What New Lenses Can Sony Shooters Expect to See in 2020?

What New Lenses Can Sony Shooters Expect to See in 2020?

Sony is said to be releasing six new E mount lenses in the next 12 months. Given the size and quality of the range of Sony glass, what do you want and what do you expect? And what do the likes of Tamron, Zeiss, Sigma, and Rokinon/Samyang have planned?

Sony Alpha Rumors has had heard from a trusted source that Sony has new glass in the pipeline, but there are few details at this stage. It’s thought that one will be APS-C, while most will be telephoto primes and longer zooms, with the possibility of an update to some of the existing lenses, such as the 70-200mm f/4 G or 85mm f/1.4 GM.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Time for a refresh?

Some will be hoping for a version two of the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. This lens is now just shy of four years old, and if Sony’s recent lenses are anything to go by, there’s room for improvement — faster autofocus, sharper results, and perhaps a slightly more compact build all seem feasible. There’s also speculation that Sony is about to give users a fast wide-angle GM lens, with many owners clamoring for something like an f/1.8 18mm prime.

The lens line-up for Sony has expanded dramatically in the last few years, especially with third party manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang filling in many of the gaps and producing more affordable options. The last major release for full-frame cameras from Sony was the FE 35mm f/1.8, which has garnered some excellent reviews in recent months and filled one of the huge gaps in the range of Sony glass.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8. I'd been hoping that this lens would be a little more affordable, but from the reviews, it seems that Sony didn't hold back in terms of image quality.

Sony now has the opportunity to extend into slightly more niche lenses. Some will be eager to see the ultra wide-angle autofocus prime mentioned above, which would make many astrophotographers very happy or perhaps even a fisheye.

APS-C

Sony a6x00 shooters might be a little frustrated to find that only one of the six lenses is expected to be APS-C, and many would have been keen to see a fast ultra-wide-angle zoom as well as a telephoto zoom for crop-sensor cameras. As it stands, there are a few fast manual focus primes such as the Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 and the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2.0, but anyone wanting an f/2.8 zoom and/or autofocus lens at these focal lengths will need to go full-frame.

Sony a6600

The Sony a6600 is a serious piece of kit, which makes it odd that the lens line-up still feels a bit limited when it comes to fast ultra-wide and telephoto zooms.

For telephoto zooms, something like a 50-140mm or 55-200mm f/2.8 would please a lot of Sony APS-C owners. Quite why Sony is reluctant to pad out the range of APS-C glass further is a bit of a mystery.

Time to Refresh the Fifty?

Canon has put a bit of pressure on Sony thanks to an impressive array of RF lenses that are pushing the bounds of what “pro” lenses should be. It will be interesting to see whether Sony decides to try and match the likes of the RF 50mm f/1.2L or the RF 28-70mm f/2L. There’s always speculation that the diameter of Sony’s FE mount might be a limiting factor, though I doubt you’ll hear anyone at Sony admit it, while the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 would suggest that it’s within the realm of possibility. And on the subject of 50mm primes, is there space for something else in-between Sony’s nifty fifty and the Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8 ZA?

RF 50mm f/1.2L

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L. Is this the new gold standard when it comes to 50mm primes?

The Olympics Approach

As mentioned, Sony Alpha Rumors is expecting some telephoto primes, and Sony might be wise to start filling out its offering for sports and wildlife shooters, especially with the Olympics approaching fast. A 500mm f/4, a 300mm f/2.8 GM, or perhaps a 200mm f/2 might be in the pipeline, and there’s been plenty of talk over the last year of a 100mm f/1.4 GM, a lens that was patented at the same time as the 135mm f/1.8 GM, which saw its release in April last year.

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM

Tamron and a Fast 35mm?

