Best Sony Lens for Portraits Photography [Buying Guide in 2021]

A dedicated lens for shooting portraits is definitely a step up from the kit lens that came with your ILCE or NEX series mirrorless Sony camera. And, getting the best lens for portrait photography will have phenomenal subject isolation, remarkable depth of field coupled with extraordinary image stabilization.

The quality of sensors, lens elements, motor, aperture as well as focal length come together to reduce flares, blurriness, reflection, and noise from your photos; making each portrait an absolute masterpiece.

Thus, here, we will introduce you to the best Sony lens for portraits and discuss their features in detail!  Let’s get the show on the road.

5 Best Sony Lens for Portraits Reviews

Below we have 5 of the top Sony lenses for shooting amazing full-body portraits to eye-catching headshots. Let’s see what they have to offer!

1. Sony FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens

Sony FE 50mm F1.8 Standard LensWith a large-enough aperture and excellent shutter speed, this Sony E mount portrait lens will be a delightful addition to your portrait photography.

What we talk about when we talk about best portrait lenses is largely Sony’s lenses that deliver a cool depth of field to make portraits stand out in all light conditions; that too at an affordable price.

To begin with, this E mount lens will fit your ILCE and NEX series Sony camera. It’s double-gauss layout tackles distortion and field curvature- making your portraits look extremely professional.

And the fact that this is an APS-C lens instead of a full-frame lens, mounting it on APS-C Sony camera bodies, will give you a slightly narrow field of view and less flare.

Shooting in high light conditions is best because the colors won’t seem washed out. On the other hand, its wide aperture has a greater advantage shooting in dim lights, so you don’t have to calibrate your camera to a higher ISO sensitivity.

Another reason why we like this particular Sony Lens model is that it can take your photography to new heights- producing clear, distortion-free images all the way through. You can enjoy good sharpness on your subject because the innovative design and optical performance on this lens subdue all sorts of aberration.

👍 Pros:
  • Minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion
  • Smoothly defocuses the background for low depth of field
  • Metal mount boosts its durability
  • Fast and precise focusing on your subjects
👎 Cons:
  • Audible DC motor
  • Average image clarity

Available On Amazon

2. Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Prime Lens

Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Prime LensLooking for a great portrait lens that will suit both your full-frame and APS-C cameras? This is the one!

You simply cannot topple an 85mm lens with any other when it comes to indoor portrait photography where the space is limited. This is a great focal length considering that you want the sole attention on your subjects and keep the background to a minimum.

In that case, the lower f/stop in this F1.8 Sony lens will give you a minimum depth of field, making the colors on your subject pop against the background brighter and better than ever.

Featuring a focus hold button on its moisture and dust resistant body, bringing the focus to your subject and blurring out the rest is now done at an outstanding speed. In addition, its 9 blades high F1.8 aperture can go as low as F22 aperture for an all-over sharp photo allowing a greater depth of field.

Mounting this remarkable prime lens on your APS-C Sony camera will produce a crop factor, and the scene that you’re shooting will be slightly magnified. The ED glass keeps chromatic aberration to a minimum and delivers a nice contrast over your photos.

👍 Pros:
  • Fast, responsive focus drive is ideal for still photos and movies
  • A wide 9 blade aperture is perfect for shooting in low lights
  • Excellent shutter speed in low f/stops
  • Smooth background defocusing
👎 Cons:
  • The 29-degree angle of view is a bit high for portrait specific lenses

Available On Amazon

3. Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens

Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait LensWith an Optical SteadyShot for better image stabilization and circular 7 blade aperture for incredible defocus effects, this one is one of the best budget lenses for portraits.

If you’re new to portrait photography, you will love to start with this Sony lens and move to high-end portrait lenses later on. This Telephoto lens makes room for excellent compression and saves pixels on the background.

The defocusing is smooth and excellent on the photos, adding remarkable details to the foreground. It goes without saying, when it comes to fashion photography, a telephoto lens with a short focal length is the top choice of professional portrait photographers.

