What Lens Is Best For Portraits

By | 23/11/2022

What is the best lens for portraits? This is a question that nearly every photographer asks and all the same there is no definitive respond – suffice it to say that different camera lenses create different looking photographs. However, some lenses are improve suited for portraits than others. We’re going to analyze some different focal length lenses to see which work the all-time for portrait photography. By the end, you’ll know portrait photography techniques and where to notice the best lens for your cost range.

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Best Type of Lens for Portraits

Things to consider

Before nosotros dive into some specific examples, let’s review the technical details that get into choosing the best camera lens for portraits. In photography, at that place are two predominant types of lenses: zoom and prime.

Zoom Vs. Prime? Quick Guide on Choosing the Right Ane

Zoom lenses accept
variable focal lengths
which make them versatile.

Prime lenses have large max apertures, present few structural complications, and are the top pick for many portrait photographers – but they have a
fixed focal length.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both zoom lenses and prime number lenses. If you’re able to, consider video equipment rental options before purchasing an expensive lens; examination out zoom and prime lenses to decide which volition piece of work all-time for your portrait needs.

As well, some lenses are better with certain cameras than others are. For instance, APS-C and micro four-thirds cameras take smaller main sensors than full-frame cameras. It’south important to be mindful of the image you hope to reach earlier shelling out all that coin! For reference: the graphic below shows what differently sized sensors would pick upward with the same lens.

Full Frame would have captured if using the same lens to take this photo via New Atlas

What different-sized sensors – Full Frame, APS-C, MFT, i-inch, 2/three-inch, 1/ii.3-inch, i/three.2-inch – would have captured if using the same lens to accept this photo via New Atlas

We’re going to recommend some popular lenses in the categories of 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 70-200mm – but merely retrieve that these are (mostly) angled at total-frame cameras.

Practiced Portrait Lenses

35mm Lenses

The 35mm lens is typically the widest lens anybody uses for portrait photography. Many photographers would debate that 35mm is too wide for portraits only we thought it would be good to include both ends of the spectrum – wide and telephoto. Since the 35mm lens is so broad, many argue that information technology’southward the all-time lens for family portraits. This next video from photographer Tommy Kuo looks at how we can capture breathtaking portraits with 35mm lenses.

Perfect Portrait Lenses  •  Why I Just Use a 35mm Lens for Portraits

Why are 35mm lenses some of the best lenses for portraits? Well, it has to do with field of view. With a wide focal length, you lot get a large field of view; because of this, you can create compositions that are unique to broad-angle lenses. I think this photo from Kuo’s video explains what I’yard trying to get beyond.

Best Type of Lens for Portraits - Clever Depth of Field in a Portrait by Tommy Kuo

Best Type of Lens for Portraits  •  Clever Depth of Field in a Portrait by Tommy Kuo

Kuo was able to frame the field of study in an enveloping way by shooting this image with a wide-angle lens. Look at how the depth of field guides us to the discipline. All in all, it’s very impressive – and simply possible with a 35mm lens.

Here are a couple of the best 35mm lenses for portrait photography:

Canon 35mm f/1.four 50 USM – Price varies past retailer
  • Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 35mm i:1.four
  • Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 63°
  • Focus Aligning: Rear focusing organisation with USM
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.3m / one ft.
  • Filter Size: 72mm
  • Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: three.1 x 3.4, 20.5 oz. / 79.0 x 86.0mm, 580g

Best Canon Lens for Portraits - Canon 35mm f1.4L USM

All-time Catechism Lens for Portraits  •  Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM

The Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM wide-angle lens consistently ranks atop lists of the best 35mm lenses on the marketplace. Merely is information technology good for portrait photography? The short answer is aye… if y’all’re looking for a 35mm focal length lens.

AF-South DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G – $199.95
  • Mount Type:Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length:
  • Maximum Discontinuity:
    f/ 1.8
  • Minimum Aperture:
    f/ 22
  • Format:
  • Minimum Angle of View (DX-format):
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio:
  • Lens Elements:
  • Lens Groups:
  • Diaphragm Blades:
  • Aspherical Elements:
  • Super Integrated Blanket:
  • Autofocus:
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor):
  • Minimum Focus Altitude:
    0.98 ft.
  • Focus Mode:
    Auto, Manual, Transmission/Machine
  • Filter Size:
  • Accepts Filter Blazon:
  • Approx. Dimensions (Diameter 10 Length):
    2.8 in. (lxx mm) ten two.1 in. (52.5 mm)
  • Approx. Weight:
    seven oz. (200 g)

Best Nikon Lens for Portraits - AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f1.8G

All-time Nikon Lens for Portraits  •  AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

This 35mm lens from Nikon is for DX (24x16mm) format sensors. So if you have a smaller Nikon DX chief sensor, this lens is a great option. And the toll can’t be beat out when compared to FX models.

