Sony Lens Terminology Key
This key is designed as a quick helper. Please see our complete guide to Sony and Zeiss lens terminology and abbreviations for more detailed information on the following Sony lens-related acronyms.
- E – E-mount lens for APS-C and Super 35 cameras.
- FE – Full-frame E-Mount lens.
- G – Gold Series lens. Sony’s second highest lens tier.
- GM – Gold Master, more commonly “G-Master” lens. Sony’s highest tier lens.
- LE – Light Edition. Only ever used once in 2012 to designate a particularly lightweight lens design.
- OSS – Optical SteadyShot is Sony’s name for in-lens image stabilization.
- PZ – Power Zoom lens with a motorized zoom.
- SEL – Only used in official product codes, standing for Sony E-Mount Lens.
- TC – Teleconverter.
- ECU – E-Mount Converter Ultra-wide.
- ECF – E-Mount Converter Fisheye.
- T* – A lens equipped with Zeiss’ optical T coating.
- ZA – Zeiss approved “Zeiss Alpha” lenses built by Sony in Japan.
Sony Lens Release Dates
Many people are simply interested in the latest Sony mirrorless lenses. For this reason, I created a table of Sony lens release dates in chronological order. The new Sony mirrorless lenses are at the top of the list.
Many people forget that the Sony E-Mount Mirrorless system began life as an APS-C crop-sensor system in 2011. It wasn’t until October 2013 that they introduced the first full-frame lenses. Sony’s full-frame lenses are designated “FE“, and the APS-C lenses are simply designated “E“, so pay close attention to this part of the Sony lens model’s name.
It’s also worth pointing out that Sony lenses have come a very long way since 2011. It’s worth avoiding the APS-C lenses from the first few years. They don’t hold up well to the megapixels of modern Sony mirrorless cameras.
Note on Carl Zeiss lenses: Those new to the world of Sony mirrorless lenses might wonder why this guide includes several Carl Zeiss lenses introduced between 2011 and 2016 while not including other third-party lenses. In actuality, the Zeiss ZA lenses listed on this page are Sony lenses, designed and built by Sony in their Japanese factories. Although “Zeiss approved”, these are Sony lenses, which is why they belong in this guide.
Note on the number of lenses: I’m keeping a running tally of the number of Sony mirrorless lenses in the left-hand column of the lens release date table. I am not counting teleconverters and the various lens adapters that Sony experimented with during the early days of the E-Mount system. As far as I’m concerned, it does not count as a new lens if it has to be mounted on a previous lens to function. Sony and I differ in this regard, which is why, when they announce a new lens, they might call it the “65th E-Mount lens” when my column tally shows a lower number.
|#||Lens Model||Release Date (MM/DD/YY)|
|60||FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II||04/27/22|
|59||FE PZ 16-35mm f/4 G||03/22/22|
|58||FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II OSS||10/13/21|
|57||FE 14mm f/1.8 GM||04/20/21|
|56||FE 24mm f/2.8 G||03/23/21|
|55||FE 50mm f/2.5 G||03/23/21|
|54||FE 40mm f/2.5 G||03/23/21|
|53||FE 50mm f/1.2 GM||03/16/21|
|52||FE 35mm f/1.4 GM||01/31/21|
|51||FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6||09/15/20|
|50||FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM||07/07/20|
|49||FE 20mm F1.8 G||02/25/20|
|48||FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G||09/13/19|
|47||E 70–350mm f/4.5–6.3 G OSS||08/29/19|
|46||E 16-55mm F2.8 G||08/29/19|
|45||FE 35 mm F1.8||07/09/19|
|44||FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS||06/11/19|
|43||FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS||06/11/19|
|42||FE 135mm F1.8 GM||02/26/19|
|41||FE 24mm f/1.4 GM||09/20/18|
|40||FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS||06/27/18|
|39||E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS||01/05/18|
|38||FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS||10/25/17|
|37||FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS||04/19/17|
|36||FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM||03/17/17|
|35||FE 12-24mm f/4 G||03/17/17|
|34||FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM||02/07/17|
|33||E PZ 18–110mm f/4 G OSS||09/09/16|
|32||FE 50 mm F2.8 Macro||08/30/16|
|31||Carl Zeiss Planar FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA||07/16/16|
|30||FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS||03/29/16|
|29||FE 50mm f/1.8||03/29/16|
|28||FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM||02/03/16|
|27||FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS||02/03/16|
|26||FE 85mm f/1.4 GM||02/03/16|
|N/A||FE 1.4x Teleconverter||02/03/16|
|N/A||FE 2x Teleconverter||02/03/16|
|25||Carl Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA||03/03/15|
|24||FE 90mm f/2.8 G Macro||03/03/15|
|23||FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS||03/03/15|
