Sony E vs. FE: What’s The Difference?

The Sony E and FE line of lenses both work with Sony E-mount cameras. However, the E lenses are designed for crop sensor cameras, while the FE lenses are meant for full-frame ones.

I’m Caleb, and I have more than four years of experience as a sports photographer. I’ve photographed various sports at multiple levels, from semi-pro to college.

In this article, I’ll talk about the differences between Sony’s E and FE lenses and which one you should buy for your camera. 

If you’ve ever seen these terms and aren’t sure about the differences, read ahead for a simple breakdown.

Sony E vs. FE: What’s The Difference?

Both of these lens types are usable with Sony’s E-mount cameras. However, each is designed with a specific kind of camera in mind.

FE Lenses

FE stands for “Full-frame E-mount,” and these lenses are meant for Sony’s full-frame cameras. This includes popular models like the a7S II and the a9. 

If you have a full-frame E-mount camera, you need an FE lens to get the most out of it.

You can use an FE lens with a crop sensor camera. You won’t get the same results from the lens as you would with a full-frame one, as the picture will still get cropped.

E Lenses

E lenses are the most basic type sold for the E-mount and are designed with Sony’s crop sensor cameras in mind. 

For example, the Sony a6000 is an example of a Sony crop sensor camera that utilizes E lenses.

E lenses are still compatible with full-frame E-mount cameras, but you won’t get the same performance from the camera. 

The photos will be cropped due to the lens size, basically turning a full-frame camera into an expensive crop sensor one.

How Do I Know Which Lens to Buy?

The lens you need depends on your camera, so make sure that you know what type you have. 

If your Sony camera is a full-frame model, that will typically be displayed clearly in the product information. You’ll need an FE lens to fully utilize the camera’s potential.

On the other hand, if the product information says your camera has an APS-C sensor, that means it’s a crop sensor camera, and you’ll need a regular E lens.


Here are some other frequently asked questions about the Sony lens system.

What Does Sony FE Mean?

FE means “Full-frame E-mount” since these lenses are designed for full-frame cameras.

Is Sony E-Mount The Same As EF?

No. The E-mount is designed by Sony, while the EF mount is by Canon. EF lenses can be adapted for E-mount cameras, but the two have no compatibility by default.


Sony FE lenses are designed for full-frame cameras, while E lenses are for crop sensor ones. E-mount cameras can use either type of lens, but to get the most out of your camera, you should buy the one suited for your camera type.

Do you shoot full-frame, or do you use crop sensor cameras? Tell us in the comments.

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