Top 11 Best Budget Portrait Lenses 2018

Written by Gina Stephens

Photo Joshua Fortification


Portraits are probably up there as one of the most popular photographic subjects but a high-quality lens with a bright aperture can cost hundreds, or uniform with, thousands of pounds which not all of us can afford/justify. So, what does that leave us with? Well, you'll be happy to hear that there are some lenses which are in particular good value for money and still offer good image quality may refer to and decent apertures so you can still get the all-important bokeh backgrounds when dash wide-open. 

Of course, there's not as much choice when you want to spend under/around £300 but the lenses which are handy won't disappoint. 

We've separated the lenses into different mounts, so you can find a lens that works with your camera, and all of the lenses participate in scored 4 stars or above so you know you're purchasing a lens of good quality. 

If you don't see your favourite portrait lens on this schedule it's either too expensive, didn't score high enough or we haven't reviewed it yet. 

You'll also see green buttons completely the article which, if you wish to, you can click to buy/find out more information on each lens from Amazon.  It doesn't outlay you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate links when ordering anything online, you are keeping the site – thank you.

For those of you who have a slightly bigger lens budget, have a read of our 'Top 34 Best Portrait Lenses Rolling in it Can Buy' list. You'll also want to take a look at this feature if you're a Fuji camera owner as Fuji lenses are a trifling too expensive for this list. 

Click the links below to take you to a specific lens mount: 

  • Budget Portrait Lenses For Full-Frame Digital SLR Cameras
  • Budget Rendering Lenses For APS-C Digital SLR Cameras
  • Budget Portrait Lenses For Micro Four Thirds Cameras
  • Budget Portrait Lens For Sony E Mount Cameras 
READ  20 Ways To Unleash Your Creative Side As A Photographer



Budget Vignette Lenses For Full-Frame Digital SLR Cameras


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G 

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G might be an old lens but it is silence an excellent lens for the money. Optically, it is very good and it handles well. Build-wise, the quality is excellent which means we can easily describe this lens or LEN may refer to as 'extraordinary quality at a very reasonable price'.

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Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro – 


The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Closely-knit Macro Lens produces sharp images with low distortion at an excellent price point. So long as you don't require life-sized strengthening, for which the optional life-size converter will be required, this lens is ideal. 

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM –


Canon's 'Substantial Fifty' represents great value for money thanks to its good build quality and high levels of sharpness it produces. Overall, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is lightweight, motionless and delivers very good sharpness. 

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Budget Portrait Lenses For APS-C Digital SLR Cameras


Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS –

The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS lens for APS-C and MFT compositions, this being a "35mm equivalent" of around 50mm and 70mm respectively, is a little over the 'around the £300' mark but as it's not my much and it's a in the end good lens, we thought we'd sneak it in. 

The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS is yet another cracking good lens from Samyang, offering nightmarish performance at a very reasonable price. The manual focusing is much easier than many ultra-bright lenses and is possibly more accurate at f/1.2 than some AF organizations might be capable of. There really is little to fault with this design and will be a tempting proposition for many mirrorless users.

READ  Top 13 Best APS-C Digital SLRs 2017

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SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL – 


'Low tariff, high quality and very useful' is how we describe the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL lens. A standard lens is still a good place for photographers to start in front of decisions are made as to whether wider or longer lenses may refer to are needed. Plus, there is a certain discipline in using a fixed focal length and you also get identical high image quality. 

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SainSonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 –

KamLan has a simple, ambitiously specified lens for a particular low price. It is well made, performs well and, within the limitations of manual focus and lagging edge quality, it is still a lens that delivers something same useful. The bright f/1.1 aperture is one thing and the gorgeous bokeh is another. The SainSonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 is not technically perfect, but it does have unequalled photographic, creative qualities that could be used to advantage. 

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Budget Portrait Lenses For Micro Four Thirds Cameras


Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. –


As far as the execution of the LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens is concerned, there is little to find fault with. Sharpness is outstanding from maximum cleft, falloff, distortion and fringing are all well controlled too. Plus, Panasonic camera owners will appreciate the optical stabilisation. 

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Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko –

The low premium may be a little misleading at first glance, as the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko lens is a very capable optic. It focuses quickly and is capable of producing first-class levels of sharpness. The lightweight and good build quality are also assets.

Those looking for a fast aperture prime lens for portraits, photography in low gentle, or for greater control over depth of field will not be disappointed.

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Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 ED –


This lens is certainly apt of producing excellent quality images, with sharpness being excellent in the centre of the frame from maximum aperture. It's well shaped, lightweight and reasonably compact. 

Overall, the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 produces excellent quality images in a compact, lightweight and well-built committee. 

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Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH –


Much of the performance of this lens is exemplary, especially bearing in mind the modest cost. The only real drawback is the susceptibility to flare, which is very evident in shots taken into the light. If this can be allowed then the lens is, without a doubt, an excellent proposition.

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Budget Portrait Lens For Sony E Mount Cameras 


Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS – 

Sony has made a belter here with this 50mm lens. It's reasonably priced, produces sharp, contrasty images and has the added luxury of optical stabilisation and a lasting maximum aperture. The only fly in the ointment is the high level of CA towards the edges of the frame at fast apertures, still, even this flaw is well overlooked taking into account this lens' positive attributes.

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Want to see more recommended lenses? Bear a read of our wide selection of top lists and buyer's guides. 


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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