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8+ Best Nikon Lens for Portraits in 2024 — Top 8 Picks (July)

8+ Best Nikon Lens for Portraits in 2024 — Top 8 Picks (July)

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Are you looking for the best Nikon lens for portraits? If so, you’re in luck! This article contains a list of the best Nikon lenses for portraits.

Before looking at the list it’s best to answer “What is a portrait?” Shooting portraits goes beyond shooting an individual. It includes efforts like seizing emotions, personality, identity, and thoughts. These portraits aren’t just images you capture, they speak louder than words. To capture a proper portrait, you must make sure to capture the moment to tell the story behind it.

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The Nikon lens for portraits depends on two factors. The first is that you must have a mirrorless camera or a DSLR and the second thing is to make sure to have a full-frame sensor or an APS-C (DX) sensor.

These Nikon portrait lenses have two distinct characteristics. First, they have an 85mm focal length which eliminates all the unflattering distortion while getting too close to the subject with a regular or wide-angle lens. Second, they have a fast and maximum aperture to blur the background and focus on the subject.

Despite the variety of portrait-friendly lenses on the market, Nikon shines among its competitors. It’s important to note the widest aperture of  f/1.8 or f/1.4 is expensive, or the bigger the lenses are, the faster and more expensive they are.

To help you find the best investment for your requirements, this article has a list of the best Nikon lenses available on the market.

From dreamy backgrounds that delicately blur to razor-sharp focus on the eyes, Nikon lenses breathe life into every image. Without further ado, join us as we tour you our favorite collection of the best Nikon portrait lenses.


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Also, see our blog on the best Canon lens for portraits.

8 Best Nikon Lenses for Portraits in 2024

  1. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S — The best portrait Nikon lens overall (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S — The best valued to provide wide and sharp portraits
  3. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G — The best budget Nikon lens with FX-format prime lens
  4. Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8S — The best portrait camera with anti-reflective coating
  5. Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G — The best portrait camera with filter-attachment
  6. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR — The best lens all-in-one lens
  7. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II — The best Sharp shooter lens  
  8. Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G — The best versatile FX-format standard zoom lens

 

What is the Best Nikon Lens for Portraits?

Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S is the best overall Nikon lens for portraits as it delivers images with natural-looking bokeh. See the comparison table below for more Nikon portrait lenses.

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Best Overall
Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens for Nikon Z, Bundle with Hoya 67mm Digital Filter Kit II, Cleaning...
Best Valued
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 35mm prime lens for Z series mirrorless cameras...
Best Budget-Friendly
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Best Lens with Anti-Reflective Coating
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
Best Lens with Filter-Attachment
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens for Nikon Z, Bundle with Hoya 67mm Digital Filter Kit II, Cleaning...
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 35mm prime lens for Z series mirrorless cameras...
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Best Overall
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens for Nikon Z, Bundle with Hoya 67mm Digital Filter Kit II, Cleaning...
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens for Nikon Z, Bundle with Hoya 67mm Digital Filter Kit II, Cleaning...
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 35mm prime lens for Z series mirrorless cameras...
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 35mm prime lens for Z series mirrorless cameras...
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Best Lens with Anti-Reflective Coating
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
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690 Reviews
Price
$469.00
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Best Lens with Filter-Attachment
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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If you are interested, have a look at the best smartphone lenses for amazing photography and the best smartphones for creatives.

 

How to Choose the Best Nikon Lens for Portraits

How to Choose the Right Lens for Portrait
How to Choose the Right Lens for Portrait

Aperture

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Aperture defines the amount of light the lens can get through to the sensor, so the less in the aperture number, the more light enters, which helps you shoot in dark light conditions. This also helps in avoiding the image blurring due to camera shake. This aperture number for the lens mentioned in the article varies in the range f/2.8 or 1:2.8.

Focal Length

A focal length refers to the distance between the center of the lens to the sensor when the object is in focus. The lower number indicates the width of the shot, so the smaller the number, the wider the shot. If the number is large, then it means the zoom is longer.

To buy a lens that fits your camera needs, you should learn about the focal length and look into wide-angle focal lengths which go like 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, and so on.

