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5 Best Sony Lenses for Portrait Photography (Reviewed Oct, 2020)

Last Updated on October 25, 2020 by Dion Lewis

One of the essential things that any aspiring photographer learns is taking good portrait photographs. It is always amazing when you can capture the essence and personality of an individual and also their uniqueness in a portrait photo. However, several factors will affect the way your portrait photograph looks. Some of these factors include your camera, the light conditions, and also the lens that your camera has. When you have the best lens backing up your technical knowledge, you will see the difference as compared to when your lens is the problem. This is why it is always essential to ensure that you have the best lens for your portrait photography.

5 Best Sony lenses for portrait photography (Review)

1. Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22

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Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22

  • It features an ED glass element to improve the sharpness.
  • It has a double linear motor that makes it have quick autofocus.
  • It is affordable.
  • It delivers excellent images for your portrait photography.
  • It has a high focal ratio and a small depth of field.

Sony has designed this lens in a way that makes it work with the full-frame mirrorless cameras. However, it is also perfect for APS-C cameras. The lens has an excellent performance in different areas apart from portrait photography. It has an angle view of 85mm, which makes this lens, perfect for portrait photography. At the same time, its image sharpness is impressive and outstanding throughout its frame since it has a wider maximum aperture which measures f/1.8. In case you are looking for a Sony lens that will enable you to create a background blur or an excellent soft bokeh that will emphasize the subjects of your portrait photography, then this is the perfect Sony lens for you. It has a nine wing rounded aperture provides a lovely bike while the wide sensitive ring makes focusing convenient. It also has a button that controls the autofocus of the lens, making it a perfect Sony lens for portrait photography.

The lens also comes with an ED glass for improving the overall sharpness of the lens and showing rich colors. It is also a safer lens to use since it has a moisture-resistant and dust resistant feature. It has a double linear motor which increases the speed of its autofocus and makes the focusing precise and quiet. Its minimum distance is 2.63 feet which is equivalent to 0. 80m. Apart from the customizable focus hold button, the lens also comes with an AF/MF switch. In case your Sony camera has an OSS built-in, then you could have the best moments taking photographs with this lens for portrait photography.

  • It has quick and almost silent autofocus.
  • Its image sharpness is outstanding and has an incredible soft bokeh.
  • Its wide F1.8 maximum aperture provides the lens to have beautiful defocusing effects.
  • It is water and dust resistant.
  • It lacks image stabilization.

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2. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8

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Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8

  • This Sony lens has a convenient zoom and focusing rings.
  • Its aperture has a fantastic sharpness which starts at f/2.8it has high-speed and accurate autofocus.
  • It also works well when backlighting.
  • The lens is a high-speed standard zoom lens and is user friendly.
  • It provides an optimal range of focal lengths.

For any portrait photographer looking for a high-speed standard zoom lens which is very user friendly, then this is the best Sony lens to invest in. The lens is always in very high demand since it produces very high-quality portraits. It is also very convenient since it offers its users an optimal range of focal lengths. This makes the lens to be suitable not only for portrait photography but also in other types of photography, including sports, weddings, and wildlife photography. This is one of the features that makes it even more suitable for portrait photography.

Several Sony lenses are affected by dim lighting, but this Sony lens has precise and fast autofocus that is never affected by the dim lighting. It has an ergonomic body and a seal, which has protection against moisture and dust. This means that you can take the lens in both indoor and outdoor portrait photography. The fact that the lens is a bit heavy makes it to work best with the last-gen Sony cameras whose stabilization is built-in.

It also features an excellent Optical Steady Shot technology, which provides the lens with perfect image stabilization compensating when the photographer shakes or moves when taking the portrait photographs. The Nano AR coating on this Sony lens suppresses reflections, ghosting, and flares while shooting. It has aspherical elements and 11 blades with a circular aperture which makes the bokeh outstanding. Its direct mechanical focus system, on the other hand, makes the manual focus to be more precise. It also features a G master design that combines the outstanding sharpness and the soft bokeh. Its aperture is constant F/2.8 max and maintains the exposure and depth of the field.

