Lens Selection for Portraits
As I mention in the video, lens focal lengths will vary among the different formats for a given angle of view. I cover this more extensively Focal Lengths and Digital Cameras. Here, I will talk about the four focal lengths used in the video and what lenses are available in each format to match. Lens offerings change over time so this list is only current for when I wrote this article.
For the most part, the lists include lenses from the camera companies. In some cases, worthwhile choices are available from third-party lens manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Voigtlander and ZEISS.
Only the more popular camera lines are listed.
Full Frame DSLR - Canon and Nikon(FX)
|35mm equivalent focal length||Canon EF Lens Choices||Nikon FX Lens Choices|
|35mm||35mm f/1.4 and f/2||35mm f/1.4 and f/1.8|
|50mm||50mm f/1.2, f/1.4 and f/1.8||50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8|
|85mm||85mm f/1.2, 1.4 and f/1.8||85mm f/1.4 and f/1.8|
|Mid-Range Macro||100mm f/2.8||105mm f/2.8|
|135mm||135mm f/2||135mm f/2 DC (Defocus Control)|
Full Frame Mirrorless - Sony FE
|35mm equivalent focal length||Sony FE Lens Choices|
|35mm||35mm f/1.4 ZA, 35mm f/2.8 ZA|
|50mm||50mm f/1.4 ZA and f/1.8, 55mm f/1.8 ZA|
|85mm||85mm f/1.4 GM and f/1.8|
|Mid-Range Macro||90mm f/2.8|
|135mm||135mm f/1.8 GM|
ASP-C DSLR - Canon and Nikon (DX)
Note that full frame lenses can be mounted on ASP-C bodies. The table largely contains only those lenses designed for ASP-C cameras.
|35mm equivalent focal length||Canon EF-S ASP-C Lens Choices||Nikon DX ASP-C Lens Choices|
|35mm||24mm f/2.8 STM||None|
|50mm||Full-frame 40mm f/2.8 STM comes closest||35mm f/1.8|
|85mm||None. The best choice is a full frame 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 (80mm equiv.).||None. The best choice is a full frame 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 (75mm equiv.).|
|Mid-Range Macro||60mm f/2.8 (96mm equiv.)||85mm f/3.5 (127.5mm equiv.), Tamron 60mm f/2 Macro (90mm equiv.)|
|135mm||None||85mm f/3.5 Macro (127.5mm equiv.) comes closest but does not have a very wide aperture.|
ASP-C Mirrorless - Fujifilm X series and Sony alpha (E mount)
|35mm equivalent focal length||Fujifilm X Lens Choices||Sony E Lens Choices|
|35mm||23mm f/1.4||24mm f/1.8 ZA|
|50mm||35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2||35mm f/1.8|
|85mm||56mm f/1.2. Also the 50mm f/2 for a 75mm equivalent.||None. The 50mm f/1.8 (75mm equiv.) comes closest.|
|Mid-Range Macro||60mm f/2.4 (90mm equiv.)||None|
Micro Four Thirds
Olympus Pen and OM-D and Panasonic Lumix G series. Lenses are interchangeable between the two camera company’s bodies since they all use a common lens mount.
|35mm equivalent focal length||Olympus Lens Choices||Panasonic Lens Choices|
|35mm||17mm f/1.2 and f/1.8||None. The LEICA DG 15mm f/1.7 (30mm equiv.) comes closest.|
|50mm||25mm f/1.2 and f/1.8||25mm f/1.7, LEICA DG 25mm f/1.4|
|85mm||45mm f/1.8 (90mm equiv.) comes the closest||42.5mm f/1.7, LEICA DG 42.5mm f/1.2|
|Mid-Range Macro||60mm f/2.8 (120mm equiv.)||LEICA DG 45mm f/2.8 (90mm equiv.)|
|135mm||None. The Sigma DN 60mm f/2.8 (120mm equiv.) comes closest. Another option is the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (150mm equiv.).||None. The Sigma DN 60mm f/2.8 (120mm equiv.) comes closest.|