In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the best travel lenses for Sony A6000 cameras currently available on the market right now. With more and more people getting wunderlust and deciding to go traveling, we see more and more people reaching out for advice on what camera or lens they should be using.
When it comes to lenses, it depends on the types of photographs you are planning on taking as well as the location you are traveling to. We have researched a large number of lenses that are all both suitable for the Sony A6000 and also have an excellent reputation within the photography community. After looking at the Pros and Cons of each lens we have settled on a total of seven that we thought were good enough to make the cut for our article.
We have tried to choose a wide range of lenses that cover a range of possible photography needs. Most of the lenses are on the lower end of the price scale as the last thing you want is to go traveling and end up accidentally breaking an expensive lens or your lens getting stolen so keeping them cheaper is often the best route to take.
As we mentioned, depending on your photography requirements while traveling, you may want to pick up more than one of these lenses for your Sony a6000 to ensure that you get the best possible photo coverage of your journey. On a side note, before we get into this article, our article on Sony A6000 tips and tricks may also be interesting to you.
The Sony 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
At the time of writing, the Sony 16-50mms reputation is improving as more and more people are giving the lens a fair try and posting their experiences online. That said, for this price point you can’t expect it to be able to compete with lenses two or three times its cost. There are already a number of photographers commenting on the lenses ability to be used as a travel lens as well as a number of photographers commenting on the lenses performance when used with the Sony a6000.
As the Sony 16-50mm comes as a kit lens for some Sony a6000 camera bundles, you may already have it as a part of your photography arsenal removing the need for an additional purchase.
The lens actually offers some pretty decent wide angle possibilities for its price point when used at its 16mm setting. Depending on the types of photographs you are planning on taking while traveling, this can help tick a requirement box and potentially remove the need to purchase an additional more expensive wide angle lens as well as remove the weight, and size of the second lens while on the road.
When you turn off your Sony a6000 with the Sony 16-50mm attached the lens will automatically compress down to become a pancake lens taking up much less space and making for much easier storage. When compared to competing lenses from other brands at this price point we feel that the Sony 16-50mm takes the crown for its small size and ease of storage.
The lens itself is actually pretty solid and tough meaning it is able to take its fair share of bumps and knocks that are common while traveling without having an effect on the performance of the lens. Additionally, the metal lens mount is solid and robust unlike other lenses around this price.
The video below shows some examples of the quality of photograph you are able to capture when using a Sony 16-50mm with a Sony a6000.
The Sony 16-50mm has both a manual and auto zoom function. The manual zoom is controlled by the zoom button on the lens allowing you to control when and how quickly you want to zoom your lens for video or allowing for quick zoom tweaks for photographs. The auto zoom can be adjusted slightly via the control ring if needed but it is very responsive, especially in good lighting conditions. The zoom functions are good for snap zooms but can be a little off when it comes to slow careful zooms in videos.
The autofocus on the Sony 16-50mm is very good too. It is accurate, fast, and almost silent allowing you to capture photo or video of local wildlife while out traveling without scaring the animals off due to a loud autofocus like some competing lenses.
The aperture of the Sony 16-50mm doesn’t let in too much light when using it and it doesn’t blur out the backgrounds of your photographs. This can be both a positive and a negative depending on what you are trying to achieve with your photos as a bokeh effect is hard to create with this lens.
The lens is surprisingly good for close ranged photographs and can be used as close as thirty centimeters away from the image target while still providing very sharp and clear images, especially when used at f8. That said, a small amount of lens flaring can occur if you are taking photographs involving small, strong, focused light sources in your images.
One of the main reasons the Sony 16-50mm got so much flack was its performance was lacking without the built-in distortion correction in the more modern Sony cameras. Thankfully, the Sony a6000 comes with the distortion correction removing this issue and making the Sony 16-50mm an ideal option for a travel lens for use with your Sony a6000.
The Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Fixed Lens
In our opinion, the Sony 35mm F2.8 is a massively under-rated lens that offers you outstanding image quality via its Carl Zeiss optics. This ensures that you are able to get a nice sharp image with vibrant color and excellent contrast. The lens is also surprisingly quick to focus in a range of different lighting conditions.
