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The 7 Best Sony Lenses For Portraits in 2022

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Best Sony Lenses For Portraits

 

The best Sony lenses for portraits can change your game when it comes to portraiture. Sony has been making waves with its mirrorless cameras, but the old-school DSLRs still pack a portraiture punch!

The best Sony lens for portraiture is the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens. It offers the best all-around performance while giving you professional-level equipment for your next shoot. We’re covering the best Sony lenses, answering “What is the difference between Sony lens E mount and FE?,” and more in this article.

Introducing the 7 Best Sony Lenses For Portraits

Let’s get started with the best of the best.

1. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens: Best Overall

Sony FE 85mm f 1.4 GM Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 85 mm
  • Size: 89.5 x 107.5 mm
  • Weight: 805 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/1.4
  • Autofocus: Yes

Best Sony Lens for Portraits

This is Sony’s best portrait lens, hands down. Everything from the 11-blade circular diaphragm to the stunning low-light performance makes this a great lens for portrait photographers. This lens has everything you need whether you’re just starting out or looking to go pro.

This lens has everything you need and more when it comes to portrait photography. 85 mm is considered the best focal length for portraits, and it’s also a good choice when it comes to other styles of photography as well. This lens will make an excellent addition to any photography kit especially if you’re looking to get into portrait photography.

Pros

  • Unbeatable portrait performance for any Sony E-mount camera
  • A unique bokeh that is as smooth as it gets
  • 85mm is an ideal focal length for portraits

Cons 

  • The cost might be a little high for some budgets
  • It’s a prime lens, so you might need to carry other lenses for different focal lengths

2. Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens: Best on a Budget

Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 FE OSS Interchangeable Standard Zoom Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 70 mm
  • Size: 72.5 x 83 mm
  • Weight: 295 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/3.5 to 5.6
  • Autofocus: Yes

Start Shooting With a Kit Lens

This isn’t just the best on a budget, it’s also the best lens for full body portraits Sony. That focal length range allows you to stay in control of how you do portraits whether you’re moving quickly on the street or posing models for more specialized shoots. Best of all, this kit lens is as cheap as they come.

Kit lenses often have a bad reputation for offering lower quality than they’re more expensive counterparts. It’s definitely true that you’ll get better build quality and cleaner images for more expensive lenses, but kit lenses are fully capable of delivering stunning photography.

This is a great choice for someone looking to build up their photography skills while saving up money for better lenses down the road.

Pros

  • Very cost-effective, if not included, with your E-mount camera
  • 28 to 70mm is extremely versatile and lets you explore countless styles
  • This can cover everything from discrete street portraits to more dedicated work

Cons

  • Kit lenses have a reputation for cutting corners in build and image quality
  • You’ll want to upgrade sooner that you might expect

3. Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens for Sony E: Best Zoom Lens for Portraits

Tamron 35-150mm F 2-2.8 Di III VXD for Sony E-Mount

Specs

  • Focal Length: 35 to 150 mm
  • Size: 9.3 x 7 x 6.3″
  • Weight: 3.42 lb
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2 to 2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Best Zoom Lens for Portraits

This lens will let you zoom into great portraits. This lens allows you to quickly and easily zoom in through all of the most common focal lengths for portraiture. It’s got you covered if you’re looking to do street photography style focal length all the way up through more specialized portraiture.

The Tamron 35 to 150mm packs all of these features into a single lens which is an ideal option for people looking to keep their traveling photography kit simple. The lens is also more than capable of handling different styles of photography such as landscape and wildlife if you’re looking to branch out and try some new styles in between portraiture shoots.

Pros

  • Ideal for travel photographers who want a lens that can handle portraits
  • Covers everything from classic 35 mm portraits to 85 mm and beyond
  • Works as a great choice for people only looking to take one lens on trips

Cons

  • More complex than dedicated prime lenses
  • The lack of image stabilization makes some of the zoom shots more challenging
  • It’s a bit heavy and could be unwieldy on smaller cameras

4. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens: Best for Street Photography Portraits

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Full-Frame Large-Aperture Wide Angle G Master Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 35 mm
  • Size: 76 x 96 mm
  • Weight: 524 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Best Sony Lenses for Street Photography

With this 35 mm lens you will have to zoom with your feet and get social. 35 mm is an ideal length for street photography and portraiture. It allows you to capture a balanced image containing plenty of the background of your subject while still making sure they’re not distorted like you would get with a wider angle lens.

35 mm is a great choice for people who are drawn into the social aspect of street photography. You’ll have to zoom in by physically walking closer to your subject, and it often means letting them know that you’re taking a picture. This is a classic style of photography that offers its own challenges but has rewards unlike any other.

