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5 Best Sony A7III Travel Lenses (Buyer’s Guide)

Looking for the best Sony A7III lens for travel? You’re in luck, because there are plenty of great choices and I’ve rounded up all of my favorite options for capturing adventures.

From ultra wide angle lenses to lightweight primes, I’m confident that you’ll find what you’re looking for with one of these lenses.

TL;DR Cheat Sheet

Best Sony A7III Lens for Travel

#1 Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

If I had to pick only one lens to travel with my A7III, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master would be it. Hands down.

And unlike most zoom lenses, the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM has received almost unanimous praise. Even many of the toughest Sony critics have raved about this lens.

It’s tack-sharp throughout the entire focal range, it’s really wide at 16mm, it’s great for travel portraits at 35mm, and the f/2.8 aperture performs wonderfully in low light.

It’s also incredibly useful for video. You’ll cover 99% of your travel videos or vlogs with this lens and it really can’t be beat for those types of applications. The autofocus is lightning fast and quiet.

Build quality is also top-notch. Nothing but praise there.

This is not a cheap lens though, so it’s definitely not perfect for anyone on a tight photography budget. But if the price tag doesn’t scare you off, this thing is an absolute beast and one of the best lenses on the market, period. You’ll always find it in my camera bag (we’ve got travel camera bag recommendations too).

One of the Sharpest Zoom Lenses on the Planet

You can ask almost anyone in the photography game about the 16-35 GM and they’ll tell you the same thing: This lens is SHARP. Way sharper than what you typically expect to find outside the world of primes.

It’s without a doubt one of the best zoom lenses on the market for overall image quality. Where other zooms drop off, the GM shines. And the best part: the 16-35mm GM’s sharpness is evident throughout the entire zoom range. It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting at 16mm or 35mm, you’re going to get crystal clear images.

The only possible knock on this lens (and pretty much any other wide-angle) is that you’ll have some distortion at the widest 16mm end. It’s hard to call that a true knock though, as it’s to be expected when you’re shooting that wide. Either way, it’s easy to correct in post.

Don’t hesitate to get this lens if you’re looking for the best possible sharpness and overall image quality out of a zoom lens. Not only does it beat most of its zoom competition in this area, it also beats many primes.

16-35mm is Perfect for Landscapes + Travel Portraits

You really can’t go wrong with a 16-35mm focal range in a huge variety of settings and scenarios. It’s very versatile and could easily cover a whole trip’s worth of photo/video for someone wanting to pack light.

On the wide end, 16mm is going to be more than enough for 99% of travelers. This is an ideal focal length for architecture, landscapes, indoor shots, etc.

The vast majority of epic travel shots you see from pros or on Instagram are shot with a width somewhere in the realm of 16mm. It allows you to capture the grandeur of sweeping scenery, whether you’re looking at mountains, beaches, cities, streets, etc.

You’ll appreciate that width even more if you’re traveling in areas with really tight streets, ie, most of Europe or almost any developed historic area.

Zoom in to 35mm on the narrow end and you’ve got an ideal focal length for portraits that show more of your background scenery than what’s doable with focal lengths 50mm and higher.

Not that a regular 50mm “nifty-fifty” isn’t still great for portraits, but 35mm gives you more room to work with your background. At 35mm, you’re able to isolate your subject in the foreground while still showing plenty of the scenery- perfect for showing off your adventures.

All of that is a long way to to say this: You really can’t go wrong with the 16-35mm range for travel.

Fast f/2.8 Aperture for Low Light Performance + Creamy Bokeh

Along with the incredible image quality, the other defining feature of this lens is its f/2.8 aperture. It’s awesome for low light shooting and getting mouth-watering bokeh in your portraits.

There’s really nothing you need to know about the low light performance of the GM, other than that it’s great. You’ll have no problem finding focus and getting shots when light is scarce. While others are switching to primes, you’ll still be snapping away.

That f/2.8 also brings some seriously good bokeh to the table. It’s some of the best you’ll see from a zoom lens.

