- World’s first Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor w/ integrated memory
- World’s first blackout-free continuous shooting up to 20 fps. Battery Life (Still Images) - Approx. 480 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 650 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)15. Battery Life (Movie,...
- Silent, vibration-free, anti-distortion shutter up to 1/32,000 sec.
What is the best portrait lens for Sony A9?
So you’re wondering which lens is best for portrait photography with your Sony A9? 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 Sony A9.
How to choose the best portrait lens for my Sony A9?
Here are some things to consider when choosing your portrait lens to go with your Sony A9:
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 Sony A9, this small selection is suitable for most portrait photographers.
Note: the product links in this article lead to Amazon.com
- Sony 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA
- Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
- Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Lens
- Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM Lens
- Useful accessories
Here are the best portrait lenses you should consider for your Sony A7C:
One of the best-selling lenses for Sony full-format hybrids. This focal range is mainly suitable for street photography, portraits and landscapes. It has a superb quality of construction, with a matt black coating similar to that of the A7 housings and is resistant to dust and moisture. It’s one of the lightest objectives of this ranking but also one of the least cumbersome, it can be carried everywhere easily. Its autofocus is silent, fast and accurate, even in low light (better than the 35mm f/1.4 above).
The highlight of this 55mm f/1.8 is its sharpness, really impressive: the images you get with this lens are very sharp and rich in detail (it’s in the top 5 of dxomark.com).
What about the 50mm f/1.8? Although it’s sold at a very attractive price, its autofocus is really bad and the 55mm f:1.8 is definitely better in every respect, so it’s better to save money to buy it. As for the Sony Zeiss FE 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*, it offers slightly better performance (e. g. a slightly softer bokeh) but not enough to justify the huge price difference.
In terms of quality/price, I think the 55mm f/1.8 is simply THE best lens you can have for your Sony full-format hybrid camera.
- This version is originally intended for sale outside the US and may contain adapters, manuals, and warranties not compatible with US standards.
One of the best Sony FE lenses for portrait photography. Moreover, it’s sold at a reasonable price and offers excellent optical performance: its nine blade diaphragm allows you to obtain a very beautiful bokeh.
The focus is fast and quiet, its weight is light enough thanks to a mainly plastic construction, and the images obtained are incredibly sharp in the center of the frame through the aperture range. In short, if you are looking for an 85mm for everyday portrait or even landscape photography, don’t hesitate and get the 85mm f/1.8!
- Wide F1.8 maximum aperture enables beautiful defocusing effects
- 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful round defocused bokeh
- ED glass element for corner-to-corner sharpness,Minimum Focus Distance:2.63 feet (0.8 m)
A truly exceptional optic for professionals, razor-sharp wide open from centre to corner. It delivers really dramatic images, color rendition and contrast is amazing, and the bokeh is impressive.
The Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM focuses extremely well in both good and bad light and AF is very quiet if you want to do video work. Despite being quite a large and heavy lens, it’s feels good in the hand.
This lens is near perfect, the only downside is that you’ll need a lot of room to use the 135mm focal length (that means outdoor portraits, some sports and street photography). It’s not really flexible for indoor weddings, for example.
Price is also very high but you get what you pay for, and that’s simply one of the best lenses available for Sony’s cameras.
- INCREDIBLY SHARP: XA (extreme aspherical), Super ED (extra-low dispersion) and ED glass elements strategically deployed in an advanced optical design for superb resolution, clarity and contrast
- BEAUTIFULLY SMOOTH BACKGROUNDS: Circular 11-blade aperture for beautiful bokeh defocus effects
- CAPTURE ALL THE DETAIL: Sony Nano AR Coating to eliminate flare and ghosting
A very high quality zoom, perfect for sports or animal photography. On this focal length range, it’s the best lens available at the moment: the images are very detailed and the contrast superb, it’s robust and the focus is super fast and super quiet (ideal for shooting animals or birds without making noise if you use the latest Sony hybrids that have a silent shutter release).
The 2.8 aperture allows you to take images in low light and create a nice bokeh.
Even if the handling is good, it’s a shame it’s so heavy! (not to mention the price). There’s a more affordable option, with a f/4 aperture: the Sony FE 70-200 f/4. It offers great results but it’s not as performant as the f/2.8 in low light situations.
- G Master design combines extraordinary sharpness and smooth bokeh, Constant F2.8 max aperture maintains exposure and depth of field.Weight 1480 g (without tripod mount)
- Class-leading min. focus distance of 37.8” / 0.25x max. mag, Dual floating focus system for high AF speed and precision, XA, ED/Super ED elements and Nano AR Coating for superb resolution
- Aspherical elements & 11-blade circular aperture for gorgeous bokeh, Min. focus breathing and par focal design ideal for video, Direct coupled mechanical focus system for precise manual focus
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 Sony A9 if you want to do portrait photography:
To summarize, the important things to consider when looking for the best portrait lens for Sony A9 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 Sony A9 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.