Pros

  • 35 mm is the classic focal length for all styles of photography
  • You’ll capture portraits that have the same feel as film photography
  • Offers a balance between wide shots and tight bokeh

Cons

  • You’ll want more prime lenses to round out your kit eventually
  • 35 mm means you’ll be zooming with your feet
  • Requires you to get social and interact while doing street portraits

5. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens: Best for group portraits

Sony FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master Full Frame Standard Zoom Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 70 mm
  • Size: 87.6 x 136 mm
  • Weight: 886 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Best Sony Lens for Family Portraits

Are you looking for the best Sony lens for family portraits? What about the best Sony lens for group portraits, weddings, events, and so much more. You’re in luck because this GM series lens from Sony covers all of these group portraiture scenarios with total ease.

This is the lens you want by your side if you’re heading out to a paid group shoot. You can rely on this one to take quality pictures of everything from low-light wedding dances to busy corporate events. It’s a real working lens that delivers on gallery-ready quality.

Pros

  • A professional lens for the working wedding photographer as well as the serious amateur
  • This focal length allows you to snap between wide group portraits to tight headshots in a moment’s notice
  • The professional build quality means you’ll be able to rely on this lens while logging hours over countless photo shoots

Cons

  • There’s a high price tag that comes with this kind of quality
  • Beginners might be better off with a kit lens or a Sigma with a similar focal length

6. Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master Lens: Best for Pros

Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM Full-Frame Large-Aperture G Master Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 70 mm
  • Size: 87 x 108 mm
  • Weight: 778 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Best Sony Lens for Outdoor Portraits

Are you ready to check out one of the best Sony lenses for portraits? This 50 mm lens is the best whether you’re shooting indoors or looking for the best Sony lens for outdoor portraits. It’s an ideal focal length built to Sony’s demanding G Master standards.

If you’re a fan of Bokeh, this lens has everything you need and more. The smooth blades create a buttery circular bokeh that very nearly feels like something from an old SLR lens. The body of this lens is also something to behold. You’ll be able to feel the quality while you deliver on pro-level portraits.

Pros

  • You can finally upgrade that Plastic Fantastic 50 mm lens to something more professional
  • 50 mm is recognized as the “natural” focal length that is closest to human vision
  • This lens pulls out all the stops when it comes to features

Cons

  • The cost is pretty high for a 50 mm prime
  • Your skills will need to be pretty high to make the most out of these fine-tuned features

7. Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E: The Ideal Upgrade

Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art for Sony E Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 70 mm
  • Size: 87.8 x 122.9 mm
  • Weight: 835 g
  • Compatibility: Crop Sensor (E) & Full frame (FE)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Ready to Take a Step-Up?

We often talk a lot about portrait lenses that are ideal for professional photographers or entry-level models designed for people who are looking to take their first steps in this exciting artistic field. However, this has the unfortunate side effect of leaving out a lot of people who are looking to upgrade the kit they already own.

This is where this Sigma lens comes into play. This is the best choice if you’re looking to upgrade from the kit lens that came with your camera, and you’ve got portraiture in mind. The price tag of this lens won’t be breaking the bank, but it will still be offering all of the features you need to take your photography to the next level.

This one offers strong performance, and it has a professional level build quality. You wouldn’t look out of place taking this lens to do a wedding photography shoot, modeling, or even doing portraiture out on the street.

Pros

  • This is a solid improvement over the kit lens that still keeps your budget in check
  • Improved the optics, build quality, and offers that professional feel
  • This is a workhorse lens that can handle nearly any photography situation

Cons

  • The lack of image stabilization is a problem when pushing the limits of this lens’s zoom
  • You might wind up being better off saving a little longer and getting a pro-tier prime lens

How To Buy The Right Sony Portrait Lens

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best Sony lenses for portraits. Each of these lenses has pros and cons and picking the right one might depend on your goals for portraiture.

Here are a few more tips to help you pick the right lens for your style.

How To Read A Sony Lens

It can be hard to read the abbreviations that come with photography lenses. This is especially tricky if you’re new to photography and a lot of these terms and industry jargon tends to be a bit more confusing than they are helpful. Let’s break down some of the most common Sony abbreviations, so you could read lenses like a pro.

  • GM – Gold Master lenses are Sony’s highest line of professional lenses
  • G – Gold are the second highest with a professional level build
  • DT – Digital Technology lenses are built with APS-C sensors in mind
  • OSS – Optical Steady Shot references image stabilization built into the lens itself. Sony tends to favor image stabilization in the sensor rather than on its lenses
  • FE – Full E-mount lenses are designed for full frame camera
  • E – These regular E-mount lenses are built for APS-C cameras

Do All Sony Lenses Fit All Sony Cameras?

Not every Sony lens fits every Sony camera. Sony has different mounting standards depending on the camera you’re working with. It’s got fewer options than some of its competitors which mean that its lenses can be interchanged more easily, but you still want to make sure that you have the right mount for your lens and your camera.

