Sony FE vs E Lenses: Exploring The Difference

The Difference between Sony FE and E Lenses have been a source of confusion for many photographers. While both lens types are designed to be used with Sony cameras, there are subtle differences in the way they operate that can make a significant impact on the quality of your photos. In this article, we’ll explore these differences so you can choose the best lens for your needs. We’ll look at factors such as size, weight, image quality, and price point to help you decide which type is right for you. By understanding how each type works and what it offers, you’ll be able to confidently select the right lens for any situation. 

What Are E-Mounts?

Sony E-Mounts are a type of interchangeable lens system designed for use with digital cameras. The mount was originally developed by Sony as part of their Alpha series in 2010 and has since become the standard among Sony camera users. The E-Mount is compatible with a variety of lenses from Sony, Tamron, Carl Zeiss, Sigma, and Samyang.

The E-Mount is notable for its relatively small flange focal distance (distance between the lens’s mounting surface and the sensor) which allows for a wide range of lens designs to be used with it. This feature makes it well suited for both prime and zoom lenses alike, making it one of the most versatile cameras in terms of lens selection. In addition to this, the relatively short flange distance allows adaptors to be used without losing too much quality – meaning that even legacy lenses can be used on modern Sony cameras.

Another advantage to the E-Mount system is its ever-expanding catalog of compatible accessories. As well as being able to accept third-party lenses from different brands, the mount can also accept a variety of other accessories including flash units and external monitors. This makes it an ideal choice for photographers who like to use multiple pieces of equipment simultaneously while shooting or who are looking to find creative ways to mix different kinds of gear together.

What Are E Lenses?

Sony’s E-Lenses are designed to be used in conjunction with Sony’s range of APS-C cameras such as the Alpha A6100, A6400, and A6600 series. These lenses offer a smaller image sensor with a crop factor of 1.5x less than that of the full frame.The most common issue when using an E-mount lens on a full frame camera is vignetting, or dark corners in your images. This happens due to the smaller image circle projected by the lens onto the large sensor of the camera. Another problem you may encounter is corner softness when using an E-mount lens on a full frame body. This typically occurs at wider angles where the lens isn’t able to project enough image onto the sensor to resolve details in the corners of your photos. To solve this issue, you’ll need to increase your depth of field or switch to a higher quality lens that is better suited for use on larger sensors.

What Are FE Lenses?

Sony FE Lenses are a type of lens designed specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras. They provide the user with high performance imaging capabilities and a wide range of focal lengths that allow for greater creative control and versatility. Sony FE lenses are constructed using robust materials, including metal bodies and high quality glass elements, which makes them ideal for any photographer looking for a reliable and powerful lens system.

The key feature that makes Sony’s FE lenses stand out from other brands is their advanced optics technology. Built with precision optics and G Master technology, these lenses offer clear resolution throughout their entire zoom range, excellent color reproduction and high contrast images even at maximum aperture settings. What’s more, they also feature dust and moisture resistance, allowing them to be used in a variety of weather conditions without compromising image quality.

In addition to advanced optical technology, they also feature an XA element which helps reduce chromatic aberration while an ED (Extra Low Dispersion) element minimizes color fringing when shooting with bright light sources such as direct sunlight or studio lights. Other features include Nano AR Coating which helps reduce flare and ghosting caused by reflections off surfaces such as windows or water surfaces, plus built in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization that helps reduce camera shake when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds – perfect for low light photography situations such as night scenes or astrophotography where maintaining sharpness is key to success.

As well as being suitable for use on full-frame mirrorless cameras, some FE lenses are also compatible with APS-C (crop sensor) format models from Sony. These will not provide maximum sharpness due to their smaller sensor size but are still capable of producing impressive results nonetheless. However, using FE lenses on APS-C cameras has its own drawbacks. Since the image circle of the FE lens is bigger than that of the APS-C sensors, only the center portion of it can be utilized to capture an image, resulting in a cropped shot. Furthermore, APS-C cameras tend to have a crop factor of 1.5x, meaning that a 70mm FE lens would effectively provide focal length equivalent to 105mm on such cameras.

What’s the Key Difference in Sony FE vs E Lenses?

The key differences between Sony FE and E lens designs are :

  • Optics : FE (full frame) lenses offer superior sharpness and contrast than E (APS-C) varieties due to their ability to capture extremely high levels of detail across the entire frame. Additionally, FE lenses tend to produce significantly less distortion and chromatic aberration than E lenses. This is because FE lenses are designed for full-frame cameras, which have larger sensors that require more precise optics to keep distortion and color fringes under control. The advanced aspherical, low-dispersion glass elements allow for sharp imagery with minimal aberrations or distortions throughout the entire focusing range; while features like Sony’s ED glass and Nano AR Coating minimize any glare or reflections in the image caused by sun rays or other light sources. Sony E lenses are designed with smaller APS-C sensors in mind, and are not optimized to capture the same level of detail across the entire frame. Additionally, they tend to produce more distortion and chromatic aberration than FE lenses, which can be particularly noticeable at wider angles or when shooting in low light conditions.

  • Autofocus  : The primary autofocus difference between the two lens lines is speed. Sony’s FE lenses are designed with a faster, more advanced autofocus system than the E series. This allows photographers to capture fast-moving subjects without having to worry about tracking focus. The FE lenses also feature better low-light performance, allowing for improved autofocus at night or in dimly lit environments.The E series lenses do not offer the same features as the FE lenses, but they are still capable of capturing sharp images in most situations. The autofocus system is faster than most consumer-level lenses and will capture good results when shooting fast-paced subjects. However, the E series lenses are not as reliable in low light and may struggle when shooting in dimly lit environments.

  • Build Quality : The FE lenses are designed for full frame cameras while E lenses are designed for APS-C cameras. This difference in design is reflected in the build quality of each lens. FE lenses have a higher level of construction and materials that make them more durable than E-mount lenses. In addition, they are built with greater precision and have larger elements that make them more capable of capturing higher quality images. E-mount lenses, while not as well constructed or durable as FE lenses, still offer excellent performance when paired with APS-C cameras. They may lack dust and moisture resistance but they typically feature lighter and smaller construction that makes them easier to carry around.

  • Weather Sealing : Sony FE lenses are designed with a higher level of weather sealing. This is especially beneficial when shooting in environments where dust, moisture and even humidity can be an issue. With increased seals around the lens mount and focus rings, these lenses offer better protection against water and debris entering the lens body than their non-sealed counterparts. Sony E lenses, on the other hand, are designed with a more basic level of weather sealing. While these lenses can still be used in climates that feature dust and moisture, their lack of additional seals makes them more susceptible to damage if exposed to water or debris. Additionally, the focus rings on these lenses tend to be less resistant to moisture and dust, making them a less-than-ideal choice for those shooting in damp or dusty conditions.

  • Size and Weight : The FE lenses are designed for full-frame cameras, so they tend to be larger and heavier than E lenses. This makes them slightly more difficult to carry around but they offer superior image quality, especially when shot with a full-frame camera. On the other hand, E lenses are designed for APS-C cameras, making them more compact and lightweight. While they’re ideal for traveling photographers, they do sacrifice some sharpness compared to their full-frame counterparts.The E series lenses do not offer the same features as the FE lenses, but they are still capable of capturing sharp images in most situations. The autofocus system is faster than most consumer-level lenses and will capture good results when shooting

  • Price : The FE lenses are generally more expensive than E lenses due mostly to their larger size and higher quality optics that enable sharper images with better bokeh effects.

Sony FE vs E Lenses , Which is the Best?

The debate between Sony’s FE and E Lenses is not really a competition since each type of lens is specially designed to work with a certain camera model and provide distinct functionalities.

The full-frame FE lenses are designed for use with Sony’s full-frame camera bodies and offer more than 20 dedicated models. The FE lenses boast professional quality construction and superior materials, resulting in ruggedness and enhanced image quality. While the FE lenses were made specifically for the larger sensor size of a full-frame camera, they are still compatible with an APS-C camera provided one is willing to accept a bit of cropping in their images.

On the other hand, Sony also offers an extensive selection of E lenses made for use with their crop sensor cameras. These are ideal for beginner photographers who are looking for an affordable and lightweight lens that won’t break the bank. There are more than a dozen options in this category from which to choose from, so budding photographers can find something that suits their budget and needs.

If you are deciding between investing in the FE lens or Sony’s E lens, the decision may come down to whether you are prepared to spend more money for a higher quality of product. FE lenses are designed with professional photography needs in mind and constructed using superior materials, making them longer lasting and resulting in better image quality. Moreover, if you own an APS-C camera, your FE lenses will work just as efficiently on that crop sensor device, making it a great backup option at important events. Additionally, investing in an FE lens now ensures you don’t have to upgrade when you purchase a full-frame camera in the near future.


Is Sony FE Lense compatible with Sony APS-C cameras?

Yes, Sony FE lenses are compatible with Sony E-mount cameras( APS-C). However, you will need to account for the crop factor. Crop factor is the calculation that tells you how much the image will be cropped compared to a full-frame sensor. A crop factor of 1 means that there is no cropping, while a crop factor of 2 means that the image will be cropped in half. For Sony FE lenses, the crop factor is 1.5x. This means that if you’re using a Sony E-mount camera, your images will be cropped by 1.5x when compared to images taken with a full-frame sensor camera.

Can I use E-mount Lenses on Sony a7III?

Yes, you can use E-lenses on Sony a7III. However, note that some lenses may produce vignette or other optical issues due to the camera’s full-frame design.

What does FE Lens stand for?

FE is an acronym for “full-frame E-mount.” This means that the lens is designed to be used on Sony’s full-frame digital cameras, such as the a7 and a9 series.


I’m a professional photographer with 17 years of experience in a wide range of photography, and over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to use a variety of photographic equipment now I would like to share my knowledge with you through this website. I hope becomes the go-to destination when selecting the best gears for any project. Here you can access unbiased reviews and make an informed decision when choosing gears.

Sittha Sathutham Photographer and Writer

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