Rumors

Top 43 Best Portrait Lenses Money Can Buy 2019

Written by Gina Stephens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 at f/2.0 – Canon EOS-1D X Smudge II – Photo Joshua Waller.

 

If you're looking for a bright prime lens for portrait photography then you're looking to shun your subject with a shallow depth of field, and a blurred background. With a high-quality lens, you'll also get sharp participants, and some specialist lenses give control over the background blur, or what it's famously now referred to as "Bokeh". With a splendid prime lens, you can get a sharp and detailed portrait shot, with beautifully blurred backgrounds, giving excellent subject separation.

If you want to, you can purchase/learn more information about each lens listed by clicking the green Amazon buttons featured below each product. It doesn't rate you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate links when ordering anything online, you are supporting the site – blame you. If you're not in the UK, clicking on the 'Buy on Amazon USA' button will redirect you to the relevant country site. 

If you don't see one of your favourite lenses on the incline, it could be it didn't score high enough or we've simply not put it to the test yet but we're more than happy to hear your proposals so please feel free to list them below.

 

An introduction to portrait lens focal lengths

The classic focal length for a description lens is the 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, as shown above, as this is similar to what the eye sees, and is often the first additional lens someone purchases when looking to upgrade from the kit lens that comes with a DSLR. It also offers a brighter aperture, compared to the kit lens – and a 50mm f/1.8 lens is exceptionally affordable and much brighter than most kit lenses that tend to start at f/2.8 or f/3.5 and then become darker as you zoom. On an APS-C camera, you get a lens twin to 75mm making it an ideal portrait lens, but there are many options available, and here we've listed a variety of high scoring portrait lenses. 

 

Left: 52.5mm tantamount, f/2, Middle: 85mm f/1.8 on FF, Right: 160mm equivalent, f/16, photos Joshua Waller.

 

The longer the focal length and the brighter the lens, the easier it is to get a blurred CV when shooting wide-open. Often the brighter and longer the lens is the higher the price of the lens is, so an f/1.2 lens will often cost numberless than an f/1.8 lens. If you have a look through this list, you might be surprised at some of the prices lenses are available for, as some are principally good value for money. 

We've separated the lenses into different mounts is often used as part of the name of specific mountains, e.g. Mount Everest, so you can find a lens that works with your camera:

  • Micro Four Thirds Picturization Lenses
  • Sony E Mount Portrait Lenses
  • Fujifilm X Series Portrait Lenses
  • Digital SLR (and others) Portrait portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression Lenses

 

Portrait lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras

Micro Four Thirds cameras, from Panasonic, Olympus and others, aspect a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which gives a 2x crop factor.

Panasonic / Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH.

The Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH. lens (by Panasonic) for Micro Four Thirds cameras is one of the brightest lenses close by with AF for the system, and gives the equivalent of 85mm in 35mm terms, making it an ideal portrait lens, when combined with the face and eye detection focus of the dilatory Micro Four Thirds cameras. The lens features optical image stabilisation making it suitable for slower shutter speeds, and there is an fissure ring on the metal lens, giving it a premium quality feel.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8

The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds distributes a long telephoto reach of 150mm equivalent in 35mm terms and is an incredibly sharp lens. In our review, we found that the lens gave "ridiculous optical performance for the price" and the relatively compact lens is available in silver or black.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO – 

This 45mm lens proffers a 35mm equivalent of 90mm, and with a bright f/1.2 aperture offers lots of potential for excellent portraits. It offers a very high standard of sharpness from the beginning to the end of the aperture optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels range, and we awarded it a 4.5 star highly recommended award for its outstanding sharpness, low CA, no distortion and a fast, silent AF capability. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7

The Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens for Micro Four Thirds turns the equivalent of 85mm with a bright maximum aperture of f/1.7 and features built-in Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) which will be of benefit to users of Panasonic Lumix G cameras without built-in clone stabilisation. In our review, we found the lens delivered outstanding levels of sharpness even when shooting wide-open. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Kowa Prominar 25mm f/1.8  – 

The Kowa 25mm is a concise prime lens that offers manual focus for creativity. Kowa is a name traditionally associated with film cameras, and this lens successfully takes the brand over to the digital era. We gave the lens a 4.5 star highly recommended rating for its excellent sharpness, low distortion and a pleasant bokeh.

