Best Vintage Lenses for Sony A7 [2021 Review]

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Both professional photographers and enthusiasts are fans of vintage lenses. They are easier to use, and they give you a classic look that can boost your images. What better way to utilize your A7 and add some colors and effects than to pair it with the best vintage lenses for Sony A7. 

Our Top Sony A7 Vintage Lenses Reviews

The Sony A7 is known to produce very good image quality, and attaching a vintage lens to it will just highlight its amazing features. By the time that you have bought the Sony A7 camera, you may not have considered setting aside a budget for the lens. Luckily, vintage lenses don’t just add aesthetics to the images; most of them are affordable.

Brand
Best Overall
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5
Best for the Money
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8
Best Cheap Pick
Sony – FE 50mm f/1.8 Standard Lens
Product
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 Digital ED SWD...
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact Wide...
Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens (SEL50F18F/2)
Lens Type
Telephoto zoom lens
Wide Angle
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
200 Millimeters
35 Millimeters
50 Millimeters
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5
Product
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 Digital ED SWD...
Lens Type
Telephoto zoom lens
Maximum Focal Length
200 Millimeters
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8
Product
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact Wide...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Maximum Focal Length
35 Millimeters
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Sony – FE 50mm f/1.8 Standard Lens
Product
Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens (SEL50F18F/2)
Lens Type
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
50 Millimeters
Rating
Price

Best Overall Vintage Lens for Sony A7: Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5

The Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 is the ideal partner for the Sony A7 camera, especially if you are searching for a vintage ultra-wide zoom lens. 

Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 Digital ED SWD...

Measuring 6.18 x 3.43 x 3.43 inches and weighing 2.19 pounds, it is heavier than the Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 and the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens. 

The lens captures twice the light at its widest aperture of f/2.8, and it is sealed against dust, splash, and moisture, so you won’t have to worry when you do outdoor photoshoots. 

Overall, the lens is a wonderful performer, especially with its wide field of view and convenient zoom design. It is equipped with a massive zoom ring, two control rings, and a manual focus ring. 

The lens is sharp and accurate throughout its zoom range, and it shows minimal distortion. It has a sturdy build and excellent manual focus control that, when pushed forward, switches into autofocus mode. 

However, this lens does not have image stabilization. Also, some distortion appears when it is adjusted to its widest angle, however, it can be fixed through Photoshop. Its aperture is excellent in bright environments yet it does poorly in low-light conditions unlike the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens. 

Pros:

  • The images that it produces are sharp
  • It is weather-sealed, ideal for outdoor photoshoots
  • The manual focus clutch is smooth and fast

Cons:

  • Some distortion is visible at its widest angle
  • It has a narrow aperture so it can’t be used in low light conditions
Sale
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 Digital ED SWD...
  • 50-200 millimeter f2.8-3.5 zoom lens for digital cameras (equivalent to 100-400 millimeter in 35...
  • Features Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) technology inside to provide quiet, ultra-fast autofocus speed
  • Maximizes the E-3's high-speed autofocus capability

Best Sony A7 Vintage Lens for the Money: Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8

The Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 has long been a favorite third-party lens for Sony A7 owners. Since this is a modern vintage lens, it is equipped with an image stabilization feature.

Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact Wide...

The Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 measures 4.09 x 3.4 x 4.69 inches and weighs 10.4 ounces, making it lighter than the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5. It is an incredible performer, affordable, and it is sharp and durable. 

Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 barrel is made of metal. It has a large rubberized manual focus ring and control switches, one of which turns the vibration compensation system on and off. 

Also, it is equipped with a focus limiter that limits the distance of the autofocus. The autofocus stops as soon as the camera senses that the lens has captured the subject in the frame.  

The lens is not weather-sealed, and its aperture is too narrow, so it is not ideal for low light conditions, unlike the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens that has a wide aperture of f/1.8. Also, it can’t be used for macro photography. 

Pros:

  • The lens produces extremely sharp images
  • It has a focus limiter that restricts the range that the camera will attempt to focus at
  • The manual focus ring is rubberized and easy to operate

Cons:

  • The lens is not weather-sealed
  • The aperture is too narrow, so it can’t be used in low light conditions
  • Chromatic aberrations and flares are visible when maximum aperture is used
Sale
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 Ultra Compact Wide...
  • For Sony E-Mount interchangeable Lens cameras and full frame compatible
  • Aperture range of F2.8-22; constructed of 7 elements in 6 groups
  • Angle of view for full frame is 63.1 degree and aps-c is 42.9 degree

Best Cheap Vintage Lens for Sony A7: Sony – FE 50mm f/1.8 Standard Lens 

The Sony - FE 50mm f/1.8 Standard Lens is a great vintage lens for outdoor photography. It is a bright, prime lens that comes with an impressive 18mm to 55mm focal length, letting you zoom in on your subjects without having to be too close to it. 

Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens (SEL50F18F/2)

The lens measures 1.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches and weighs 3.04 ounces, making it lighter than the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 and the Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8.

The maximum aperture of f/1.8 lets enough light in to allow you to take pictures in the dark without having to worry about any distortion on the images.

However, the manual focus ring of the lens is not smooth so it is a bit difficult to operate. The mechanical focus control that is used to adjust the focus feels rough when turning, unlike the focus rings of the  Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 and the Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 that are smooth to operate. 

Also, the lens does not come with image stabilization, which means there will be distortion visible in the images if the camera shakes while you use it. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight, easy to store and use
  • Its focal length lets you capture your subjects from a distance, ideal for wildlife and sports photography
  • The maximum aperture of f/1.8 is great for taking pictures in dim lit areas

Cons:

  • The manual focus ring is difficult to turn
  • The mechanical focus control is does not operate smoothly
  • It has no image stabilization, which means distortion will appear due to camera shakes 
Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens (SEL50F18F/2)
  • Large F1. 8 maximum aperture enables beautiful defocusing effects
  • 7-blade circular aperture creates beautiful defocused bokeh
  • Compact, lightweight design Ideal for full-frame e-mount cameras

Features to Consider in Vintage Lenses for Sony A7

Some might argue that a great camera is nothing without high-quality lenses, and the only way that you can boost the features of the camera that you have is if the lens can enhance its already built-in features. 

Product Focal Length Range Aperture Range Weather-Sealed
Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 50mm-200mmf/2.8Yes
Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 35mmf/2.8No
Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens 50mmf/1.8No

Aperture

Sony A7 has a built-in mode dial for switching between the different exposure modes, and one of them includes an aperture. This means that the camera itself can be used in low-light conditions, and you can control how wide the aperture should be and how much light can be let in. 

When it comes to the lens that the Sony A7 should be paired up with, it is best to get one that has a wide aperture, so you can take advantage of this specific feature. 

Out of the three lenses on the list, the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens has the widest aperture of f/1.8. Attach this to the Sony A7, and you will have clear and crisp images no matter what the light condition is. 

Two vintage camera lenses on a table

Silent Focus

The Sony A7 is ideal for outdoor photoshoots and for capturing images of live subjects because it has the silent wave motor feature. This means that it does not produce any noise when you focus on the subject, thus preventing them from being disturbed. 

To keep this feature, you will need to use a lens that is also equipped with a silent focus feature. It only makes sense as it would jeopardize the already great built-in feature of the Sony A7 that lets you sneak in on live subjects before taking pictures. 

Both the  Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 and the Samyang SYIO35AF-E 35mm f/2.8 are equipped with this feature. 

Image Quality

The Sony A7 has a 24-megapixel resolution, and the colors on the images are beautifully vibrant. 

In order to keep this quality, the Sony A7 must be paired up with vintage lenses that also produce high-quality results. The Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 produces the sharpest and clearest image. 

Build Quality

The Sony A7 has an amazing build quality. It has a thick grip which makes the body of the camera comfortable to hold for hours. 

The overall design of the Sony A7 is boxy, yet it is small in size, and it is not as heavy, so it is easy to carry around. It has numerous buttons and dials, a feature that is helpful for photographers as it makes adjustments easier to do. 

With these features, it is best to get a lens that will not add to the weight of the camera and one that also has a solid construction, like the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Vintage Lenses Better for Sony A7?

Although modern lenses are a good match for the Sony A7 camera, vintage lenses give the images character. If you are more into putting on effects and a variety of colors in your images, then you can pair your Sony A7 with a vintage lens.

Are Vintage Lenses Good in Low Light?

Just like regular lenses, vintage lenses are equipped with aperture. The aperture range of a vintage lens will determine if it is ideal for capturing photos in low-lit areas. 

The ideal aperture for low light photoshoots is from f/1.2 to f/1.8 as it lets more light in thus preventing distortion and soft edges from forming. For the Sony A7 camera, it can be paired up with the Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens for taking pictures in the dark. 

Conclusion

By capturing images with vintage lenses and your Sony A7 camera, you can create unique moments. The result of a rare vintage lens on a modern-day mirrorless camera like a Sony A7 can be your specialty in photography. 

Jared Bauman has spent more than twenty years in the professional photography profession. He founded Bauman Photographers in 2001, which is a wedding and commercial photography studio in San Diego, California. The company has been in business for 20 years, and has a stellar reputation in the community. In 2007, Jared co-founded ShootDotEdit, the premium post production company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The company has edited millions of images for photographers around the world. Jared has spoken and presented at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference 9 years in a row. He has also given several multi-day courses on Creative Live, in addition to two national speaking tours.