If you’re looking to buy a new lens, there’s a lot to consider weight, cost, size, quality, and style. But one of the most important factors is how it will affect your photos.
So which lenses are best for portraits?
It depends on the type Best Lens For Portraits you’re trying to take. If you’re taking photos of people, a standard lens is probably best.
Why? Because a wide-angle lens can distort facial features noses get bigger and eyes smaller and make it harder to read expressions.
DSLR cameras are usually preferred for portraits as well because they typically have better electronic focusing technology than point-and-shoot cameras. So you can use them in low light.
For more casual photography, like shots of landscapes or architecture or still Lia great portrait lens can me, the sky’s the limit.
A wide-angle lens might be too much for indoor shots. But works great for shooting a group of people in front of a blue sky outside.
A telephoto lens would be overkill for outdoor portraits; you’d end up with nothing. But the background behind your subject and no way to frame them properly.
Best Lens For Portraits
Portrait photography is more challenging than normal photography. The human face is the most difficult type of subject to photograph.
Here are some key features to look for in a portrait lens:
Wide Focal Length
A wide focal length provides extra depth of field, which makes it easier to keep your subject in focus without having to shoot from a distance.
A fast shutter speed is necessary because your hands move while you’re trying to take a photo of someone’s face. Image stabilization helps your camera compensate for shake, so it stays steady during the exposure.
Minimum Focusing Distance
If you don’t have a minimum focusing distance that’s long enough, you won’t be able to take sharp photos at all distances. And you’ll miss out on capturing critical personality details that make a good portrait.
Minimum Aperture Rating
The smaller the maximum aperture (lens opening), the greater the depth of field will be.
Let’s take a look at our list of the best lenses for portraits.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM lens is one of the most popular professional portrait lenses on the market.
It’s a fast 85mm lens with a large aperture of f1.4, making it perfect for taking in lots of light and creating beautiful looking images.
9 Amazing Photos Taken with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM Review
I’ve used this lens for years in my commercial and personal work. It’s one of the best lenses I’ve ever owned.
It has a very fast autofocus motor that’s built to last, but it does have a slower focusing speed than some other lenses on the market. This might be a drawback for some photographers.
The high aperture of f/1.4 makes this lens great for taking portraits in low light conditions without having to use a flash. The bokeh (the out-of-focus area) is also very smooth and creamy which makes it perfect for creating unique looking images.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A
I picked up the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A the other day and I have to say I’m very impressed with it.
The build quality is great, with a metal mount and an outer barrel made of polycarbonate.
The deep rubber focus ring is both functional and comfortable. The lens cap fits snugly in place and snaps off easily when you want to take it off.
The autofocus motor is super quiet and fast. The only annoying thing about the autofocus is that it can’t be used for video recording on DSLRs. This means you have to switch from autofocus to manual focus during video recording.
When I first started using this lens, I was using it on my Canon 5D Mark iii. But I quickly discovered that the camera wasn’t built for this lens. So I bought a 6D instead (I would recommend getting one if you have the money).
Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM
The Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM is a new addition to the Canon RF line of lenses. With an estimated MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $2,099.00.
The Canon RF system is a new line of lenses designed for mirrorless cameras.
You can read more about it in my article comparing the Canon RF system to the Sony E-mount system.
The 85mm F1.2L is a unique lens because it’s the only one in this series designated as a “L” lens. All the other RF lenses are considered “new standard zoom” or “wide angle zoom” lenses.
This lens is similar to the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM (MSRP $1,549.99), with a few minor differences:
– Includes a removable hood
– The front element on this lens is 82mm versus 77mm on the EF version
– Both are weather sealed
– Both have 8 aperture blades but the Canon has curved blades while the EF has straight blades
While I’ve used several versions of this lens in both formats, I have not had an opportunity to use this particular version.
Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens is an ideal portrait prime for full-frame mirrorless cameras.
With an equivalent field of view to 127mm on 35mm full frame. This medium telephoto lens features a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture. The ability to produce shallow depth-of-field effects and a built-in vibration compensation system to minimize camera shake when shooting in low light.
Featuring a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, the SP 85mm is designed for use in low-light conditions and produces sharp images with smooth background bokeh.
An internal focusing design affords a compact form factor that is ideal for handheld shooting.
Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization can be used. When shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than otherwise possible.
This allows handheld shooting in low-light conditions at up to four shutter speeds slower than would be possible without image stabilization.
Boasting an impressive focal range equivalent to 127mm on a 35mm full frame camera. This medium telephoto lens is perfect for portraits and other telephoto applications such as sports and wildlife photography.
