I am often asked what is the best focal length for portraits or what is the best lens for portraits. This is one of those questions that I usually expect to receive from those who have recently started photography.
There is nothing wrong with that, which is why I made this episode since the theme can still be interesting and inspiring for everyone.
Best Lense For Portrait
First of all, it is good to understand that portrait lenses are not such because someone decided it, but simply because they guarantee particular performances that are suitable, precisely, in portraits.
Specifically, the best lens for portraits is the one that could include at least two of these characteristics among its characteristics:
- guarantees less distortion
- allows you to get a good blur
- it allows you to take a portrait from a distance (some people are interested in this aspect).
Best Lense For Portrait | Comparison Table 2022
|Sony - E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens (SEL50F18/B), Black||Sony||Check Price|
|Auto-Focus Prime Lens VILTROX 85mm F1.8 Mark II STM Full Frame Portrait Lens for Sony E-Mount Camera A7III A7RIII A7SII A7II A9 A7 A6500 A6400 A6300||EBYPHAN||Check Price|
|Viltrox 56mm F1.4 Autofocus Lens for Fuji,Large Aperture APS-C Format Portrait Lens for Fujifilm X-Mount Cameras X-T200/T30/T4/T3/A7/Pro3 with USB Upgrade Port||VILTROX||Check Price|
|4K HD Telephoto Lens Portrait Phone Telephoto Lens No Distortion with Clip Compatible with iPhone Max Xs X Compatible with Phone||Andoer*a||Check Price|
|Meike 85mm f1.8 Large Aperture Full Frame Auto Focus Telephoto Lens for Canon EOS EF Mount Digital SLR Camera Compatible with APS C Bodies Such as 1D 5D3 5D4 6D 7D 70D 550D 80D||Meike||Check Price|
|Lightdow 85mm F1.8 Medium Telephoto Manual Focus Full Frame Portrait Lens for Canon EOS Rebel T8i T7i T7 T6 T3i T2i 4000D 2000D 1300D 850D 800D 600D 550D 90D 80D 77D 70D 50D 6D 5D etc||Lightdow||Check Price|
|VILTROX 85mm f1.8 Mark II for Fuji x Mount 85mm ii Lens AF Auto Lens Portrait Fixed Focus Lens for Fujifilm Fuji X Mount Camera X-T3 X-T2 X-T30 X-T20 X-T10 X-T100 X-PRO2||VILTROX||Check Price|
|TAMRON - SP 85 mm F/1.8 Di VC USD for Nikon DSLR Cameras - Black - F016N||Tamron||Check Price|
|Nikon 2137 50mm f/1.8D Auto Focus Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Renewed)||Nikon||Check Price|
Best Lense For Portrait | 2022 Products Overview
Unrivaled Guide to pick The Best Lense For Portrait in 2022
Best focal length for portraits full frame
So in a nutshell what focal length should we go looking for on our lenses? My advice is to absolutely not go below 50mm, indeed to be precise, a telephoto lens between 50mm and 200mm is perfect for close-ups and busts.
When it comes to photographic equipment, good lenses are one of the best things you can spend your money on. An entry-level camera with a high-quality lens can take stunning photos, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. In other words, you get a lot more when you invest in a good lens than in a good body.
Very small focal lengths
I took very interesting portraits with a fisheye, taking care to keep the camera perfectly parallel to the ground and positioning the subject in the center, where the distortion introduced by the lens is minimal, but certainly, these are portraits, let’s say, rather particular and not at all. canons.
Which aperture to choose?
Logically it is always better to have a bright lens. But what does it mean? The maximum aperture , so that it is also able to blur the background when needed to give greater depth to the photo. This effect when amplified is called the Bokeh effect .
But let’s start looking at which are the best portrait lenses.
Best lens for portrait photography Wide angles
With a modest wide-angle, let’s say a 24mm, we can take very dynamic and not at all trivial portraits – for example very suitable for some secondary shots in a wedding album.
If we choose to use a wide-angle, between 12mm and 35mm, remember that these lenses, the more their focal length is reduced and the more they introduce perspective distortions, which increase if we tilt the camera, shooting from above or below.
Let us also remember that, with a wide-angle, we are forced to shoot rather close to our subject, but if we get too close, we run the risk of making the subject’s face more like a caricature and his body very close to a puppet, if Taken from above, the subject’s head could be enormous compared to the body, while shooting from below, we would obtain the tragic “matchstick effect”, long and elusive legs and an insignificant head.
But if used judiciously, for example by composing carefully, wide angles can give us very dynamic and not at all obvious portraits.
Let us also remember that with a wide-angle the concept of “shallow depth of field” practically does not exist, so we compose our shot considering that all the elements will be in focus.
Normals usually mean focal lengths around 50mm.
A 50mm still offers a fair chance to include a bit of environment and contemporary free from perspective distortions, typical of shorter focal lengths.
Personally, this focal length does not intrigue me, although it allows you to take a portrait with a certain simplicity. Let me explain: the 50mm, for my taste, does not offer a sufficiently shallow depth of field, but neither does it offer a shooting angle that includes enough environment. So, usually, I opt for a more radical choice, either I go down, and I use a wide-angle, or I go up, and fish between a moderate canvas or a real canvas,
However, this does not mean that 50mm are not suitable for our purposes, on the contrary, they are often the most valid solution, because perhaps the scene does not offer many possibilities of moving away from the subject, a necessary condition when using a tele.
The 85mm, the prince of portrait lenses
The 85mm deserves a paragraph all to itself. He is truly the prince, if not the king, of portrait lenses.
It offers results absolutely free of distortion or perspective crushing – purists say that by shooting at about 2m from the subject you get a portrait with a rendering very similar to that of looking at reflections in the mirror (seeing is believing).
If we then choose a quality model, the bokeh (the blur) could also reach a quality capable of taking your breath away.
If you intend to launch into portrait photography, you cannot own one.
Little practical tricks
For a canonical portrait, we try to use large apertures, which offer us a shallow depth of field and therefore produce portraits where the subject is well isolated from the background, for the focal length… let’s re-read above – ha haha.
If we are dealing with more than one subject, we avoid using focal lengths greater than 50mm and try not to use apertures that are wider than f./8, so we will avoid having someone in focus and someone not.
If we are not shooting on a neutral background, we pay A LOT of attention to how much the framed environment hangs over the subject.
If we are not shooting for ourselves, but for the subject, we avoid small focal lengths and if we have an 85mm, let’s mount it without hesitation and set an aperture between f./2.8 and f./5.6.
Pay attention to what we focus, the longer the focal length and the aperture open, the less things will be in focus. Often, with a 200mm at f./2.8, it is enough that the subject is placed by three quarters for the distant eye to be out of focus.
What is the Best lens size for portraits for value for money?
We all agree that having a set of lenses for every situation is very expensive, so the first one I am going to recommend is a lens that does not cost much, which is very bright and is one of my favorites. We find both the Nikon portrait lens and the Canon portrait lens.
It is true that a fixed lens is very bright, but it is also not very versatile, especially for the less experienced. For this reason, I also recommend an excellent middle ground with the 70-200mm that once again you can find from Canon and Nikon.
This line of lenses is also excellent for sports photography and all other photographic genres where you need a blurry background to be able to give more prominence to the subject in the foreground. In fact, if we look at the lenses for sports photos, we find many 70-200s.
Logically the depth of field is very limited, so to be able to use it in a prolific way a small photography course to review all the photographic techniques would not be bad at all.
Now let’s see which close-up lens is right for you for the different manufacturers.