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Best Lens For Portraits

Best Lens For Portraits

Getting the perfect shot is a combination of skill, magic, and resources.

No matter how talented you are, without the right equipment, you’ll never be able to get the same quality of photograph that a photographer with a better camera could capture. Cameras aren’t the only part of the equation, though — professionals know that the lens you use is practically just as important.

When it comes to finding the best lens for portraits, you need to do your research and invest in the option that will do your subjects justice.

What Makes a Good Portrait Lens

There are a few key features you should look for when deciding on a portrait lens.

Whether you are planning on shooting pets or weddings, capturing the perfect portrait is highly dependent on having the right lens.

Some of the criteria you should consider in your search include:

  • Durability: Different lenses are made of different materials, and it’s important to find a model that’s built to last. Lenses with bodies made of aluminum or polycarbonate are likely a reliable investment.
  • Compatibility: Of course, you need to ensure that the type of lens you opt for is compatible with your camera. There are many types of lenses, and each one is made specifically for its compatible camera.
  • Aperture Size: Different lenses have different size apertures, and there is some debate surrounding how aperture size correlates to quality. For portraiture, though, most photographers generally advise a wide aperture around f/2.8-f/5.6 for the best quality lens.
  • Material Quality: There are many types of materials used in camera lenses, the most common simply being glass, but other materials such as plexiglass and quartz are also somewhat common. Glass is typically the most durable and highest quality.

These are just a few of the features you should investigate before you make the leap and invest in your next lens for portrait photography.

Is 85mm or 50mm a Good Portrait Lens?

When you’re weighing up the pros and cons of an 85mm vs. 50mm lens, there is clearly appeal to both.

Just as the right lens often depends on what your preferred specifications are, the right focal length is a matter of preference rather than superiority.

Consider these differences between the two types of lenses:

  • Shooting Distance: Shooting portraits can be an intimate experience, and every photographer has their own methodology for connecting with their subject and capturing the best shot. As such, photographers should know that the minimum distance to focus with an 85mm lens is 2.8 feet, whereas the minimum distance with a 50mm lens is 1.15 feet. These are obviously averages, some lenses have shorter and longer mimimum focus distances, so be sure to check out the specs if this is important to you.
  • Price: If you are on a budget, you might be wondering which of these is the more affordable option. More than likely, you will find that the 50mm lens is the more accessible of the two.
  • Results: Lastly, you will see that the different lenses simply produce different results. You will have an easier time capturing full body shots with a 50mm lens, but an 85mm may be more flattering to subjects.

Whether you opt for 50mm or 85mm, you should keep in mind that versatility is key.

Experimenting with different lenses can help you develop your own signature style and solidify what your preferences are when you are shooting portraiture.

Our Top Lens Picks For Portrait Photography

Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 Lens

With an aperture range from f/2.8 to f/22, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 Lens is as versatile as it is smooth. Its nearly seamless body might give the false impression that this is a simple accessory, but on the contrary, it comes loaded with features that will attract novice and pro photographers alike.

The optical image stabilisation offers an additional level of security for the moment of capture and its linear autofocus mirror optimises your camera’s performance. Designed for medium-distance shots, your subjects will shine with this tool in your hands.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens

Few lenses can rival the innovative coating on the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens that repels both water and oil from its surface. Preventing sticking, it allows substances to be easily wiped away, even in the most challenging of shooting conditions.

If this were the only feature of the lens, you would stand to be impressed, but you can also expect dust- and splash-proof design, an intelligent operating system, a barrel constructed from magnesium alloy, and a hypersonic AF motor.

Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens

If you’ve opted for an 85mm lens, you’ll have a hard time finding better than the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens.

This model is designed for precision shooting, with its super low reflection multi-coated barrel and an aperture range from f/1.8 to f/16. Add its large diameter front glass element to the mix, and it’s clear why this is such a popular option amongst new photographers, professionals, hobbyists, and collectors alike.

Pentax-D FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM HD AW Lens

There are plenty of situations in portrait photography where you will find yourself shooting in low light. Not every lens is crafted for such an occasion, but the Pentax-D FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM HD AW Lens is, and it will produce the results you seek.

This lens is created with an ultrasonic motor, as well as a rounded nine blade diaphragm — providing smooth and pleasing bokeh. In addition, the 15 lens elements work well to reduce flare and ghosting.

Where to Find the Best Prime Lens for Portraits

Portraiture is one of the most rewarding fields of photography, and producing beautiful results is entirely depending upon having the right equipment.

You need the right lens for the job, and these options are a few of the best models on the market.

If you are ready to purchase a high-quality prime lens that is both affordable and functional, look no further than C.R. Kennedy.

C.R. Kennedy is one of Australia’s leading distributors of cameras and photographic equipment. We offer a wide range of DSLR, mirrorless, full-frame and action cameras.

If you need more information check out more articles on the C.R. Kennedy blog.