If you are looking for the best travel lens for the Sony a7iii you’ve come to the right place. This is a helpful guide that explains in detail all you need to know to pick the best lens for your next trip, what are their pros and cons and which ones are my top picks.
As a travel blogger, I take seriously my photography gear. Almost all photos on the blog are taken either by me or my partner, so we are very picky when it comes to our lenses. I am the happy owner of a Sony a7iii, one of the best travel cameras out there. This camera has been my companion for many of my trips. I also happen to have a full array of sony full-frame lenses that I have used while travelling, and I’m happy to share my experience and recommendations with you.
Quick Summary: Best Travel Lenses for Sony a7iii Comparison
Best overall travel lens for sony a7iii
Sony FE 24-105 F4 G OSS: This is hands down one of the best all-rounder lenses out there. A lens with a versatile zoom range that can work for almost any situation: portrait, landscapes, street photography… Great image quality with minimal distortion when it’s wide open. It also features a dedicated focus-lock button and AF/MF switch, which are some of my favourite features on a lens.
This lens is also relatively lightweight. This is important for travelling, as you don’t want a heavy lens hanging from your neck or shoulder for long periods of time. I have seen heavier lenses recommended a few times, like the Sony FE 24-70 F2.8. I disagree at least not for travel. The lens is fantastic, but it’s almost twice as heavy! I don’t think the small edge in quality is worth the extra weight.
At the end of the day, travel lenses are about compromises. Sadly, you can’t have the best quality in a versatile light and compact lens for cheap. You’ll have to meet in the middle. And I think the Sony FE 24-105 F4 G OSS is great in that regard. As an alternative, if you want the best quality and don’t mind a lens that is twice as heavy and expensive, then the Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 might be a better pick for you.
My personal favourite
Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA: This lens has been my favourite since the moment I got my hands into it. I think it’s one of the best Sony a7iii lenses. It has almost everything you can ask. It’s small and light, so you won’t be dreading to carry it with me for long days. It’s fast and reliable. It takes sharp images with minimal distortion or chromatic aberration. Good low-light performance and it creates a beautiful Bokeh effect. What else could you ask?
The Sony FE 55 F1.8 ZA is a prime lens, which means you won’t be able to zoom with it. I personally like the restriction, since I believe it forces me to think more when I shoot. In the digital era is too easy to take pictures mindlessly. Having a prime lens makes me stop and think.
The lens has a 55mm focal length, which is roughly within the range of a normal lens. This means that the field of view is quite similar to the human eye. Even when I have a zoom lens I find myself going back to 35mm or 55mm quite often, because that’s how I perceive the world. And while the claims of normal lenses being close to the human experience are not without controversy, I think there’s at least some truth in there.
If you want a cheaper alternative, consider the Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens. It’s still a solid choice for a 50mm prime lens.
Best budget lenses for sony a7iii
The Sony a7iii is an expensive camera, and the lenses are pricey as well. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend thousands to get one. There are plenty of good quality lenses out there that won’t empty your bank account.
If you are only going to get one lens consider the Sony 24-70mm F4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS, one of the best budget lenses for sony a7iii. This is a great upgrade for your standard kit lens. The shooting range should be enough for most of your travel photos, from landscapes to portraits or street photography.
The Sony 24-70mm F4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS is also one of the lightest zoom lenses out there. This makes it the ideal companion for long days during your trip. Definitely, a solid option if you only want a cheap lens for sony a7iii to take on your trip.
If you need something even cheaper, a great option is taking a prime lens. Prime lenses are much more restrictive since you won’t be able to zoom. However, they offer excellent image quality, are lighter and cheaper. The Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens is as cheap as it gets, takes amazing sharp images and it’s great in low-light situations.
For a budget telephoto lens, check out the Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3. Tamron is making more and more telephoto lenses for mirrorless cameras lately, which is great news! Some of the Tamron lenses for sony a7iii are an excellent option for a budget version of the more expensive Sony and Zeiss ones.
How to choose the best travel lens for Sony a7iii
Choosing which lens you need for a trip is always difficult. It depends on so many variables! Where are you travelling to? Are you going solo, with friends, family, partner…? What do you want to photograph?
However, there are certain things that you should always consider when buying a lens for travel:
- Weigth: no matter your travel style, weight is always important. When travelling, you are not going to take photos in a studio, with your camera and equipment sitting on a tripod. You are going to carry everything with you, and your shoulder muscles are going to suffer every extra pound.
- Size: same story as the weight. The bulkier your lens is, the harder is going to be to move it around. And not only when actively taking photos! You might need to take a plane, where size matters a lot. You will have to carry a big camera bag where you can fit your lens around, and it can get annoying very quickly.
- Price: money is always a factor. This one is easy: the cheaper, the better. Of course, often you get what you pay for, but if you can’t afford spending too much money there’s no need to get the best of the best. Often there are plenty of budget options that are almost as good as the expensive high-end ones.
- Range: the focal length of your lens matters a lot. Shooting wildlife? You’ll need a telephoto. Landscapes? Probably a wide-angle lens. A bit of everything? You might need a good all-rounder lens. Then you have the option of choosing prime lenses, that have a fixed focal length. I personally love them, but they might not be the best option for your travel style.