Tamron has been incredibly productive over the last two years, especially with its Sony products. Being slightly more specialist, the 17-28mm f/2.8 hasn’t proved as ludicrous in sales as the much-respected 28-75mm f/2.8, but it’s now in my lens bag as a replacement to my (adapted) Canon 16-35mm f/2.8. The trio of f/2.8 primes is about to be completed, as the 20mm is expected to reach shelves within the next month (see my reviews of the 24mm and 35mm), and the 70-180mm f/2.8 will complete its trinity of zooms with intelligent compromises by the end of spring.

Tamron will not be resting on its laurels, however, and more Sony glass is definitely on its way (as many as six, if you believe the rumors), making me excited at what is in store. A little frustratingly, Tamron swerved from producing a 35mm f/1.8, perhaps because Sony owns a share of Tamron, and a direct competitor to Sony’s new 35mm f/1.8 would have been a bit awkward, especially so soon. This is not to say it won’t happen, but it probably won’t be in 2020. I wonder if a 35mm f/1.4 lens is more likely, especially given the rave reviews received by the SP 35mm f/1.4 for Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

It’s worth noting Tamron will not simply take the Canon/Nikon-mount SP and simply port it to Sony. In Tamron’s opinion, converting existing glass for different mounts is a recipe for oversized lenses and autofocus issues. If Tamron chooses to build this lens, it will be from the ground up.

The other reason for Tamron to pursue a 35mm f/1.4 is that the Sony 35mm f/1.4 ZA is open to competition. Lens Rentals noted last year that the Sony 35mm f/1.8 puts it to shame, and the ZA is a 2015 lens that has a reputation for a lot of variability between copies. Zeiss and Sony will be continuing their partnership, but there’s definitely potential for Tamron to step in here, unless Sony has plans for its own 35mm f/1.4, or perhaps even a f/1.2 GM to raise a few industry eyebrows and offer some competition to Sigma.

I reached out to Tamron, but they’re keeping their plans under wraps for the time being. Given the patent application last year for three f/2.0 primes — 20mm, 40mm, and 85mm — there’s a chance that one of these might appear, but that would be an incredibly fast turnaround, even for Tamron. Plus, Tamron may have plans for RF and Z-mount glass, which might take the focus away from Sony for the next year or two.

Sigma

Having produced four chunky lenses for Sony in 2019, Sigma is not giving much away in terms of its releases in 2020. Three Arts (35mm f/1.2, 14-24mm f/2.8, and the 24-70mm f/2.8) and one Contemporary (45mm f/2.8) demonstrated a very productive year, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 in particular will be a welcome addition to the options available to Sony users when it reaches the shelves. The beginning of February is now looking most likely.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E

Sony Alpha Rumors is reporting that a 70-200mm f/2.8 from Sigma is due to appear in the very near future, continuing to position the manufacturer nicely between the expensive glass made by Sony, and the affordable lenses produced by Tamron. Sigma's MC-11 adapter has been pivotal in drawing Canon shooters across to Sony, and Sigma will be working hard to capitalize on photographers who want to finish the transition between systems. Sigma will be a little frustrated that its trinity of zooms didn't arrive a bit sooner, and it might now be in a race to release its tele zoom ahead of Tamron's forthcoming 75-180mm f/2.8.

Late last year, Sigma filed patents for three f/1.2 lenses: 35mm, 40mm, and 50mm. The 35mm f/1.2 already exists, but will we see either of the others come to market in 2020? Of the two, the 50mm seems more likely.

Tokina

Tokina has just announced its brand new atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE which is due to start shipping on February 7. This tele prime is the first of Tokina's new atx series, with RF and Z mounts looking likely in the near future. Entering a crowded field, it's a very reasonable $500 but it will have to work hard to draw customers away from Sony's own 85mm f/1.8 or even Samyang's 85mm f/1.4, both of which are only a shade more expensive.

Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens for Sony E

Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens for Sony E

What Do You Want?

No doubt there's more than a few lenses missing from this list. Zeiss will have plans but was reluctant to comment on any specifics. What else is going to emerge over the next 12 months, and what is missing from your gear bag that you'd like to see filled? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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16 Comments

I'd really like to see a 35 1.4 GM. I've been wanting a 35 1.4 for a while now but I just haven't been able to get excited about any of the current options. I've heard too many mixed reviews about the ZA.

