Best Bokeh Lens For Sony A6400

By | 27/07/2022

Sony’due south powerful yet petite a6400 Mirrorless camera packs a lot of features into a compact and lightweight trunk. This makes it an excellent choice for travel photography, where portability and versatility reign supreme.

But in order to get the most out of the a6400 as a travel companion, yous’ll also demand to bring the right lenses with you.

Travel photography involves capturing a various range of subjects, in highly varied atmospheric condition. Frequently with little idea of what waits effectually the corner.

Successful travel photography, and then, means expecting the unexpected.

Merely couple the a6400 with the incorrect optics, and you’ll spend half your trip frustrated by all the amazing photos that got abroad.

Withal bring too much heavy drinking glass with y’all, and your a6400 will turn into a brawl and concatenation, stopping you from living the moment in full.

Which lenses should you cull for travel photography with the a6400?

In this guide to the all-time Sony a6400 lenses for travel photography I list 7 native Sony optics that I personally think are upward to the job.

I then motion on to because what makes a great travel photography lens for the a6400 and how you should approach choosing the right lens – or even lenses – for your ain travel photography adventures.

Sony Due east PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS

18-105mm f4 sony lens

Let’south get the bad news out of the style first: while the Sony E PZ eighteen-105mm f/4 G OSS is a very ruggedly-built lens,
it doesn’t come with any protection against water or dust.

And then it’s perhaps not the best choice for the more adventurous (or only careless) traveler.

It’s as well
relatively big

for an APS-C Mirrorless lens.

Then if you’re the kind of travel lensman who likes to keep a low contour, or desire to be able to carry your a6400 in a coat pocket rather than a bag, you may may prefer to go for a lens that’south slimmer and less conspicuous than this one.

Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS

The 18-105mm is also a picayune on the slow side in terms of aperture.

True, as information technology’s 1 of the few zooms for the a6400 that works with Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization system, arguably you’ll be able to get abroad with shooting at slower shutters speeds and/or lower ISOs than would exist possible with a faster lens that lacks OIS.

But of grade, the reward of fast aperture lenses is non just their ability to capture calorie-free, merely also to blur backgrounds. A feat that’due south difficult enough to reach on a cropped-sensor camera every bit it is, never heed with ane that tin only manage a middling f/four.

Then bokeh fetishists might besides desire desire to skip this lens, as y’all certainly won’t be seeing a huge amount of background blur here.

With that said, though, while f/four is not exceedingly fast, the 18-105mm does at to the lowest degree offering this maximum discontinuity throughout its entire zoom range; by no means a given with Sony’s dedicated APS-C zoom lenses.

Really, though, the main describe here as far as travel photographers are concerned is simply that the Due east PZ 18-105mm offers such an impressive zoom range without compromising image quality.

Having this thing on the front of your a6400 is effectively like conveying effectually a handful of really nice precipitous prime number lenses – but without either the extra weight or the expense.

And for many travel photographers this combination will simply show unbeatable.

Using an aperture of f/four at the widest zoom setting, central sharpness is splendid. As is contrast. Yeah, the corners could be a little better hither, but as a travel photographer the only time yous’re likely to really care about sharpness at the edge of the frame is when shooting landscapes. And who shoots landscapes at f/four anyway?

And as information technology happens, corner sharpness massively improves even by f/5.6 – long before you lot go anywhere close to landscape territory.

What’southward more, at longer zoom settings, eye sharpness is probably fifty-fifty ameliorate. Again with the corners clearing up beautifully once the lens has been stopped down even slightly.

If y’all were to switch off in-camera corrections, or shoot RAW files rather than JPEGs, you would notice a degree of distortion – particularly at longer focal lengths. But this event is uncomplicated plenty to fix at the post production stage.

Admittedly the bokeh produced by this lens doesn’t specially excite me. But nor does it offend the eye.

And equally already mentioned, with that boring maximum aperture, you will struggle to get much in the style of groundwork blur at all simply the longest of zoom settings anyway.

Finally, autofocus is fast, accurate, and silent. So there’due south no cause for business in this department.

To summarize, then, for those who can live with the relatively slow maximum aperture and the lack of weather sealing, this is a keen all-in-one travel photography lens.