- Quality: I’m grouping a bunch of things here: image sharpness, low-light performance, lens distorsion and chromatic aberrations, lens build quality… You want the best quality you can get for your money.
If you want to know the best lenses for each job, keep reading! I will explain the best options for each type of activity and a handful of good prime lenses that are great for travelling light.
If you want even more examples go to the end of the article, where I have a few suggestions for choosing your lenses depending on your type of travel.
Best wildlife lens for Sony a7iii
The Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS lens is fantastic for wildlife photography. It offers great image quality and a great range for not much weight.
If you are taking a telephoto lens for taking pictures of animals as part of a trip, you are probably going to take part on a safari or something similar. Long and heavy lenses are useless here. You are in a moving vehicle, most likely hand-holding your camera, and taking pictures of moving animals.
The 400mm maximum aperture might not seem like much at first. But remember, unless you have a tripod or some sort of support, zooming in, even more, will get you a blurry mess.
The Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS is light and not particularly big, compared to other options. If you are not a professional photographer willing to wait for hours and days on a tripod to get a great shot, this lens is a great option.
All these great features come at a cost. The lens is quite expensive. However, if you are interested in a cheaper alternative, consider the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS. Another option is the Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3. You will sacrifice some image quality and range, but get a much cheaper and lighter lens in return.
If you need even more range consider getting a teleconverter. They expand the focal length of your lens. This means that they essentially multiply your zoom, at the cost of a narrower aperture, which might have an impact in low-light settings. They are not cheap, but if you are willing to pay for one, consider the Sony 1.4x teleconverter.
Best landscape lens for Sony a7iii
The Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM is the best landscape lens out there. This lens outperforms everything else out there. It’s going to take sharp images with minimum distortion even when shooting wide-open. Wide-angle lenses often have sharpness problems on the edges of the image. But not this one. You’ll get consistent, sharp high-quality pictures no matter your settings.
All this comes at a price, of course. This lens is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, and you should only consider getting it if you are serious about your landscape photography. Especially because the competition is strong. Lenses like the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III might not have such spectacular sharpness but cost less than half the price, making it a fantastic budget wide angle lens for sony a7iii.
- If you want the best of the best the Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM is for you.
- Pick the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III if you need a budget option, or in case you are just starting to play around with landscape photography.
- If you just want to casually take landscape pictures while on the road, then don’t bother getting a lens just for that. Use whatever you have.
Best street photography lens for Sony a7iii
The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens is the best lens if you want to practice your street photography skills. There’s a lot to love in this lens: small, lightweight, fast, sharp, affordable…
Since it is a prime lens, you won’t be able to zoom. However, I personally find this an advantage when taking street photos. It will force you to move around, to get close to your subject and to think more about what you are actually doing. 35mm is also a great focal length for street photography, as it works well for shooting busy streets, people, portraits…
The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens has superb performance in low-light situations. This makes it ideal for night street photography enthusiasts. No matter if you are shooting the intense neon lights of Hong Kong or Osaka at night or a dimly lit alley in Dublin, the image quality will be rock solid.
If you don’t want a prime lens and prefer the flexibility of a zoom one, then a good option is the Sony 24-70mm F4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS. It’s my pick as the best budget lens, and I think it works well as a street photography lens too. It’s also light and has a good range for street photography. It won’t perform as well as the prime lenses at night, but you won’t find anything better in that regard. Not without spending a small fortune for a much heavier lens.
Best wide angle lens for Sony a7iii
Choosing the best Sony wide angle lens is definitely difficult. Both the Sony 12-24mm F4 G lens and the Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM one are strong contenders. However, if you need to go wide, go wide. The 12mm of minimum focal length can give you the extra edge that you need when you really want to capture something massive.
The Sony 12-24mm F4 G gives you basically an ultra wide lens for your sony a7iii. The image quality is good overall. It has a great sharpness in the centre, with a small but significant drop towards the corner of the image. This is a small disadvantage when compared to the superb sharpness that the Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM provides, but I’d say it’s a good trade-off.
Small differences aside, no matter which one you choose, you are going to be satisfied. It’s up to you if you prefer more sharpness or a wider angle.
As I already mentioned when talking about the best landscape lenses, the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III is a good budget option if you need a wide-angle lens. Sometimes you don’t need to best of the best, and an acceptable but solid option is preferable.
Best telephoto lens for Sony a7iii
The Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS lens is the perfect option for a travel telephoto lens. It has a great range, fantastic image quality, image stabilization and the most important one: it’s not particularly bulky or heavy for a telephoto lens.
If you are looking for something more heavy-duty, and you are going to be using a tripod, consider buying the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens. Keep in mind this is a big, heavy lens. Don’t bring it to a safari where you will be on a moving vehicle. This is a lens for those willing to take their time, set up a tripod and wait. You might also find that your camera bag is not big enough to hold this beast.
Both of these options are quite expensive. Most telephoto lenses are. However, if you are willing to sacrifice some range and quality you can get a good lens that won’t break the bank. Both the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS and the Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 are good budget telephoto lenses for your Sony camera.
