Background Photo: Ezekixl Akinnewu
Portrait photography is one of the most popular forms of photography. From quick snaps on your phone all the way up to expensive commercial photo shoots, portraits are a go-to choice. But, one challenge for many photographers using DSLRs is finding the perfect lens for portraits.
The truth is, there is no perfect lens for portraits. It all depends on the types of portraits you want to take. The conditions, location, scenario, and light all play a huge role in what lens will work best for your portraits.
In this article, we’re going to specifically take a look at a wide range of the top portrait photography lenses for Nikon cameras. Future articles will cover lenses for Canon, Sony, and more. If you’d like to see a specific review, leave a comment below to let us know!
A classic portrait lens from NIKKOR. The NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G is great for portraiture, and at f/1.4 the sharpness is hard to beat. Many customers reported great details and depth in shadows on their images.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative starting out, try the NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.
An ideal lens for portraits. The Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art is a versatile, and extremely high quality lens for full frame Nikon DSLRs. At a maximum aperture of F1.4 this lens can capture vast depth and add intriguing bokeh to your portraits.
One of the sharpest and most high quality 35mm lenses available. The Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 is fast lens that produces creamy bokeh. At this quality, flares and ghosting are almost non-existent so you can create picture perfect portraits.
Another popular choice for portraits is the 50mm lens. Nikon’s NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is a great choice for the price. Also made for full frame Nikon DSLRs, this lens performs great for street fashion, family photos, and more.
If you want a sharper version of the lens above, the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is your choice. Many customers reported a dramatic difference in quality from the 1.8 and a noticeable increase in bokeh quality.
One of the most versatile lenses on the list, this is a great portrait lens for Nikon. The NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E allows you to take crisp photos at 2.8 throughout the entire zoom range. That means you can get portraits at 2.8 fully zoomed in at 200mm.
This lens is more costly that most on the list, but if you are capturing things like action sports, runway events, or auto racing, this is a great choice.
A cheaper alternative to the NIKKOR 70-200mm, the Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 is also a great choice for portrait photographers. Users reported great quality and sharpness regardless of the zoom. In addition to action sports photography, this lens works great for concerts and sporting events.
A cheaper choice for an 85mm lens. The Tamron 85mm F/1.8 is reported to have attractive bokeh and sharp/accurate focusing. Almost all user reviews mentioned how sharp this lens was for the price. For under $800, this is one of the best deals you can find for a high quality 85mm portrait lens.
The 85 is a popular choice for portraits. The NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G works great when doing lifestyle photos and for event photography. The fast aperture will help you capture sharp portraits and photos no matter the situation or pace.
If you want an even sharper 85mm lens, the NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G is the one. It will cost you though. Going from f/1.8 to f/1.4 will cost you over $1000 more! According to customer reviews across the web though, it is worth it.
This lens is even sharper than the 1.8 and can provide greater quality at greater speeds. For advanced and commercial portrait photographers, this is a fantastic choice.
To wrap this roundup of portrait lenses for Nikon up, I wanted to find a unique lens that could help you achieve even more intrigue in your portraits and photos of people. The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is an awesome lens for what it can help you do.
This distance allows you to create some real separation from your subject and the background. Not to mention the bokeh is unlike most other lenses you’ve tried.
BONUS: ZEISS Milvus 25mm f/1.4
An impressive wide angle lens from Zeiss. While this focal length can cause a little distortion, it can also produce some stunningly sharp portraits with interesting depth. Take a look at these 25mm portraits. The ZEISS Milvus 25mm f/1.4 is a great lens for sharp, high quality portraits and lifestyle photos.