Best Photos Lens for Portraits in Mid Distance

50mm Lenses

The 50mm lens is one of the best lens sizes for portraits. Many portrait photographers praise 50mm lenses for their versatility and information technology’s not difficult to run into why – they strike a counterbalanced “heart-area” focal length. This next video from Julia Trotti takes a wait at how to use 50mm lenses for portrait photography.

Good Portrait Lenses  •  Why You Demand a 50mm Lens for Portrait Photography

Trotti says 50mm lenses are bang-up for burgeoning photographers considering of their versatility. Consider using a 50mm lens at f/1.2 discontinuity like Trotti says to get a swell shallow depth of field perspective. Here’s a quick size comparison from her video that compares 50mm lenses at f/1.4 and f/i.ii apertures.

Best Canon Lens for Portraits - 50mm f1.4 vs. 50mm f1.2

Best Canon Lens for Portraits  •  50mm f/1.iv vs. 50mm f/1.2

And here’s a quick reference guide to aperture sizes:

What Size Lens for Portraits - Aperture Sizes Explained

What Size Lens for Portraits  •  Aperture Sizes Explained

Aperture sizes can be tricky to think because the aperture size has an changed relationship with the number – so the smaller the f/number, the larger the aperture.

Here are a couple of popular 50mm lenses for portrait photography:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM – $1,399.00
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/one.2
  • Diagonal bending of view: 46°
  • Closest focusing distance: 48 ft. / 0.45m

Best Canon Lens for Portraits - EF 50mm f1.2L USM

Best Catechism Lens for Portraits  •  EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

The Catechism EF 50mm f/ane.2L USM lens has an extremely large aperture. As such, you’d exist right to expect information technology comes with a hefty price tag. But if you’re willing to shell out the greenbacks, the Canon 50mm f/ane.2L is well-nigh unrivaled in its price range for its narrow depth of field item.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens – $219.95
  • Mount Type:Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length:
  • Maximum Aperture:
    f/ 1.8
  • Minimum Aperture:
    f/ 16
  • Format:
  • Maximum Angle of View (DX-format):
  • Maximum Angle of View (FX-format):
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio:
  • Lens Elements:
  • Lens Groups:
  • Diaphragm Blades:
  • Aspherical Elements:
  • Super Integrated Coating:
  • Autofocus:
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor):
  • Minimum Focus Distance:
    1.48 ft. ( 0.45m)
  • Focus Manner:
    Automobile, Manual, Manual/Car
  • Filter Size:
  • Accepts Filter Type:
  • Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length):
    two.8 in. (72.1 mm) x ii.ane in. (52.4 mm)
  • Approx. Weight:
    6.6 oz. (185 g)

Best Nikon Lens for Portraits - Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f1.8G

Best Nikon Lens for Portraits  •  Nikon AF-Southward NIKKOR 50mm f/i.8G

Nikon prides itself on the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens’s background blur – and they should. For its toll, the NIKKOR 50mm does an fantabulous chore of capturing lite and delivering a natural depth of field.

Perfect Portrait Lenses

85mm lenses

Most professional portrait photographers swear by the fact that 85mm is the perfect lens size for portraits. What’due south the biggest benefit of using a 85mm lens for portrait photography? Hashemite kingdom of jordan Matter of Shutterbug says that with the 85mm at f/1.8 “You can shoot at a faster shutter speed without having to increment your ISO and therefore your shots will look sharp and not noisy.” Check out some other reasons why the 85mm is a swell lens for portraits below.

7 Reasons Why an 85mm is the Perfect Lens for Portraits

Portraits taken in depression-low-cal with a 85mm lens at f/1.viii look great – a bespeak that’due south hard to refute after looking at this portrait photograph from Matter:

What Lens is Good for Portraits - Low-Light Portrait by Jordan Matter

What Lens is Good for Portraits?  •  Low-Calorie-free Portrait by Hashemite kingdom of jordan Matter

With such a shallow depth of field, you tin can achieve an excellent bokeh effect.

Hither are some of the best 85mm lenses for portrait photography:

Catechism EF 85mm f/1.viii USM  – $419.99
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Maximum aperture: 1:one.8
  • Diagonal bending of view: 28° thirty’
  • Closest focusing altitude: 0.85m / ii.8 ft

What is the Best Lens for Portraits - Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM

What is the Best Lens for Portraits?  •  Canon EF 85mm f/1.viii USM

The Canon EF 85mm f/i.8 USM lens is regarded as a archetype 85mm lens. It’s an excellent pick for beginner photographers and professional person photographers alike.