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 RF
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 RF is a very large and heavy lens, but it’s also quite fast. It has a non-rotating front filter thread, so you can use slim filters or polarising filters without the need to rotate it during composition.
The physical length of the lens when zoomed in at 85mm is almost double that of its 35mm equivalent. Which can make it difficult to use in tight spaces.
There is a depth of field scale marked on the lens itself, which can be used for zone focusing.
The minimum focus distance is 85cm from the sensor plane, which is quite long for this type of lens and can cause problems when shooting closer subjects.
The AF system itself is quick to focus and quiet in operation, but may hunt from time to time in low light conditions.
This isn’t unusual for lenses that are this fast and, frankly, it’s not something that I’d consider to be a deal breaker.
The AF motor is also fairly quiet and well damped, which makes it ideal for video applications.
There are seven aperture blades on offer here (as opposed to nine). Which isn’t great for creating smooth bokeh effects when used wide open.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a fast and high-quality telephoto prime lens. It has a medium build quality with a plastic lens mount and a metal lens barrel.
On the front of the barrel is a distance window, a focusing ring, and a manual focus ring with an AF/MF switch.
The manual focusing ring is nicely damped with smooth rotation, but it does not have any hard stops at the end of the focus range.
The lens has very good sharpness in the center of the frame at f/1.8 and f/2. However, performance degrades significantly towards the edges of the frame until you stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 where performance is excellent..
The extreme corners never quite reach that level though. So there is still some corner softness when shooting wide open at f/1.8. When stopped down to f/4 it’s still noticeable in your images.
At mid-range aperture settings between f/5.6 to f/11 diffraction starts kicking in and image sharpness decreases significantly. Making it harder to achieve maximum detail from your subject matter.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM II
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM II is a full-frame medium telephoto lens compatible with the Canon EOS line of cameras.
It is part of the L series, which means that it has excellent build quality and optical performance.
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM II lens has a fast maximum aperture of f/1.2, allowing great control over depth of field.
The large maximum aperture also makes this lens great for low light photography and beautiful bokeh in your images.
The large aperture is useful when shooting video, as it allows you to achieve shallow depth of field effects to focus the viewer’s attention.
Sensor Size Compatibility
This lens is compatible with both full frame and APS-C cameras; however. The angle of view will be narrower on an APS-C camera than on a full frame camera.
This lens does not feature image stabilization, so I recommend using a tripod or monopod to reduce the chances of camera shake during longer exposures and while filming video clips.
This lens features a fixed focal length, meaning that you cannot zoom in easily on your portrait subject.
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF
The Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 is a lens designed for full frame cameras, but can be used on an APS-C camera providing a 127.5mm equivalent focal length.
This lens is extremely well built, with a metal mount and metal body construction.
The lens has a very nice weight and balance to it. The focus ring is smooth to operate and the aperture ring clicks into its detents well.
The sharpness is good wide open at f/1.4 and sharpens up nicely by f/2. The bokeh is smooth so the out of focus areas look pleasing when shooting close ups or portraits.
There is no discernible vegetating, distortion or chromatic aberration when shooting, which are common occurrences in most lenses. It also has high contrast, which helps to give your images that extra bit of pop.
When stopping the lens down, the image will get sharper as you stop down to f/2.8 and will remain reasonably sharp for landscape photos at f/5.6 if you’re using an APS-C sensor camera.
This lens is really easy to use for portrait.
Best Nikon Lens for Portraits
The best lens for portraits is a 50mm prime lens. This lens has the ability to focus on the subject and blur everything else.
If you’re just getting into the field of photography this lens is a great start because it’s not overly complicated and does not require much experience to master.
A prime lens is one that does not zoom, meaning that it can only be used with a fixed focal length.
These lenses are often faster, cheaper, and lighter than their zoom counterparts. The best prime lenses have a maximum aperture of at least f/1.8, whereas zoom lenses typically start at f/3.5.
Advantages of a Prime Lens
There are several advantages to using a prime lens. A fixed focal length will allow you to get closer to your subject without having to move around as much. This helps you avoid the distortion of zooming in or out while taking pictures.
This means you compose shots more easily without having to worry about how close or far away you’ll be from your subject when taking the picture.
A fixed focal length will also allow you to use higher shutter speeds when shooting fast-moving subjects like sports or action shots.
Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S
You’re probably wondering why you’d pay $1,000 for a lens that’s equivalent to a 135-millimeter lens on a full-frame camera.
That’s about the same as asking why you’d spend $1,000 for a car that tops out at 80 miles per hour when you could buy one that goes 150.
The answer is the same in both cases: because it does the job better.