They also need a native Tilt Shift lens. I think there's a Rokinon but it's gotten some pretty poor reviews. After a bad experience early on with one of their lenses, I steer clear of them.

As an aside, possible typo in the article:

"The other reason for Tamron to pursue a 35mm f/1.4 is that the Sony 35mm f/1.4 ZA is open to competition. Lens Rentals noted last year that the Sony 35mm f/1.8 puts it to shame,"

I think you mean the Tamron 35mm f/1.4, not the Sony 1.8, since that's what the linked article is about.

Eric Salas's picture

I use the sigma 35 art every day. In love with it honestly.

Yeah, a lot of people seem to like the Sigmas, and I get that. It's just when I look at other GMaster lenses compared to the Sigmas, the differences in weight and size are not insignificant. The 24 1.4 Gmaster, for example, is just such an awesome form factor that I feel like it's the epitome of what mirrorless is capable of. I'd love to see that in a 35 version, though I'm sure it would still be larger than the 24. Even so, it would still likely be much less bulky than the Sigma.

Eric Salas's picture

The price just doesn’t justify itself in image quality. I swear by my Art lenses (105 and 35). I wouldn’t pay a grand more for their GMaster equivalents.

Brian Knight's picture

I agree. I have the 24 1.4 GM and the Planar 50mm 1.4. Both highly regarded for image quality. But the most magical images i get, are from my 135 Art! And it was cheaper than both of those. The only issue sometimes, is the weight.

Andy Day's picture

Hey Dave, thanks for the shout. Not a typo - though it is buried quite deep! The Lens Rentals article takes a moment to compare the 35 1.8 with the 35 1.4: "What you have here is a clearly superior $700 lens kicking the crap out of an inferior $1,500 lens."

Ah! Thanks for pointing that out. To be fair, though, there is no mention of that in the *linked* source, which is an FStoppers article talking about Lens Rentals' assessment of the Tamron lens.

Take everything from Alpha Rumors with a grain of salt. Read their rating system, it's a joke.

Jesse Merz's picture

I might be the only one, but I'm waiting for a 200mm prime. There currently is a gap between 135mm and 300mm for non-adapted prime lenses. My all-primes kit will be complete with an f/2.8 or faster 200mm (preferably with OSS).

Hoping for a new 50mm G Master. I'd pre-order it on day one.

I have the 16-35mm, 85mm and 135mm GM lenses and they are incredible. The sharpness of the 135 is absolutely unreal - sharpest lens i've ever used, and the AF is spectacular.

The Zeiss 50mm f/1.4, however, isn't quite as good as the GM lenses. It's not a bad lens - it is sharp, AF is good, but it's not nearly as good as the GM lenses.

Ryan Ringstad's picture

My ideal is truly small & compact Sony branded wide angle. I own the 24mm samyang and it’s usability is off the charts. Is it optically the best lens in the world? No, but it’s small enough I can take it anywhere and not be weighed down.

Even the 24 GM is too big to fit in a jacket pocket. Which is why I own the samyang and not the GM. If I could get a great autofocus pancake 24mm I would definitely pay GM prices for it.

Rk K's picture

There are more 50s available than anyone could ever possibly need... And the f4 zooms are way more outdated than the 24-70 gm. I think we'll see more telephotos though.

Jerome Brill's picture

Right now the most interesting lenses are not by Sony. Third parties are stepping up their game. Can't wait till the Sigma 24-70 ships.

Would love a 14mm or 15mm GM prime. f2.8 would be fine. Would be ideal for my landscape/seascapes and would cover 90% of my needs. Would replace my 16-35mm GM, which sometimes isn't quite wide enough.

Quality 9-16mm on apsc would be awesome. Other than that maybe fast 70-350mm.

I felt that the last and best firmware update for the A7r3 vastly improved the auto focus of the 24-70GM.