The Sony range of full frame cameras and APS-C sensors have come a long way. They’re considered some of the best in the business, and the cameras’ image output often pushes the envelope. Since Sony’s full-frame cameras support interchangeable lenses, you can use them for just about any photography or videography. Whether you’re shooting sweeping landscapes or close-ups of wildlife, you’re pretty much covered.
One of the key aspects of wildlife photography is getting a close-up with a good telephoto lens. A telephoto or zoom lens allows you to stay further away from your subject while still capturing it. This is useful for capturing wildlife and handy if you’re shooting products, portraits, or even celestial bodies in the night sky. If that interests you, here are some of the best telephoto lenses for Sony full-frame cameras you can buy.
Before we come to lenses, here are some related articles that you might be interested in –
That said, let’s get to the lenses.
1. Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
If you shoot in different scenarios, it can be handy to have a lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths. This lens from Tamron is exactly that. If you’re shooting video 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 when recording video, 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 purchase decision is that this is not a particularly fast lens, as indicated by the minimum aperture of F2.8.
However, you should be covered in most situations and should have no problem shooting with a tripod or good lighting. This lens is mainly used for street photography because it is sharp throughout the entire focal length and is easy to carry. For this price, the quality and versatility you get with this lens is commendable.
2. Sigma 85mm F1.4 Lens
You don’t necessarily need a variable focal length for a lens to be versatile, and this lens from Sigma proves it. The 85mm focal length can be used for multiple purposes like portrait photography, macro close-ups and even for photographing wildlife, albeit at a slightly closer distance. The wide F1.4 aperture means the lens lets in plenty of light at night.
Therefore, you can easily use your handheld camera with this lens without worrying too much about shutter speed when shooting in low light. The lens is also quite compact, allowing you to do just that. The materials used to construct this lens make it both dust and splash resistant, which is nice if you’re shooting in extreme environments.
The lens reviews talk about the quality of images you can take with it. It is one of the highest rated lenses for Sony full frame cameras and offers similar performance to lenses 2 or even 3 times more expensive. Get it for the excellent bokeh in the shots and the 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 good reason. It’s almost like 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 wide range of focal lengths, you can use this lens for anything and everything, from portraits and landscapes to street photography and macro shots.
The addition of OSS (Optical Steady Shot) on this lens gives you extra stabilization, which comes in handy when shooting video. Although the lens isn’t very fast, you can hold the F4 aperture consistently throughout the zoom range, which is impressive. You might not get much bokeh though, so if your main use case is clicking portraits, we’d suggest getting the Sigma 85mm instead.
The narrow aperture also means it’s not the best lens to shoot with when there isn’t much ambient light. Either way, this lens is so popular because of its versatility combined with the sharpness you get throughout the entire focal length. If you don’t want to invest in multiple lenses, get this one and you’ll be sorted for a while.
4. Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Lens
We have now gone beyond lenses that you can use for multiple purposes or are convenient to carry around on a daily basis. This 150-500mm lens from Tamron is big in terms of physical size and zoom range. This zoom level is usually extremely useful for photographing animals and birds from a distance without spooking them.
Another good use case for this type of lens is to film sports activities. Whether you’re a beginner looking to start with a super telephoto lens or a pro looking for an affordable lens with a wide zoom range, this is a great choice. That’s what user reviews tell you too.
Autofocus could be faster, but images are sharp and stabilization – which is an important factor for a telephoto lens when used without a tripod – is excellent. However, you may not be able to do much handheld shooting with this lens due to its weight. That’s something to keep in mind with all long-range telephoto lenses, though.
5. Sony 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 OSS Lens
Sony’s G-series of lenses pack some 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 wildlife from a distance while locking focus quickly and quietly. The OSS on the lens also helps stabilize the shot so you don’t end up with a blurry photo.
Although large and bulky, this lens is still lighter than some of Sony’s other lenses, which is a plus when traveling. As for performance, you can expect great levels of sharpness up to around 400mm, after which images tend to get slightly soft. Although it is quite expensive, it is still a semi-professional lens for beginners. Images tend to become softer at maximum focal length.
It’s a good idea to get a remote shutter and a sturdy tripod to use with this lens to get the best results. At this price, there aren’t many lenses that can give you that focal length combined with the sharpness that this lens from Sony offers. That makes it a great deal if you’re new to wildlife photography. Note that low-light performance isn’t quite as good, so stick to daylight shooting as much as possible.
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 attending a football game and want to capture your favorite player scoring a goal. Of course, the use cases are endless, so choose the lens that suits your style of photography.