Under $600: 8 Portrait Photography Lenses for Mirrorless That Amaze

These portrait photography lenses are well built, sharp, render colors beautifully, and are wallet-friendly.

It’s truly incredible just how far lens technology has come over the last few years. Buying high-quality lenses for under $600 used to be unheard of. Now, you can get stellar lenses for around that price and much less. If you’re an aspiring portrait photographer, you should take a closer look at these six, affordable, portrait photography lenses. When we tested and reviewed them, we were blown away, and we’re sure you will be too.

Captured with the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 – a $199 lens for Sony E mount

Believing that you have to spend a fortune to get excellent lenses will get you nowhere fast. Yes, you can easily spend thousands on lenses. Still, unless your client demands the absolute best, these affordable portrait photography lenses will get the job done very well. When it comes to sharpness, color rendition, bokeh, distortion control, chromatic aberrations, and vignetting, these lenses will not disappoint. These affordable portrait photography lenses will also impress with their overall build quality, focusing speeds, and ease of use. Below, check out six portrait photography lenses that really took us by surprise.

Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Lightweight & compact design
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • One of three widest maximum aperture (f1.4) lenses currently available for Crop Sensor Sony E Mount and MFT
  • Dust and splash-proof design with an integrated rubber gasket found around the lens mount
  • It’s less than $500

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

Buy now M4/3: $392

Buy now Sony E: $399

Sony 85mm F1.8 FE

Portrait Photography 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

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 USM IS

street photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Fairly fast to focus
  • It’s a lens designed to always be on your camera
  • Image stabilization (very much needed in the system)
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Sharp enough for most uses but not as sharp as most L glass we’ve seen and used. Still, it’s a shocker

Cons

  • We would have gladly paid more money weather sealing

Buy now: $449

Captured with the Sony 85mm f1.8 FE

Pro Tip: Portrait photography is exciting as it allows photographers to tell the story of the person you’re working with. However, It’s not as easy as it looks. If you’re new to portrait photography, continue your education by investing in guides from some of the best around. Lindsay Adler is one of the most successful portrait photographers of our time. Her guides are legendary. Lindsay’s Guide to Posing is just a must-have if you want to better yourself.

Fujifilm 50mm F2

Portrait Photography Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Sharp optics and image quality
  • Nice bokeh
  • Only gets sharper when you use a flash
  • Pretty compact
  • Nice build quality

Cons

  • Not much, honestly

Buy now: $449

Rokinon 50mm F1.4 AF FE

Portrait Photography Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Contrasty images
  • Sharp photos
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Metal feeling build on the exterior
  • Autofocus that works pretty darned well

Cons

  • Autofocus isn’t as fast as Sony’s
  • Really wish it had weather sealing, but the price point isn’t really for that
  • Pretty big

Buy now: $399

Nikon 50mm F1.8 Z S

Portrait Photography Lenses

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: $596.95

Captured with the Nikon 50mm F1.8 Z S

Pro Tip: These portrait photography lenses might be on the more affordable side of things, but you still need to care for them. Cleaning your lenses will ensure that you get dust and smudge-free images. Cleaning will also keep your lenses in working order for years to come. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good cleaning kit. This one has everything you need, and it’s under $15.

Olympus 45mm F1.8 MSC

Portrait Photography Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Great autofocusing performance
  • Renders images beautifully
  • Sharp when wide open
  • Nicely priced

Cons

  • Not the most robust lens ever made

Buy now: $299

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm F1.8

Portrait Photography Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Creamy bokeh

Cons

  • Significantly heavier than Sony’s native autofocus 85mm f1.8 for Sony FE mount
  • Lacks weather sealing

Buy now: $199