A big credit to Sony for also beefing up that bokeh potential by adding an 11 aperture blades to the package. This is relatively big deal, as most consumers wouldn’t necessarily expect that feature in a zoom.

Those extra aperture blades also allow you to get some killer sunstars in your shots when you stop down. It’s a unique sunstar look, as the stars will have 22 points on them. Some love the look, while some still prefer the sunstars produced be lenses with fewer blades.

Final Thoughts on the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

I really can’t say enough good things about the 16-35mm GM. There’s a reason why this lens rarely leaves my A7III when traveling. It’s absolutely one of the best travel lenses on the market, Sony or otherwise.

I’m very confident that just about anyone who can stomach the price tag will fall in love with GM. If you can justify the purchase, you won’t be disappointed.

It’s also not that heavy, so I would caution anyone worrying too much about weight. Compared to many DSLR lenses, this is still a pretty easy lens to lug around and its performance more than makes up for any additional weight.

Also, don’t worry about the lack of lens stabilization. The A7III has in-body stabilization (IBIS) and will be more than enough for most.

Get this lens if you truly want the best of the best. Especially if you plan on regularly shooting in low light circumstances. It’s a no-brainer if you think you’ll do a lot of travel shots at night, indoors, or if you plan on doing any astrophotography.

All that said, there are cheaper lenses out there. If you love the sound of the 16-35mm GM but can’t quite justify the price, jump down to our #3 pick for a great alternative.

Sony 24-105mm F4 G

#2 Sony 24–105 mm f/4 G OSS

Coming in a strong second-place, the Sony Vario-Tessar T* 24-105mm f/4 is about as versatile as it gets for an A7III travel lens.

This is an outstanding choice for anyone who is willing to forgo a little bit of width in order to gain a lot more zoom.

24mm is still plenty wide for plenty of travelers. Sure, it’s not going to get quite the same majestically wide shot that a 16mm can achieve, but it’s still very nice.

On the narrow end, you can zoom all the way to 105mm for portraits, close-ups, etc. This is quite handy for obvious reasons.

Sharpness is also really, really good for a zoom with this much range.

Super Flexible Focal Range

The 24-105mm f/4 G OSS is a top-tier competitor when it comes to lenses with a great focal-range-to-image-quality ratio. You’re not going to be disappointed.

On an A7III platform, you’d have to be comparing this lens to the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. That is definitely another incredible lens (and it’s also on this list), but I can’t quite justify it for travel over the 24-105mm.

Sure, the GM is going to give you marginally better performance in almost every facet of image quality, but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for having a 35mm lower range on the high end of the zoom.

Even though the majority of your shots will likely fall into the 24mm to 50mm range, having the ability to go all the way to 105mm is huge while traveling. You’ll discover all sorts of shots that you couldn’t quite attain if you were to max out at 70mm.

It’s also worth noting that this lens is also a pretty competent macro lens. In fact, it blows most competing 24-70mm lenses out of the water for macro shots.

Pretty wild to get a lens of this type that can produce solid macro shots on one end and very nice portraits on the other.

This is a lens so versatile that you can easily pop it onto your A7III and leave it on for a whole day, or even a whole trip.

Very Sharp for Such a Large Zoom Range

It’s actually surprising how sharp the 24-105mm f/4.0 G OSS is for not being a part of Sony’s G Master line.

Most other 24-70mm lenses are going to have a stronger performance on one end of the focal range than the other. Not the case here.

At 24mm it’s quite sharp. The same is true at 105mm and everywhere in between. This is a pleasant surprise for most, as you’d generally expect to sacrifice more sharpness for the flexible zoom range.

Center sharpness is outstanding and corner sharpness is pretty impressive as well.

Don’t be turned off by this lens just because you may think that a 70-105mm can’t produce clear enough shots. Sony has you taken care of with this one.

