These 135mm Prime Lenses Will Help You Capture Stunning Portraits

135mm prime lenses are just about the perfect lenses for portrait photography.

Ask any photographer his or her favorite lens for portrait photography and you’ll likely hear that an 85mm prime is their glass of choice. You’ll hear some say they like to use 50mm primes, and some even prefer to use zooms like a 24-70mm f2.8, or a 70-200mm f2.8. Every once in a while though you’ll come across a photographer who will say that their favorite glass for portraits is a 135mm prime lenses. The 135mm focal length is honestly just about the perfect lens for portraits thanks to fast apertures, incredible optics, and levels of compression that produce flattering images. Join us after the break as we take a look at six 135mm prime lenses that will help produce jaw dropping portraits.

We’ve talked about why 135mm primes lenses are perfect for portraits before; what we said then still holds true. The 135mm focal length creates images that absolutely shine. Your subject will pop out of the background, and the bokeh these lenses can create is gorgeous. The compression of these 135mm prime lenses will also delight your clients to no end. The lenses we have selected in our round up vary in price, so there is something here for every budget. Take a look at the six of our favorite 135mm prime lenses.

 

Rokinon 135mm F2 ED UMC

 

135mm prime lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Stunning image quality on every front
  • Very precise focusing ring

Cons

  • Kind of big, but that’s natural for a lens like this
  • Rokinon needs a new exterior. We’d pay extra for metal for sure

Buy now Canon ($499): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($449): Amazon

Buy now Fujifilm ($459): Amazon

Buy now Sony E ($499): Amazon

Buy now M4/3 ($479): Amazon

Buy now Pentax ($419): Amazon

 

Fujifilm 90mm F2 R LM WR (X Mount)

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Superb image quality
  • Weather sealing
  • Great bokeh
  • Very sharp image quality
  • Makes great use of Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome and Astia film renderings
  • Well balanced with both the X Pro 1 and the X-T1
  • Lightweight lens
  • The focusing ring feels really big and beefy
  • Surprisingly fast and accurate focusing
  • Pretty much no distortion
  • Perhaps the single best portrait lens that Fujifilm has made for the X series camera system–even better than the 56mm f1.2

Cons

  • Fujifilm’s largest prime lens to date of publishing this review
  • No image stabilization

Buy now ($849): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you’re shooting portraits you want to make sure your glass is as clean as possible before you get to your shoot location. For the absolute best images possible, make sure the front element is free of dirt, debris, water spots, grease, and finger prints. The last thing you want is to spend unnecessary hours in post removing those things when it could have easily been taken care of before and during the shoot. Keep a basic lens cleaning kit with you at all times so you can clean as you go.

 

Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fast autofocus
  • Not as contrasty, so better for skin tones
  • f1.8 aperture
  • Weather sealing
  • Not as heavy as the 85mm f1.4

Cons

  • Not a darn thing

Buy now Canon ($1,129): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($1,120): Amazon

Buy now Sony E ($1,265.49): Amazon

 

Zeiss 135mm F2.8 Batis (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

 

135mm prime lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Nice colors for those of you who love the more saturated look
  • Good feel to the lens overall
  • Weather sealing
  • Fast focusing on all Sony a7 camera bodies no matter the generation

Cons

  • We would’ve liked something faster than f2.8

Buy now ($1,482.19): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Portrait photography is a wonderful genre to practice. Being able to capture the essence of a person is a great thing. But sometimes knowing how to pose your subject can become a little troublesome. We all need help from time to time as we fall into creative ruts, or just need some fresh ideas. This posing guide by Lindsay Adler is exactly what every portrait photographer needs. This Creative Live tutorial will walk you through all there is to know in regards to posing and directing, and how to get the best possible shots with every client. The best part is that it’s only $49!

 

Sony 135mm F1.8 G Master (Sony FE Mount)

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Preferred focal length for portraiture
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Sturdy magnesium alloy construction
  • Lighter than most 135mm lenses on the market

Cons

  • Lacks stabilization
  • Priced higher than Sigma’s 135mm f1.8 Art lens

Buy now ($1,898): Amazon

 

Zeiss 135mm F2 Milvus

 

135mm prime lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Incredibly sharp
  • Weather sealed
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fairly close focusing distance
  • Great feeling in the hand
  • Seems like it was designed for portraits and nothing more

Cons

  • As with all manual focus telephoto lenses, you’ll do best using a tripod with this lens attached to a camera
  • Price tag, though it’s truthfully justified

Buy now Canon ($1,979): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($2,193.49): Amazon