Sony’s range of full-frame cameras and APS-C sensors has come a long way. They’re regarded as some of the best in the industry, and the image output from the cameras often pushes the envelope. Since Sony’s full-frame cameras support interchangeable lenses, you can use them for pretty much any photography or videography. Whether you’re shooting wide landscapes or close-ups of wildlife, you’re pretty much covered.
One of the key aspects of wildlife photography is getting a close-up shot with a good telephoto lens. A telephoto or zoom lens allows you to stay farther away from your subject while capturing it. This is useful to capture wildlife and handy if you’re shooting products, portraits, or even heavenly bodies in the night sky. If that interests you, here are some of the best telephoto lenses for Sony full-frame cameras that you can buy.
Before we get to the lenses, here are some related articles you may be interested in –
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- Have too many lenses to carry around? Take a look at the best travel backpacks for your camera gear.
- Shooting from a distance with a heavy lens requires stability. Get one of these fluid head tripods to make it easier.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the lenses.
1. Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
If you shoot in different scenarios, having one lens covering a large range of focal lengths can be handy. This lens from Tamron is exactly that. If you’re shooting videos or landscapes, you can use the minimum focal length of 28mm. But, when you want that telephoto effect to kick in, you can get closer to your subject with the 75mm setting.
The lens has a fast and quiet linear motor for focusing, which works great while shooting videos, and you don’t need an external mic. The construction is moisture-resistant, which is good, and the lens is quite compact. One factor that may affect your buying decision is that this isn’t a particularly fast lens, as the minimum aperture of F2.8 indicates.
However, you should be covered in most situations and shouldn’t have a problem if you’re shooting with a tripod or a good amount of lighting. This lens is mainly used for street photography since it’s sharp across the focal length and is easy to carry around. For this price, the quality and versatility you’re getting with this lens are commendable.
2. Sigma 85mm F1.4 Lens
You don’t necessarily need variable focal length for a lens to be versatile, and this lens from Sigma proves that point. The 85mm focal length can be used for multiple purposes like portrait photography, close-up macro shots, and even for shooting wildlife, albeit from a slightly closer distance. The wide F1.4 aperture means the lens lets in a lot of light at night.
As a result, you can easily operate your camera handheld with this lens without worrying too much about the shutter speed when shooting in low light. The lens is also fairly compact, which allows you to do this. The materials used to construct this lens make it both dust and splash proof which is nice if you’re shooting in extreme environments.
The reviews for the lens speak for the quality of images you can shoot with it. It’s one of the best-rated lenses out there for Sony full-frame cameras and provides similar performance to lenses priced 2 or even 3 times higher. Get it for the excellent bokeh in shots and extremely fast autofocus, which is essential if your subject is moving.
3. Sony 24-105mm F4 OSS Lens
This is an extremely well-rated lens and for a good reason. It’s almost like you’re walking around with 4 different lenses built into one, similar to the quad-camera setups we see on many smartphones these days. Thanks to the large range of focal lengths, you can use this lens for anything and everything, from portraits to landscapes to street photography and macro shots.
Adding OSS (Optical Steady Shot) on this lens gives you additional stabilization, which is handy when shooting video. While the lens may not be very fast, you can maintain the F4 aperture constantly throughout the zoom range which is impressive. However, you may not get a lot of bokeh, so if your primary use case is clicking portraits, we suggest getting the Sigma 85mm instead.
The narrow aperture also means it’s not the best lens to shoot with when there’s not a lot of ambient light. Regardless, this lens is so popular because of the versatility combined with the sharpness you get across the focal length. If you don’t want to invest in multiple lenses, get this one, and you will be sorted for a while.
4. Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Lens
We’ve now moved past the lenses that you can use for multiple purposes or are handy to carry around daily. This 150-500mm lens from Tamron is large in terms of its physical size and zoom range. This level of zoom is generally extremely useful when shooting animals and birds from a distance without scaring them away.
Another good use case for this type of lens is to shoot sporting activities. Whether you’re a beginner who wants to start off with a super telephoto lens or a professional looking for an affordable lens with a large zoom range, this is an excellent pick. That’s what user reviews also tell you.
The autofocus could be faster, but the images turn out sharp, and the stabilization — which is an important factor for a telephoto lens when used without a tripod — is great. However, you may not be able to shoot handheld a lot with this lens because of its weight. That’s something to keep in mind with all long-range telephoto cameras, though.
5. Sony 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 OSS Lens
Sony’s G series of lens pack excellent optics. That’s exactly the case with this 200-600mm lens from the camera maker. The zoom range is ideal for clicking birds and other animals from a distance while locking focus quickly and quietly. The OSS on the lens also helps stabilize the shot so that you don’t end up with a blurred photo.
Despite being large and bulky, this lens is still lighter than some other lenses from Sony, which is an advantage while traveling. As for the performance, you can expect great levels of sharpness until about 400mm, after which the images tend to get slightly soft. Despite being quite expensive, this is still a beginner to the semi-pro lens. The images tend to get softer at the max focal length.
It’s a good idea to get a remote shutter and a sturdy tripod to use with this lens for the best possible results. At this price point, there aren’t a lot of lenses that can give you this focal length combined with the sharpness that this lens from Sony offers. This makes it a good deal if you’re starting with wildlife photography. Do note that the low-light performance isn’t as good so stick to shooting in daylight as much as possible.
Zoom-in From a Distance
A telephoto lens can help you get closer to your subject from a distance which is extremely important if you’re a nature enthusiast. It’s also great if you’re at a football game and want to capture your favorite player scoring a goal. Of course, the use cases are endless, so pick the lens that suits your style of photography.
Last updated on 11 August, 2022
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Thank you so much for your recommendations which is most helpful and sincerely appreciated.
I’ve only just truly begun my lifelong passion to learn and do photography at this late stage of my life at almost 65 .
Honestly speaking, its by far the most exciting goal I’ve ever looked forward to be doing.