Best Vintage Lenses for Sony A6000 [2021 Review]

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When it comes to mirrorless cameras, the Sony A6000 is one of the best on the market. It still performs really well despite its design and displays being a bit outdated, all thanks to its 24-megapixel sensor that is still competitive today. 

To add aesthetics and an old-school feel to your images, we’ve picked out the best vintage lenses for Sony A6000. 

Our Top Sony A6000 Vintage Lenses Reviews 

Both vintage cameras and vintage lenses are gaining popularity once again, all thanks to social media trends and the different aesthetic layouts many brands and influencers use. 

Vintage lenses can be used to experiment with colors and effects on images. Pairing a vintage lens and a modern camera such as the Sony A6000 is becoming more and more popular recently.

Best Overall Sony A6000 Vintage Lens: Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2

The Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2 is a standard vintage zoom lens that is great for outdoor photography. It is splash-proof and dustproof, a feature that the Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm f/2.0 does not have. 

OLYMPUS M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 Lens for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (Silver)

The lens has a high-quality build and measures 5 x 7 x 5 inches, and weighs 2 pounds, making it heavier than the Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm f/2.0 and the Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S. 

The Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2 is equipped with a Silent Wave Motor that lets you take pictures without any noise. The autofocus system of the lens is known for its speed and accuracy, and it locks your subject in the frame in time. Its f/2.0 aperture provides bright and sharp images with a soft blurring in the background. 

However, its f/2.0 aperture is too narrow, so it can’t be used in low light areas. Also, it has no image stabilization system, so distortion will appear if the camera is shaky. 

Pros:

  • The lens is weather-sealed, ideal for outdoor photoshoots
  • It has fast and quiet autofocus that is great for taking pictures of live subjects
  • The lens is equipped with Silent Wave Motor that allows for quiet focusing so it won’t disturb live subjects

Cons:

  • The aperture of f/2.0 is too narrow to use in dark environments
  • The lens is not equipped with an image stabilization system, best to use a tripod or stabilizer to make sure there is no distortion

Best Sony A6000 Vintage Lens for the Money: Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S 

The Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S is an ultra-wide-angle vintage lens made with an amazing optical design fit for wedding, architecture, and landscape photography. 

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras - White Box (New)

The Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S measures 1.81 x 2.56 x 2.56 inches and weighs 9.5 ounces, making it lighter than the Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2 and heavier than the Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm f/2.0. 

The lens features a Close Range Correction system or CRC that provides high performance at the near and far focusing distances, so it prevents distortion when you zoom in and out of the subject. This is a feature that the Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2 and the Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm f/2.0 do not have. 

The lens has Super Integrated Coating that enhances the performance of its lens elements, it can help reduce flares and ghosting, and it also minimizes reflection when you use the maximum aperture, and it promotes color balance on the images. 

Unfortunately, it does not have an image stabilization system, so a slight shake of the camera will affect your images. Also, it is not weather-sealed, so it is best to cover it up for protection, especially if you will be using it outdoors.

Pros:

  • It is equipped with Close Range Correction that makes sure the images are clear even if you zoom in and out multiple times
  • It has Super Integrated Coating that minimizes unwanted effects like ghosting, flares, soft edges, and more

Cons:

  • The lens does not have image stabilization; to prevent distortion, it is best to use a tripod or a stabilizer
  • The lens is not weather-sealed

Best Cheap Sony A6000 Lens: Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm F2.0

The Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS is a vintage wide-angle lens ideal for mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6000. It’s sturdy and solid, and despite the abundance of plastic in its barrel parts, it is constructed well. 

Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm F2.0 Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Lens for Sony E-mount (NEX) and for Other Cameras

The overall feel of the lens is professional, and it is smooth to operate. It measures 2.3 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches, and it weighs 7.5 ounces, making it the lightest lens on our list.

Although it is a tiny lens, it offers many things that a professional wide-angle lens should, such as sharpness, durability, and a high-speed aperture. The Rokinon 12mm f/2 is sharp, even when it is used at its maximum aperture of f/2, and it offers a decent image quality. 

However, distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations are visible and not easy to correct manually. Also, its aperture of f/4.5 is not ideal for shooting in low light conditions, unlike other lenses with a wider aperture. 

Pros:

  • Solid built quality and sturdy
  • Produces sharp images
  • Light and small, ideal lens for traveling

Cons:

  • It has no image stabilization feature
  • It is not weather-sealed
  • Distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations appear on images.

Features to Consider in Vintage Lenses for Sony A6000

There has been a revival among vintage lenses. Photographers are enticed with its affordable pricing, its hip look, and its ability to let you experiment. 

The great thing about vintage lenses is that they are usually affordable, they can be small and light, and they can give your photographs a different look. Here are the features that you should look for before purchasing the best vintage lenses for Sony A6000.

Vintage camera lenses on a table

External Aperture Control

Sony A6000 is a relatively modern camera, and if you wish to pair it up with a vintage lens, it is best to get one with an external aperture control feature. 

Modern cameras like the Sony A6000 can’t communicate with vintage lenses, as these types of lenses are not equipped with the latest photography technology. 

However, if the vintage lens has external aperture control, like the Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS, and you attach it to a Sony A6000, you can change the f-stop with a wheel turn. 

Easy De-Clicking Process

One of the most amazing features that the Sony A6000 has is its build quality and sturdiness. The camera is also known to be compatible with almost any other lenses, whether a modern one or a vintage one.

A feature that you need to look out for is the easy de-clicking process. Sure, the Sony A6000 can handle lenses attaching and reattaching itself, however, vintage lenses are built differently. 

Lenses with easy-to-access crews, like all the lenses on the list: the Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2, the Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm F2.0, and the Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S have this feature. It makes the lenses easy to de-click and take apart, no matter how many times you do it. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about damaging components inside the vintage lense or losing a few screws. 

Smooth Manual Focus

The Sony A6000 has both manual focus and autofocus options. However, vintage lenses only have manual focus features, and they are not designed to communicate with vintage lenses. 

Since this option is not present, it is best to ensure that when you switch to manual focus on your Sony A6000, it can smoothly communicate with the lens. Luckily, all of the lenses on the list; the Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2 , Rokinon RK12M-E-SIL 12mm F2.0, and the Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-S, have a smooth manual focus feature.  

Hand holding a vintage camera lens

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Features That Vintage Lenses Don’t Have?

The features that most vintage lenses don’t have are image stabilization and autofocus. These features are common on modern lenses as they have the proper technology to connect the feature with the camera. 

If a vintage lens is attached to a modern camera with an image stabilization and autofocus feature like the Sony A6000, it will not work. 

What Makes Vintage Lenses Better Than Modern Lenses?

Vintage lenses are better than modern lenses when it comes to adding character to the images.

Modern lenses promise sharp and clear images. On the other hand, vintage lenses offer effects and bursts of colors that can add a beautiful aesthetic to everything that you’ve captured, including soft edges, strong bokeh, and blurry background that emphasizes the subject of the photo

Conclusion

These past decades, there have been numerous upgrades in photography and film technology. There have been so many advancements, especially in the way that photos are taken and processed. 

Despite all of the advancements in camera technology, many professional photographers and collectors have remained invested in vintage lenses, and for a good reason. You can get the old-school aesthetic you aim for as long as you have the right lens for it.