The best lenses for portraits are those with focal lengths of 45mm and 85mm. In these focal lengths, the proportions of the body and face are realistic and engaging to the eye.

Image Stabilization 

Image stabilization is a useful feature when you are working in low light conditions or with shaking objects. These feature a design to reduce the blur in images. It is always important to check the image stabilization before buying a lens.

However, the indication of image stabilization is different for different models. For example, it is VR for Nikon’s Vibration Reduction, IS for Canon, and OS, or optical stabilization, for Sigma.

Focusing

Focus is another important and common factor in every lens. Most manufacturers offer Autofocus, and there are more manufacturers who offer both auto and manual focus. On the other hand, DSLR cameras come with different focusing options. So you must make sure to have a look at the compatibility of the lens with both the auto and manual focusing features.

Sharpness

Sharpness is the most important factor portrait photographers should research. It is important because these photographs contain the subject’s soul in them, so each and every detail is essential in portraits, you must pick a sharp lens that can catch the minute details of your subject.

Portability 

It is not only about capturing the images, it also matters that the camera is easy to carry and use in different places. Depending on the requirements, the shooting place, and the type of shooting you do, you must make sure to consider the portability of the lens.

Price

With the many factors under consideration, price is among the most vital. You must know how much you are willing to pay for a lens. This helps you to narrow down your choices depending on your needs and you can also look at some brands that give multiple versions of lenses at various price points like Nikon.

 

These are the three best-selling Nikon Lens on Amazon right now:

 

8 Best Nikon Lens for Portraits

1. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S (Editor’s Choice)

Nikon Z 85mm.
Nikon Z 85mm. Image Credits: Amazon

The best overall portrait Nikon lens 

Focal Length: 85mm | Dimensions: 75 x 99mm | Weight: 470g | Aperture Range : f/1.8-f/16

If you are looking for a perfect portrait lens for your full-frame mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S is an ideal choice.

This remarkable lens not only excels in capturing stunning portraits but also adds a touch of natural-looking background blur and dynamic range to your shots.

With the capacity to shoot as close as 0.8 meters, this lens excels in providing exceptional image quality and detail. It’s the ideal choice for portrait photographers looking to capture beautiful moments with unrivaled clarity and an artistic flair.

Also, not to mention, its durability and technical precision, the lens’s smooth autofocus suits both photography and video. With a wide aperture of f/1.8, this lens works excellent in low-light conditions, therefore you need not worry about capturing your portraits in challenging environments.

Overall, this lens featuring exceptional image quality is your versatile companion for full-frame mirrorless cameras, where you can effortlessly capture the soul of your subject.

Pros

Cons

➕ Grant you with natural bokeh ➖ The aperture range is a bit low.
➕ It is weather-sealed and full. ➖ Expensive for the features it possesses.
➕ Nano Crystal Coat to avoid flare and ghosting.

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Latest Price on Amazon:

 

2. Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm. Image Credits: Amazon

 

The best valued to provide wide and sharp portraits 

Focal Length: 35mm | Dimensions: 3.4 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches | Weight: 371.9g | Aperture Range : f/1.8

Are you looking for the best camera with extreme sharpness? Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S is an ideal choice.

In spite of the maximum aperture of f/1.8, it provides a high degree of resolution from the center to the edges. It comes with a powerful PDAF system to give a high focusing accuracy and speed.

Even at the edges of the frame, it features an optical formula to give zero flares, ghosting, coma, and spherical and axial aberration. It also provides a 9-blade rounded diaphragm and aperture in combination to give shorter flange distance providing a stunning round bokeh.

Even with all the features and equipment, it is lightweight and durable. NIKKOR Z lens also uses a stepping motor to provide you with fast, accurate, smooth, and autofocus capabilities by reducing vibrations.

With its 35mm focal length, this lens is a universal tool for photographers who are looking for a lens that offers a wide range of photography styles.

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We also noticed that the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S excels in capturing shots with stunning detail and vibrant colors whether it’s capturing landscapes or environmental portraits.

To conclude, this lens built for both professionals and enthusiasts combines rugged durability with smooth and silent autofocus performance and is a great choice for you to capture your life’s moments with brilliance and authenticity.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ It helps to reduce distortion and chromatic aberrations. ➖ It is very expensive.
➕ It is resistant to water splash and dust.
➕ Lightweight and durable.
➕ It gives wide-open sharpness.