The two most common options are A-mount and E-mount. A-mount lenses were used for Sony’s DSLR cameras, but E-mount has taken over since Sony made its switch to mirrorless digital cameras. You can fit A-mount lenses onto E-mount cameras using an adapter.

What Is The Difference Between Sony Lens E Mount And FE?

Plenty of photographers are asking what is the difference between Sony lens E mount and FE?

These are both Sony E-mount Lenses that fit Sony cameras with E-mounts as well as some Hasselblad’s with E-mounts. FE lenses are designed to work on full-frame cameras while E lenses are built for APS-C or crop sensors. You can swap FE and E lenses because they use the same E-mount, but you’ll get a crop-factor magnification when using an APS-C sensor camera.

Which Sony Lens Is Sharpest

The sharpest Sony lens would be a prime lens with a fast aperture. This would allow you to have clear images and powerful performance under any lighting conditions. Prime lenses are the sharpest because they have the least amount of glass in between the light source and the sensor itself.

Zoom lenses work by adding additional pieces of glass inside of the lens as well as mechanical components that allow you to zoom in and out. This gives you the added advantage of being able to zoom, but it does put more glass in between the light source and the sensor which lowers image quality even if very slightly.

Faster apertures also produce much sharper images. They have a way of freezing action in place to make things look absolutely crystal clear rather than the subtle blur you get with slower apertures.

Which Is Better For Portraits 50mm Or 85mm

Deciding on the right focal length is one of the biggest challenges for portrait photographers. You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting the correct focal length, and they all have dramatic impacts on the images that you can capture. 50 mm and 85 mm are often considered the two best focal lengths for portraiture. Here is how they differ.

50 mm is a great choice if you need a little bit of breathing room in your shots. This could be good for doing portraits during street photography, busy events, and even weddings. That extra room also allows you to capture more information in the background which helps your portraits tell a more dynamic story.

85 mm lenses, on the other hand, focus and highlight the person you’re taking a portrait of. They compress the background into a beautiful bokeh that highlights the individual you’re photographing. This is a powerful effect that underscores the individual’s style, expression, and who they are in that moment.

What Is The Best Focal Length For Portraits

The best focal length for portraits depends on the style of portraiture you’re looking to shoot. You’ll need a wider focal length that’s somewhere between 20 and 35 mm for doing big group portraits and a tighter focal length between 50 and 85 mm for doing individual portraits or even small groups like engagement photography. The right focal length for you depends on the style of photography you’re looking at to shoot.

When it comes to shooting portraits, the smaller the number on your focal length means you’ll be able to get more individuals in the frame and do a group shot. The larger the number on your focal length means you’re going to be able to highlight individuals and set them apart from the background. Many professional portrait photographers use zoom lenses to allow themselves to have access to both of these in one lens.

Zoom lenses, like a 24 to 70 mm lens, allow you to dynamically change between a wide group shot and individual close-ups. Wedding photographers tend to love these lenses because they allow them to capture the excitement of a busy group and then quickly zoom in to snap a picture of a happy family member or dancing couple.

Best Portrait Lens For Sony E Mount Full-Frame

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM is the absolute best Sony E-mount lens for a full-frame camera. It offers dedicated performance that’s been built to Sony’s Gold Master standards. This lens gives you buttery smooth bokeh and minimal distortion for portraits.

Prime lenses are typically more expensive than zoom lenses because of a superior build quality. The 85mm Gold Master lens from Sony is no exception. This lens was built with pros in mind, and it certainly delivers on those standards.

How Much Should You Spend on a Portrait Lens?

This is one of the most difficult questions to answer in photography. There’s a belief that spending a lot of money on fancy lenses makes you a better photographer, but this isn’t always the case. More expensive glass does create a better image and offers you a more reliable experience, but your skills are going to be what creates a masterful photograph in the first place.

There are plenty of portrait photographers who are working on equipment that we would consider either outdated or budget. Their skills just happen to be so good that they can outperform the most expensive gear.

With that said, there’s a professionalism that comes with shooting on the best of the best like Sony’s Gold Master lenses. This is especially the case if you were a working photographer and your clients are going to be looking for someone who’s using the best possible equipment.

Conclusion—Which Is The Best Sony Lens For Portrait Photography

When it comes to finding the best Sony lenses for portraits, we’ve dug deep to cover everything from professional prime lenses to budget alternatives. The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens is by far the number one pick when it comes to portrait lenses, but don’t second guess the potential of the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM prime lens or the travel-ready Tamron 35-150mm.

Each of these lenses has something to offer the portrait photographer and they’d all make a great addition to your kit.

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AUTHOR
Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been photographing for the past 20 years and my mission is to simplify this misunderstood art of taking and processing photographs I love.

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