Trying to capture an entire scene in one shot can result in lost details, either from camera shake or from making the aperture too small to gather enough light.
A longer lens allows you to get closer to your subjects, giving you more detail and more clarity at lower ISO settings. Plus, with a longer zoom lens, you can change your perspective by getting closer to your subject or farther away.
An ultrawide angle lens is a great choice for landscapes and creative photography. Zoom lenses are great for everyday shooting when you want to be prepared for just about any situation.
But if you really want to get up close, there’s nothing like a long telephoto zoom lens in your arsenal. This is where the new Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S comes in It offers an equivalent focal length of 127 millimeters.
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a high-quality lens for large-sensor cameras (APS-C and full frame).
This lens creates stunning images with soft bokeh effect, creamy background defocusing and unique perspectives of subject isolation.
The large aperture of f/1.4 allows photographers to achieve a shallow depth of field, which makes the subject stand out against a blurred background.
This shallow depth of field can be used to produce images with a dramatic look and is particularly useful in portraits.
Because of the wide aperture, this lens also allows you to shoot at faster shutter speeds. This is important when working in low light conditions or with fast moving subjects.
It was designed as part of Sigma’s Global Vision line. The matte black finish helps reduce reflections and glare from sunlight.
It also features a rubber gasket around the lens mount for dust and splash-proof protection.
The Sigma Global Vision lenses are designed to be the ideal companion with over 60 dedicated lenses available. They can dramatically expand your photographic horizons without compromising on quality or performance.
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
This review will be short and sweet, because the lens is so compelling that it doesn’t need much in the way of introduction.
The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G has been around for a while, but the current model was introduced in Spring of 2011 as a replacement for the original 1996 AF-D version.
If you’re wondering why I’m talking about a lens from 2011 like it’s new, it’s because Nikon just released an all-new model — the Nikon 85mm f/1.4E ED.
I’m reviewing this one to see how it compares to the newer iteration.
The biggest advantage this lens has over its successor is its price: at $500, it’s half the cost of the new 85mm f/1.4.
In addition, this lens has image stabilization (VR), which helps to combat camera shake when shooting at slow shutter speeds and/or with longer focal lengths.
Image Stabilization isn’t universally available on lenses, so if you shoot with an older Nikon body, any zoom or prime lens with VR increases your options.
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED
Trying to find the best portrait lens available?
Look no further than theAF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED, which offers the highest level of sharpness and clarity, even at its widest aperture setting of f/1.4.
The AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED is a fast, prime telephoto lens with a normal focal length on FX-format DSLRs.
Ideal for portraiture and available in Nikon FX or DX formats, this lens features Nano Crystal Coat, which provides superior color balance and minimizes ghosting and flare when working in strong lighting conditions.
This allows photographers to capture images without having to worry about extraneous light sources that may appear in the background of an image.
Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces ghosting and flare while enhancing color balance, which can be helpful if you’re shooting in bright lighting conditions outdoors.
The maximum aperture of f/1.4 allows working in low light situations without having to use a flash and also helps create a shallow depth of field for artistic effect.
Its large f/1.4 aperture is great for shooting outdoors or in bright lighting conditions when you want to achieve a soft background that keeps your subject out of focus.
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G
The AF-S Nikon 85mm f/1.4G is the second lens in Nikon’s range of professional f/1.4 lenses, complementing the excellent (and expensive) AF-S Nikon 58mm f/1.4G in Nikon’s line up.
The 85mm f/1.4G is a superb performer, with great sharpness, contrast and color rendition at all apertures, and almost no distortion or vignetting.
On an FX body, like the D700 which it was designed for, it delivers images of beautiful quality throughout its aperture range.
This makes it a viable alternative to the 58mm f/1.4 for portrait work (though, not as suitable for low light).
It can focus quite closely to around a foot and a half from the front element, but has an effective minimum focusing distance of around 5 feet when used on an APS-C camera body like the D90 or D7000.
It has 9 aperture blades and uses an extra-low dispersion element.
Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 F
This review is based on a loan sample of the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 F lens, provided to me by B&H. You can purchase it here or check for availability at Adorama and Amazon.
The Samyang 85mm f/1.4 is an autofocus prime designed for full-frame sensors and has no optical stabilization. It has a fast, near-silent autofocus motor and an aperture that stops down to f/22.
The fast maximum aperture makes this lens useful for low light photography, portrait photography and video work. However, its lack of stabilization limits its usefulness for action photography or other scenes where camera movement is likely.
The 85mm focal length is relatively long and meant to be used at medium to long distances from the subject.
The 85mm lens has become a standard in portrait photography because it is flattering to most face shapes. It can do double duty as both a headshot lens and part of a two-person interview setup on a full-frame camera body.
The Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 F is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, Pentax K and Fujifilm X.
Best Sony Lens For Portraits
Sony has made a lot of lens announcements this year. Its new FE-mount lenses for A-mount cameras, the addition of the FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS to the FE lineup and a couple of macro lenses thrown in for good measure.
That’s a pretty impressive set of optics.
To help you find the best Sony lens for portraits, we’ve put all of them through their paces in our lab (and on real live people). Here’s how they fared.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM: The best Sony lens for portraits
The 24-70mm f/2.8 is the most expensive zoom in Sony’s line-up, but it’s been designed to meet the needs of professional portrait photographers who need flexibility.
It features optical image stabilization (OIS) and full-time manual focus override (FTM) — two big pluses that are missing from all other FE portrait zooms.
The G Master designation indicates that this is a highly corrected lens and there’s no doubting that fact when you look at its test results. The graphs below show just how well corrected it is; no corner softness or distortion issues here in.
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a lens for those who want a longer focal length and faster aperture than the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4.
It has a fast autofocus motor and accepts 77mm filters, making it ideal for portraits, street photography and low-light shots.
The 85mm focal length on APS-C format cameras offers a field of view similar to 127mm on full-frame cameras.
The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8’s optical design consists of 10 elements in 8 groups, including one aspherical and one extra-low dispersion element to control aberrations and distortions.
The ‘Stepping Motor’ AF system offers quick, smooth, silent focusing and full-time electronic manual focus override by just turning the focus ring.
The lens is sealed against dust and moisture to protect it from the elements when shooting outdoors or in inclement weather conditions. The 7-blade circular aperture delivers smooth, natural background blur when shooting wide open.
The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8’s rounded 9 blade diaphragm works with the Optical SteadyShot system in the camera body to deliver stable exposure during handheld video recording.
Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE
Tokina announced the Tokina ATX AF 85mm f/1.8 FE, a new autofocus lens for Sony E-mount full-frame cameras.
The new portrait lens is now available for preorder priced at $499 USD and will ship in mid-November.
The ATX AF 85mm f/1.8 is a fast telephoto prime lens designed for portraits and low light shooting. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.8 meters/2.6 feet and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:10.
The optical design incorporates two SLD glass elements to reduce aberrations and distortions throughout the aperture range.
In addition, it features an improved Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating that helps minimize reflections and ghosting that can occur in high contrast shooting conditions like backlighting or direct sunlight.
The lens has a 9 blade aperture diaphragm that creates smooth out of focus areas commonly referred to as bokeh and is well suited for portraiture work due to its fast f/1.8 maximum aperture with minimal aberration issues.
For anyone upgrading their kit, this lens is an absolute steal. Capable of shooting in low light with little noise, it’s ideal for weddings and other challenging conditions.
Best Fujifilm Lens For Portraits
Fujifilm is an amazing camera company that creates some of the best lenses on the market. Their X-series camera systems are among the most popular in the world.
With all kinds of lighting and weather conditions it can be hard to choose a lens, so I am going to list my top three favorite Fujifilm lenses for portraits..
My favorite lens for taking portraits will always be the 56mm f/1.2 R APD because I like using natural light.
Not only does it have amazing bokeh, but it’s very fast. At 1.2, you can shoot with very low lighting.
The next lens I would use for taking portraits would be the 35mm f/2 WR.
This is great for shooting outdoors or indoors because of its wide aperture, and it’s super lightweight!
You can carry it around with you all day without feeling its weight. It’s great for indoor events where space is limited.
My last choice would be the 60mm f/2.4 R Macro Premium because there are times when you need a little more distance.
Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD
If you’re already familiar with the Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD, please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!…
The Fujifilm XF1.2 R APD is a lens which will serve many purposes and the debate around whether it should be considered a portrait lens or not is interesting.
What’s clear is that this lens is an excellent high quality prime lens with a fast aperture. It belongs in every photographer’s kit bag as it can be used to great effect in a variety of situations.
Best Pentax Lens For Portraits
Here we will discuss some of the best portrait lenses for Pentax DSLR cameras that are available today.
What is the best Pentax lens for portraits?
The main purpose of a portrait photo is to produce a picture that is pleasing to the eye and can be used as a keepsake.
The photographer should make an effort to capture something unique while at the same time respecting their subject’s privacy.
Portraits should ideally be shot in a manner that allows the subject to be seen clearly and not draw unwanted attention to them.
HD PENTAX-D FA* 85mm f/1.4ED SDM AW
The new HD PENTAX-D FA* 85mm f/1.4ED SDM AW is the widest portrait lens in the FA series to date.
