Lenses For Portraiture


Telephoto lenses have an additional benefit of allowing you to crop out most of the background. The longer the focal length, the stronger this effect. Telephoto lenses will also provide a shallower depth of field, gently blurring the background to help reduce distractions from your subject.

Speaking of depth of field, prime lenses and zooms with a constant aperture of ƒ/2.8 or faster are preferable for portrait work due to their ability to further reduce depth of field when shooting wide open.

The effects of various focal lengths on your subject’s facial features can range from comically pronounced at the wide end to more subtle f lattening effects at longer telephoto lengths. Telephoto lengths typically produce the most f lattering looks. Photo by Rich Legg

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Canon’s EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM can be used with both full-frame- and APS-C-sensor Canon cameras (equivalent to 112-320mm with APS-sensor models), with a constant ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. List Price: $2,199.

Fujifilm’s new Fujinon XF50-140mm ƒ/2.8 R LM OIS WR zoom provides a constant ƒ/2.8 aperture across the 35mm-equivalent focal range of 76-213mm when paired with Fujifilm X-series cameras like the new entry-level X-A2. List Price: $1,599.

The AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/2.8D ED can be used with both FX- and DX-format Nikons, the latter providing a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 120-300mm. It also maintains a fast ƒ/2.8 aperture throughout the range. List Price: $1,224.

For Olympus PEN and OM-D cameras, the M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm ƒ/2.8 PRO delivers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 80-300mm with a constant ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture. List Price: $1,499.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm F/2.8 ASPH

Panasonic’s LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm F/2.8 ASPH also features a constant ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture across its 70-200mm (35mm-equivalent) focal range. List Price: $1,499.

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