Sony’s a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500 cameras are among the best cameras for just about any kind of travel. Their massive popularity has also helped to create a market that’s jam-packed with compatible travel lenses. The sheer number of lens options is awesome, but it can be a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to find the perfect one.

This guide will tell you all you need to know to choose the best travel lens for any of these cameras. I’m an avid user of Sony’s line of crop sensor APS-C cameras myself and I’ve spent quite a bit of time testing them over the years.

From primes to zooms, these are my absolute favorite lenses to take on trips and they all come compatible out of the box with Sony’s E-mount system.

TL;DR Cheat Sheet:

#1 Sony 18-105mm F4 G OSS

Sony 18-105mm F4.0 a6000 Travel Lens

If I had to choose only one lens to travel with my a6000, a6300, a6400, or a6500, this would be it. There are very few things this lens can’t do. If you want to get one lens to handle 90% of your trip, get this one and call it a day.

Very Versatile Zoom Range

First of all, the 18-105mm F4 G OSS has a great range. The 18mm length is awesome for all of your landscape shots. This is a great focal length on the APS-C platform for all sorts of wide angle shots- countrysides, cities, etc. 18mm is also good for indoor shots, as it’s not too tight. The 105mm focal length on the other end of the range is great for longer shots that require a bit of zoom.

The versatility between the wide end and the narrow end makes this the kind of lens that’s a lifesaver on trips. You’ll be able to execute all but the most specialized shots with this level of versatility. I know many Sony users that own this lens and shoot with it more than all of their other lenses combined.

A Fixed F4.0 Aperture

The thing that really puts this lens ahead of the rest is that it has a fixed F4.0 aperture. This means that you’ll retain the same aperture no matter how much or how little you zoom. You’ll really enjoy that aperture when you’re shooting at the full 105mm, a distance at which many other lenses would start to lose some performance.

The F4.0 will get you respectable performance in low light. Definitely good enough for you to work with.

Built-in OSS Image Stabilization

It also should not be overlooked that this lens features OSS. This stands for Optical SteadyShot. It is Sony’s own built-in lens image stabilization and it makes handheld shots far easier, especially on cameras that don’t have image stabilization built into the body. For example, the a6000 doesn’t have built-in image stabilization and would greatly benefit from the Optical SteadyShot of the 18-105mm.

Final Thoughts

If there are any real downsides to this lens, it’s that it’s not quite as sharp as a high-end prime lens and it’s not a low light powerhouse. Both are to be expected though, as zoom lenses are always going to be slightly less sharp and less powerful in low light than their fixed, fast prime counterparts. It’s a worthy trade off for a lens like the 18-105mm that can do it all.

Don’t hesitate to buy this lens if you’d prefer not to lug around a bag full of lenses to constantly swap. The average traveler can easily pop the Sony 18-105mm F4 G OSS on their camera and leave it on for almost the whole trip. Possibly the only time it would come off would be for nighttime shots that would benefit from a faster aperture.

Note: If you also have a full frame Sony camera, check out my guide to the 5 Best A7III Lenses for Travel. All of those lenses will also work on the a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500. They’re more expensive than crop sensor lenses, but they’re totally worth the money if you have both cameras.

#2 Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Prime

Sigma 16mm F1.4 Travel Lens

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 is easily my personal favorite APS-C lens, period. That goes for travel, daily use, video, etc. I love this prime lens and I use it all of the time. Matter of fact, it’s sitting right in front of me as I write this, hooked up to my Sony A7III.

That’s right- this lens is so good that I use it not only on my a6000 series cameras, but also on my full frame A7III. I’ll come back to that point later…

Sigma 16mm F1.4 on A7III
Here’s the proof: Sigma 16mm f/1.4 on my A7III.

A Low Light Beast

This lens is an absolute monster when you’re shooting in dark settings. Whether it’s outdoor nighttime shots or dimly lit indoor shots, you’re going to love what that F1.4 aperture can do.

It’s common to see F1.8 prime lenses, but F1.4 is something special. That kind of aperture is lightning fast and sucks in every little bit of light. It’s perfect for allowing you to take handheld shots in limited light without being forced to crank your ISO through the roof. The results are beautiful at a recommended handheld shutter speed of around 50 or 60.

Sharp as a Tack

The Sigma 16mm is arguably the sharpest lens you can attach to a Sony a6000 series camera. There are only a select few other prime lenses that can even come close to competing with it in this area.