The lens is tiny for all of the functionality that you are getting as well as weighing only 120 grams it makes it the ideal travel lens for your Sony a6000 and it already has a number of photographers who use it as their travel lens of choice. That said, the Sony 35mm F2.8 is almost more expensive than the Sony 16-50mm covered above so you will have to weight up the pros and cons of the lens for its price point.
The 35mm focal length of the lens makes the ideal choice for general purpose photography while out traveling. The lens also has an excellent build quality with a mixture of metal and high-quality plastic making up the mainframe to help keep the weight down while ensuring the lens is robust.
The lens has also been made resistant to dust and moisture increasing the number of travel locations that you can use this in over some competing lenses. The lens also comes with a surprisingly good lens hood included that is able to block out any potential flare from the sun making it an ideal choice when traveling to countries with lots of open sunlight. The f2.8 aperture also makes the Sony 35mm F2.8 effective when shooting in low light and overcast conditions too further increasing the locations you are able to use the lens in.
You are able to further customize the performance of the lens by utilizing a 49mm lens filter (Click here to check for product prices and availability). If you are using the lens with the included lens hood attached then you can utilize 40.5mm lens filters (Click here to check for product prices and availability) to customize your photographs.
One of the most common compliments the Sony 35mm F2.8 gets is just how smooth and responsive its focus ring is. This can allow you to quickly and easily tweak the focus of your photograph before capturing it to ensure you get the exact image you want in as little time as possible. The direct manual focus setting also helps you tweak the focus to allow you to quickly get the photographs you want.
One of the most common criticisms that the Sony 35mm F2.8 gets is its lack of optical stabilization but no lens is perfect and will tick every box.
The Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens
Next up on our list of what we feel are the best travel lenses for Sony A6000 cameras is the Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens (Click here to check for product prices and availability). Although we are moving back down the price scale for this lens, it should not be instantly disregarded from your travel lens options as it can be a very effective lens and already has a number of photographers using it as their lens of choice while traveling. The small size and low weight of the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens make it an ideal choice if you are backpacking or trying to travel light.
Although the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is well known in the street photography community, it is also gaining popularity as a travel lens option. It is relatively small and weighs only 155 grams while also being made from a rugged plastic to protect it from bumps while traveling.
It looks similar to the Sony 16-50mm covered first in this article although it is a little longer and many photographers choose to take this Sony 35mm f/1.8 as their first initial lens upgrade over the Sony 16-50mm.
The autofocus on the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is very fast and its motors are almost silent too. The autofocus will work on targets that are at least thirty centimeters away from the lens and it even performs well in low lighting although a little slower than in ideal lighting. The manual focus ring on the lens is smooth and responsive allowing you to tweak your focus after the autofocus has done the bulk of the work.
The lens comes with a 49mm filter (Click here to check for product prices and availability) thread to allow you to attach a range of filters to further customize your photographs. A lens hood is included with the lens but lens filters are not usable while the lens hood is fitted.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 allows you to get a nice and easy, smooth bokeh effect when taking photographs to better isolate the main target of the image too. There is little to no distortion in the photographs once captured and chromatic aberration is minimal is displayed at all.
The built-in image stabilization is effective and offers sharp images with excellent contrast while also helping to reduce jitter when capturing video. The Sony 35mm f/1.8 can be used as an effective lens for quick snapshots while walking around your travel destinations, night shots due to its bright max aperture as well as a portrait lens that also offers excellent background coverage.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 is not a zoomable lens and can end up restricting your travel photography options when using your Sony a6000 so you may wish to use this as a secondary lens or as part of a multi-lens setup.
The Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS
The premium optics in the lens offer outstanding image quality that is usually reserved for lenses at higher price points offering superior quality while also being able to keep your costs down. Although the lens is the largest lens covered so far in our list, you should be able to store it for traveling without issue. It weighs 427 grams but this heavier weight actually balances out pretty well with the A6000 anyway.
The lens has a very high built quality and is made from a mixture of light, high-quality aluminum, and high-quality plastics to keep the lens as light as possible while also being as rugged as possible. This makes for a nice and light zoom lens that can easily take a number of bumps and knocks without issue.
The short video below shows the type of video and image quality you can expect from your Sony a6000 when using it with a Sony E PZ 18-105mm lens.
Both the zoom and focus rings on the Sony E PZ 18-105mm are made out of metal and offer a smooth turning motion with little to no resistance. The focusing on the camera is very quick and silent making it also ideal for recording any travel videos with your Sony a6000.
The lens does come with a manual zoom feature operated via the zoom switch but you can’t control the speed of the zoom when using this button. This can make it feel a little clunky if using the manual zoom feature for extended periods of time while recording video but it is a non-issue for photography.
The image stabilization is very good on the Sony E PZ 18-105mm allowing for little to no vibration even when fully zoomed in. This is another feature that is rare at this price point although depending on your light conditions, a little chromatic aberration may be picked up.
The Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Ultra Wide Angle Lens
The Rokinon 12mm uses a crop sensor lens so it does not offer the coverage for a full frame sensor but it will run without issue on your Sony a6000 in the Sony full frame crop mode. The lens has no autofocus at all meaning that any of the lenses covered above would be better to use as a run and gun style lens for multiple rapid shots where you would need an autofocus to keep up.
That said, if you do have the time to focus the Rokinon 12mm correctly then you are able to capture some super sharp images that look beautiful. Due to being an ultra wide lens you get the slightly distorted look to your images that offers you some truly unique and cool shots while traveling.
The Rokinon 12mm also has some surprisingly good low light performance too allowing you to still capture nice clean, sharp images in various low light conditions.
The Sony SEL24240 FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Zoom Lens
The Sony FE 24-240mm fills the niche of being an all in one lens that is well suited to the majority of travel photography situations as it can easily meet most peoples every day need. It good at wide angle photography for landscapes or architecture while also offering an excellent zoom for photographing strange new wildlife in the distance while traveling. We feel that this has helped the Sony FE 24-240mm become one of the best lenses for a6000s while traveling with a number of photographers already using it as their travel lens. That said, the Sony FE 24-240mm has a minimum focus distance of 50cm meaning it can struggle with things like food photography for any new meals you may encounter while traveling.
Although the lens is larger and heavier than all other lenses on our list, it also offers the most well-rounded functionality. While traveling you will have to work out your own pros and cons of if the size and weight is worth it or not but you can probably get away with using this as your only lens without the need of a secondary.
The lens is made from high-quality robust plastic with the zoom and focus rings both being made from plastic. The manual zoom ring can feel a little stiff but this can also help stop any zoom creep. The focus ring is very responsive though and very smooth to operate with little to no resistance at all.
The lens does include Sonys optical steady shot technology to offer in-lens image stabilization so you are able to get sharper image quality in your photographs or less jitter in any videos you may record with it on your Sony a6000.
The lens has also been engineered to be as dust and moisture resistant as possible helping keep it safe in a wide range of popular travel locations. A basic lens hood is also included with the Sony FE 24-240mm to help deal with the sunlight in the hotter locations you may be traveling to.
Images taken using the Sony FE 24-240mm have a very sharp center but at various setup, the edges of your photographs may become a little soft but you can usually fix this in post-production anyway without any problem. Although the optics are not from the Carl Zeiss range, they still provide high-quality sharp images even when fully zoomed in. You can further customize the look of your photographs with the Sony FE 24-240mm by attaching a 72mm filter (Click here to check for product prices and availability) if you choose.
One of the main criticisms the Sony FE 24-240mm has received is its problems when being used in low light settings. If you are planning on taking many photographs while traveling in low light then taking a secondary lens from above with better low light capability may be for the best.
The Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 FE OSS Interchangeable Standard Zoom Lens
Although it has a very efficient image stabilization set up to offer you very smooth video and help with photography, it has a bunch of things that unfortunately hold it back for being used as a travel lens. For example, although it is a lightweight lens, it is actually relatively large for what it provides making it awkward to store.
Additionally, the zoom range on the Sony 28-70mm doesn’t really fit with the types of photography most people will be doing while traveling making the above lenses better options in the majority of cases. The aperture on this lens is also pretty dark too with no real workarounds available for that.
That said, if you already have this lens from a kit purchase then its high-quality plastic materials and high-build quality will help protect the lens while moving around between destinations.