Final Thoughts on the 24–105 mm f/4 G OSS

As long as you’re willing to sacrifice the wideness of a lens that can go as far as 16mm, buying the 24-105mm f/4 G OSS for travel is an easy decision to make.

24mm will allow you plenty of room for wide shots and the rest of the zoom range can take care of just about everything else.

Landscapes? Check.

Wide portraits? Check.

Portraits? Check.

Macro? Check.

Close-ups? Check.

This is the travel lens for your if you think you’ll definitely make good use of a wide variety of focal ranges.

If you like this lens and you also have a secondary camera in the a6000 or a6500 family, check out my top pick in my guide to the 5 Best a6000 Lenses for Travel. It’s a little different, but it fits this same niche in the APS-C world.

Sony 16-35mm F4 Vario-Tessar Zeiss

#3 Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-35mm f/4 OSS

If you love the 16-35mm G Master but can’t quite justify the price, look no further than Sony’s Zeiss Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 for travel.

Seriously, don’t even think twice if the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM price is too steep for your budget. Get the Vario-Tessar 16-36mm and you won’t regret it.

This is an an outstanding lens for the money. And, depending on the deal, it will cost you at least $800 less than the G Master will.

Great 16-35mm Performance at a Good Price

You can’t quite call the Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 “cheap”, but it is certainly priced in a nice spot. This is a solid “bang for your buck” zoom lens.

Unless you’re demanding best-of-the-best performance, the 16-35mm f/4 still puts in a respectable showing when compared to the GM version.

Sharpness is good, distortion isn’t bad at all, and f/4 will still give you decent results in regards to low light performance and bokeh.

A Lightweight Option for Lean Travel

Even though I don’t consider the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM to be too heavy for travel, it’s definitely not as light as the Zeiss Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4. You’ll save about 5.7oz (162g) when opting for the Zeiss.

That’s really not a huge real-world difference, but it does have some impact when you’re traveling all over the place with your camera. You won’t cramp up quite as quickly as you would during heavy use.

The weight difference obviously becomes a bigger factor the smaller you are. A 100lb photographer is obviously going to notice the 5.7oz savings a lot easier than a 250lb photographer would.

Weight may also influence your decision if you prefer to use a smaller gimbal setup for video. You can get away with a heavier lens than the Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 on something as small as a Zhiyun Crane, but you’ll be pushing the limits. The Vario-Tessar is still in a good weight class for most small-to-mid-size gimbals.

Final Thoughts on the 16-35mm f/4

The Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 is another no-brainer lens for travel. It packs a big punch for a price that won’t induce tears.

While I personally choose the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master lens for travel, I wouldn’t hesitate to opt for the 16-35mm f/4 G OSS if I wasn’t doing any professional work.

The Vario-Tessar is going to be more than enough for all but the most demanding photographers.

If you’re on a budget, don’t do pro work, or don’t do a lot of low-light shooting, get the Vario-Tessar 16-35mm f/4 and use the money you save on a nice prime lens or extra camera gear.

Sony 35mm F1.8 Zeiss Prime Lens

#4 Sony 35mm Sonnar T f/2.8 ZA

The Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 is the first prime lens on this list and it’s rockstar. If you want the image quality of a prime lens in a versatile focal length, the 35mm f/2.8 is hard to beat.

While this focal length is just outside of “wide” for landscapes/scenery and just inside of “narrow” for portraits, it’s a great compromise length for general travel applications.

All-Around Prime Performance

My personal opinion is that the 35mm focal length on a full-frame camera is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades. Even though this lens doesn’t really have a single “home run” area of performance, it’s a great all-around performer.

This lens is sharp, fast, and useful in many different scenarios. The colors are also good, something that’s not always true with sharp primes.

For landscapes, the 35mm may not be ideal, but it’s still a very solid choice. Tight spots will be a challenge, but you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get great shots outdoors.

Travel portraits with a 35mm lens are actually quite nice, as you can isolate your subject while still getting plenty of background. This is perfect for situations where you want to capture a person and the scenery simultaneously.