Sony Iron 20mm f/1.eight Yard

Offering a faster maximum aperture than almost comparable lenses – whether from Sony or third political party manufacturers – and an angle of view
equivalent to 30mm on total-frame
, in my mind the Sony Fe 20mm f/1.8 G is
pretty close to beingness the ultimate prime lens for travel photography

In fact, if I were ever forced to keep my travel photography kit down to an absolute minimum, I’d probably be pretty happy to just have the a6400, this lens, and nothing else.

Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens

Aside from the bright f/1.8 discontinuity and handy focal length – plenty broad enough for landscapes and street photography, but just nearly workable for an occasional portrait also – the existent selling point here is the lens’s amazing paradigm quality.

With incredible sharpness at all aperture settings, it really is ane of the best broad angle primes available for Sony’southward cameras – in any format.

There is some mild baloney and vignetting. But this of course can exist corrected in-photographic camera or at the mail-processing stage. Chromatic and other aberrations are almost non-real though.

The lens is fully weather sealed and features a groovy quality metal and plastic build. Absolutely it’south not an especially pocket-sized lens, but it
very light.

With the aim of offer a balanced review, I feel like I should look around now for some less positive points to mention. But they actually are few and far between.

I gauge I could say that the manual focus ring is perchance not my favorite of all those I’ve always used. Merely information technology’s fine actually. Simply a little unresponsive.

And although admittedly it’southward not unheard of for the autofocus to occasionally driblet the ball, generally AF is fast, authentic, smooth, and silent.

Finally, every bit this lens is intended for full-frame users, not only does it provide a much tighter crop on APS-C bodies, but unfortunately SteadyShot won’t piece of work when it’due south used on the a6400 either.

This latter betoken might be of some business concern if you intend to shoot a lot of video.

If that’s you, checkout my article about video lenses for the sony a6400!

But travel photographers who largely focus on stills probably won’t notice it to exist a major handicap.

Especially with a lens this broad, where camera milk shake is always less of an event anyhow.

Merely these small-scale points aside, I really can’t say enough proficient things about this lens. It’south truly a fantastic slice of glass.

Information technology’s truthful that the 20mm f/ane.8 G is not an especially cheap lens. Simply with it’s almost-perfect epitome quality, in my opinion it’s worth every cent of the asking cost.

Indeed, its optical performance is on a par with Sony’s more expensive Thousand Principal glass, and also stands upwardly admirably against pretty much whatever similarly-specced lens from the brand’s competitors.

Highly recommended!

Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/three.5-5.6 OSS

sony a6400 with the compact kit lens
Most pancake lens! very compact setup for travel.

If the Sony East PZ 16-50mm f/three.five-v.six OSS seems familiar to you, this is likely because it’due south the kit lens that came with your a6400 (bold it came with a lens at all).

Kit lenses generally don’t enjoy a slap-up reputation.

Usually for good reason; they are typically cheaply made, have a gloomy maximum aperture, produce mediocre quality images, and offering petty in the way of sophisticated features.

Even so there are exceptions. And the Sony 16-50mm f/iii.five-5.6 is one of them.

Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-Mount Retractable Zoom Lens

True, a lens that tin only manage f/five.6 at the longer end of its zoom range is by no means fast. Only that’s looking at the drinking glass half empty.

Merely adopting a glass-half-full-perspective instead, it’due south worth noting that with a maximum aperture of f/3.v  at the wider end of the spectrum, this lens is actually faster than many of Sony’s more expensive APS-C zooms (they are typically a constant f/4).

What’s more than, every bit it’s fabricated specifically for cropped-sensor cameras, the 16-50mm suffers from none of the compatibility bug with the a6400 that we see with total-frame offerings. Which means that we get fully working optical epitome stabilization besides.

And in practice this may make up for the somewhat ho-hum maximum discontinuity at the 50mm mark, allowing you to pull off shake-free shots at slower shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible.

Some other describe for travel photographers is simply the size of this affair; despite offering pretty much every focal length the average travel lensman could wish for, it’s actually very compact and lightweight.

Meanwhile autofocus is fast, accurate, and near-silent. I.e. actually amend than on some much more than expensive Sony glass.