Featuring a large maximum aperture of f/1.4,the Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 85mm f/1.4ED SDM AW is one of the brightest, fastest lenses in its class.
Originally designed for use with digital SLR cameras, this lens is also compatible with 35mm film SLR cameras and DSLR cameras with APS-C image sensors.
It offers a focal length equivalent to 127.5mm in 35mm format, which makes it ideal for portraiture and photography that require short to medium telephoto perspectives with little or no distortion or aberration.
The HD PENTAX-D FA 85mm f/1.4ED SDM AW’s construction includes five elements in four groups, including aspherical elements that are featured in the fourth group to reduce spherical aberrations. This minimizes the number of lens components, reducing overall size and weight.
In addition, HD Coating has been applied to each surface of the lens elements to minimize ghosting and flare.
Best Micro Four Thirds Lens For Portraits
I love shooting portraits. Especially people who are not models.
I always use natural light because it’s free and it looks much more appealing than the pictures taken in a studio with flash light.
If you want to shoot portrait pictures of your kids, family or friends, then you need to get the best lens for portraiture photography.
A good portrait lens will allow you to capture the soul of the person no matter where they are.
The best lens for portraiture photography should have a large aperture and be able to shoot at low ISO levels. The high aperture will allow enough light into the camera, allowing you to take great pictures in low light conditions.
The best portrait lens should also be able to shoot at high shutter speed without making any noise which may cause distractions for the person being photographed.
It’s important for the lens to have image stabilization features so that you can take blur-free pictures even without a tripod.
Olympus 45mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO Digital
Purchasing the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO Digital Lens is a great way to enhance your photography. You can use it for regular shooting or for taking high quality close-up shots of flowers and animals.
The lens is lightweight and compact, making it easy for you to carry it around.
The focal length of 45mm is perfect for taking pictures of people because it allows you to capture facial details from a distance.
This M.ZUIKO Digital lens has an aperture ring that allows you to change its aperture from f/1.8 to f/22 with just a flick of your finger. It also has three ED elements that reduce chromatic aberration and increase sharpness and contrast for clear images.
The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO Digital Lens features an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades. This ensures that the out-of-focus areas in the background are smooth and pleasant-looking.
It has a minimum focussing distance of 0.3 meters, so you can take close-up shots of small objects such as flowers and bugs with ease.
This lens comes with a high grade metal mount that prevents external light.
What Are The Best Lenses For Studio Photography?
If you’re using a DSLR or any other high-end camera, the built-in lenses might not be the best for studio photography.
In order to take great photos and get the most out of your equipment, you need to invest in a few lenses that were made for this particular purpose.
The 50mm Lens
The 50mm prime lens has been around since the early days of photography and it remains one of the most popular options.. It’s also known as the “nifty fifty” because of its price and versatility.
This lens is extremely basic and doesn’t come with any frills, but it’s a great option if you’re just starting out.
Many professionals still choose to use this lens even when they already own several others because it can deliver sharp images and beautiful bokeh.
The 85mm Lens
If you’re looking for a portrait lens, an 85mm prime lens is exactly what you’re after. It’s perfect for taking shots from further away.
You can stand back from your subject when using this lens and still get nice, sharp shots without sacrificing quality.
How To Choose The Best Lens For Portraits?
When you are out on the streets capturing portraits, you will face the dilemma of choosing the best lens for portraits.
When I started my portrait photography journey, I faced the same problem.
These tips and tricks will definitely help you with this dilemma:
Try to use the 50mm prime lens.
The 50 mm prime lens is ideal for street portraiture because it can give you perfect perspective without distorting your subject.
If you have a zoom lens then make sure to set your zoom to 50mm before taking a photograph. Once you set your zoom to 50mm, move from left to right to get your subject into focus.
The depth of field will be enough to give you good results.
The second tip is to make your subject feel comfortable.
Talk to people in order for them to get comfortable in front of your camera.
Best Canon Lens For Portraits – Wrapping Up
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is a great lens for portraits, especially weddings.
This is because it’s inexpensive, light weight and produces sharp images.
The f/1.8 aperture allows you to shoot in lower light situations without flash and still get a fast shutter speed to freeze action.
It will take great portrait photos that are sharp from corner to corner even at f/1.8.
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens is a very popular portrait lens and is one of the least expensive “L” lenses in this focal length range.
It performs very well wide open and has fast focusing capabilities. Which are needed when trying to capture that special moment during a wedding reception, or other events where timing is critical.
I have been using my 50mm f/1.4 lens for over five years with great results on many different camera bodies including 1D Mark II through 5D Mark III,1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II bodies.