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?
Sony FE 50mm F1.8
In our in-progress review we had the following to say about the Sony FE 50mm F1.8:
“Considering that this is a standard Sony lens, you’re essentially slapping the lens on, focusing and shooting. It’s very straight forward as it has been with Sony’s products for a while. To that end, you may not even really be paying attention to the focusing ring unless you’re in DMF mode when shooting… the image quality is very impressive for a 50mm f1.8 lens.” — Read Our Full Initial Impressions Here
This one is a really obvious choice, just as Canon’s 50mm F/1.8 STM is one of the best performance/dollar options out there, Sony’s FE 50mm F/1.8 likely one of the best for the Sony system as well – especially if we are talking specifically about the FE compatible lenses.
Grab an Sony FE 50mm F/1.8 over on Amazon now for $248.
Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8
In our official review we had the following to say about the Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8:
“What you’ll really fall in love with here is the bokeh. It is incredibly creamy and gives your subject a beautiful separation from other elements in the scene. In fact, we haven’t seen bokeh this beautiful since testing the company’s 135mm f2 lens.” — Read Our Full Review Here
Yes, it’s a Zeiss, and yes, that means you are going to pay a little premium for it. But the Zeiss Batis what every portrait photographer wants – killer performance and wonderful bokeh. If you shoot Sony’s FE system, this is really a lens you should consider.
Grab an Zeiss Batis 85mm F/1.8 over on Amazon now for $1,198.
Sony-Zeiss 35mm F/1.4
In our official review we had the following to say about the Sony-Zeiss 35mm F/1.4:
“The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is a hefty lens with fast autofocusing abilities, beautiful bokeh, sharp image quality, a solid build and a heck of a price tag. It’s a beautiful lens that you’ll never want to put down, but we only recommend it if you’re planning on going pro.” — Read Our Full Review Here
An absolutely incredible 35mm lens on the Sony system, if you are wanting to shoot portraits professionally and you like to have a bit more environment in your images than a 50mm FoV can give you, then the 35mm F/1.4 from Sony/Zeiss is the way to go.
Grab an Sony-Zeiss 35mm F/1.4 over on Amazon now for $1,598.
Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 G Master
In our official review we had the following to say about the Sony 24-70mm F/2.8:
“In all rights, this is a fantastic lens. It delivers wonderful image quality, performs well, has a fast autofocus, and will make lots of professional photographers very happy. For the photographers that love zoom lenses, this is another reason to move to the Sony E mount system if you haven’t already. It can tackle any sort of work that you can throw at it and combined with just the right Sony a7 camera body, you’ll get the results you really want.” — Read Our Full Review Here
For those of you who prefer the zoom lifestyle for portraiture, the Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 G Master is likely your best all around zoom option for Sony right now. But as is the common theme here, its going to cost you…
Grab an Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 G Master over on Amazon now for $2198.
Sony-Zeiss 50mm F/1.4
In our official review we had the following to say about the Sony-Zeiss 50mm F/1.4:
“One of my favorite things about this lens is how it handles colors. For everyone that believes Sony colors are too vivid and almost like a painting, this lens will prove you wrong. This lens offers a tad less saturation than even the 85mm f1.4 G Master lens and far less than the 35mm f1.4 Sony Zeiss comparatively speaking.“ — Read Our Full Review Here
Not a great option as far as price to performance goes, but similarly to the 85mm G Master noted below, if you are looking for the absolute best native Sony 50mm lens, it would be hard not to stick this latest F/1.4 model from Sony/Zeiss at the top of that list – if you have the budget.
Grab an Sony-Zeiss 50mm F/1.4 over on Amazon now for $1498.
Sony 85mm F/1.4 G Master
In our official review we had the following to say about the Sony 85mm F/1.4 G Master:
“The Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master was bound to win an Editor’s Choice award. This lens has fantastic sharpness, class leading bokeh, good construction, weather sealing, fast autofocus performance, and lots to offer the high end Sony shooter. You couldn’t honestly ask for anything more.” — Read Our Full Review Here
If you an an 85mm fan and want the absolute best available in the native Sony mount, as good of an option as the Zeiss 85mm Batis mentioned above is, you really should look nowhere else beyond the 85mm G Master. This lens is just incredible – assuming you have the budget to afford one, or rent it often.
Grab an Sony 85mm F/1.4 G Master over on Amazon now for $1798.
Here are a few other solid choices for portraiture on the Sony mirrorless system, these were left off the main list for a variety of reasons but are all worth considering if you don’t see something you like from the list above…
- Sony-Zeiss FE 55mm F/1.8 (Review) – Buy One
- Sony-Zeiss FE 35mm F/2.8 (Review) – Buy One
- Sony 90mm F/2.8 (Review) – Buy One
The elephant in the room with the Sony system is that it is quite expensive right now for anything but their most basic lenses, especially when compared to their DSLR competition. So that is something to weigh when deciding to get into the Sony system for portraiture, but that said, if you don’t mind manual focus (which is an absolute breeze with the EVF and Peaking) you have access to a TON of cheap manual focus lenses from the film days, which may lag behind modern glass in terms of coatings, but offer an experience and character that is absent from many lenses these days. We didn’t get into adapted lenses here because that is a post all to itself.
Stay tuned for more portrait lens roundups as we continue our jaunt through the major camera systems as we focus on Portraiture this month.