35mm, 55mm, 85mm or 70-200mm lens for portraits: which one should you buy next?
If you’re thinking of upgrading your kit with a new portrait lens, you might be indecisive which one to buy next. In this video, Manny Ortiz shows you what you can get with four different lenses: 35mm, 55mm, 85mm, and 70-200mm. He replicates the frame with each lens at the widest aperture to show you what to expect and what you’ll get with different focal lengths.
Manny starts with the 35mm f/1.4 lens, saying it’s the most versatile lens in his gear bag. It’s great for environmental portraits, waist-up and full body shots. However, because of the distortion, it’s not the best choice for headshots.
The next lens is the 55mm f/1.8. It’s a rather versatile lens just like the 35mm, and you’re removing some of that distortion when you’re shooting up close. So, it pretty much works for all kinds of portraits: headshots, waist-up shots, and full body shots.
85mm f/1.4 is Manny’s favorite portrait lens (and I know many portrait photographers who’d choose it over any other lens). You remove the distortion, so you can get flattering headshots with creamy background. The waist-up shots have the same look with the “bokehlicious” background. With full body shots, you can include a decent amount of background, yet your subject will stand out in the image.
The 70-200mm f/2.8 is a new lens in Manny’s arsenal, and he demonstrates shooting portraits at 200mm. It creates a great background compression and separates your subject from the background in all kinds of shots. However, the downside is that you have to stand too far away from the subject when taking photos, which can make communication with the model a bit difficult.
All in all, when choosing your next portrait lens, it all depends what kind of portraits you want to take. So take a look at more examples in the video and see for yourself which lens would be the best choice for you.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.