Sony 85mm f/1.eight FE – $599.99
  • Minimum Focus Distance: two.63 ft (0.viii g)
  • Maximum Magnification Ratio (X): 0.13
  • Filter Diameter (MM): 67
  • Weight: 13.1 oz (371 g)

What is the Best Lens for Portraits - The Sony FE 85mm f1.8

What is the Best Lens for Portraits?  •  The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

The Sony Atomic number 26 85mm f/1.viii reigns king in the world of 85mm lenses for its sharp paradigm quality and meaty design. Whatever and every Sony camera owner should consider picking up an Fe 85mm lens for portrait photography.

Best Focal Length for Portraits Zoomed

70-200mm lenses

If you want to get crazy with focal length and shoot your portraits from a considerable distance, then you lot’re going to desire a lens that’s bigger than 85mm. But similar I said earlier, the general consensus is that focal lengths between l and 85mm are best for portrait photography. Withal, seventy-200m zoom lenses offer a lot of flexibility. This next video from fStoppers shows how you tin can use a 70-200mm lens to take awesome portraits.

How to Control Your Groundwork with a seventy-200mm Telephoto Lens

Perhaps the biggest advantage of shooting a portrait with a telephoto lens is its compression. When we take photos on telephoto lenses, the field of study becomes compressed and the background appears more blurred. This outcome can be achieved to an even greater degree past widening the discontinuity.

Best Lens for Full Body Portraits - 200mm Portrait Photo by Patrick Hall

Best Lens for Total Body Portraits  •  200mm Portrait Photo by Patrick Hall

As photographer Patrick Hall alludes to in the video, at that place’south no best focal length for portraits. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

These are a couple of the best medium telephoto lenses for portraits:

Catechism EF 70-200mm f/two.8L IS Iii USM – $2099.00
  • Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: seventy-200mm f/2.8
  • Lens Construction: 23 elements in xix groups
  • Diagonal Bending of View: 34° – 12°
  • Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 3.94 ft. / 1.2m
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Max. Bore x Length, Weight: Φ3.five x vii.8 in., approx. three.17 lbs. / Φ88.8 x 199mm, approx. 1440g

What is the Best Lens for Portraits - Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS III USM

What is the Best Lens for Portraits  •  Catechism EF 70-200mm f/ii.8L IS III USM

We’ve officially entered deep (and expensive) waters with the Catechism EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM. Few would argue that the EF zoom lens is anything simply infrequent for its toll. Only if you want a brand-proper noun zoom lens with a pretty big aperture, you’re going to need to pay some big-bucks.

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/two.eight Di VC USD G2 – ~1299.99
  • Focal length: 70-200mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Diagonal angle of view: 34°21′ – 12°21′  (for full-frame format), 22°33′ – vii°59′ (for APS-C format)
  • Optical construction: 23 elements in 17 groups
  • Minimum object distance: 0.95m (37.4 in)
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:6:1
  • Filter Size: φ77mm
  • Maximum diameter: φ88mm
  • Length: 193.8mm (7.6 in) Canon, 191.3mm (vii.5 in) Nikon
  • Weight: 1,500g (52.9 oz) Canon, 1,485g (52.4 oz) Nikon
  • Discontinuity blades: nine
  • Minimum discontinuity: f/22
  • Standard accessories: Lens hood, Lens cap, Lens pouch
  • Compatible mounts: Canon, Nikon, Nikon Z compatibility, Canon EOS R compatibility

Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 Di VC USD G2

What is the Best Lens for Portraits • Tamron SP 70-200 F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

The Tamron SP 70-200 F/ii.8 Di VC USD G2 is a slightly cheaper alternative to the Canon EF model. Both are seventy-200mm zoom lenses and both are neat options for portrait photographers.

Best Lens for Portrait Photography

What is the Best Lens for Portraits?

Now that we’ve explored a diverseness of dissimilar lenses, permit’south answer the question: what is the best lens for portrait photography? Well, it’s certainly subjective, but most photographers would hold that 85mm lenses are the most naturally suited to portrait photography.

That doesn’t mean other lenses are bad though – quite the contrary: 35mm, 50mm, and lxx-200mm lenses are all groovy options for portrait photographers looking to requite their portraits a unique look. And as e’er, the lens is just one of the elements in constructing a neat portrait photograph. Don’t forget to pay equal attention to framing, lighting, and all of the other elements that go into portrait photography!

Upwards NEXT

Black and White Portrait Photography

Want to give your portrait photograph a monochromatic look? Up next, we break down how to shoot black and white portraits, with digital and film examples. Past the finish, you lot’ll exist prepared to shoot a archetype looking portrait photograph that keeps the focus on low-cal and shadow.

Up Next: Black and White Portrait Photography →

Source: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-the-best-lens-for-portraits/