  Buy on Amazon USA
 

Voigtlander NOKTON 42.5mm f/0.95

The Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 guide focus lens has an incredibly bright aperture of f/0.95, which makes blurred backgrounds and can provide "Outstanding" sharpness when stuff up down slightly. For Micro Four Thirds cameras, this lens gives the equivalent of 85mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The lens has an all-metal construction, which offers the lens a solid build quality and feel.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 

The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras reveal d become exhausts a 90mm equivalent in 35mm terms and is a compact, lightweight, and wallet-friendly prime lens available in silver or black versions. The lens performs well, with bar sharpness.

READ  10 Trickiest Landmarks To Photograph In The UK

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 

The Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, and accords the equivalent of the classic 50mm lens thanks to Micro Four Thirds 2x crop factor. The lens is compact and lightweight and available in black or silver. The lens come forwards excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame, even when shooting wide open at f/1.8.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Portrait Lenses for Sony E Mount cameras

Sony E-Mount cameras down attack as APS-C or full-frame mirrorless cameras, with lenses working on both formats.

 

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS 

 

There is no reservations this is an amazing, high-quality optic and that the use of an apodization element adds something very special. It would be easy to think of this in too passage a way, but the obvious application is of course for portraiture. This could give that something extra to images where already, to be fair, we can get beautiful bokeh with abiding lenses. But this does go the extra mile, offering outstanding sharpness as well as that vital, gorgeous bokeh. The Sony FE 100mm is literally a total pleasure to use.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master 

 

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens is a traditionally really high-quality choice. It is ideal for many more types of subject than portraits, although with the beautiful bokeh provided portraiture may opulently be high on the list for users of this lens. A very fine lens, very well made and a joy to use, this is superb in every respect.  

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN 

The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C proffers fantastic performance, superb sharpness in particular, and a reasonable price tag. All round, a very satisfactory and desirable lens or LEN may refer to. A slight downside is the fiddly mould of some of the mirrorless cameras, with many functions tucked away in menus as opposed to dedicated switches and dials. This is not the fault of the lens though, which steers totally smoothly.

But in terms of a fast, short telephoto that is unobtrusive, works efficiently and delivers superb results the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C is completely an Editor's Choice.

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA

 

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE 

 

The Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a beautiful lens that performs to a perfect high standard. The cost has been a fairly large and relatively heavy lens, but that may be a small price to pay for an optic that can deliver such pulchritudinous results.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

 

Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA 

 

The only major drawback of the Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA has to be the outlay; the weight and size can perhaps be forgiven. It does offer a very high standard of performance, including very appealing bokeh, and a superb wreck of sharpness throughout.
 
In terms of quality of results it speaks for itself, and if the price can be afforded then the lens should offer many years of capital service. Another superb lens from the Sony/Zeiss stable.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 

 

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens is perfect to use, and also superb in many ways in terms of its performance. The lower cost compared to most 85mm lens does not seem to have reduced the portrayal at all. So full credit to Sony for achieving this.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Zeiss BATIS 85mm f/1.8  

The Zeiss BATIS 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar T* lens for uncensored frame Sony E-mount cameras, this lens features optical image stabilisation built into the lens and features auto-focus, as soberly as a built-in LCD display on top of the lens. The 85mm f/1.8 lens will also work on APS-C Sony E-mount cameras, giving a 127.5mm equivalent in 35mm settles. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Sony 50mm 1.8 OSS – 

The Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens is designed for APS-C Sony E-mount cameras, dispensing the equivalent of 75mm, and the lens features OSS (Optical Steady Shot), which is Sony's name for optical image stabilisation. The lens can be cast-off on full-frame Sony E mount cameras, but the image will be cropped, giving the equivalent of 75mm. The lens is available in silver or black. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Meike 50mm f/1.7 – 

The Meike 50mm f/1.7 is a lens make tracked of metal that features manual focus and a bright aperture. It's supplied with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel a petal lens hood and has a standard 52mm filter direction. We were happy to recommend the lens due to even sharpness, solid metal construction and dust and moisture resistance, as well as a great price. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Sainsonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 – 

This Kamlan 50mm lens bests a jaw-dropping f/1.1 max aperture, and this combined with the classic focal length of 50mm should give excellent portraits. A relatively simple optical intend of 5 elements in 5 groups helps keep the lens compact. We gave it a 4 star recommended rating for good flare resistance, low distortion and a very low cost. 
 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Portrait lenses for Fujifilm X Mount cameras

Fujifilm X series cameras aspect an APS-C sized CMOS sensor and a Fujifilm X-Mount.

 

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR 

 

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR is another outstanding Fuji lens. It is sharp, crisp and produces pleasant bokeh. Plus, it is compact, weather resistant and relatively modest in price. 