Of course, great AF, SteadyShot, and a compact blueprint wouldn’t be much proficient to us if they weren’t also backed up by top notch prototype quality. And this is really the attribute in which the xvi-50mm f/3.v-5.half-dozen most strongly breaks the kit lens mold.

At the widest zoom setting, shooting at f/three.five, center sharpness is actually quite impressive. Aye, the corners lag a little backside. Only shut the diaphragm down a stop or two and even the periphery starts looking nicely well-baked. It’s the same bargain with contrast.

Zoom through to longer focal lengths, and the story is even better; a tad actress center resolution, and now at that place’south even pretty good corner sharpness when shooting broad open!

The sixteen-50mm f/three.five-five.6 may not be the absolute best travel photography lens available for the Sony a6400. It is, however, one of the meliorate ones – at whatever price point – and is especially worth considering if you’re on a budget.

Sony FE 14mm f/one.viii GM

sony 14mm fe 1.8 gmaster lens

Yeah, I know. This lens costs more than than you paid for your a6400. And the SteadyShot won’t fifty-fifty work with your camera considering this is a full-frame lens.

What’s more, the 14mm f/ane.8 is relatively large and heavy when coupled with a cropped-sensor photographic camera such equally the a6400.

And then does it really make sense to put this thing on the a6400?

Well, let’s exist articulate, for many users information technology won’t brand much sense at all.

For others, though, I can’t recommend information technology plenty.

Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM Full-Frame Large-Aperture Wide Angle Prime G Master Lens

Who are those users? Well, I’m specifically thinking of travel photographers in need of a wide bending lens who value prototype quality above all else, but who also require a fast maximum aperture.

Peradventure you shoot a lot of landscapes and architectural images? But perchance you’re also into street photography? Or documentary?

If that’s y’all, and you’re happy to pay for exceptional eyes, this thing is about flawless.

Even broad open up, sharpness and contrast are fantabulous. And this performance only gets better as you close down the aperture slightly.

Color rendition, too, is very attractive.

Yes, there is some slight vignetting and distortion when in-photographic camera corrections are turned off. Simply really nix to worry virtually. And in that location’s very little in the manner of color fringing or other aberrations.

Heavily defocussed backgrounds are of course very difficult to achieve on such a wide lens, especially on an APS-C camera. But as the 14mm f/ane.viii will focus as close equally 25cm, yous tin can certainly get a caste of selective focusing if you try.

And when y’all practise, balance bodacious that the results will exist very pretty indeed.

Oh, and while I think of information technology, autofocus is groovy as well; fast, accurate, and totally silent.

What’south more than, although I mentioned above that it’s non a pocket-sized lens, in realty it’south not that big and heavy when you compare it to the alternatives. Particularly considering how much has been packed into this thing in the mode of features.

It’s as well sturdily congenital and comes with a good caste of atmospheric condition sealing.

All things considered, then, this ane of the best lenses – if non in fact
accented best lens – of its kind out there correct at present.

In fact, earlier moving on, let’s take a moment to fully appreciate just what Sony has achieved here: a lens equivalent to roughly 24mm on full-frame, with a maximum aperture of f/one.8, and stunning image quality. All crammed into a durable and fairly portable trivial package.

While it might be a bit of niche product, for some a6400 travel photographers the 14mm f/1.8 GM is a dream come true.

Sony FE 35mm f/one.4 GM

FE 35 mm F1.4 GM lens

On Sony’s full-frame cameras the FE 35mm f/1.iv GM will provide a moderately wide field of view.

But coupled with the a6400 it behaves more like a “standard” lens. I.eastward. the equivalent of 52mm on total-frame.

Is a standard lens a travel photography lens?

I certainly think it can be. Perhaps even your
travel photography lens. It all depends on your shooting style and preferences.

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Full-Frame Large-Aperture Wide Angle G Master Lens

Indeed, travel photographers who shoot a lot of portraits, but who also want to exist able to practice the occasional landscape, street photo, or capture more full general travel scenes, may find that a 50mm-equivalent lens offers the all-time all-round compromise.

And the fact that this particular standard lens comes with a beautifully fast maximum discontinuity and excellent optics makes it a particularly appealing pick. Albeit a somewhat expensive one; this is one of Sony’s top-terminate G Master lenses after all.

