The A-mount lenses refer to the type of lens mounting system on the camera body. Sony A-mount camera lenses have been in the industry for a long time now. So, are they any good?
Sony A-mount lenses have taken off since their debut in 2006. They have since then gained popularity as one of the best mount lenses by Sony.
They offer outstanding performance with the A-Mount camera bodies having the benefit of a full-time phase-detection autofocus. Also, the A-Mount cameras can use either the APS-C sensors or the full-frame sensors.
This article gives a comprehensive review of the Sony A-mount lens from its history to performance. We have also highlighted some of the best Sony A-mount lenses to know where to start if you are thinking of purchasing one. Read on.
Sony A-mount Lenses History
The A-Mount lenses were first introduced in the market in 1985 by Minolta. This bayonet was initially designed for the first generations of AF SLR film cameras. Today, they are used with the Sony Alpha camera models.
At first, Minolta used Alpha, Maxxum, and Dynax to name their AF SLR cameras worldwide. But soon after Sony took over the imaging division of Konica-Minolta, they adopted the Alpha name as the worldwide system name for their A-mount cameras.
The A-mount bayonet is compatible with a wide range of cameras, including the Minolta SLR Film, Konica Minolta DSLR 7D, 5D, Sony DSLR, and Sony SLT. Before that, Sony was not as popular or regarded as good as the then powerhouses such as Nikon and Canon. The acquisition of Minolta gave birth to the now renowned Sony A-mount cameras.
A-Mount Lenses Compatibility
As far as we know, all the Sony and Minolta A-mount lenses are compatible with all Konica Minolta and Sony Alpha SLT and DSLR cameras.
Note that some Sony Alpha SLT cameras may not be compatible with these lenses. Therefore, it is essential to consult the lens detail page to confirm the lens compatibility of your camera with the A-Mount lenses.
Currently, the three main A-Mount camera bodies include the Sony Alpha 68, Sony Alpha 77, and Sony Alpha 99. The 68 and 77 models are APS-C crop sensor cameras, whereas Alpha 99 is the only full-frame A-mount camera body.
What is the Difference Between the A-Mount Lens and E-Mount Lens?
Typically, Sony has two types of lens mounts for their interchangeable lens cameras; the E-mount and A-mount lenses. The mount of the camera is the part where the camera body connects to the lens.
Before you can start shooting images, the lens should be attached to the camera lens mount and ensure that the body and the lens recognize each other. These two lenses differ in various aspects.
The A-Mount lens can be used on the camera models with a translucent mirror or mirror such as ILCA-xx, SLT-Axx, DSLR-Axx, while the E-mount lenses are standard lenses used on mirrorless cameras such as ILCE-xx and NEX-xx. The models of A-Mount lenses start with SAL, for example, SAL1650, while E mount lens models start with SEL; SEL16F28.
A-Mount lenses are more versatile as they can be used on an E mount camera body with the help of an A-Mount adapter. On the other hand, E mount lenses are only limited to an E mount body and cannot be used interchangeably with A-Mount.
Sony has long since provided both E mount and A-Mount lenses for their cameras. They are both designed to meet the mounting standard for their respective camera bodies. Remember that the E mount and A-Mount standard have different diameters.
Best Sony A-mount Lenses
If you search for a new lens to use on your Sony A-mount camera, then this is the right place for you. Below are some of the best A-Mount lenses in the market from different manufacturers and covering different focal lengths so you can choose which best suits your needs.
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD
At the top of the list is the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro VC USD. Tamron has maintained its good reputation in the lens industry, and this product is no exception. It is the latest version offering outstanding performance at a new level and is comfortable to use.
Moreover, this A-Mount lens provides fast and silent AF, superb sharpness, and beautiful bokeh. The CA is well controlled, and there is no distortion in the resulting images.
Also, the lens is designed to be resistant to flare. It is important to note that the Sony A-mount version of this lens does not come with VC since the Sony A-mount cameras already have a built-in image stabilization feature.
Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
Following closely behind is the Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. This lens handles well and performs impeccably. It comes at a reasonable price, leaving you with nothing not to like in this model. The maximum aperture, f/1.8, is slightly slower as many 85mm offer f/1.4.
But if you do not need F/1.4 in your shooting routine, then the Tamron 85mm f/ 1.8 Di VC USD is your best choice with its superb quality. Furthermore, it handles the distortion, flare, CA, and much better. The bokeh is also pleasing to the eye.
Again, the Sony A-mount version of this lens does not come with VC since the camera is equipped with an image stabilization feature.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
This product from Sigma performs impeccably in terms of image sharpness and other optical attributes. All these at a fairly reasonable price. This lens offers superb sharpness and virtually no distortion or CA. when you compare it with similar alternatives, it is somewhat a bargain.
What’s more, it features a quality build, and the cherry on top of the cake is the silent focusing. The combination of performance and price gives you the best of both worlds, and no wonder this lens has won the hearts of many.
The only downsides are the weight and large size of its 50mm optic. If that is not an issue for you, you have a great lens in your hands.
Samyang 35mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC
If you are looking for a moderate wide-angle, sharp, and with a fast aperture, then the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC got you covered- only if you do not mind manual focusing. The performance of this lens is outright impressive, and for a price of only 400 euros or less, you got yourself a great lens.
Moreover, it offers a good build quality with low distortion, CA, and falloff, characteristic of lenses with this fast aperture. The only tradeoff will come in the flare- it could be a little problematic.
However, if you take adequate caution when shooting in problematic situations, you can get sharp and contrasty images. Overall, this lens offers excellent performance at an affordable price.
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD
This lens offers impressive optical performance and comes at a reasonable price. Despite its chunky size, it is not as heavy as it may look and comes with a moisture-resistant construction that gives peace of mind when shooting outdoors in changeable weather conditions.
The zoom offered by this lens makes it an ideal alternative for any other camera. The Sony A-mount version of this lens is without the VC since the Sony Alpha camera models are already equipped with an image stabilization feature.
Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS
This lens is available for those looking for lenses with wide apertures for APS-C or any smaller format cameras. It is the best alternative for full-frame lenses that typically weigh more and cost more. The drawback of this lens, according to some photographers, is the off-putting manual focusing.
However, with much practice and familiarizing yourself with the camera, this lens will be your best friend in the long run. It performs excellently and at a low cost.
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5- 6.3 Di VC USD
Tamron has achieved in making a product that offers excellent reach at the telephoto end without compromising good sharpness with their new Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5- 6.3 Di VC USD. You get to enjoy all these at a reasonable price.
This lens is designed to deliver outstanding sharpness in the center, comes in excellent build quality, and is a good value for your money in the long run. Other noticeable attributes of this lens are the low distortion and the low CA. The Sony A-mount version of the lens lack VC.
The Sony A-mount lenses offer outstanding performance in various aspects of photography. They are available in a wide range of specifications so you can choose which works best for you.
When making your decision, consider the available A-Mount lenses reviews; they are very important for sellers and customers alike.
They make an important part of any lens database, and they tend to be referenced on several forums and websites. User feedback goes a long way in helping new customers learn more about a specific lens before purchasing it.