  • It has fast and accurate autofocus.
  • Its construction is very durable.
  • It has a dust and waterproof seal.
  • It produces excellent images.
  • Its image stabilization is amazing.
  • It is heavy.
  • It is costly.

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3. Sony – FE 50mm F1.8

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Sony - FE 50mm F1.8

  • The aperture of this lens makes incredible defocusing effects.
  • Its seven blades create very beautiful bokeh or background blur.
  • It is compact, and lightweight, making it portable.
  • Its metal mount makes the lens, durable.
  • It is one of the Sony lenses that produce very quality and amazing photographs.

Are you looking for the most affordable Sony lens to use in your portrait photography and any other type of photography? This is one of the best Sony lenses that you can ever spend your money on. This Sony lens’s body construction is small and is made of plastic materials, meaning that it is very light for you to carry from one place to another. Its modest and ascetic design makes the optics of this Sony lens for portrait photography to look simple. Although the lens does not have a sector for autofocus, you realize that it is an imposing one when you are working with it.

This portrait photography lens has a vast field of view, while its f/1.8 aperture makes it shoot very amazing photographs even when the level of light is very low. The other thing that makes this lens a perfect lens for portrait photography is that it comes with a seven-blade aperture, enabling the Sony lens to create gorgeous and amazing defocused bokeh. The compact and lightweight design that this lens feature makes it one of the ideal lenses for the full-frame E mount cameras. The spherical aberration and comes of the lens are monitored and controlled by this lens’s spherical element.

It also has a double gauss configuration, which suppresses the field curvature and its distortion. The lens’s metal mount is made of very high-quality material, making it ensure that this lens for portrait photography is durable and has a sophisticated feel. The fast DC motor focus that the lens has made the lens’s autofocus accurate and very fast. The lens comes with a lens front cap, a lens rear cap, and a hood to ensure that the lens is safe when you are not using it.

  • It produces quality images.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • It has a small body construction and is very light.
  • Its chromatic aberration is relatively lower.
  • Its contrast is very high.
  • It has a pleasant and soft bokeh.
  • Its autofocus is not quiet.

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4. Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6

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Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6

  • It has an Optical Steady Shot feature for image stabilization.
  • It is prices are low, yet the lens has an outstanding performance.
  • It is compact and light and hence making it very portable.
  • Its focal length range makes the perfect lens for portrait photography.
  • The seven rounded blades make the lens produce appealing bokeh.

If you wonder which Sony lens for portrait photography would work best with your full-frame mirrorless Sony camera, this should be the lens you buy. The lens features an Optical Steady Shot image stabilization with nine elements in 8 groups, including three aspherical elements with 1 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass element. This glass element is not only moisture resistant but also dust resistant. Its minimum focusing distance is 35cm, while its max magnification is 0.19x. It comes with a total of 7 blade diaphragms, creating a very fantastic blur. The internal focusing mechanism of the lens barrel does not move when you are shooting your images.

This is one of the lightest Sony lenses since it weighs less than 300 grams, and its body is made out of plastic. It is among the lightest full-frame standard zoom lenses you can ever get in your camera market. It also features a seal that makes it dust-resistant and moisture-resistant also. It has a built-in Optical Steady Shot stabilization, enabling the lens to capture very clear and sharp shots. Since most Sony A7 and A7R cameras do not have built-in image stabilization systems, this lens makes these cameras outstanding with its OSS features.

The zoom ring of this lens for portrait photography is wide and ridged. It has a manual focusing ring controlled using the textured focus ring after it is set on a camera body. It also features a linear motor that enables it to produce smooth, accurate, and quiet focusing. When buying the lens, it comes with a soft case and a high quality plastic lens hood shaped like a petal hood.

