The Sony E mount system has built up a plethora of lenses over the years, not only from Sony itself, but also from third-parties like Tamron and Sigma.

But you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg in order to get fantastic, artistic results from your camera and lens. Here are six lenses that exceed all expectations that won’t hit hard on your pocketbook.

Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary

The Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary lens offers beautiful bokeh and some amazing character inside a compact and lightweight body. I’ve used this for environmental portraits, and it hasn’t skipped a beat. While it’s lacking some of the professional-grade features of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2, the f/2 Contemporary version will be a delight to anyone who picks it up. Here’s what I said in my review:

“Between its gorgeous bokeh, compact footprint and autofocus capabilities, the Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary is an absolute joy to use.”

Bryan Esler

Tamron 20mm f/2.8

Wide angle lens bridge female photographer

Wide-angle lenses like the Tamron 20mm f/2.8 can offer a view that other primes can’t. You get to experience perspective distortion and increased depth of field like no other prime can. It also helps to put your subject in context.

The Tamron 20mm offers sharp optics, and provides colors that can’t be beat. The addition of pro-grade weather sealing is impressive for a lens in this price range — it’s simply a stunning lens.

Tokina 85mm f/1.8

While a bit late to the party, Tokina’s 85mm f/1.8 lens features excellent build quality. Its 9 blade aperture provides gorgeous background separation along with superb sharpness in the center. Creamy bokeh make this lens scream character, and it’s perfect for portraits. Here’s what Darren Miles had to say in his review:

“The value proposition of the Tokina 85 simply can’t be overstated. If you’re in the market, this lens is definitely worth your consideration!”

Darren Miles

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2

Tamron has been making huge strides when it comes to their mirrorless lens lineup, and the 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 continues that trend. This lightweight, compact lens offers a standard zoom range with sharp optics, fast and accurate autofocus, and improvements when it comes to bokeh and background separation. Here’s what I said in my review:

“For me, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 lens is the perfect complement to my shooting setup. It’s compact and lightweight, meaning that it doesn’t bog me down, and that it gives me more room to pack an extra lens or accessory with me. The sharpness and picture quality here reign supreme.”

Bryan Esler

Sony 50mm f/2.5

There’s tons of 50mm lenses on the market today, especially for E mount cameras. The 50mm f/2.5 lens offers some gorgeous background separation to help your subjects shine. While it isn’t the bokeh monster like the G Master version, it certainly holds its own, and is a great option for those looking for a budget-friendly, compact 50mm lens. Check out my complete review for more.

Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary

I couldn’t forget about wildlife photographers! This supertelephoto from Sigma checks all the boxes when it comes to price, size, focus and image quality. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, this lens can easily fit in your backpack without breaking your back. It’s great whether you’re capturing birds, nature or anything else outdoors. Here’s what I said in my review:

“If you’re looking for a hidden gem for the Sony E-mount system (or even the L-mount), the Sigma 100-400mm may just be it. The performance is that of which I would expect from a pro-level lens. And at a very affordable price, it’s hard not to pass up.”

Bryan Esler