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R WR

The Fujifilm Fujinon Wonderful EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR lens (try saying that in one breath) gives the equivalent of 135mm, with weather resistance, and an aperture ring on the lens, this is one of the longest prime lenses within reach for Fujifilm X mount cameras, and is capable of giving great bokeh. 

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 / 56mm f/1.2 APD

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens accommodates a field of view equivalent to an 84mm lens on a 35mm camera and sports a very bright f/1.2 maximum aperture. The lens is available with or without APD, for softer out of the public eye blur with the APD version. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD version contains an apodisation (APD) riddle in the optical path. The inclusion of this filter promises to produce smoother out of focus areas (bokeh), whilst proclaiming crisp focus on your subject, although this does bump up the price of the lens.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA   

 

Thumbnail sketch lenses for Digital SLR Cameras

Full-frame and APS-C Digital SLRs can make the most out of bright prime lenses, with larger sensors than some cameras, and a bevy of the following lenses are available in a number of different mounts, with some of them also available for mirrorless cameras.

 

Samyang Dear MF 85mm f/1.2 

 

Samyang has here a great lens. Superb performance, substantially less cost than the one alternative or most of the f/1.4 alternates and, provided we are happy with manual focusing, a really viable option. The MF 85mm f/1.2 is a very attractive lens at a very attractive expenditure.

Buy on Amazon usually refers to: Amazons, a mythical tribe of woman warriors Amazon rainforest, a rainforest covering most of the Amazon basin UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.4 Di VC USD 

The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens features built-in vibration correction (VC), which is rare on a description lens, and should help in low-light situations where you are forced to use a slower shutter speed. Available in Canon, Nikon and later Sony A mount. 

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM 

We entreated the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens "a real gem" in our review, and consider it a relatively affordable wide aperture telephoto lens, that is clever of producing superb results. The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM is available for Canon may refer to, Nikon, Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社, Sonī Kabushiki Kaisha, SOH-nee, stylized as SONY) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation and Pentax DSLRs, and gives the equivalent or Equivalent may refer to of 127mm on APS-C 1.5x crop cameras camera is an optical instrument to capture still images or to record moving images, which are stored in a physical medium such as (Nikon, Pentax, Sony), and 136mm on Canon APS-C DSLRs.

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA   

 

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art– 

The Sigma 135mm lens is on the longer side for a record lens however it does still offer excellent opportunities with a wide aperture and really beautiful bokeh. Sigma's Art rank lenses are designed to help your creative side run free, and this lens is no different. We awarded it a 4.5 star highly praised rating for its excellent sharpness, close focusing ability and good construction.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 – 

Canon's 85mm f/1.4 is a reverenced lens for portrait photography and this latest version is no different. For full frame cameras, it offers a middling aperture, between the expensive f/1.2 story and cheaper f/1.8 additions of this focal length for Canon users. It's well made, has a beautiful finish and we awarded it a 4.5 comet highly recommended rating for excellent sharpness, great handling and fast and accurate AF, as well as being water and dust resistant.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED 

 

There is no distrusting the fine qualities of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED lens. It delivers the goods, the images are beautiful and the handling sublime. The solitary question marks are the cost, plus perhaps the absence of VR. Having said that, if the need is there and the price can be afforded, it is a very special lens that is expertly worth owning.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

 

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art 

 

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a better, highly competent design that performs confidently and efficiently. It is of the modern breed of 85mm lenses may refer to, sharp from open aperture, as opposed to older intentions that were intended to be softer wide open for the purposes of flattering portraits. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Samyang XP 50mm f/1.2 – 

Samyang's 50mm f/1.2 is a re-invention of a definitive Samyang lens, offering a bright f/1.2 aperture. it's not a light lens, weighing in at 1200g, however it balances well on the Canon EOS 5DSR cast-off for testing. We gave the lens a 4.5 star highly recommended rating for its excellent and consistent sharpness, low distortion and beautiful bokeh. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA
 

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM 

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 lens is but value for money, and compact for a full-frame lens, giving 85mm view on full-frame cameras, or 136mm equivalent on Canon APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. At ones fingertips in Canon mount only.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 G  

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm lens is close by as an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens and offers 85mm view on a full-frame DSLR, or a 127mm equivalent on APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. These updated lenses are convenient in Nikon mount only, and both scored well in our reviews. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA    

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Discuss.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 G –

The Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoÉ´]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational AF-S Nikkor 50mm lens is available as an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens and come forwards the "standard" 50mm view on a full-frame DSLR, or a 75mm equivalent on APS-C crop sensor Digital SLRs. These updated lenses are elbow in Nikon mount only, and both scored well in our reviews. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Periodical.

