what lens to buy for sony a9

The best lenses for Sony A9

What lens to get for your Sony A9?

Released in 2017, the Sony A9 full-format hybrid is aimed at professionals and all photographers who demand speed and quality. The Sony A9, a relatively light and compact camera, is particularly well suited for sports reporting or photography where speed is predominant. Sony competes directly with the professional range of Nikon and Canon. This is the first time that a full-format hybrid has been presented in a lightweight 673 g body with a small size: 127 × 96 × 63 mm, without loss of performance.

For the Sony A9, the 24.2MP Exmor RS full-format BSI CMOS back-illuminated sensor has been developed with a new structure and offers a remarkable increase in reading speed. Thanks to this sensor used with the BIONZ X processor, continuous shooting reaches 20 fps. To complete the feat, the shutter speed ranges from 1/8,000 s to 1/32,000 s with the remarkably quiet electronic shutter. Fast, 60 times per second, autofocus is precise and reliable in all situations. The 5-axis stabilization is an advantage in both still photography and video.

Artificial intelligence contributes to effective subject tracking and eye detection. It is even possible to choose between the left or right eye. In 2019, Sony added new firmware that includes, among other things, real-time tracking of animal eyes. In addition, the ISOs in extended mode cover from ISO 50 to 204,800.

The Sony A9 has good ergonomics despite its small size. The handle grips well. To increase the grip, an additional power handle is available. The magnesium alloy housing is dustproof and moisture resistant. The 3.68 million dot Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder provides extra brightness and comfort. Control buttons and thumbwheels make it easy to make quick choices for focus, exposure modes, and switching to movie mode.

It is unfortunate, however, that the touchscreen is used exclusively for focusing or enlarging the image and not for menu navigation. The Sony A9 also lends itself very well to video mode because it records in 4K, without cropping and with good sound quality. An Ethernet port has been added for fast transmission of recordings. There are also two SD card slots, a USB and HDMI, a flash socket, not to mention Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. We are dealing with a very versatile and high-performance device, always in tune with the creativity of photographers.

Note: Product links in this article lead to Amazon.com  

Sale
Sony a9 Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera (Body Only) (ILCE9/B),Black
  • World’s first Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor w/ integrated memory
  • World’s first blackout-free continuous shooting up to 20 fps. Battery Life (Still Images) - Approx. 480 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 650 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)15. Battery Life (Movie,...
  • Silent, vibration-free, anti-distortion shutter up to 1/32,000 sec.

Summary

  1. Sony Zeiss SONNAR 55mm f/1.8
  2. Sony 24-105mm f/4 FE G OSS
  3. Sony 16-35mm f/4
  4. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 MACRO G OSS
  5. Sony 85mm f/1.8
  6. Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS
  7. Comparative table
  8. Some terms to know
  9. Useful accessories
  10. Links

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Sony Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8

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Weight: 281 g
Filter size: 49 mm

This 55mm f/1.8 is the number one lens to buy for your Sony A9. 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 A9.

Check the price

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Sony 24-105mm f/4 FE G OSS

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Weight: 663 g
Filter size: 77 mm

If you’re looking for a versatile lens for your Sony A9, 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 A9.

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Sony 16-35mm f/4 OSS

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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 A9 and want to take a wide angle picture.

Check the price

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Sony 90mm f/2.8 FE MACRO G OSS

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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 A9.

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Sony 85mm f/1.8

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Weight: 371 g
Filter size: 67 mm

It’s simply the best lens to portrait with the Sony A9, 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 A9.

Check the price

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Sony 70-200mm f/4 FE G OSS

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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 A9’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 opening 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.

Check the price

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COMPARATIVE TABLE

All of the Sony A9 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.

Lens Price Weight Aperture Filter size Utility
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

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ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS TO KNOW

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 A9:

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…).

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USEFUL ACCESSORIES

A small selection of useful accessories to have in addition to your lenses and your Sony A9:

LINKS

 

Any ideas to improve this list? Do you disagree on the choice of lenses? Please leave a comment!

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