A smooth, defocused background drives attention to your subject even in dim light conditions. A 32° angle of view is okay for portraits because of the APS-C sensor.

But if you don’t have a good background in your photos, physically getting closer to the subject or zooming in will help. Shooting through a medium aperture keeps your photos natural and less dramatic if that’s the style you’re going for.

0.39 meter being the minimum focusing distance, you get to work with plenty of details and contrasts when the space is too compact. Lastly,  the Gyro sensors on the lens are able to detect small movements and stabilize the shot accordingly. That said, when the subject is in motion, the lens will effectively counter blurriness and help you shoot sharp, focused, and vibrant portraits.

👍 Pros:
  • Remarkable image stabilization
  • Circular aperture for nice and natural bokeh effects on the background
  • Short focusing distance and fast autofocus
  • Good subject isolation and details
👎 Cons:
  • Designed for Sony APS-C cameras in the early NEX models

Available On Amazon

4. Sony E-Mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM Full-Frame Lens

Sony E-Mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM Full-Frame LensCatching outstanding details, colors, and contrasts are just made easier with this Sony lens for portrait photography.

This is not your entry-level prime lens that is merely an upgrade from the kit lens. Rather the SEL24F14GM with its exquisite specs caters to the keen-eyed professionals.

To begin with, the F1.4 aperture makes it possible to add excellent exposure and create a low depth of field. It also contributes to lightning-fast shutter speed. Your nighttime photography will be just as remarkable as the sunlit ones.

This Sony lens adds lifelike resolutions to your portrait photography, making regular portraits appear a phenomenal work of art. Next up, the 11-blade circular aperture lets you experience the smoothest defocusing on portrait lenses. 2 Extreme Aspherical (XA) elements and 3 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements are noteworthy in the total 13 elements that went into the lens’ optical design.

That’s not all; the short 24mm focal length, although supports less magnification,  allows you to capture a large subject in the frame without having to step back physically.

Moreover, the wide-angle Sony lens leaves room for you to take in sufficient background that complements your subject. It’s a cool feature if you’re into environmental portraitures.

👍 Pros:
  • Nano AR coating reduces flares, reflections and ghosting on high/low lights
  • Suppressing sagittal flares make it suitable for astrophotography
  • Responsive aperture ring gives tactile feedback for shooting stills
  • Customizable functions on the focus hold button
👎 Cons:
  • The short focal length is not ideal for headshots

Available On Amazon

5. Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS Lens

Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS LensCombining extraordinary sharpness with gorgeous bokeh, this is hands down the best Sony lens for portrait photography.

For starters, the lens has all the high-end specs to put other lenses to shame. This is a lens that you can latch on your camera anytime and make professional-quality movies.

While many lenses struggle to keep the focus on subjects in filmmaking, its fast autofocus will maintain superior focusing at all times. The Super Sonic wave Motor (SSM), coupled with improved position sensors make the autofocus a glorious example of the best portrait lens for stills and movies!

Enjoy great subject isolation and low depth of field in all your portraits when you finally add this Sony lens to your photography gear. The non-rotating filter thread is good if you use polarizing filters. On top of that, its 5-axis image stabilization caters to a variety of shooting conditions keeping your shots blur-free and professional.

When it comes to movie making, its Parfocal design keeps the subject in focus when you’re zooming in or out. Its ED and Super ED elements minimize chromatic aberration while the Nano AR coating throws flares, ghosting, and reflections out of the question.

👍 Pros:
  • The parfocal design makes it suitable for movie making
  • High-performance image stabilization
  • Superior autofocus and subject isolation features
  • Remarkable contrast and clarity
  • 70mm to 200mm focal length is ideal for versatile portrait photography
👎 Cons:
  • Expensive
  • 8 maximum aperture makes it average for shooting in low lights

Available On Amazon

Buying Guide for The Best Sony Portraits Lens

Before spending a few hundred bucks on a lens for shooting portraits, you’d want to know all about it. We are highlighting some key specs below, so it’s easy for you to understand.


Since aperture directly affects the depth of field, shutter speed, and exposure, it’s important to know the purpose of the lens beforehand.

