What lens to get for your Sony A7R III?
Released in early 2018, the Sony Alpha 7R III (or Sony A7R III / α7R III) is a hybrid full-frame sensor camera. The’R’ (for ‘resolution‘) of its name indicates that it can shoot in very high resolution, with its 42.4 million pixel sensor.
It succeeds the Sony A7R II and brings a lot of improvements, starting with ergonomics, similar to the Sony A9 released just before, with in particular the addition of a very practical joystick to focus, a dual SD card slot, a touch screen, 4K video, and a new location for the video recording button, this time positioned beside the electronic viewfinder. The menus have been rethought but it’s still a little complicated if you’re not used to Sony… Another very interesting advantage compared to the Sony A7 II is the addition of a new battery that offers a much longer battery life than the old model! It must also be added that it’s stabilized on five axes and tropicalized.
- INCREDIBLE DETAIL: Shoot high speed subjects at up to 10fps with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking
- OPTIMAL LIGHT: A back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with gapless on chip lens collects more light. Operating Temperature: 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 to 40 degrees Celsius
- FASTER IMAGE PROCESSING: An updated BIONZ X processing engine boosts processing speeds up to 1.8x
In short, it’s a very good camera, with superb image quality whether in photos or videos. But unless you absolutely need an ultra-high resolution sensor (which produces super-heavy files), it might be better to look at the Sony A7 III, especially since it’s sold at a lower price…
This selection of the best lenses compatible with the Sony A7 R III should help you choose the right tool for your style of photography: it covers all situations, whether for portraits, macro or wide angle photography.
Note: Product links in this article lead to Amazon.com
- Sony Zeiss SONNAR 55mm f/1.8
- Sony 24-105mm f/4 FE G OSS
- Sony 16-35mm f/4
- Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 MACRO G OSS
- Sony 85mm f/1.8
- Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS
- Comparative table
- Some terms to know
- Useful accessories
Weight: 281 g
Filter size: 49 mm
This 55mm f/1.8 is the number one lens to buy for your Sony Alpha 7R III. It offers a relatively versatile focal length that allows you to take both portrait and street photos, as well as landscape photos.
In terms of image quality obtained with this 55mm f/1.8, the results are impressive, especially in terms of the sharpness of the image, which is really sharp and rich in detail (it’s among the best rated on the Dxomark.com site).
Its matt black finish is very neat, and it’s tropicalized. It has a silent, fast and precise autofocus, even in low light. It’s above all one of the lightest lenses of the selection, and one of the least cumbersome.
Sony also offers two other options in the 50mm range: a much cheaper 50mm f/1.8 with performance that is far from as good, especially in terms of autofocus and colour rendering. The 55mm f/1.8 surpasses it on these points. There is also the Sony Zeiss FE 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*, with slightly better performance than the 55mm, but the difference is far from being huge to justify the price difference between these two lenses.
Although still quite expensive, this 55mm f/1.8 is an excellent choice if you are unsure about your first lens to buy for your Sony A7R III.
Weight: 663 g
Filter size: 77 mm
If you’re looking for a versatile lens for your Sony A7RIII, which you can take on a trip for example, then the Sony 24-105mm f/4 is the one for you! It’s part of Sony’s G range, so we are dealing with a lens with outstanding construction quality, which also offers superb image quality. Its focal length range of 24 to 105mm makes it very versatile, and its constant aperture of f/4 is a significant plus. It offers better optical performance than 24-70mm f/4, and is much lighter and above all much cheaper than 24-70 f/2.8
Its silent and fast autofocus is very useful for making video. In short, it’s one of the best standard zooms available for the Sony A7R III.
Weight: 518 g
Filter size: 72 mm
This is the very first wide-angle lens available for Sony FE hybrid cameras: overall its optical performance is excellent and if you plan to focus on landscape, architectural or interior photography, it’s a very good choice. It produces very sharp images in the center, with little vignetting and distortion. Its manufacturing quality is excellent and its development is fast.
On the same focal range, the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM is also very good and has a larger aperture, but its price is mainly intended for professionals or amateurs with a large budget.
