6 Spectacular Portrait Lenses for Sony Mirrorless Cameras

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II product images review (2 of 3)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.8

It would be hard to argue that Sony does not have the attention of the photographic community, with their A7 series of full frame mirrorless cameras (somewhat surprisingly to be honest) still the only player in the game. While the A7 series may not have the autofocus to challenge DSLRs in action situations quite yet, for portrait photography the A7 series is more than capable.

In today’s roundup we have 6 amazing lenses for portrait photography on the Sony system. I would like to note though that these lenses are not in any particular order, this isn’t a ranking or stat sheet, it’s just meant to provide some good direction for Sony shooters or potential Sony shooters who are looking into portrait options with Sony. So lets jump right into it, shall we?

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Camera Lens Manufacturers Explain The Rise of Backlit Portraits

Model: Grace Morales

Years ago, every photographer used to say that you should never backlight a portrait subject due to the way that lenses render the scene. For a long time, it was very difficult to get any sort of detail on a subject when the sun was behind them. But then things started to change. Lens technology and glass coatings became better and better which delivered more contrast in a scene and brought out more details despite the subject being backlit.

To explore why and how this change happened, we talked to Zeiss, Sigma and Tamron about how it all came about.

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Review (Complete): Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 (Full Frame E Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 FE product images review (3 of 8)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

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

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The Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Lens for E Mount Has 11 Aperture Blades


The full frame Sony E mount lineup of lenses already has two 50mm offerings in the form of the 50mm f1.8 and the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8–and today they’re getting a third in the form of the Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 for full frame E mount cameras. This latest offering boasts dust and moisture protection, 11 aperture blades (like the 85mm f1.4 G Master before it), advanced aspherical elements, extra-low dispersion elements, and the Zeiss T+ coating that minimizes flare and gives your images lots of punch–just like standard Zeiss glass does.

Like many of the company’s other f1.4 prime lens offerings, this lens has an aperture ring, an SSM motor, and an overall nice feel to the body. When it launches this month, you’ll be able to score one for $1,500. Details on this lens and much more from Sony (with some re-announcements) are after the jump.

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How to Use an 85mm Lens for Natural Light Portraits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Milvus review portrait extras (6 of 6)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 2.2

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.

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Toni Ahvenainen Found His Photographic Style Shooting Everyday Life, So Can You


All Images By Toni Ahvenainen. Used with Permission.

Hailing from the northern reaches of the world, Finland to be precise, Toni Ahvenainen got into photography for a reason all too familiar to many of us and quite common in this digital age – the birth of a child. “I realized that I needed a camera to capture that miracle of life.” Ahvenainen tells The Phoblographer, “with the help of a friend, I acquired the relatively affordable Sony Nex-5N, and soon photography became my obsession. I shot over 26 000 frames in the first year…” But he quickly learned that he needed to frame his photography, give it a purpose, or he would lose his new found passion for it.

Ahvenainen started a photo blog, its purpose was to be home to a personal photo-365 project that he hoped would help him find his identity as a photographer. “I decided to explore my own photographic eye within the life I was already living – sometimes quite literally at home or with a baby carriage next to me outdoors while I was composing the image.”Ahvenainen continued, “These sort of limitations led my path to certain kind of dark frames with some color occasionally thrown in, and which became eventually my own photographic style.”

Check out our interview with Toni Ahvenainen, and a beautiful selection of his work after the jump.

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Zeiss Announces 3 New Interlock Industrial Large Format Lenses

ZEISS Interlock industrial lenses

You may have missed this, but Zeiss announced three new Industrial large format lenses this week. The new super wide-angle Interlock 2.8/21, Interlock 2/50, and Interlock 2/100 macro lenses are meant for industrial uses and will come in a Nikon F or M42x1 mount.

“All ZEISS Interlock industrial lenses feature an improved fixture for focus and aperture which is also reflected in the new name: ZEISS Interlock,” says Till W. Bleibaum, Product Manager for Industrial Lenses at ZEISS Camera Lenses. “The additional optimization of the lens coating further reduces ghosting and flare effects in critical light situations.”

The three new lenses are meant to replace their Distagon T* 2.8/21, Makro-Planar T* 2/50 and Makro-Planar T* 2/100. Zeiss specifically notes that these lenses are not intended for general photography, and are likely not going to be easily accessible to your average photographer. That said, these could be used on any Nikon DSLR or most mirrorless cameras with an adapter if you wanted to play with them (though I don’t see any real benefit other than for the heck of it). They also might be attractive to you if you happen to have a large format film camera that you like to shoot every now and then.

The new Interlock series lenses will go on sale July 1st, and will be available through established Zeiss Industrial lens partners. Prices for the Interlock 2.8/21, Interlock 2/50, and Interlock 2/100 lenses was not announced, but one would assume that when they go on sale tomorrow the pricing will be apparent.

The full announcement can be found here, and more information is supposed to be available here (though the page appears to be dead right now, maybe check back tomorrow once the lenses are available)


Three Reasons Why 135mm is the Perfect Portrait Focal Length

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Rokinon 135mm f2 review product photos (6 of 6)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.5

“Hey guys, this is Justin, Chris’s Kickstarter campaign manager. I wanted to write and say that if the Phoblographer has ever helped you with your photography, please consider donating to our Kickstarter for La Noir Image–now with both iOS and Android support!. Thank you, guys, you are the best.”

While 50mm and 85mm lenses tend to be very popular for portrait photographers, something that’s a bit longer can offer arguably better image quality: the 135mm lens. Now, we’re not talking about the 135mm field of view, but instead about the focal length properly. There are a number of reasons why 135mm is such a magical number here but there are also some that don’t work as well. Mainly, you might not use a 135mm focal length if you’re working with a small studio, a confined space or if you want to be physically closer to your subject for better communications.

But here are the loads of reasons why they’re awesome.

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