So, what do y’all get for your money?

Well, as with all these GM lenses, build quality is very sturdy. Aye, information technology’s a plastic barrel, but modern engineered plastics are extremely robust, and there’s metal where it matters; i.e. at the lens mount.

The lens too comes sealed confronting the elements, then whether yous’ll be scaling the Himalayas, trekking through rainforest, or simply hanging out at the beach, it should be more upwards to the strain.

Meanwhile, autofocus is fast, accurate, and very quiet indeed. At that place’due south nothing more to add here.

The existent describe, though, is simply the quality of the images this lens is capable of producing. There’s great contrast and sharpness correct across the frame, and throughout the discontinuity range, from f/1.4 through to about f/xi. That’s pretty impressive.

As well, bokeh is very squeamish indeed. Further calculation to the lens’s appeal for portrait photographers.

Yes, if you lot turn off in-camera corrections or shoot RAW, you lot’ll notice some pincushion distortion and vignetting when the lens is used wide open. Merely a piddling Photoshop will prepare this easily enough. And in any instance this clears up nicely as you close down the diaphragm. Neither flare nor chromatic aberrations are major issues.

Beyond the price, and so, the only downside here is that the lens doesn’t offering image stabilization. For full frame users that’south non actually an upshot, as camera shake will exist much less noticeable on a 35mm lens.

I don’t recall it’s essential on a 50mm lens either actually, only I’d certainly agree that it would have been overnice to have.

The lack of SteadyShot would certainly not end me from ownership this lens though. Not if it ticked all the other boxes for me. It’s undoubtedly a beautiful scrap of kit.

Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA

Travel photography is an extensive term. Effectively it tin be whatever type of photography that’s washed while traveling. In practice, and so, information technology means different things to different people, depending on their personal interests.

One thing it means to a lot of people. though, is portraiture. And for these photographers a good travel photography kit will need to include a great portrait lens.

You can shoot portraits on standard lenses. Fifty-fifty on moderately broad angle lenses. Merely when the bulk of people talk of dedicated portrait lenses, they mean something effectually the 80mm marking.

Ideally with a fast aperture for blurring the background, and bang-up optics in order to capture the “windows on the soul” – the sitter’s eyes – in well-baked sharpness.

Although the Sonnar T* Atomic number 26 55mm F1.8 ZA was designed for total-frame utilise – where it’s a faithful standard lens – when placed on the a6400 it becomes only such a portrait lens.

Offering as information technology does an bending of view that is equivalent to 83mm.

Image sharpness is fantastic, from f/1.viii through until f/11. Indeed, information technology’s even slightly better than Sony’south sharp simply inexpensive 50mm f/i.eight OSS.

True, the cheaper OSS lens comes with SteadyShot, whereas this Zeiss lens lacks image stabilization altogether.

Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Lens - Fixed

I’ve nothing confronting image stabilization – quite the opposite. And if you practice feel like SteadyShot is essential, the cheaper 50mm might be the ameliorate pick for yous.

But only if you lot’re the kind of photographer who really looks after their gear.

Personally I’m not much of a gear fetishist though. Lenses are tools to get a chore done, and of grade demand to be treated with some respect. But I’m not overly precious about my photographic equipment.

And if I’ll be slumming it on a punishing off-the-browbeaten-track adventure, well, my gear is in for a rough ride as well.

That being the case, personally I’d get for the very solid metal build and weather sealing of this lens over its APS-C-oriented and OIS-equipped cousin. It just makes more sense to me as a travel photography lens.

I also prefer the bokeh on this lens. And for portraits that’s a pretty of import consideration.

Also, although the lens was designed for full-frame, it’southward non excessively big.

Pack this and something like the 20mm f/1.8 G or the 35mm f/1.four GM, and you’ve got a fairly minimalist setup that will permit you shoot everything from caput shots to ecology portraits, and even landscapes and across.

Admittedly, the Sonnar T* Atomic number 26 55mm F1.viii ZA isn’t a totally perfect lens. For case, although autofocus is authentic and silent, it’s non equally fast a some of Sony’s other offerings. It’southward fast plenty for almost travel photography though.

