5 Best Sony Lenses for Portrait Photography (Updated for 2021)

Michael Sand
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Sony has an incredible range of cameras available, from compact to full frame. There’s also a stunning selection of lenses at different price points to match the system you choose. Choosing the best Sony lens for portrait photography can be difficult. Especially since the most famous name in portrait photography, David ’Chimp’ Gordon, uses a very unusual camera these days. If you’re looking to get in-depth information from one of the most experienced Sony portrait shooters, then I suggest you’ve a read of the article: Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM (A1) Review …

Sony is definitely the underdog of the full-frame world, so it’s that much more surprising that Sony has several lenses in the portrait lens game, including the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM lens (the best 85mm lens I’ve used) and the Sony 85mm f/1.8. It’s also probably not that surprising that Sony’s flagship 85mm is a longer-than-standard lens, but that does make it less than ideal for portraits.

NameCategoryProduct
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera LensBest OverallSony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera Lens
Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard LensBudget PickSony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS LensUpgrade PickSony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

1. Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera Lens

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Pros:

  • Wide aperture
  • Lightweight
  • Sharp and clear
  • Silent auto focus
  • Low cost when compared to similar lenses

Cons:

  • The F1.8 maximum aperture can be limiting in low-light situations.
  • The lens is manual focus, which can be an issue while shooting video.
  • The fixed focal length is another issue while shooting video.
  • The lens takes time to get used to.

If you want the classic 85mm focal length but your camera does not offer it, then this is a top choice. It is actually one of the sharpest lenses on the market and is surprisingly affordable.

2. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

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Pros:

  • Super-fast aperture of f/2.8-4
  • Over 7 inches long
  • Heavy to hold but balances with the camera
  • There is a lens shade included
  • The zoom and focus rings are really smooth
  • Optical Steady Shot image stabilization
  • Minimum f/22 aperture
  • Made from mostly metal
  • The autofocus is fast and confident
  • When fully zoomed this lens is the size of your torso

Cons:

  • It’s heavy and bulky
  • At longer distances it can get a little soft
  • Incredibly expensive
  • It’s challenging to handhold for long periods
  • Manual focus ring can be tricky to use

3. Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens

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Pros:

  • Solid metal body
  • E-mount lens, which is Sony’s name for lenses that have been built for their camera line.
  • Macro shooting

(AVN) (Newest Version)

The Sony lens offers superb build quality with a solid brass mount to keep things secure. It’s advanced optics produce images with a tack-sharp resolution and a creamy bokeh effect. You get a great, standard focal length for capturing lots of detail that is well-suited for portraiture.

It’s a great lens for a solid price. If you want to upgrade from the lens that came with your Sony camera, this is a pretty good option and a great combination for portraiture.

4. Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master Full Frame Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master Full Frame Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • The fastest autofocus speed in the Sony FE 24-70 mm lens line
  • The most precise and fastest focusing speed in the world
  • Well balanced image quality
  • Has the most advanced coatings
  • New integrated design for smooth, uninterrupted operation
  • The focus system can operate in lower temperatures
  • Nano AR coating is used to lessen flare and ghosting while increasing contrast and clarity
  • 24 mm wide-angle view for impressive landscape photography
  • The most powerful zoom lens in the selection of high-speed and standard zoom lenses
  • Supports AF/MF

Cons:

  • The focus ring does not rotate
  • The quality is not same as Nikon or Canon

`* The 2.8 throughout the zoom range is great for low light situations

5. Sony SEL35F14Z Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Standard-Prime Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sony SEL35F14Z Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Standard-Prime Lens

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The Sony 35mm 1.4 is a great lens to use for portrait photography as it creates a nice natural-looking perspective to portraits.

The lens comes with a fixed aperture of F1.4, which is great when paired with a fast-shooting camera like the Sony A7 series or A6000. However, F1.4 is a fixed aperture, which won’t help when you’re shooting in low-light situations.

The lens comes with a comfortable manual focus ring and has a manual button for zooming in on subjects. Although the lens is mostly plastic, the build quality is really solid and has a weighty feel to it.

Conclusion

Whether you are interested in portrait photography or not, you have heard of Sony’s amazing image sensors (B&H page 1 and page 2).

Sony’s sensors are used in most of the premium full frame cameras available in the market such as Canon 5D III, Nikon D800 and Fuji X-Pro 1.

But their lenses have been creating a buzz too. Even the most popular non-full frame SLR camera Canon 6D uses Sony’s sensors, but the majority of pro and advanced amateur photographers use full frame camera like Canon 5D III and Nikon D800.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera LensBest OverallSony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera Lens
Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard LensBudget PickSony - FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS LensUpgrade PickSony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens