There’s something incredibly nostalgic about a lens like the Zeiss 85mm f2.4 Loxia. From it’s small size almost mimicking the ZM lineup of glass, to the aperture ring, it just feels like a modern classic. Part of this has been the Zeiss experience, which is something that can’t really be expressed in words and instead only experienced. Previously only reserved for the rich, Zeiss lenses have become more popular with enthusiasts and it’s meant that people also have begun to truly appreciate how much better the image quality can be from a lens like the Loxia. Designed for Sony full frame E Mount cameras, the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4 is capable of delivering truly stunning images and almost never really needs to be stopped down in most situations.
Portrait photography is no doubt one of the those niches of photography that attracts many new photographers to the industry, both as hobbyists and professionals–and finding budget friendly portrait lenses can be tough. That said, the overwhelming majority simply doesn’t have the budget to spend on top class professional portrait lenses, so today we are taking a look at some of the best budget oriented portrait lenses for the Canon EOS System.
If you have another camera system no worries, we will be following this up with budget portrait lens roundups for other systems as well. Previously we have looked at Fujifilm’s X-Series, and will continue on to the other systems after we hit Canon today.
The answer to the question that you’re wondering is yes, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens is indeed much better than the previous version of the lens. At higher megapixels, you start to see the flaws of the older version, but the newer one exudes an image quality that is truly unbelievable. Additionally, it sports a bit of weather sealing. And the ultimate answer to whether or not you should upgrade really has to do with your own intentions. If you absolutely want to stick to using DSLR cameras, then this is a must-buy lens.
But holy crap, is it huge!
The world of portrait photography is becoming more and more filled with great lens options available for purchase. Sony. Zeiss, Sigma, and Tamron all make some absolutely fantastic ones that were recently announced: but one lens is seriously looking to outdo all of them. Nikon has shown some recent true innovation with the Nikon 105mm f1.4. This lens is the longest telephoto lens to have an f1.4 aperture and also something that absolutely no one else has. Though Sony’s 85mm f1.4 G Master has 11 aperture blades and Tamron’s 85mm f1.8 has vibration control, nothing has the pure perspective flattening that a 105mm lens can–and nothing has the out of focus bokeh ability.
The Zeiss Loxia lineup of lenses are designed for the Sony full frame E mount, and the newest edition is the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f2.4. This lens is currently the company’s longest offering and is targeted at portrait photographers and video shooters. It’s also designed as compact a size as possible and to that end, has relatively slow aperture for a Zeiss lens.
At Photokina 2016, we got a chance to play with the lens–though we must warn you that the environment around the trade show floor isn’t anywhere as exciting as any of the locations where we’d typically test them.
Portrait photography is and remains one of the most popular reasons that people pick up a camera and get into photography. But as we all well know, top quality lenses bring with them budget breaking price tags. Luckily, portrait photography can be pretty forgiving, and you don’t need the most expensive lenses in order to get great results.
Today we are going to focus on the best modern lenses (released within the last 4 years) for portraiture that come with a normal price tag under the $1,000 mark – making them relatively attainable for most photographers. Also note, towards the end of last year we did feature a similar listing, of modern portraiture lenses under $500, so in that under $500 category today we will only be noting lenses that have been released since that post, making the majority of this post in the $500-$999 spectrum.
Okay, lets get into it.
The release of the Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 for full frame E mount cameras begs the question “just how many 50mm lenses does one need?” In truth, just one–but the strategy is a smart one for the company. You see, years ago camera manufacturers used to offer loads of different lens options. You’d get a 50mm f1.8, f1.4, f2, etc. Leica still does this and to some degree, Zeiss does too. But with Sony, you’re getting something different.
This new lens isn’t part of the company’s G Master series of optics and instead it’s a lens that was created in collaboration with Zeiss. It boasts dust/moisture resistance, 11 aperture blades, and other cool features including Zeiss T* coatings that are bound to give you that Zeiss-like look though probably not as clear as their Milvus lineup of lenses.
Editor’s note: this review is now complete
Natural light is the choice of many photographers looking to render a specific look in a scene. It’s beautiful when use correctly–and it often is by many portrait photographers. When used by a photographer that acts very carefully about the images that they’re creating, it can inspire others and enthrall viewers with its captivation. But it isn’t always as simple as just going out in the golden hour and telling a portrait subject to stand there and look nice.
Instead, it’s a collaborative effort. And if you’re looking to get serious about portraiture, we recommend starting with an 85mm lens.