Sony Iron 16-35mm f/2.eight GM

sony 16-35mm wide angle zoom lens

I admit it, Sony’southward FE 16-35mm f/ii.8 GM is some other “luxury” option that volition likely exist overkill for about 6400 owners.

What’s more, after spending all that money you don’t fifty-fifty become to brand u.s. of the lens’due south fantabulous SteadyShot image stabilization.

So I tin can see that this may seem like a particularly bad bargain.

Simply there are a number of reasons why I’ve included this lens here.

Sony - FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM Wide-angle Zoom Lens (SEL1635GM)

Firstly, zooms with working SteadyShot that are available for the a6400 tend to be at the lower end of Sony’due south budget range. And while some produce images of surprisingly high quality, they rarely offering the same degree of sharpness and overall optical excellence as the brand’southward top-end G Master range – of which this lens is an excellent example.

Secondly, being a 1000 Principal lens, it’s also congenital to a standard that Sony’s cheaper zooms cannot match.

And for many hardened travel photographers – as opposed to just daytrippers taking the occasional vacation snap – this, also, volition exist an important consideration. T

ravel photography lenses tend to receive a harsher than usual degree of penalisation from their owners, so a sturdy build and weather condition sealing are oftentimes worth paying a premium for.

Thirdly, on a cropped sensor camera like the a6400, a 16-35mm lens is very useful indeed.

In fact I personally think that the focal range offered by this lens is a lot more appealing for APS-C users than it is for use on total-frame – merely that’s just my anti-ultrawide prejudices showing.

Finally – and perhaps about importantly – this lens has a maximum aperture opening of f/2.8. That’s at to the lowest degree a stop faster than whatever of the other zooms I’ve included here. Meaning that the Iron sixteen-35mm f/2.8 is a good option both for those who often shoot a lot in low light and for lovers of bokeh.

And what bokeh! The backgrounds on photos shot with this lens are very polish and pretty looking indeed.

But what nigh focussed areas of the image?

Well, at 16mm and f/2.8, cardinal sharpness is not bad, and the corners are a bear on softer. But by f/4 most corner softness has cleared up.

Meanwhile, at the longer finish of the zoom range, operation at f/2.eight is non quite every bit impressive, but still pretty good. You’ll need to stop downwards to f/five.6 though before the corners start looking really crisp at 35mm though.

Merely given that the but time a travel photographer is likely to care about edge-of-frame sharpness is when shooting landscapes, this isn’t actually a major event anyway (hint: you probably don’t want to shoot landscapes using an aperture of f/four).

Turn off in-camera corrections, and with the zoom set to 16mm and the aperture wide open at f/2.8 yous’ll detect both barrel distortion and vignetting.

Zoom to the other extreme, however, and you’ll notice distortion of the pincushion variety instead. Vignetting is a lot less pronounced here though.

In terms of baloney and vignetting this is a fairly normal functioning however. And both of these bug can exist dealt with by software; either in-photographic camera or at the post-product stage.

Meanwhile, autofocus works brilliantly; meaning that it’south consistently snappy and accurate.

To summarize, then, the Fe 16-35mm f/2.8 GM is an expensive zoom lens that offers sure advantages over its APS-C format relatives. The advantage in terms of image quality alone is relatively small though; probably not plenty to justify spending all the extra money. But combined with the f/2.8 aperture, weather sealing, and the lens’southward rugged build, it might only be sufficient to swing the balance for certain travel photographers.

The A6400 Travel Lensman’s Lens Buying Guide

Focal Length

holding the sony a6400 for a vlog

Travel means different things to different people. For some it’south most visiting sights. For others it’s more than about coming together interesting people and having novel experiences. For others still it’s more about escape and relaxation. And for many it’s near food.

For near people, though, travel is all of these elements combined – although oftentimes with a greater emphasis on certain aspects than others.

It’south the same with travel photography. Some people who consider themselves travel photographers actually spend most of their time shooting landscapes. Others almost exclusively shoot portraits, or street photography.

Almost travel photographers, nevertheless, volition divide time on the route between shooting
of these genres; and others besides. Perchance not in equal amounts – they might generally adopt portraits to landscapes, or vice versa – but they’ll shoot a little of everything. And ofttimes enough that they’ll demand to bring with them tools for
these jobs.