Indoor shots and low light shots with the 35mm f/2.8 are outstanding. The f/2.8 aperture works wonders in low light. Night photos and video are going to be awesome with this lens.

Vloggers will also love the 35mm focal length. It’s a great length for hand-holding a camera and capturing your face correctly.

Extremely Compact

The 35mm f/1.8 is ideal for traveling as light as possible. It takes up almost no space in a bag and it’s extremely light.

You can throw this on an A7III and shoot all day without thinking twice about the weight.

This is also a bonus for keeping your camera setup discreet. Whether or not we like it, huge lenses tend to attract more attention when you’re out and about. People can clam up a bit or even become a bit disgruntled if they think someone is potentially snapping super-hi-res close-ups of their face.

Keeping your profile low with an A7III with a 35mm lens will keep a lot of folks from reacting to your setup.

This is an even bigger benefit in questionable areas that experience high levels of crime. Correct or not, the average thief thinks that the bigger the camera, the more valuable it must be.

Videographers should also consider this lens for a lightweight choice to fly on a gimbal. The weight is perfect for pairing with an A7III on a relatively low-profile gimbal.

Final Thoughts on the Sony 35mm f/2.8

If you’re going to go with a single A7III prime lens for travel, I highly recommend the Sony 35mm f/2.8.

Yeah, it’s not as versatile as a zoom lens, but it will perform admirably in many areas while knocking your socks off in low light photos/video. A lens this fast will essentially see in the dark, especially on the low light heavyweight that is the Sony A7III.

It’s almost a cliche to say it, but it’s absolutely true that using a prime lens will also make you a better photographer. The fixed focal length will cause you to think more about your shot composition and you’ll definitely find yourself walking around more to get the perfect shot.

#5 Sony 12-24mm f/4 G

Sony 12-24mm F4 G Wide Angle Zoom Lens

The Sony 12-25 f/4 G is a unique lens that can produce some epic results with the A7III in the hands of the right travel photographer. It’s also extremely light for a lens of its type.

No doubt about it, 12mm is wide, wide. This kind of width can help you to create some breathtaking shots, but it can also throw a wrench in your plans. There’s definitely an art to pulling off consistently great photos when you’re shooting this wide.

That said, the 12-24mm f/4 G is an amazing lens that is extremely impressive. Most lenses (especially zooms) can’t handle a focal range this wide without sacrificing quite a bit of quality.

The 12-24mm is a monster when it comes to epic landscapes, cityscapes, and other specialized scenarios.

Next-level Wide Angle

You can expect to get the widest of wide-angle shots when you’ve got the 12-24mm f/4 on an A7III. I can’t stress that enough.

Used correctly, you’re going to get shots that are otherwise unattainable by typical lenses.

The 12mm focal length really shines indoors in tight spaces. You’ll rarely find yourself needing to back up. The wide end of this focal range will take care of just about any uber-wide shot you can imagine.

Outside, the 12mm will capture any landscape or city street you could possibly imagine. You’ll open up a whole new world of architectural photography, simply by having the ability to get close to large buildings while still keeping them fully in-frame.

Distortion is actually far, far better than what you’d expect on a zoom lens that can get to this crazy of a width. It’s a totally reasonable amount and easily handled in post.

Final Thoughts on the 12-24mm f/4

This lens doesn’t quite make the cut if you’re looking for a single “best” travel lens to pair with your A7III. However, if used in tandem with something like the 24-105mm f/4 G OSS, it can be an absolutely beastly addition to your travel kit.

It can’t really be overstated how creative you can get with this lens on its wide end. You’ll be able to capture things in the frame that you could only dream of with any other lens.

On the narrow side, 24mm is still wide, but it’s a good length for lots of different shots. You’ll be able to get some tighter landscapes and some okay portraits in this range.

If you put a high priority on uniqe shots, especially wide-angle shots of landscapes, architecture, and indoor settings, the Sony 12-24mm f/4 is the best at what it does.

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