one?



 
The answer is to upgrade to a superior model. Better quality zooms may offer superior optics, an extended focal range, tougher construction, quicker and quieter focusing, or brighter apertures for low-light work and blurred backgrounds.

Remember since this lens will probably be used for most of your shots, it makes sense to use a good quality model. Below you’ll find a selection of ideal models.

Note when we mention full-frame (FF) bodies we’re referring to models like the Alpha A850 and A900. When we mention cropped-frame (APS-C) bodies, we’re referring to every other model in the Alpha range, including the A230, A330, A380, A450, A500, A550 and A700. If you’d like to learn more about lens specifications, from focal lengths to f-numbers, please see our lens guide. If you find the information here useful, please support us by shopping at the stores below and if you have any questions about lenses, feel free to ask in the forum!



 
SAL18250 DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3

Specifications

Focal length:
18-250mm
Aperture: f3.5-6.3
Lens mount: A-mount
APS-C Equiv: 27-375mm
FF compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: requires AF motor in DSLR
Closest focus: 45cm
Filter thread: 62mm
Hood: ALC-SH104
Optics: 16 el. / 13 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 440g
Size: 75x86mm

     
Sony's DT 18-250mm boasts a massive super-zoom range, although as a DT model it’s not compatible with full-frame cameras. On a cropped body it delivers an equivalent focal length of 27-375mm, from wide-angle to powerful telephoto, covering almost any situation without having to change lenses. It represents good value and is preferred over the older 18-200mm, although compare closely with the other options below.


 
SAL16105 DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6

Specifications

Focal length:
16-105mm
Aperture: f3.5-5.6
Lens mount: A-mount
APS-C Equiv: 24-158mm
FF compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: requires AF motor in DSLR
Closest focus: 40cm
Filter thread: 62mm
Hood: ALC-SH105
Optics: 15 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 470g
Size: 72x83mm

     
Sony's DT 16-105mm may not have the reach of the DT 18-250mm, but still delivers a respectable general-purpose range of 24-158mm on cropped-frame bodies (again it’s not compatible with full-frame models). The unique selling point over the DT 18-250mm is wider coverage equivalent to 24mm, which may not sound like much, but makes a big difference when faced with a large subject or cramped conditions. A great kit lens, but compare with the models above and below.



 
SAL1680Z DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 - full review

Specifications

Focal length:
16-80mm
Aperture: f3.5-4.5
Lens mount: A-mount
APS-C Equiv: 24-120mm
FF compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: requires AF motor in DSLR
Closest focus: 35cm
Filter thread: 62mm
Hood: ALC-SH0005
Optics: 14 el. / 10 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 445g
Size: 72x83mm

     
Sony's DT 16-80mm may have an even shorter range than the lens above, but as a Carl Zeiss model, it boasts the best build and optical quality of all the DT zooms here; note as a DT lens it's not compatible with full-frame bodies. The 24-120mm equivalent coverage is an ideal walk-around range which includes decent wide-angle and usable telephoto. It may not zoom as long as those above, but the quality speaks for itself. Shame there's no SSM focusing though.



 
SAL2470Z 24-70mm f/2.8 SSM

Specifications

Focal length:
24-70mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: A-mount
APS-C Equiv: 36-105mm
FF compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SSM
Closest focus: 34cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: ALC-SH101
Optics: 17 el. / 13 groups
Diaphragm blades: 9
Weight: 955g
Size: 83x111mm

     
Sony's 24-70mm f2.8 is a top-end lens delivering a general-purpose range on full-frame bodies, although it’s also a good option for cropped models if you don’t need wide-angle coverage (or partner it with an ultra-wide zoom). The constant f2.8 aperture hikes-up the price and weight, but is ideal for portrait or low-light work, while also delivering attractive blurred backgrounds. The SSM focusing is quick and quiet, and as a Carl Zeiss model, the quality is exemplary. One of the best Sony zooms.



 
SAL30M28 DT 30mm f/2.8 SAM Macro

Specifications

Focal length:
30mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: A-mount
APS-C Equiv: 45mm
FF compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SAM
Closest focus: 12.9cm
Filter thread: 49mm
Hood: not available
Optics: 6 el. / 5 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 150g
Size: 70x45mm

     
The Sony DT 30mm f2.8 is a prime lens designed for use on cropped-frame bodies, where it delivers fixed coverage equivalent to 45mm. In photographic terms, this is close to standard coverage and similar to the magnification of the human eye delivering natural-looking results. It's a shame the aperture isn't brighter, but it still allows nice blurred backgrounds, and on the upside, it has excellent macro capabilities. Overall, a good standard lens for cropped bodies.



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