|22||FE 28mm f/2||03/03/15|
|N/A||VCL-ECF2 (Fisheye adapter for 16mm f/2.8 and 20mm f/2.8)||03/03/15|
|N/A||VCL-ECU2 (Wide-angle adapter for 16mm f/2.8 and 20mm f/2.8)||03/03/15|
|N/A||SEL057FEC (Fisheye adapter for 28mm f/2)||03/03/15|
|N/A||SEL075UWC (21mm converter for 28mm f/2)||03/03/15|
|21||Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS||09/15/14|
|20||FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS||09/12/14|
|19||FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS||10/15/13|
|18||FE 28-70mm f/3.5–5.6 OSS||10/15/13|
|17||Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS||10/15/13|
|16||Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.8||10/15/13|
|15||Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8||10/15/13|
|14||E PZ 18–105mm f/4 G OSS||08/27/13|
|13||Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS||08/27/13|
|N/A||E 50mm f/1.8 (Black version) OSS||08/27/13|
|12||E 20mm f/2.8||01/22/13|
|11||E PZ 18–200mm f3.5-6.3 OSS||01/22/13|
|10||E 10-18mm f/4 OSS||09/12/12|
|9||E 35mm f/1.8 OSS||09/12/12|
|8||E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS||09/12/12|
|7||E 18–200mm F3.5–6.3 OSS LE||05/17/12|
|6||Carl Zeiss Sonnar E 24mm f/1.8 ZA||08/24/11|
|5||E 50mm f/1.8 OSS||08/24/11|
|4||E 55–210mm f/4.5-6.3 OS||08/24/11|
|3||E 30mm f/3.5 Macro||06/08/11|
|2||E 18–200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS||08/12/10|
|1||E 16mm F2.8||06/11/10|
|N/A||VCL-ECF1 (Fisheye adapter for 16mm)||06/11/10|
|N/A||VCL-ECU1 (Wide-angle adapter for 16mm)||06/11/10|
Sony Lens Specifications
|Lens Name||Release Date (MDY)||Focal length||Aperture Range||Angle of View (h)||Length||Diameter||Weight||MFD||MM||Optical Design||Filter||Aperture Blades||OSS||Check Price|
|FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM||07/07/20||12-24mm||2.8-22||122° to 84°||5.39" / 137 mm||3.84" / 97.6mm||1.86 lb / 847 g||11.02" / 28 cm||0.14x||17 Elements in 14 Groups||Rear||9||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM||5/17/17||16-35mm||2.8-22||107° to 63°||4.79" / 121.6mm||3.48" / 88.5mm||1.5lb / 680g||11.02" / 28cm||0.19x||16 Elements in 13 Groups||82mm||11||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 24mm f/1.4 GM||9/20/18||24mm||1.4-16||84°||3.64" / 92.4mm||2.97" / 75.4mm||15.7oz / 445g||9.45" / 24cm||0.17x||13 Elements in 10 Groups||67mm||11||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM||2/3/16||24-70mm||2.8-22||84° to 34°||5.35" / 136 mm||3.45" / 87.6mm||1.95lb / 886g||1.25' / 38cm||0.24x||18 Elements in 13 Groups||82mm||9||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 35mm f/1.4 GM||13/1/2021||35mm||1.4-16||63°||3.8" / 96mm||3" / 76mm||1.2lb / 524g||9.8" / 25cm||0.26x||14 Elements in 10 Groups||67mm||11||No||B&H / Adorama / Amazon|
|FE 85mm f/1.4 GM||2/3/16||85mm||1.4-16||29°||4.23" / 107.5mm||3.52" / 89.5mm||1.8lb / 820g||2.62' / 80cm||0.12x||11 Elements in 8 Groups||77mm||11||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS||2/3/16||70-200mm||2.8-22||34° to 12° 30'||7.87" / 200mm||3.46" / 88mm||3.3lb / 1480g||3.15' / 96 cm||0.25x||23 Elements in 18 Groups||77mm||11||Yes||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS||2/7/17||100mm||2.8-20||24°||4.65" / 118.1mm||3.35" / 118.1mm||1.5lb / 700g||1.87' / 57 cm||0.25x||14 Elements in 10 Groups||72mm||11||Yes||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 135mm f/1.8 GM||4/10/19||135mm||1.8-22||18°||5" / 127mm||3.52" / 89.5mm||33.5oz / 950g||2.3' / 70 cm||0.25x||13 Elements in 10 Groups||82mm||11||No||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS||4/19/17||100-400mm||(4.5-5.6)-(32-40)||24° to 6° 10'||8.07" / 205mm||3.7" / 93.9mm||49.2oz / 1395g||3.22' / 0.98m||0.12 to 0.35x||22 Elements in 16 Groups||77mm||9||Yes||Amazon / B&H - Sony 100-400mm GM|
|FE 400mm f/4 GM OSS||6/27/18||400mm||2.8-22||6° 10'||14.13" / 359mm||6.22" / 158.1mm||6.4lb / 2895g||8.86' / 2.7m||0.52x||23 Elements in 17 Groups||N/A||11||Yes||Amazon / B&H|
|FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS||6/11/19||600mm||4-22||4° 10'||17.68" / 449mm||6.44" / 163.6mm||6.7lb / 3.04kg||14.8' / 4.51m||0.14x||24 Elements in 18 Groups||N/A||11||Yes||Amazon / B&H|
|SEL14TC - 1.4x Teleconverter||2/3/16||N/A||N/A||N/A||1.3" / 33.6mm||2.5" / 63.5mm||5.9oz / 167g||N/A||N/A||6 Elements in 5 Groups||N/A||N/A||N/A||Amazon / B&H|
|SEL20TC - 2.0x Teleconverter||2/3/16||N/A||N/A||N/A||1.68" / 42.7mm||2.50" / 63.5mm||7.3oz / 207g||N/A||N/A||8 Elements in 5 Groups||N/A||N/A||N/A||Amazon / B&H|
Sony Lens Details
- Sony FE Zoom Lenses
- Sony FE Prime Lenses
Sony FE Zoom Lenses
Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
The 12-24mm f/2.8 GM is Sony’s widest rectilinear G Master lens, tied for a wide field of view with the cheaper 12-24mm f/4 G lens. At the time of its launch in 2020, this lens was the widest f/2.8 zoom lens on the market from any manufacturer.