Of course, the ane thing that tends to differ between all these photographic genres is the focal length that’s most appropriate for the task.

In practice then, travel photographers need to make sure that they are conveying a lens for every believable photo opportunity they are likely to come up beyond during their trip.

Again, this volition differ somewhat between travel photographers according to their interests. But as a quick guide:

  • For
    and the more extreme forms of street photography, many people favor ultrawide angle lenses (equivalent to 24mm, or wider, on full-frame).
  • For landscapes, cityscapes, compages and
    general street photography, you lot’ll likely want a moderately wide angle lens (typically something equivalent to a 28mm or 35mm lens on full frame).
  • For
    environmental portraits, tighter landscapes, food photography, yet more street photography, and merely full general employ, nearly people go for a standard lens (i.eastward. equivalent to a 50mm or 55mm lens on full-frame).
  • For
    head and shoulders portraits, picking out parts of busy scenes, and close ups of architecture and other details, you lot should probably pack a moderate telephoto lens (i.e. roughly equivalent to an 80-100mm lens on total-frame).
  • For
    tight headshots, wildlife, extreme close-ups, and some artier street and landscape images, you lot might also want to consider taking a longer telephoto with you lot also (equivalent to 120mm and across). Although I oasis’t included whatsoever such lenses in my reviews above equally I don’t really consider this a core part of travel photography.

Primes vs Zooms

sony a6400 mirrorless camera with 18-135 zoom lens setup for youtube vlogging
Zoom lenses are bulkier

The key to successful travel photography is often merely beingness prepared. The range of shooting situations you are likely to encounter on the road is virtually unlimited, so versatility is essential.

If you lot were to opt for dedicated primes lenses for every genre of photography y’all might want to shoot on your travels, this could mean having to carry a lot of gear with you lot.

Clearly and so, zoom lenses can be very appealing to the travel photographer. And rightly then, as they typically allow you to travel light, while being prepared to shoot virtually anything at the twist of the zoom ring.

But the thing is, truly outstanding zooms – i.e. ones that offering a combination of excellent epitome quality and a fast maximum discontinuity – tend to be very expensive. That certainly tends to be the instance with Sony.

Meanwhile primes are normally a lot cheaper, and typically come with faster maximum apertures and even better optics.

Then if epitome sharpness and light-gathering abilities are more important to you than convenience, you might want to consider going with primes after all.

This is peculiarly the example if you already accept a very articulate idea of the kind of photographs you want to have on your trip, and know exactly which focal lengths you’ll need in club to get them.

As an example, a photographer who primarily wants to shoot landscapes and portraits could likely comprehend nearly every shooting scenario with just a moderate wide angle and a standard lens.

And these tend not to be especially large nor heavy items either, and so they might not work out beingness more cumbersome than a zoom in the end.

Maximum Aperture

The wider a lens’southward aperture will open up upwards to permit calorie-free onto the sensor, the more you can typically wait to pay for that lens.

For those photographers who value a faster discontinuity – portrait and documentary photographers, for example, and indeed anyone in the habit of shooting in low-light – this extra premium will unremarkably exist well worth paying.

Simply a wider discontinuity will also lead to a shallower depth-of-field. Which isn’t appropriate for every kind of photography.

Take landscapes, for example. Hither you’ll typically want to accomplish a
depth-of-field in order to capture the scene in sharp detail from foreground to background.

So if you programme to spend most of your time shooting landscapes, buildings, and other subjects where a shallow depth-of-field doesn’t actually work, it probably won’t make sense to spend extra money on a super fast-aperture lens.

Optical Paradigm Stabilization

Optical paradigm stabilization – or to use Sony’southward term, SteadyShot – can be extremely useful in many shooting situations. Particularly if you do a lot of handheld video piece of work. Simply as well when using longer lenses for stills.

Indeed IOS has made information technology possible to shoot milkshake-gratis images in lighting conditions that were unthinkable fifty-fifty a few years ago.

All other specifications being equal, and so, I would certainly choose a SteadyShot lens over one without image stabilization.

The thing is, in real life, all other specs tend
to be equal at all.

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than when it comes to glass for the a6400. In fact several of the meliorate lenses bachelor for the a6400 either don’t have IOS in the first place.

