New to Portrait Photography? Check Out These Affordable 50mm Primes

These incredibly affordable 50mm lenses are all you need to get started in the world of portrait photography. 

Photography is an incredible art to get involved with, but it can also be one of the most expensive. We are inundated by people and YouTube channels advising that you MUST use the most expensive lenses in order to be a pro or get pictures worth anything. This is simply not true. If you’re a photographer considering portrait photography, you’ll be pleased to know there are affordable 50mm lenses that create sharp images and produce all the bokeh you need. After the break, we have listed some of our favorite 50mm lenses for portrait photography that won’t make your wallet cry.

50mm lenses for portrait photography

Captured with the affordable, yet high performing Olympus 25mm f1.8 (50mm equivalent)

We recently posted an article that proves photographers need no more than a trusty f1.8 ‘nifty fifty’ to create stunning portrait images. These affordable lenses offer the perfect gateway into portrait photography, but don’t let their low prices fool you. Despite being very affordable, these lenses can produce sharp images, gorgeous colors, and beautiful bokeh. They focus quickly, and are built very well too. If you know your way around a camera and understand how to compose an image, you’ll be able to create stunning pictures with them. Here’s a shortlist of some of our favorite affordable 50mm prime lenses for portrait photography.

 

Canon 50mm F1.8 STM

 

50mm prime lenses canon

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp image quality when only slightly stopped down
  • Better image quality when shot wide open than previous versions
  • Nice bokeh
  • Small size
  • Silent focusing and manual focusing is much more simple
  • Better build quality

Cons

  • For those who care about this a lot, purple fringing is a problem

Buy now ($125): Adorama

 

Nikon 50mm F1.8 G

 

50mm prime lenses Nikon

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Really affordable
  • Nice build quality
  • Focuses fast thanks to the Silent Wave motor
  • Smooth focus ring for manual focus
  • Creates sharp, clear images with pleasing bokeh
  • Renders great colors, especially skin tones

Cons

  • Does not have a hard infinity focus stop

Buy now ($176.95): Adorama

 

Olympus 25mm F1.8 (50mm Equivalent)

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super sharp wide open and stopped down a tad
  • Small and light
  • Fast-focusing performance in various lighting situations
  • Smooth bokeh

Cons

  • Wish it were a tad faster

Buy now ($249): Adorama

 

50mm prime lenses for portrait photography

Captured with the Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR

Pro Tip: There’s more to portrait photography than pointing your camera and telling your model to strike a pose. To be a great portrait photographer, you need to know how to compose an image, make the most of available light, and, most importantly, communicate with your models so your ideas can come to life. If you’re new to portrait photography and aren’t sure where to start, we suggest taking a look at this guide from Lindsay Adler. This tutorial will teach how to direct your models and how to pose men, women, and groups of all shapes and sizes. It will show you how to light, how to use modifiers, and so much more. The best part: it’s super affordable, just like these lenses listed here.

 

Sony 50mm F1.8

 

50mm prime lenses for portrait photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Decent image quality
  • Affordable
  • Small
  • Fast to focus in good lighting

Cons

  • Autofocus in low light even with the a7r II is slow
  • Autofocus is a bit louder than we’d like

Buy now ($248): Adorama

 

Fujifilm 35mm F2 R WR (50mm Equivalent)

 

50mm prime lenses for portrait photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great sharpness
  • Nine aperture blades make bokeh as good as it can be
  • Small size
  • Weather resistance
  • The fastest focusing lens Fujifilm has offered as of the publication of this review

Cons

  • Just f2…a refresh to the 35mm f1.4 actually would have been more appreciated

Buy now ($399): Adorama

 

Samyang/Rokinon 50mm F1.2

 

50mm prime lenses for portrait photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very, very sharp image delivery
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Smooth focusing ring
  • Lightweight design
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • We think it’s time for Rokinon and Samyang to give their lenses a metal body/exterior

Buy now Fujifilm X ($399): Adorama

Buy now Canon M ($389): Adorama

Buy now Micro Four thirds ($399): Adorama

Buy now Sony E ($399): Adorama

 

Captured with the Nikon 50mm f1.8 Z S

Pro Tip: Even experienced photographers can hit a wall when it comes to figuring our poses for clients, so it’s good to have poses saved to your phone that you can refer to. If, however, you don’t want your clients to have access to your phone, and you’d like to make your sessions a little more interactive, you can bring these posing cards along with you. These cards can be shared with clients, and the models can also help pick out poses that they like. Don’t draw a blank while out on a shoot; make sure you have plenty of back up ideas so that you and your clients can make the most of the time you have together.

 

Nikon 50mm F1.8 Z S

 

50mm prime lenses for portrait photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Robust weather sealing
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • Pricier than existing Nikon F Mount 50mm lenses

Buy now ($496.95): Adorama