My Favorite Portrait Lenses
I started portrait photography with the Sony a7 mirrorless camera paired with the 28-70mm kit lens. I learned pretty quick I wanted to invest in a higher quality lens for my photography. Especially my portrait photography and fashion work.
I rented a few lenses online for TFP Shoots, zoom and prime, and I narrowed down my favorite portrait lenses. The best lens from the first round of lens rentals was the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8. At the time, the only other lens that I wanted was a traditional 85mm but there were no options for Sony at that time. Later the Batis 85mm and 85mm Gmaster would be released in the Sony lineup.
Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 Lens
This lens is a beauty. It did not come off my camera for the first year, and 90% of my portrait shoots were completed with this lens. It is tack sharp, and pairs well with my Sony a7. Also, with the lens being small and lightweight, I could stay rather inconspicuous in some indoor shoot locations with models.
I read online that all photographers need a great nifty-fifty lens, and this was a winner for me. Focusing is very fast, and I really have no major complaints. As a wide open prime shooter, I wish it was a f/1.4 instead of a f/1.8, but this is small for me. The price for a brand new Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 is still hovering around $998, but you can now find used versions for around $700. I completely believe it is worth the investment, and I’m glad I have one in my camera bag.
Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GMaster Lens
It wouldn’t be until my 2nd year of shooting portraits that I would pick up my own Sony 85mm f/1.4 GMaster. The lens is a pretty hefty investment, but that is the only major downside I can find. It is a lot heavier than my Sony 55mm f/1.8, and it really looks like a full frame DSLR lens.
The 85mm is fairly quick to focus on my Sony a7ii and provides me with extremely sharp portraits. With the addition of the custom side button on the lens, I have it set to Eye-Auto Focus and this makes it a perfect lens for portraits. This is one of the biggest reasons it is one of my favorite portrait lenses. You do have to be careful with the shallow depth-of-field at f/1.4 and making sure both eyes get in focus.
The 85mm runs for about $1,798 brand new online. You can find good used versions for around $1,500 but this is still out of reach for many photographers. I’ve been told the new Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a great alternative to the GMaster version, but I have yet to try it out.
Big investments have made a big difference.
You may not have the budget to get these lenses, but keep in mind there are now more great options on the market for Sony FE mount. I love prime lenses, and the look it gives my portraits when I shoot wide open. I know this look is not for everyone, but I love it for my personal style.
My Camera Gear:
Sony A7 – https://amzn.to/2FgN3L2
Sony a7ii – https://amzn.to/2Fdavsx
Sony 55mm – https://amzn.to/2HtKtTL
Sony 85mm 1.4 Gmaster – https://amzn.to/2qVG3Oo
Sony 35mm 1.4 – https://amzn.to/2HWumiu
Sony 90mm 2.8 – https://amzn.to/2HpRM2I
Sony 24-70 Gmaster – https://amzn.to/2r0RWTo
Batis 85mm 1.8 – https://amzn.to/2HnQ9Te
Meike Grip Sony a7 – https://amzn.to/2HpymuK
Meike Grip Sony a7ii – https://amzn.to/2I1KdfX