Or more commonly, they
offer this feature, but it doesn’t work when the lens is mounted on the a6400.

This has left me with a fleck of a dilemma when putting together this guide. Faced with a selection between epitome quality and image stabilization, I personally know which option I would choose. But I realize that readers’ priorities might differ.

The compromise I’ve settled upon is this:

  • With
    wide and mid-length glass, I’ve been happy to recommend a number of Sony’south top-end Grand and GM models. Largely for their superior eyes. While these lenses are non 100% uniform with the a6400, in exercise the only significant compromise here is a lack of optical epitome stabilization. But I don’t consider this totally essential for stills photography when using broad-ish lenses anyway.
  • Meanwhile, for lenses with
    a longer reach, I’ve mostly tried to stick to APS-C just lenses that are fully compatible with the a6400. The reason being that I think most photographers volition appreciate the extra peace of listen afforded past SteadyShot when shooting at longer focal lengths.

Do let me know in the comments if you think that my reasoning is flawed here though.

Build and Weather Sealing

The days when you might have judged the quality of a lens from its weight are, it seems, long gone. Indeed it’south increasingly rare today to find a lens that’s fabricated from anything but lightweight plastic.

To be articulate, some metallic-barreled designs still be, but they are undoubtedly a dying breed.

For hardened old-school travel photographers – accustomed to existence thrown around in the back of dusty local busses, along with the chickens and whatever else is going to market that day – this might be a crusade for frustration. Metallic is undoubtedly a very hardy material for lens barrel construction.

Personally, though, I’thou not convinced that the metal vs plastic debate is such an issue anymore. Plastic also has its advantages. And where traveling photographers are concerned, the fact that it weighs a lot less than metal is clearly one of them.

What’s more than, the modern engineered plastics used in top-end lenses such equally Sony’s 1000 Master range are a whole different beast to the flimsier materials you discover on entry level optics. And then let’s say that options still exist for those who seek immovability.

However, for photographers who take a less ascetic approach to travel – taxis and 5-star suites, rather than packhorses and hammocks – durability might not exist a major issue anyway.

Accidents practice happen though, and knocks can occur anywhere.

And so aside from using a padded case, be certain to proceed your glass safely stored in a waterproof container whenever the heavens open upwardly, as entry-level lenses typically practise non offer weather sealing either.

In fact, you lot may have noticed that all the prime number lenses I’ve reviewed here are atmospheric condition sealed, while few of the zoom lenses are.

This largely reflects the fact that in that location simply not many defended APS-C-format prime number lenses available for the a6400, and then all those I’ve included in this guide come from Sony’s range of full-frame uniform glass.

And given that full-frame lenses are generally aimed at more avant-garde photographers, it’s hardly surprising that they come with pro-level features such every bit conditions sealing. Whereas cheaper consumer-class APS-C lenses practice not.

Every bit a rule, then, wait to spend quite a lot more coin on a well-built lens with weather sealing than you would for a run-of-the-factory model.


Some genres of photography have quite specific, at times quasi-esoteric, requirements regarding focusing. Not so travel photography. Indeed, the travel lensman’south demands are quite general, and our requirements clear and simple:
we need good autofocus. No more, no less.

True, yous might occasionally desire to focus manually – when shooting landscapes, the night sky, or even for certain portraits – just nearly of the of the time you lot’ll only want the photographic camera to exercise its thing, and do it well.

No missed shots, focusing on the background, or taking aeons to find the target. Just fast and accurate focusing without a fuss.

The practiced news is that Sony’southward autofocus system generally works very well. And while one or two lenses in the range may lag behind the leaders slightly, fifty-fifty these practice a pretty good job of things.

With that said, y’all tin certainly improve your chances of nailing focus every time by choosing Sony glass enabled for eye-detect AF.

Additionally, while most Sony lenses are quick and precise, they don’t all find their marker in total silence. Audible autofocus noise is generally only a problem for videographers who want to use their camera’south internal mics to record ambience sound. Merely if your travel photography borders on reportage, and you are likely to find yourself in intimate and/or culturally sensitive shooting situations – ones where the electronic grind of focus motors might exist distracting, or even looked upon equally rude – be sure to choose but the smoothest and near silent of lenses.