It’s expected that a good prime lens like this one will be sharp, but this lens goes above and beyond. The images produced are super crispy and the colors are satisfying. Corner to corner, you’re not going to be disappointed.

Awesome for Video

The 16mm 1.4 is also an overachiever when it comes to shooting video. Its film capabilities are actually the initial reason I purchased this lens for my own use.

The extremely fast aperture and sharp image, along with a good autofocus, work together beautifully for film work. This is also the reason I often use this lens on my full frame Sony A7III. Unlike photo quality, film quality is unaffected by the use of an APS-C lens on a full frame FE A7III. That little perk makes this lens incredible for getting superb low light video performance at a fraction of the cost of its full frame Sigma counterpart.

Most who own one of the a6000 line probably don’t own the A7III (or other full frame Sony), but it’s a nice bonus to know that you can get double use out of it if you do. This lens is spectacular for video either way.

Final Thoughts

This lens is spectacular. Extremely fast aperture, extremely sharp, and extremely useful in all sorts of travel scenarios. The 16mm focal length also works really well on the APS-C platform and creates a beautiful bokeh. I really can’t say enough good things about this lens.

The only downside at all to this lens is its lack of image stabilization. This really isn’t a problem for many applications, especially if you have the a6500. (The a6500 has in-body image stabilization or “IBIS”)

#3 Sony 35mm F1.8 OSS Prime

Sony 35mm F1.8 Travel Lens

The Sony 35mm F1.8 is, in my opinion, the best Sony-made prime lens for the whole a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500 lineup. I also think it’s the best Sony crop sensor prime lens for travel. I’d choose it over similar 50mm lenses almost every time.

35mm is More Usable Than 50mm on Crop Sensor Cameras

Many people extol the virtues of a 50mm “nifty-fifty”, but I much prefer the 35mm focal length on the APS-C platform. Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love the affordability and the performance of a good 50mm 1.8. I just feel that the 50mm focal length is much better suited for full frame cameras.

The reason for this is that lenses on a crop sensor (APS-C) camera have a different field of view than lenses on full frame cameras. The focal point on an a6000 (or a6300, a6400, 6500) is actually 1.5x the number listed. So, the Sony 35mm lens is actually a little over 50mm in actual focal length. A true 50mm lens on an a6000 comes in at a true focal length of 75mm.

While a 50mm focal length is great for a ton of applications, a 75mm focal length is not quite as versatile. That’s why I’d always recommend opting for the 35mm F1.8 for travel. You can always add a 50mm prime lens later. They’re very affordable and you can buy them practically anywhere.

Fast Aperture

While the Sony 35mm F1.8 isn’t quite as blazing fast as the Sigma 16mm 1.4, it’s still very fast. You’re not going to have any problem getting good low light performance.

Bokeh is also very good with the Sony 35mm F1.8. It’s really close to that sweet spot focal length that gives you the most useful range while beautifully blurring out everything but your subject.

OSS Image Stabilization

Part of what makes the 35mm F1.8 a little more expensive than similar Sony lenses is its OSS image stabilization. It’s worth it, especially if you have the a6000, a6300, or a6400, since they all lack IBIS in-body stabilization.

The OSS feature will make it a little easier for you to steady your handheld shots, allowing you to drop the shutter speed down a little further and let in more light. It’s also very useful for keeping shakiness out of your videos.

Final Thoughts

The Sony 35mm F1.8 is a great all-around prime lens and it can easily be your primary lens for travel photography. You’ll be able to take awesome portraits and tighter landscape shots, even though you won’t have quite enough width for true wide angle landscapes.

It’s also worth mentioning that vloggers will love this lens. The focal length, sharpness, and native Sony auto-focus work together beautifully for vlog applications.

#4 Sony 18–200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS

Sony 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Travel Lens

The Sony 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS has a crazy zoom range. It’s capable of framing almost any kind of shot you can imagine, making it a great one-size-fits-all option. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s a good value when you account for its maximum versatility.

I’ve been using this lens for almost a year now and I love it. It has its pros and cons, but I consider it to be one of the most fun lenses I own.

From Wide Angle to Telephoto

The zoom range is obviously the defining feature of this lens. 18mm on one end and 200mm on the other. You really can’t overstate the usefulness of that versatility in plenty of travel settings.

During the daylight hours, you could totally feel comfortable setting out to take photos while leaving every other lens you own behind. It’s not going to beat out a highly specialized lens for any one task, but that’s not the point. The point is to give you ultimate flexibility in a single high-quality walk around lens.

It’s Variable Aperture and That’s OK

I covered the benefits of having a fixed aperture zoom lens earlier in this piece. Those benefits are still a real thing, but a lens like the 18-200mm makes them a viable thing to trade off.

At 18mm, this lens is capable of a max aperture of F3.5. Fully zoomed-in at 200mm, its maximum capable aperture is F6.3. This means a few things. Most importantly, it means that this lens is not going to be a super high performer in low light scenarios. That’s ok though, because again, that’s not what this lens is for.

This lens’ variable aperture is a good thing for two main reasons. First and foremost, a fixed aperture lens capable of going from 18mm all the way to 200mm would be extremely expensive. Second, a fixed aperture lens with this much range would weigh a ton. The variable nature of this lens keeps both the price and the weight lower, two travel-worthy features.

OSS Image Stabilization

Like the other Sony lenses on this list, the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 has Sony’s Optical SteadyShot stabilization built in.

This feature is particularly good on this lens, as things can get pretty shaky when you’re zoomed in to 200mm handheld. It’s one of those little things that isn’t noticeable until you see what you’re missing.

Final Thoughts

Unless you’re a hardcore pixel peeper, you’re going to love this lens. It’s not going to be the sharpest lens you’ll ever use and it won’t be the best lens for low light, but it is outstanding when you use it as intended- attaching it to your camera and using it all day long.

The 18-200mm range affords you the kind of versatility that can shoot sprawling landscapes followed up by wildlife shots in a matter of seconds. No fiddling around with other lenses.

If this lens sounds like it fits your needs, my best advice would be to pair it with a good, fast prime lens. You can get a 50mm F1.8 for a low price or spend a little more for the 16mm Sigma or 35mm Sony on this list. Any of those lenses will give you solid low light performance to switch over to when the sun goes down and the 18-200mm starts to struggle a bit.

#5 Rokinon 12mm F2.0 Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Rokinon 12mm F2.0 Travel Lens

The Rokinon 12mm F2.0 is more of a niche lens than any other on this list, but it’s a stellar one for the arsenal. You can get one of these lenses brand new for very little money and they are a ton of fun.

Super Wide Angle

This is by far the widest lens on this list. 12mm is super wide by any standard. There’s no end to the number of fun shots you can get both indoors or outdoors with this lens.

There will inevitably be a bit of barrel distortion in images produced by this lens, but that’s part of the appeal. The wildly wide angles are awesome. You can always fix any distortion in post anyway should you so desire.

Fast Aperture

The Rokinon’s F2.0 aperture is very fast, making this lens a great performer in all sorts of light conditions. That aperture paired with the lens’ ultra wide-angle also makes this a wonderful choice for astrophotography.

Very Affordable

You can pick one of these lenses up for dirt cheap compared to many of the other lenses on this list. And that’s great, because this lens is definitely a secondary lens. It has tons of applications, but it won’t be the lens you lean on for every shot you take.

Final Thoughts

The Rokinon 12mm F2.0 is a blast to use. It will give you some really unique wide angle landscape shots and it’s also great for getting big shots inside tight places. This is the kind of lens that will have your friends asking “How’d you do that?”.

Keep in mind that this one doesn’t have autofocus, but that’s irrelevant. You simply set it to the right spot to ensure that everything is always in focus. It also doesn’t have image stabilization, but that’s fine for this sort of specialized lens.

Definitely pick one of these up if you want an affordable wide-angle lens to accompany your primary lenses. The price point makes it an easy choice.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you should have a much better idea of what lenses will work best for your a6000 travel needs. There’s a good variety listed here to get you on the right track.

Realistically, I could have put together a list of 10, 15, or possibly even 20 viable travel lenses for the Sony APS-C platform. While there are plenty that can do an adequate job, I’m more than confident that the 5 lenses here are the best options for all but the most specialized photography needs.

Whether you go with one lens or multiple lenses, the key is to get comfortable with them before your trip. It’s easy to get settings and adjustments all jumbled up when you’re hurrying to take the perfect picture on a trip. It will all come naturally to you once you’ve learned your equipment inside and out.

Let us know if this guide helped you find the perfect lens and absolutely send us any pictures that came as a result!