- New larger Z mount for revolutionary optical performance
- Nikon designed 24.5mp backside illuminated image sensor
- 273 point on sensor phase detect AF system
What is the best portrait lens for Nikon Z6?
So you’re wondering which lens is best for portrait photography with your Nikon Z6? Portrait photography is something we do on a regular basis, whether with friends, family or strangers. Many beginning photographers bought their first camera with the kit zoom lens and a portrait lens is often one of the first tools needed as an extra.
If you want to get good results, it will be necessary to use the right equipment. However, there are many models and choosing a portrait lens can be complicated because it depends on several factors.
To help you, in this article we’ll explain all the features you’ll need to consider when determining which portrait lens to choose for your Nikon Z6.
How to choose the best portrait lens for my Nikon Z6?
Here are some things to consider when choosing your portrait lens to go with your Nikon Z6:
Fixed or zoom lens? Which focal length to choose? The focal length is an important criterion to determine which portrait lens to choose: a fixed focal length cannot zoom, and you will have to move to change the size of your subject on the image.
You must choose according to the type of environment where you intend to take portrait photos: outside (during a trip for example), in a concert hall, in a studio, during a wedding… A zoom lens is more versatile, allowing you to go from a wide angle to a standard or telephoto lens very quickly. Their negative points are that they are generally heavier and more expensive than a fixed focal length.
Although fixed focal lengths don’t offer as much versatility as a zoom lens, they still have many advantages: generally the image quality they provide is far superior to a zoom lenses, for a much lower price. A fixed focal length portrait lens also allows the use of very large apertures such as f/1.4 or f/1.8 which is impossible to obtain with a zoom lens.
The larger this aperture (i.e. the smaller the f/number), the more light the lens will let in on the sensor. It will allow to reduce the depth of field in order to isolate the photographed subject and to realize superb effects of bokeh (background blur).
A large aperture also helps reduce motion blur in dark environments. The choice between a fixed focal length and a zoom lens is above all a matter of compromise between image quality and versatility.
As with any photographic equipment purchase, choosing a portrait lens also depends on your budget. If you are just starting out in photography and want to learn about portraiture without breaking the bank, you may want to consider third-party lenses such as those from Tamron, Sigma and Samyang rather than the official Canon, Nikon or Sony lenses.
They are much affordable and generally offer very similar image quality. On the other hand, the build quality is generally better on the official lenses. If you are a very demanding photographer and are looking for exceptional image quality, I would still recommend investing in a lens from the same brand as your camera.
If you are not sure on what portrait lens to choose for your Nikon Z6, this small selection is suitable for most portrait photographers.
Note: the product links in this article lead to Amazon.com
- NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S
- NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S
- NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S
- Useful accessories
Here are the best portrait lenses you should consider for your Nikon Z6:
NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S
Weight: 415 g
Filter size: 62 mm
Nikon has chosen a fairly simple design for its Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S lens. With an aperture much larger than the kit lens of a Z6, the 24-70 mm f/4, this 50 mm f/1.8 S is large enough for a mirrorless lens, and the Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S has a manual focusing ring in its center part. Ribbed, this ring is easy to grip and handle to allow the most accurate focus possible.
This ring can also be configured to control other housing functions. Offering a great experience for those who want to play with light, the Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S lens has exceptional optical performance for bright and detailed images. On the other hand, those who like to make pretty background blurs will be delighted with this objective. Its f/1.8 aperture and nine-blade circular diaphragm produce a homogeneous and natural-looking blur.
The only thing we can blame him for: a size a little too big for a 50mm. Apart from that, it’s really a very good objective, and it’s especially the cheapest in this ranking.
- Fast 50mm prime for Z Mirrorless cameras
- Uncanny f/1.8 performance, extreme sharpness and virtually zero distortion
- New ultra-quiet stepping motor for silent focusing
NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S
Weight: 1090 g
Filter size: 82 mm
An exceptional lens, but not suitable for everyone. Indeed, it is relatively expensive, and it is quite heavy and cumbersome. However, it delivers impressive image quality and if you work in a studio or do wedding photography, it is the perfect tool. The maximum aperture of f/1.2 expands your possibilities when there is not enough light available and gives beautiful background blur.
The images you’ll be able to make are super sharp. It’s protected against dust and humidity if you ever think of using it in difficult conditions. The autofocus is fast, fluid but a little noisy.
In short, you will have understood it, it’s the top of the top if you absolutely need a wide aperture of f/1.2 and a quasi-perfect image quality.
- 50mm lens with extraordinary rendering power across the entire frame.
- Vast f/1.2 maximum aperture.
- Breakthrough autofocus.
NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S
Weight: 470 g
Filter size: 67 mm
A great lens if you want to shoot mostly portraits. It gives super sharp images with a soft bokeh, and benefits from a silent and precise autofocus. It’s also weather-sealed.
For its negative points, the focusing ring lacks firmness, it has no optical stabilization, and it is far from being discreet for a lens with an aperture of f/1.8.
In short, the 85mm f/1.8 S is a quality professional portrait lens that offers a reasonable maximum aperture and good performance at an affordable price. Nikon signs a high quality lens perfectly designed for use with hybrids of the Z range, provided they have internal stabilization!
- 85mm f/1.8 lens with nine blade diaphragm for soft rounded book
- Lens features 2 ED glass elements and Nano Crystal coating for lifelike accuracy
- Dust and drip resistant, the lens is extensively sealed to keep out dust and moisture
☛ MORE PORTRAIT LENSES
- For other portrait lenses options, check this out: The best lenses for Nikon Z6
Useful accessories for portrait photography
They are essential to make photos and videos. Whether it’s for transporting your equipment, stabilizing your camera or protecting your camera and lenses, accessories are far from being superfluous. But you have to choose them well if you want them to last.
Here is a small selection of must-have accessories to complement your lenses and your Nikon Z6 if you want to do portrait photography:
To summarize, the important things to consider when looking for the best portrait lens for the Nikon Z6 are focal range, aperture and price. If you’re not sure which portrait lens to choose, you can also go to Flickr and search for examples of photos taken with the lens you are interested in, this will give you a good idea of its possibilities.
Another thing, if you are planning to do portrait photography while on vacation or travel, consider the weight and bulk of the lens. If the whole thing is too heavy or bulky and lacks discretion, you won’t want to bother with it and would rather just take your smartphone with you. You may also not want to risk damaging an extremely expensive lens.
And finally, perhaps the most decisive point about choosing the perfect portrait lens for your Nikon Z6 will be if you need to get a portfolio of professional quality portrait photos (it may be your business or it may become your business who knows?).
Last tips: Remember to always focus on the eyes. And whatever portrait lens you choose, try to snap as much as you can, as it is often during the selection phase that you’ll discover the perfect picture. Most importantly, be always ready, as the magic in a portrait may only last for a short moment.