No affair the genre of photography they work in, everyone wants a sharp lens. Just what classes equally an passably sharp lens tin can vary depending on the genre of photography y’all’re working in.

A sharp lens for a landscape photographer is one that offers not bad resolution from the center of the image to the periphery. Only every bit most mural photographers desire to achieve a deep depth-of-field, they rarely work at wide apertures.

This existence the case, information technology’south typically not important to a landscape photographer how a lens performs at maximum aperture. Precipitous or non, they volition never go there anyway. Only considering the discipline of a mural photograph – i.due east. the landscape – unremarkably fills the unabridged paradigm, corner sharpness is a must.

Portrait photographers are the opposite. As they’re looking to blur the background most of the time, it’south rare to find a portrait photographer who ever goes beyond, say, f/3.5. At to the lowest degree not if they can help it. And because a portrait lensman will rarely position their bailiwick at the edge of the frame, corner sharpness is invariably much less important to them.

As already mentioned, though, travel photographers are essentially jacks of all trades – and what’s more, they need to be
of them all too.

I call up you can see where this is going; and it’s not good news for your bank account.

Equally a travel lensman you lot need lenses that perform brilliantly beyond the unabridged frame and throughout the total range of aperture settings.

For this reason I’ve tried to just select lenses here that are optically outstanding.

But in the real globe things don’t always work out how nosotros want them to. And bated from the law of physics, there’s likewise the “law of lens budgets” to consider. And this clearly states that if you want incredibly abrupt glass, you’ll need to cough up some serious dough in lodge to get it.

And that’south before we even offset negotiating over some of the more than niche wants (fast maximum aperture, amazing autofocus, the ability to have regular screw-in filters, etc.) that are dictated past the particular genre of photography you might desire to use the lens for.

In brusque, consider the blazon of images you almost want to produce on your travels, and seek out a lens, or lenses, that best meet your needs in terms of sharpness and everything else. Every bit ever, though, there might need to exist a little flake of compromise on your office. In fact, equally a travel photographer, you are unlikely to find a lens that does
absolutely everything
you want it to – and that’south fifty-fifty if you practice have an unlimited budget.

Bulk and Weight

sony a6400 on a travel tripod

The best travel photography lens is the ane on your camera when an amazing photo opportunity presents itself.

Conversely, the worst travel photography lens is one that is and so big, and heavy (and perhaps even expensive) that you end up leaving it in the hotel room safe for most of the trip because it’s such a hurting to carry around all 24-hour interval.

Clearly, and then, size and weight are important considerations in a travel photography lens.

As we’ve just seen, though, they are not the just considerations. And the criteria “small and lightweight” rarely coincide with many of the other features most of u.s.a. desire from a travel photography lens.

Case in point: some of the lenses I recommend here are adequately compact and aren’t too heavy; several nonetheless, are relatively big and weigh a ton.

I’ve tried to avoid any hulking great monsters. But the fact is that what nigh of us want from our travel photography lenses also includes a bright maximum aperture, lightening-fast autofocus, and stunning sharpness. These things typically entail lots of heavy glass, plastic, and metal.

As I’ve implied above, photography often involves compromise. But recall of the exposure triangle; we tin rarely have it all. And so when information technology comes to size and weight, you’ll need to decide for yourself if these take precedent over all the other considerations nosotros’ve looked at hither.

Final Thoughts

Travel photography is unique as a photographic genre in that it’southward really a mix of several photographic styles combined; portraiture, documentary, street photography, landscapes, architecture, maybe fifty-fifty food photography or yet life.

While you can’t predict exactly what kinds of situations and scenes you are likely to meet while on the route, one thing that’south for certain is that you will but be in a position to make the nearly of these fantastic photograph opportunities if you have the correct gear with you.

As nosotros’ve just seen, though, the “correct” lenses for travel photography will tend to vary considerably depending on each photographer’s personal interests and the mode in which they’ll be traveling (slumming information technology as a backpacker, or living the high life).

Nevertheless, at present that you’ve read my guide to choosing the best travel photography lens for the a6400, you should be well positioned to choose the lens – or lenses – that make most sense for y’all and

What would be your ideal travel photography setup with the a6400? Would you go for a single all-encompassing zoom? Or a couple of slim and lightweight primes? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!