As I mentioned in the wildlife section, a good option is to take a small telephoto lens and buy a teleconverter to increase the range. It’s expensive to buy both of them, but it might be worth the investment when you really need that extra edge. The Sony 1.4x teleconverter is a good one.
I can’t talk about travel lenses without mentioning prime lenses. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length. They are kind of the opposite of a zoom lens. This means, of course, that you can’t zoom at all with them!
You might be thinking, why would I want to restrict myself so much? Well, prime lenses have a good number of advantages:
- They often have a superior optical quality, which means sharper images.
- Prime lenses tend to be smaller than zoom lenses.
- Due to its reduced size, they are usually lighter.
I personally find prime lenses an excellent option for travelling. Their compact size and small weight fit my style of travel perfectly.
On top of that, the self-imposed restrictions often make me take better photos than with a zoom lens. I need to think more every time a shoot, and it shows in the end result. Many believe shooting with a prime lens is a great way to improve your skills as a photographer, and I wholeheartedly agree. You just need to get used to “zoom with your feet”.
Best prime lens for Sony a7iii
The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens is not only one of the best prime lenses for Sony a7iii, it’s also the best prime lens for travel. As much as I love the 50mm lenses, a short focal length offers a wider angle of view. It might not be the best Sony portrait lens, or the best landscape one, but it’s a great compromise between all options.
Prime lenses are usually lighter and shorter, and this one is no exception. If you are used to carrying bulky lenses give this one a chance. It might shock you how much of an effect it can have!
This lens is also great in low-light conditions, which only adds to its great versatility. Take it with you for your evening walk or a dark museum, the photos will still be great.
If you want to know a bit more about this lens keep reading, as this is also my top pick for the best 35mm lens for the Sony a7iii!
Best 35mm lens for Sony a7iii
Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens: An excellent lens for a classic focal length. 35mm and 50mm are probably the most popular out there, and for a good reason! A 35mm lens is an excellent compromise between a wider lens and one that gets a bit more personal.
While I personally love my 55mm lens, I have started to fall in love recently with my new Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens. I get that extra breathing space that sometimes is vital when doing street photography. And thanks to the amazing quality of the Sony a7iii I can still crop something too wide without losing too much quality.
The quality of the lens is excellent. The construction is solid, it’s lightweight and Sony claims it’s weather resistant. I much prefer it to the much heavier and expensive Sony FE 35mm F1.4. After all, I don’t want the best of the best when I’m travelling, I want a good compromise between weight, quality and price. In conclusion, when it comes to travel, this is the best 35mm lens for the Sony a7 cameras.
Best 50mm lens for Sony a7iii
Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens: This is a great lens, probably the best 50mm lens for Sony a7iii. It’s economic, light and takes great pictures, even in low-light conditions. While some lenses like the Sony Zeiss 50mm F1.4 might perform better in theory, in practice there is essentially no difference. And even if there were slightly better, is it worth paying 4 or 5 times more money? I don’t think so.
This lens is great for almost anything. You can go out with the confidence that you might not need another lens. In fact, I often use exclusively my Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens, another prime lens with a similar focal length, and my favourite lens so far.
The F1.8 aperture is going to make sure the lens performs no matter the light conditions. Going out on an evening walk through the city? No problem! The images are still going to be excellent.
The lens is almost weightless, which is perfect for long days. I often struggle to pick some of my heavier lenses when travelling because I know by the end of the day I’m going to be sick of carrying my bulky camera. After all, if you pay for a lightweight mirrorless camera like the Sony a7iii, why not take advantage and use a light lens as well?
Best 85mm lens for Sony a7iii
Sony 85mm F1.8: Are you looking for a lightweight, high-quality and affordable lens? Then this is the lens for you. This prime lens is a fantastic all-round portrait lens. And probably the best option when it comes to travel. There are slightly better, heavier and expensive options, but this is the best value for your money.
If you are willing to pay the extra money, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM lens is a good upgrade. The best features of this lens are the even better low-light performance and the amazing bokeh effect. In this range, this is probably the best lens for bokeh. Sony G-Master’s image quality never disappoints.
Which Sony a7iii lenses should I pick for travel?
If you have finished reading the entire article and are still unsure of what to pick, let me give you a few recommendations depending on your travel style:
- If you travel light: pick the Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens. Light and versatile.
- If you are like me and travel a lot in nature and cities and don’t mind carrying some extra weight: take a combination of a prime and a zoom lens. The Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA and the Sony FE 24-105 F4 G OSS can be a good combo.
- If you are travelling with your partner or family and want to take epic portraits in cool locations: take the Sony 85mm F1.8.
- If you are going on a safari or looking for wildlife in general: The Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS is the way to go, or the Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 if you need a cheaper one.
I hope this blog post has been helpful in your quest for finding the perfect lens. Buying a new lens is expensive, so making a good decision is important. However, remember that there are no wrong answers! Even if the lens you buy is not what you were looking for, by using it you might discover a new way of taking photos. And even a new way of seeing the world.
And don’t hesitate to ask in the comments if you want more help or have a few questions!
Until your next adventure!