4 Excellent Zoom Lenses for Portrait Photography with Your Sony Camera

Given the chance, we’ll always reach for prime lenses. But sometimes, it’s just easier to shoot a portrait with a zoom lens. It’s even better when you do it with a constant aperture lens. That’s why there are some zoom lenses for portrait photography that truly blow us away. Combine them with the Sony FE camera system, and you’ll have nothing to complain about. We dove into our Reviews Index and our Sony FE lens guide. Here are our favorite zoom lenses for portrait photography.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips on Using Zoom Lenses for Portrait Photography

Here are some pro tips on using zoom lenses for portrait photography.

  • What makes lenses for portrait photography so attractive? They tend to produce flattering images of people. The ones we’re showcasing are zoom lenses for portrait photography on the Sony FE camera system. Specifically, we’re focusing on telephoto lenses.
  • The Sony system has excellent autofocus for portrait photography. Just use the face and eye detection. If you’ve never used it before, it’ll feel like cheating.
  • Portrait photographers typically reach for prime lenses because of the better image quality and shallower apertures. But these lenses aren’t bad.
  • Make sure that you’re using image stabilization if you’re shooting at the longer end.
  • Want a sharper portrait? Get a flash or a circular polarizer. Both are capable of making an image look sharper.

Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G Master OSS II

Tech Specs

  • Constant f2.8 aperture
  • Stabilization
  • Includes the following coatings: XA, ED Asph., Aspherical, Super ED, Nano AR II, F coating
  • Updated circular 11 blade aperture
  • 4 XD linear autofocus motors
  • .4m minimum focusing distance
  • Constructed from 14 groups and 17 elements
  • Floating and internal focusing
  • Compatible with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters
  • Weighs about 1,042g or 36 ounces

In our review, we state:

“The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has quite a few upgrades from the original. The autofocus is faster and also works much better on close-up subjects. The sharpness has improved and the lens is significantly lighter, yet Sony still managed to add a dedicated aperture ring. It’s a lens with a lot of technical greatness.”

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Sony 70-200mm f4 G OSS

Tech Specs

Performance
Focal Length70 – 200mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 105 – 300 mm
ApertureMaximum: f/4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount TypeSony E (Full-Frame)
Format Compatibility35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Minimum Focus Distance39.37″ (1 m)
Magnification0.13x
Diaphragm Blades9, Rounded
Features
Image StabilizationYes
AutofocusYes
Tripod CollarYes
Physical
Filter Thread72 mm
Dimensions (DxL)Approx. 3.15 x 6.89″ (80 x 175 mm)
Weight29.63 oz (840 g)
Packaging Info
Package Weight3.1 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)10.4 x 5.4 x 5.3″

In our review, we state:

“When it comes to image quality, the Sony 70-200mm f4 OSS lives up to the Sony name and reputation of delivering incredible results. All across the board, you won’t have a major issue with the image quality. This lens renders images to be super sharp; originally I thought that the images weren’t so when viewing them on the back of the A7, but when imported I was completely shocked.”

“The bokeh? Same thing. And the colors? Yup…it’s all incredible.”

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Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 Di RXD 

Tech Specs

ModelA056
Focal Length70-180mm
Maximum Aperturef2.8
Angle of View
(diagonal)
34°21′-13°42′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction19 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Object DistanceAF: 0.85m /33.5 in (Full zoom range)
(MF: 0.27m /10.6 in (Wide), 0.85m /33.5 in (Tele))*
Maximum Magnification RatioAF: 1:4.6, MF: 1:2 (Wide) / 1:4.6 (Tele)*
Filter SizeΦ 67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ 81mm
Length149mm (5.9 in)
Weight810g (28.6 oz)
Aperture Blades9 (circular diaphragm)
Minimum Aperturef22
Standard AccessoryFlower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

In our review, we state:

“Thanks to a nine-bladed circular aperture design, the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 produces bokeh that is pleasant overall. Haloing and onion rings are an issue with the Tamron though. It’s not quite as buttery smooth when compared to the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G Master. The Sony produces even smoother bokeh thanks to its 11-bladed circular aperture design.”

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Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G Master

portrait lenses

Tech Specs

Borrowed from LensRentals

Angle of View

23° – 8°

Aperture

f/2.8-22

Autofocus

Autofocus

Brand

Sony

Compatibility

Full Frame and Crop

Diameter

3.46″

Dimensions

Length: 7.87″

Filter Size

77.0mm (nonrotating front element)

Filter Style

nonrotating front element

Flare Resistance

Yes, NanoAR coating

Focal Length

70.0-200.0

Focusing System

Inner focusing, full-time manual

Groups/Elements

18/23

Hood Included

Yes

Image Stabilization

Yes

Item Type

Lens

Lens Type

Normal Range and Telephoto

Low Dispersion Elements

4

Max Aperture

2.8

Maximum Magnification

0.25x

Minimum Aperture

22.0

Minimum Focusing Distance

3.15feet

Mount

Sony E

Weather Resistant

Yes

Weight

3.26 lbs.

Zoom Method

rotary

In our review, we state:

“I’m really, really not a big fan of zoom lenses but this is where Sony deserves absolutely nothing but credit. For years, one of the problems so many photographers spoke of with the Sony system was the lack of good lenses. But the company fought that statement hard and continues to do so with the lenses for the FE system. Not only is there variety, but there is also variety from third party manufacturers and good quality lenses available. The 70-200mm f2.8 G Master OSS is no exception here.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.