A circular and large aperture (F1.4, F1.8, F2.8) is best for portraits because it creates a low depth of field, isolating your subject from the surroundings.

While choosing a circular aperture, the higher the blade count, the smoother effects you get on the background, and the better a subject stands out in your photos.

Sharpness and Sensitivity

Focal length, sensor, aperture, and distance from the subject determine the sharpness you get on your portraits. Sony lenses can provide an incredible sharpness to the photos.

Medium to high-end Sony lenses have Nano AR coating that helps produce high-quality portraits with reflection and flare suppression features. They are so much better than the typical so-called anti-reflective coatings. Raise your budget for getting superior clarity and high-contrast on your portraits, and you’ll definitely thank us later.

While ISO determines the lens’ light sensitivity, increasing the ISO sensitivity will give you fast shutter speed and less blur on your images. Too high ISO setting can add noise to photos; so, it’s best to set it between 100 to 200 in regular daylight and 400 in dim light conditions.

Angle of View

While many professional photographers will avoid wide-angle lenses for portrait photography, if your regular use is shooting full-body portraits with a stunning backdrop, a wide-angle Sony lens such as the SEL24F14GM will suit you best. On the other hand, when the subject is your only concern, go for a narrow-angle telephoto lens.

Depth of Field

The depth of field is simply how blurry or clear the backdrop will come out in your portraits. If you want to make your subjects pop against the background, low depth of field is what you want. A high depth of field will make the surroundings appear more prominent in the portraits.

You can easily alter the depth by changing the aperture setting. When the maximum aperture is F1.8 to F1.4, you can have less depth of field, getting all the focus on your subject.

Autofocus Capacity

Autofocus is an important spec to consider because it contributes to the subject isolation you prefer in your portrait photography. In different shooting conditions, when the subject is moving, slow and incorrect focusing can ruin valuable shots.

You want a lens that keeps focus breathing to a minimum and can effectively hold focus on a subject when in motion. Sony lenses can defocus foreground and background as gorgeous bokeh and not cheaply edited photos.

The Direct-Drive Super Sonic Motor (DDSSM) on Sony’s SEL24F14GM makes sure that the focusing is fast, precise, and silent. This feature makes the Sony lenses perfect for making youtube videos and movies.

Additional Features

While portraits are all about your subject, landscape or wildlife photography will take a hit due to the crop factor of mounting an APS-C lens on a full frame. Because when it comes to catching as much scene as possible, you wouldn’t want your photos to look zoomed in.

Moreover, check the image stabilization, dust and moisture resistance, minimum focus distance, flare, and noise reduction features for the best buy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best focal length in portrait photography with a Sony lens?

It depends on the type of portraiture you want. Wide focal lengths (up to 25mm) tend to stretch out your subject's features. 50mm is best for full-body portraiture, while a longer 200mm focal length is best for headshots. For environmental portraits, go for a lens with a 24mm focal length.

Why does angle of view matter in portraitures?

Ans: A wide-angle of view brings more of the environment into your photos, and if the autofocus is sub-par, the subject will seem washed out in the photo. But if you want environment portraits and your lens has good subject isolation, a wide-angle is fine. However, opt for a narrow telephoto lens for professional headshots.

How does aperture affect exposure in portrait photography?

Aperture controls the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor. A high aperture (low f/stops) on the lens will add more brightness to your photos, making it a good choice for low light shots. A low aperture (high f/stops) means that less light is reaching your lens, which is perfect for maintaining good contrast in sunlit conditions.

Final Words

The best Sony lens for portraits will vary from person to person with different tastes in portraitures. However, from shooting stills to making movies, a top-notch Sony lens can truly take your photography journey up a notch.

Not only are they easy to work with, but they also allow plenty of room to tweak the specs- leading you to the best portraits ever shot. We hope that our list helped you decide on a Sony lens that ticks all the boxes!

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Hi, it's Arif the publisher of CameraEvents, a positioning and branding website. We Review & Guide through various Camera Tools and Accessories to Create and Capture your Spectacular life Moments