Our Favorite Lens options for the Sony A7 and A9 Series of Cameras
By Kevin Palmer
Sony has made huge impact on the mirrorless camera world with its full frame A7/A7II/A7III/ A7IV / A9 series that have sought to claw away some of the full frame still and video shooters from Canon and Nikon as well as provide an upgrade path to existing mirrorless camera shooters. Sony has also not held back on the introduction of high quality lenses in addition to the existing options of Canon mount lenses on a Metabones adapter. Add in some of Nauticam’s superb water contact optic options and it can be enough to make the choices a bit dizzying.
We here at Reef Photo have spent a lot of time with these cameras and wanted to lay out some of our favorite options and why. These are not every option out there and they may not be the best options for everyone, but if you have questions about anything you don’t see listed here, contact us and we will be happy to discuss all the possibilities.
Fisheye and other Super Wide Options (From widest to less wide)
Mounted on a Metabones adapter, this lens offers 180 degree diagonal FOV on full frame and provides great close focus wide angle capability with a small dome. In Super 35 crop mode on the A7/A9, it offers 10-15mm zoom capability. Auto Focus is very good with this combination. The less expensive Tokina 10-17 for Canon offers a similar FOV zoom range, but gives up a little quality on full frame. Important: Sigma 15mm fisheye for Canon does not auto-focus on the Metabones adapter at this time.
- Sony 28mm f2 combined with a Nauticam WWL-1
This super compact 130 degree FOV water contact lens set up is great for general wide angle and close focus wide angle – very good edge to edge sharpness at an “almost fisheye” angle of coverage.
- Sony 28-70 3.5-5.6 in Conjunction with Nauticam’s Wide Angle Conversion Port
This combination (along with the excellent Tamron 28-75 2.8Di III RXD with the WACP-1) is easily the most versatile overall zoom combination while giving up some of the compactness of the 28mm WWL-1 combination mentioned above. Excellent quality 130 degree FOV at 28mm down to about 70 degree FOV on the narrow end covers most shooters needs most of the time. Close focus down to the glass throughout the zoom range. For more information on the WACP take a look at at review article and our video article, both covering this lens.
Canon’s excellent super wide angle rectilinear lens can also be shot with a Metabones adapter. Considering it is less coverage and lower image quality (underwater) than the 28-70 and WACP mentioned about, this probably only makes sense for people who already own the lens.Sony's entry into the super wide angle zoom field has proved to be a very good performer and as a native Sony lens would generally be a better choice than the Canon 11-24 on a EF to E-mount adapter.
This has been the most popular 16-35 lens option for full frame Sonys thanks to how well it performs behind a smaller dome (by full frame standards) – a 170mm to 180mm dome is plenty for good image quality in a reasonable size package. The newer Sony 16-35 f.2.8 GM lens as well as contemporary Canon 16-35 f2.8 and Sigma wide Angle lenses for Canon all work well, but require a full 230mm dome to compete with Sony’s 16-35 f4 in a 180mm.
Mid-Range Lens Options
This “kit” lens is really Sony’s most useful mid-range lens. It can be shot with Nauticam’s WACP as is mentioned above offering an extremely wide coverage down to mid-range portrait capability. The 28-70 can also be shot in a compact flat port in combination with a flip and Super Macro Converter, SMC, making for a narrow portrait to macro lens combination.
These Sony mid-range lenses, while of excellent quality, require a fairly large dome and may not have the versatility of other options unless you already own the lens and shoot this focal length range a lot.
Macro Lens Options
The Sony 90mm macro lens has fantastic image quality and a focus style best described as “cinematic” – slow and smooth. It works well with macro wet lenses, but anyone shooting Super macro or macro video will definitely want a manual focus gear on this lens.
Canon’s full frame macro lens works well with a Metabones adapter and offers a different “feel” than the Sony 90mm, but the necessary adapter and N120 macro port will be a bit bulkier than the 90mm N100 port.
- For someone just looking to occasionally shoot 1:2 macro, the Sony 28-70 3.5-5.6 in a flat port with a Nauticam SMC as mentioned above makes a great combination
Have another lens or specialty need you are wondering about? Let us know! We love talking underwater imaging.