  • It is affordable.
  • Its autofocus is quiet, fast, and accurate.
  • It is light in weight and small in size.
  • It features a dust and moisture-proof seal.
  • Its bokeh is beautiful.
  • Its maximum aperture limits depths of field options.
  • The lens lacks hard stops at the end of its ranges, and this makes it difficult for the user to set focus, especially at infinity.
  • Focusing in low light is very difficult.

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5. Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22

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Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22

  • The lens utilizes both annual focus mode and autofocus modes.
  • The length of the lens does not change when in use.
  • Its bokeh is pleasing and smooth since it has 9 rounded blades on its diaphragm.
  • The lens captures the quality and amazing images even when the camera shakes due to its OSS system.
  • Its autofocusing is quiet, quick, and precise.

This Sony lens for portrait photography is designed for the full-frame E-mount cameras. The telephoto macro lens can also be compatible with the APS-C systems since it provides a focal length of 135mm. The actual macro design features 1:1 magnification along with a minimum focusing distance of 11inches. The lens also comes with two extra-low dispersion elements, a super ED element inclusive. These elements are meant to reduce the chromatic aberrations and color fringing, improving the colors’ neutrality and clarity.

The lens also features one aspherical element that reduces astigmatism, compiled curvature, and monochromatic aberrations. The lens features a Nano AR Coating system that reduces surface reflections, ghosting, and flares. The Nano AR coating system also increases contrast and color rendering when the lighting conditions are strong. The Optical Steady Shot stabilization minimizes the camera shake’s appearance, ensuring that the portrait photographer captures sharper images at slower shutter speeds. It also has a Direct Drive SSM system and an internal focus mechanism, making the autofocusing performance fast, quiet, and precise.

The internal focusing design also enhances the lens’s usability by improving the speed and ensuring that the length of the lens does not change when shooting. The lens also features a focus range limiter switch, which allows the user to constrain the usable focus range, and a focus hold button that manually stops the autofocus at a certain point. Using the lens, you can either slide the focus ring forward or backward to shift from the manual focus mode to the autofocus mode and from the autofocus mode to the manual focus mode. It has nine rounded blades in the diaphragm that make the lens produce impressive and soft bokeh.

  • It has a fast, precise, and accurate autofocus.
  • Its sharpness is unique and perfect.
  • It’s a nano-coating that reduces reflections, flares, and ghosting.
  • Its ergonomics are brilliant.
  • It has a built-in Optical Steady Shot image stabilization.
  • It is expensive

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What to look for when buying a Sony lens for portrait photography

Any photography equipment is imperfect when it does not have the right lens. This is why you need to spend your money buying the right lens. There are so many types of lenses that you can buy in the market today, making it very hard for you to select the best lens for portrait photography. When you are buying Sony lenses for portrait photography, you have to be very keen to ensure that you make the right decision. You have to remember that the decision that you make will determine the type of portrait photographs that you will be taking. In case you want the best, you have to make sure that you buy the best Sony lens for portrait photography. This is why you have to make sure that you look for the following things in the lens that you will be buying.

The focal length of the lens

This is one of the things that you will have to look for in the Sony lens that you will be buying for your portrait photography. Several factors will determine the focal length of the Sony lens for portrait photography that you will be selecting. Some of these factors include the shooting space, number of subjects, and the distance between you and your subjects. Therefore, you have to ensure that you consider these factors to ensure that you pick the right Sony lens for portrait photography.

Type of lens

The Sony lenses for portrait photography are of two types. There are zoom lenses and prime lenses. You have to ensure that you look for the type of Sony lens that you will be buying before you select it. The zoom lens is more versatile and can capture photographs at different focal lengths. They can also enable you to switch between different perspectives and styles. The prime lens on the other side is lighter and captures sharer and better portrait photographs. This makes it the most preferred lens for portrait photography.