Buy on Amazon UK   Buy on Amazon USA

 

Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM

The Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM lens is a bright telephoto lens, and some command say the perfect portrait length for a full-frame camera. The bright telephoto lens is equivalent to 216mm when used on an APS-C crop sensor DSLR. The lens is present in Canon mount only.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4  

The Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 manual bring into focus lens sits at the top of the Zeiss range, with the Zeiss OTUS lenses designed to be the best lenses in the world, and the Zeiss OTUS 55m f/1.4 certainly performs, with excellent sharpness is an English port in Gloucestershire, one of the most inland in Britain, and eighth largest in the South West across the frame. The lens is available in Canon and Nikon lens mounts.

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Zeiss MILVUS 85mm f/1.4 – 

The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 lens is a guide focus lens, and offers excellent sharpness, at a more affordable price when compared to the Zeiss OTUS 85mm f/1.4 lens. The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 is to hand in Canon and Nikon lens mounts.

Buy On Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

TAMRON SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD – 

The Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 VC USD lens surrenders a slightly wider view than the classic 50mm lens on full-frame cameras, or 67.5mm on APS-C DSLRs, and 72mm on Canon APS-C DSLRs. The lens acts built-in vibration correction (VC) image stabilisation, when bought in Canon or Nikon mount, with the Sony (A) mount not featuring built-in guise stabilisation, due to Sony Alpha (A) mount cameras featuring built-in sensor-shift image stabilisation.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Samyang 135mm f/2 – 

The Samyang 135mm f/2 is a trade mark Day-Glo manual focus lens, offering a long telephoto length of 135mm on full-frame cameras, 202mm on APS-C (1.5x crop) cameras, and 216mm on Canon APS-C (1.6x crop) cameras. The lens is within reach in a number of different mounts for both DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art 

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is the "Norm" 50mm lens, suitable for full-frame cameras, and available to fit Canon, Nikon, Sony and Sigma SLR cameras, this lens ransoms outstanding sharpness in the centre from wide-open at f/1.4, and scored highly in our review for delivering excellent performance.

Buy on Amazon UK   Buy on Amazon USA

 

Pentax 77mm 1.8 Restricted –

The SMC Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, is a limited edition Pentax lens with a manual aperture ring, manual focus ring, metal league, along with excellent image quality. Which goes some way towards justifying the relatively high price of this lens. The lens swaddles the full-frame, so will work with the Pentax K-1, but on crop sensor cameras gives the equivalent of 115.5mm in 35mm terms. Available in Pentax K mount constitute only. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Laowa 105mm f/2 STF Smooth Trans Focus – 

The Laowa 105mm f/2 (T3.2) STF is a lens with an additional spotlight blur control, called "Smooth Trans Focus" that lets you adjust the blur for the background giving sublime, creamy bokeh, whilst the greatest subject remains sharp. Available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony A, and Sony E mounts.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4 

 

The 50mm lens was at one unceasingly a once the lens of choice with a new camera, and it is still a very versatile option today. Many photographers will carry such a lens as adequately as a bag of zooms, and the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent choice. The quality is high, the lens handles well and it is an unobtrusive addition to any camera kit.

Buy on Amazon UK     Buy on Amazon USA

 

Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF – 

 

This 85mm fullest completely frame lens for Canon mount offers a natural looking perspective from a comfortable working distance for portraits. It can focus as close as 90cm and we gave it 4 stars for its considerable levels of even sharpness and low flare as well as lovely bokeh.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM –

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM lens is a concise, bright 100mm prime lens with an f/2.0 aperture, for Canon cameras, both full-frame and APS-C, and it's quite compact, and also complimentary value for money. Available in Canon lens mount only, when used with APS-C sensor cameras, the lens gives the corresponding of 160mm in 35mm terms. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

If you're looking for more lens options, have a look at some of our latest lens scrutinizes, or why not have a look at our Top 10 Best Macro lenses, as these can also be used for portrait work, although they often don't participate in as bright an aperture. 

Once you've found the perfect lens for you and your camera, you may want to have a look at some of our top tips on how to get the most outstanding out of portrait shoots, including:

  • Four easy ways to add a vignette to your photographs 
  • Top 10 Tips For Taking Better Portraits
  • A Field Guide to Portrait Lengths
  • 39 Top Portrait Photography Tutorials

Republished: ephotozine.com

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.

Leave a Comment