Gear

5 Must-Have Lenses for the Sony a7R II

A camera is nothing without a lens, and when we’re talking about the 42.4-megapixel Sony a7R II, it is essential to couple it with superior optics in order to bring out the best of that high-res back-illuminated sensor.

The problem is that many people complain about is that there still aren’t many native lenses to choose from as of this moment. Of course, with the short sensor-to-lens clearance is short, thus meaning there are plenty of lens options with the help of an appropriate adapter. But even some of the top Leica lenses won’t work that nicely on a Sony a7 with adapter.

These are 5 native lenses that will bring out the best of the a7R II’s performance potential.

1. Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2

The Batis lenses are quite special. They don’t look special, but as they say: don’t judge a book by its really boring, bland cover. Zeiss’ Distagon optical design provides some low-distortion, well-corrected, super sharp performance.

Even the overly-cynical DRTV guy, Kai, struggled to find fault with this bit of glass. The bokeh is smooth and its low on chromatic aberrations. If you want to ensure that you get maximum sharpness with those megapixels, this is the wide-angle for you.

2.Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

As mentioned above, the Batis lenses are really nice, so it comes as no surprise that the other Batis lens is also on this list. In terms of sharpness, if the 25mm Batis is smack in the face, this 85mm is a tight right hook to the side of the temple. You need to view the original images you get from this at full size, cropped, to get a taster of how sharp this lens is.

When Kai reviewed it, he noted that the images have a beautiful transition from the super-sharp in focus parts to the creamy, blurry bokeh. It might not be the fastest 85mm around but the performance is right up there. The detail you get, even when shot wide-open, will certainly highlight the power of the Sony a7R II.

3. Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

Ok, yes, we’re starting to see a theme going on here. Yes, it seems like we’re getting a bit heavy on the Zeiss. Well, what do you expect when there aren’t many lenses to choose from?

Mind you, this is a Sony Carl Zeiss not a Zeiss Carl Zeiss (explanation of what the difference is here), so it’s not all Zeiss. Well…

It’s not the most compact of primes, especially given that the camera is quite compact, but size counts with regards to this lens.

Forget about this Sony Carl Zeiss snobbery, this is worthy of the Zeiss label. Well, the optical design is Zeiss and the quality is there. Autofocuses too.

If you want a three prime setup then this fits in perfectly with the two Batis lenses above to make a sharp setup.

4.Sony 90mm Macro

Yeah, Zeiss isn’t everything and this macro lens proves it. It is a special-use lens but it’s suitable for the concept of the a7R II, with its not-so-speedy ways. You might not need a macro lens but the detail from this lens is quite phenomenal.

5.Zeiss 35mm Loxia

Might as well finish with another Zeiss. But when there are so many Zeiss optics available for the system then why not?

The optical performance isn’t quite in the same league as the other Zeiss mentioned above, with a slightly softer wide-open performance. Things do sharpen up really quick when stopping it down a stop.

Part of the appeal of the Loxia lenses however is the clickless aperture possibility, meaning this is the perfect lens for using with the a7R II for video. With the 4k video capability, the Loxia lenses could be the perfect pairing with the a7R II.