9 E Mount Lenses for Portraits That Get the Most Out of Sony’s Eye AF

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If you’re a portrait photographer who uses the Sony platform and want to get the most out of eye AF, these are the E Mount lenses worth a closer look.

Sony has completely revolutionized the portrait photography scene in recent years thanks to the huge advancements they have made in autofocus technology. The eye AF system in place in most of Sony’s cameras is class-leading and hard to beat. The technology has made it easy for portrait photographers of all levels to nail the shot every time they use the camera, but even a system as good as this still needs great lenses to make the most of it. After the break, we round up the best Sony E mount lenses to use if you want to make the most out of the incredible eye AF system found in Sony cameras.

Captured with the Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master.

Not only will these lenses work great with eye AF, but they are also top performers in their own right. All the lenses we list here are incredible when it comes to their optics, the colors they produce, and the overall quality of their builds. Attach one of these lenses to your Sony camera, and you will walk away with portraits that have incredible bokeh and characteristics that will make you and your clients gush. There are E mount lenses below that fit a wide variety of budgets, and there are focal lengths that will suit all types of portrait photography. Pull up a chair and check out the E mount lenses we highly recommend to use with Sony’s Eye AF system.

Sony 35mm F1.8 FE

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small
  • Cost-effective
  • Weather sealing
  • Sharp – very sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • The best colors we’ve seen from a Sony lens
  • Can focus very closely
  • Fast aperture
  • With AF-C on the Sony a7r III, it is fast enough for street photography

Cons

  • We wish Sony gave us a working distance and zone focus scale for street shooting

Buy now: $748

Sony 55mm F1.8

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp images
  • Creamy bokeh
  • Weather-sealed
  • Smooth, large focusing ring

Cons

  • Lens hood adds a good amount of length to the front
  • No depth of field scale

Buy now: $998

Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • One of three widest maximum aperture (f1.4) lenses currently available for Crop Sensor Sony E Mount (besides Sigma’s own 16mm and 30mm offerings)
  • Dust and splash-proof design with a rubber gasket integrated found around the lens mount
  • 35mm equivalent focal length of 84mm very nearly matches the 85mm focal length preferred by many portrait photographers

Cons

  • Lacks optical stabilization
  • Pincushioning is especially noticeable in RAW files, although correctable during post-production
  • While mountable to Full Frame Sony Mirrorless cameras, the lens will only work in crop sensor mode and will otherwise vignette severely.

Buy now: $398.99

Rokinon 85mm F1.4 AF FE

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • More affordable than Sony’s higher-end option: it’s $699
  • Good image quality
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice colors

Cons

  • Lacks weather sealing. This has been a consistent problem of Rokinon’s. Editor’s Note: Rokinon has updated their specs to say that there is weather sealing.

Buy now: $649

Pro Tip: The eye AF feature on Sony’s cameras can certainly make life easier for a portrait photographer, but you still need to know how to pose, and you need to know what makes a portrait image compelling. If you are just starting out in portrait photography, or if you would like a refresher, you should check out this posing guide from Lindsay Adler. Learn how to pose and then combine your skills with the tech inside your camera, and you’ll be well on your way.

Sony 85mm F1.4 G Master

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Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • 11 aperture blades are the most of any autofocus portrait lens made so far
  • Big, but very balanced with the Sony a7
  • Aperture control around the lens is nice
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Nice color rendition for portraiture
  • The best bokeh of any 85mm lens we’ve tested
  • Weather sealing
  • Wonderful for skin tones

Cons

  • Expensive

Buy now: $1,798

Sony 85mm F1.8 FE

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Fast-focusing with the Sony a7r II and, in good lighting, it will focus quickly with the Sony a7
  • Nice feel, though not as great as the G Master 85mm f1.4 lens
  • Weather resistance built in
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Honestly, not a darn thing

Buy now: $598

Sony 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality in most situations
  • Sharp performance, again in most situations
  • Optical stabilization
  • Fast-focusing performance
  • Very silent stabilization
  • Compact internal focusing design on par with a DSLR lens designed for the same purpose
  • Push/pull focusing ring
  • Lightweight
  • At last, a focusing scale that actually works!

Cons

  • The colors just aren’t there compared to many of Sony’s other lenses. Perhaps this was done specifically for portraits

Buy now from: $961.11

Sony 135mm F1.8 G Master

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

Buy now: $2,098

E mount lenses

Pro Tip: Another way to really make your portrait work stand out is by using flash. Whether you mount a Speedlight to your camera and bounce the flash off of a wall or ceiling, or if you use off-camera flash, you will see a huge improvement in your images. Learning how to use flash will open up a ton of doors. If you want to learn from one of the masters, check out this tutorial from Joel Grimes. Joel will teach you how to create dramatic images with just one light.

Sony 70-200mm F2.8 OSS G Master

E mount lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Nice bokeh
  • Fairly compact for a 70-200mm f2.8 lens
  • Good build quality
  • Can focus pretty fast with the latest cameras

Cons

Buy now: $2,598