Of particular note: Despite the wide aperture and extremely wide focal length, the lens itself is only very slightly longer than the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, and several hundred grams lighter than some other extreme wide-angle lenses such as the Canon 11-24mm f/4 L. A remarkable achievement from the Sony lens designers.
The lens features a total of 4 XD Linear Focus Motors for incredibly fast focus performance and one of Sony’s most complex lens designs to date. 17 elements in 14 groups, comprised of a series of XA, aspherical, Super ED, and ED elements. The front element of the lens is coated in a brand new coating called Nano AR Coating II. This newly created coating was necessary for this lens to deliver improved resistance to flare and ghosting while maintaining a front lens element with such extreme curvature.
The wide field of view makes this lens a dream for architectural and travel photographers, as well as a popular option for landscape photographers who do not require the use of screw-on filters. The wide aperture also makes it an excellent option for astrophotography.
Sony FE Prime Lenses
Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM
Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM
The Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM shares many of the same physical design elements as the extremely popular 24mm f/1.4 GM. In a camera bag, it would be easy to confuse the two. This means that for a 35mm f/1.4 lens it is remarkably small, yet it manages to outperform the older Sony/Zeiss ZA 35mm f/1.4 lens in every optical area. Although the Zeiss 35mm lens is technically still a current lens in the Sony catalogue, there should be no reason for anyone to buy that ageing lens now that there is a modern GM version. Not only does the newer 35mm f/1.4 GM outperform the old lens optically, but it’s also smaller, lighter and cheaper.
When Sony created this lens they poured all of their latest technology into it, including the XD linear focus motors that have been used on the 135mm GM and the 12-24mm GM for the fastest possible autofocus performance. This lens is also the second Sony lens, after the 12-24mm GM, to receive the new Nano AR Coating II on the front lens element for impressive resistance to flare, and remarkable microcontrast.
35mm prime lenses have always been popular as walk-around primes for general purpose photography, but are particularly loved by wedding photographers, travel photographers and street photographers. The fast f/1.4 aperture also makes it a good choice for astrophotography.
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM
The FE 50mm GM is the first f/1.2 lens that Sony made for their full-frame mirrorless system. Before this lens, the Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA was the top 50mm for Sony users, but in a spec and performance comparison, the newer G Master design beats it in almost every way. Despite being an f/1.2 lens, the 50mm GM is slightly lighter than its f/1.4 Zeiss-designed predecessor. It also manages to have the same weight, despite the added glass and complexity of that wider maximum aperture. The minimum focus distance is also shorter on the GM lens, giving a reasonably impressive 0.17x maximum magnification. When you combine that with the f/1.2 aperture’s ability to blur out the background, this lens gives you incredible bokeh to help you isolate your subjects in a way that few other lenses can on the Sony system.
This lens is a good choice for portrait photographers who like to shoot a little looser than the headshots you get with lenses in the 85-135mm focal range. Full-length portraits and small family groups work well on a 50mm, and though you might not need an f/1.2 aperture for this, you would choose the 50mm GM if you want the absolute best image quality that is available from an E-Mount 50mm lens. Wedding photographers working in the darkest locations will perhaps be the people who make the best use of this focal length and aperture combination. Street and travel photographers will equally find this to be an excellent option.
Optically, this lens is comparable, if not better than equivalent lenses from any other system. It’s also smaller and considerably lighter (Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 = 980g, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 = 1090g, Sony 50mm f/1.4 GM = 780g). For those that obsess over the 50mm focal length – and they do exist – I would go so far as to say that this lens is good enough to consider a switch to the Sony system. A lens of this quality that weighs only 780g is a masterpiece of optical design.
Sony G-Master Lenses
G Master lenses are at the pinnacle of Sony’s mirrorless lens catalogue. They are designed and built to meet the rigorous requirements of professionals both in the field and in the studio. They are heavily weather sealed for use outdoors, they have the best available lens coatings to minimize flare and maximize contrast, and they are build using the latest materials to minimize weight despite the often complex optical formulae.
The data table on this page contains the specifications for all Sony G Master lenses, allowing you to compare the available options for building a Sony kit around the very best lenses they offer. If you are unfamiliar with the nomenclature that Sony uses to describe their lenses, I recommend you read our previous post entitled Sony Lens Terminology and Abbreviations.