Sensor size

Never forget to look at the sensor size of the Sony lens for portrait photography that you will be buying. This is because the sensor size determines the focal length of the lens you will be using

Basic things you need to know about portrait photography

Most photographers who deal with portrait photography struggle so much for them to take portrait photographs that have a professional look. Most of them cannot do it, not because they cannot, but because they do not have some basics of portrait photography that would help them fulfill their dreams. Therefore, in case you are in such a situation, and you would like to take your portrait photography to the next level, it would be essential if you learned the following portrait photography basics.

1. Focusing on your subject

Your subject is an essential aspect of your portrait photography. Before you begin capturing your shots, you should connect with them to know something about their styles and what you will be focusing on in the photography. You can also take time and discuss some ideas about the shoots with your subjects to factor out the abilities and preferences of your subjects.

2. Picking the right background for subjects

In portrait photography, your background is as important as your subject. Therefore, one of the mistakes that may hinder you from succeeding is selecting a distracting background that takes your subject’s attention in your photos. Therefore, it is always essential to make sure that you are selecting the perfect backgrounds before you begin taking portrait photographs.

3. Preparing your subjects

Most people forget that even those portrait photographers who own the most expensive photographs may have issues with their portrait photography. This is because the camera is not the only thing that makes the photographs perfect. To ensure that your portrait photography, you have to ensure that you prepare your subject to ensure that they are very comfortable and relaxed as you capture them in your portraits.

4. Proper lighting helps

Your lighting condition is one of the many factors that will determine the type of portraits that you will capture. There are several types of lights that you can use depending on your portrait photography situations. However, the best source of light for portrait photography is natural light. Other sources of light include sunlight and window lights.

5. Consider a flattering focal length

Focal length also has a significant impact on your portrait photography. This is because it determines the amount of image distortion, which either breaks or makes your portrait photographs.

Buying Guide: Best Sony lens for portrait photography

Selecting the best Sony lens for portrait photography is not a simple thing. Most people get confused when they decide concerning the Sony lens that they will invest in for their studio. To ensure that you make the right decision, it is always essential that you make sure that you have a buying guide that will guide you in selecting the best Sony lens for portrait photography.

1. Consider the type of lens you are buying

When you buy the Sony lenses for portrait photography, you can either buy a zoom lens or a prime lens. The zoom lens has a specific range of focal lengths, while the prime lens is fixed since it has a fixed focal length. While the zoom lens allows you to change the angle of view without moving, this is impossible when you are using the prime lens. The prime Sony lenses are very small and light compared to the zoom lenses, which are heavier and larger.

2. Consider your camera’s sensor size

Another important thing that you have to make sure that you think about when you are buying your Sony lens for portrait photography is considered your camera’s sensor size. This is because the camera’s sensor size will determine the type of Sony lens for portrait photography that you buy.

3. Find out the focal length if the lens

The Sony lenses for portrait photography that you get in the market have a variable focal length. You have to ensure that you determine the focal length that will be perfect for you, depending on your portrait photography needs.

4. Consider the bokeh of the lens

The quality of unfocused parts of your photograph is the bokeh. When the bokeh is soft and smooth, the quality of the portrait photographs is very high. The aperture of the lens determines the bokeh of your images. Therefore, to get a lens with a perfect bokeh, you must ensure that you select the lens with a wider aperture.


Sony is among the companies that have the best lenses that you can ever get for your portrait photography. However, just like in any other type of photography, you have to make sure that you have the best lenses. With the varieties of Sony lenses, you have to ensure that you get the lens that will be perfect for your camera. This means that you have to take some time and find out the lens that you will select among the many in the market. Consequently, investing in Sony lenses is a good idea. This means that you have to be well prepared to select the best Sony lens that will help you take your photography to the next level.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

Photography is my life and I have taken it as my profession after my graduation.

I cover life and motion through my Canon 5D Mark IV.

But when I am a professional, I almost cover everything from fashion, architectural, editorial topics, and corporate lifestyle.

I have worked with clients such as CNN, Alabama State University, Steelcase, LiveStrong and more.

I'm based in Alabama. If you need my service, just feel free to contact me.

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