In short, this Sony 16-35mm f/4 OSS is highly recommended if you own a Sony Alpha 7R III and want to take a wide angle picture.
Weight: 602 g
Filter size: 62 mm
If you like pictures of insects, flowers or any small close-up subject, the Sony 90mm f/2.8 offers outstanding image quality, with superb contrast, sharpness and bokeh even if its aperture is only f/2.8. It has all the qualities of a Sony G-Series lens: a fast and ultra-quiet autofocus, a very neat construction quality, and it’s resistant to dust and moisture. The only real disadvantage of this 90mm f/2.8 is its size and weight.
Its focal length is not only designed for close-ups on bees or locusts, it can also be used for portrait photography and will offer superb results in combination with the Sony A7R III.
Weight: 371 g
Filter size: 67 mm
It’s simply the best lens to portrait with the Sony A7R III, sold at a fair price compared to the other lenses in this selection…. Its optical performance is excellent, with a sharpness, color rendering and a superb bokeh.
Even if it’s not part of Sony’s G range, it remains quite robust and its plastic construction makes it very light. Its focus is fast and silent, making it a practical tool in video.
In short, if you photograph mainly people, whether they are your family, during a wedding or to take portraits when travelling, this 85mm f/1.8 will give you excellent images mounted on a Sony alpha 7R III.
Weight: 840 g
Filter size: 72 mm
It’s one of the best zooms available for Sony full-format hybrids, if you take into account its price and size. It delivers very detailed images with superb contrast, its focus is fast and quiet and it’s very well built. Combined with the Sony A7R III’s silent shutter release system, it’s the ideal tool for taking pictures from a distance while being discreet.
Compared to its big brother, the 70-200mm f/2.8, it’s half as heavy and expensive, and even if its aperture is only f/4 it allows a very beautiful bokeh. It also remains compact and light enough to carry in its travel bag.
In short, this is the lens to buy with you if you are a long focal length enthusiast.
All of the Sony Alpha 7R III compatible lenses mentioned above are included in this comparison chart to help you choose the right equipment. You will be able to compare them according to their price, the weight and the utility of each one to choose which will suit your budget and your style of photo.
|Sony Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8||$$$||281g||f/1.8||49mm||prime lens|
|Sony 24-105mm f/4 FE G OSS||$$$||663 g||f/1.8||77mm||zoom standard|
|Sony 16-35mm f/4||$$$||518g||f/1.4||72mm||wide angle|
|Sony 90mm f/2.8 FE MACRO G OSS||$$$||602g||f/2.8||62mm||macro/portrait|
|Sony 85mm f/1.8||$$$||371g||f/1.8||67mm||portrait|
|Sony 70-200mm f/4 FE G OSS||$$$||840g||f/4||72mm||zoom|
Because it’s not easy to find your way around, here are the abbreviations and terms you’ll often find when choosing your new lens for your Sony A7R III:
FE: corresponds to “Full-frame E-mount”. Simply put, FE indicates that the lens is dedicated to Sony full-format cameras.
G: corresponds to ‘Gold’, Sony’s range of high quality lenses, which are rather professional and generally quite expensive.
GM: corresponds to ‘G Master’, the top of the range in terms of quality. Even better than the simple lens ‘G’.
OSS: corresponds to ‘Optical Steady Shot’, which is the image stabilization integrated directly into the lens. However, this is no longer a decisive criterion because most of the new Sony hybrid devices that come out have image stabilization integrated into their housing.
T*: indicates that the lens glass has a Carl Zeiss T-Star coating that eliminates stray light.
ZA: corresponds to ‘Zeiss Alpha’, and means that the lens was designed in collaboration with the German company Zeiss. It’s supposed to be a guarantee of quality.
Macro: designed for macro photography, i. e. the photography of small subjects (insects, coins…).
A small selection of useful accessories to have in addition to your lenses and your Sony A7R III:
- All Sony FE mount lenses on Sony.com
- The best Sony FE lenses (Full-frame)
- Sony A7R III reviws round-up: should you buy it?
Any ideas to improve this list? Do you disagree on the choice of lenses? Please leave a comment!