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Sale
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 35mm prime lens for Z series mirrorless cameras...
  • Fast 35mm prime Lens for Z Mirrorless cameras
  • Uncanny f/1.8 performance-extreme sharpness from the center of the frame to the edges
  • New ultra-quiet stepping motor for silent focusing
  • Dreamy blurred background and superior Low-light performance
  • 5-Axis Dual detect optical VR powered by the Z Mirrorless cameras

 

3. Nikon AF-S 50mm 1.8G

Nikon AF-S 50mm
Nikon AF-S 50mm. Image Credits: Amazon

 

The best budget Nikon lens with FX-format prime lens

Focal Length: 50mm | Dimensions: 2.09 x 2.83 x 2.83 inches | Weight: 2.6kg | Aperture Range : f/1.8

The classic style of the Nikon AF-S 50mm 1.8G provides you with stunning backgrounds and performs in low light conditions with a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture.

It also comes with the Silent Wave Motor for ultra-fast and silent autofocusing. Its well-advanced technologies are ideal for everyday shoots and travel applications.

It works brilliantly even in low light conditions with a fast f/1.8 aperture. It also gives a natural perspective to your photographs with its 50mm focal length lens.

If you want to shoot at a wide-open angle the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G renders blurred backgrounds.

This capability of Nikon AF-S 50mm 1.8G is useful for portraits, in which sharp foreground subjects contrast with backgrounds that have a soft blur.

Furthermore, its compact and lightweight design caters to photographers on the move, enabling you to seize candid smiles and cherish beautiful moments at any time.

With a 50mm focal length, this lens mirrors the way the human eye sees, making it an ideal choice for a wide array of photography projects.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ Compact ➖ Vibration control is subpar.
➕ It is lightweight
➕ It has a fast aperture
➕ Reasonable price

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 millimeter (135) format is 47 degree and the maximum reproduction ratio is 0.15X
  • Focal length 50 millimeter, minimum focus distance 1.48 feet (0.45 meter)
  • Newly developed optical system with aspherical lens element, exclusive Nikon silent wave motor (SWM)
  • M/a focus mode switch, filter thread 58 millimeter, autofocus: Yes. Dimensions (approx.) (from the camera lens mounting flange): Approximately 2.83 inches diameter x 2.01 inches
  • Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both fx and dx format d SLRS

 

4. Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm. Image Credits: Amazon

 

The best portrait camera with anti-reflective coating

Focal Length: 50mm | Dimensions: 3.4 x 3 x 3 inches | Weight: 412g | Aperture Range : f/1.8

Nikon NIKKOR S 50mm f/1.8S is the best durable and lightweight portrait lens with advanced technologies.

It comes with a Stepping Motor for fast, smooth, and accurate autofocus by reducing vibrations. This is an ideal choice for shooting videos.

It comes with an anti-reflective coating to virtually eliminate reflections across a wide range of wavelengths. This lens has a Nano Crystal Coat that minimizes the effects of diagonal light entering the lens.

Furthermore, it has Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass, a form of optical glass that you may use as a telephoto lens to correct chromatic aberrations to the best of its ability.

It also comes with an aspherical lens to correct distortion in wide-angle lenses and reduce spherical elements by changing the refractive index from the lens’ center.

Pros 

Cons

➕ Helps in reducing chromatic aberration. ➖ Causes vignetting at f1.8.
➕ It is weather-sealed.
➕ It is easily durable and lightweight.

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Sale
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
690 Reviews
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S | Premium large aperture 50mm prime lens (nifty fifty) for Z series...
  • 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
  • Beautiful bokeh and superior Low-light performance
  • 5-Axis Dual detect optical VR powered by Z cameras

 

5. Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S 85mm
Nikon AF-S 85mm. Image Credits: Amazon

The best portrait camera with filter-attachment

Focal Length: 8 5mm | Dimensions: 2.87 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches | Weight: 185g | Aperture Range : f/1.8

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G comes with a fast aperture and a medium telephoto portrait lens for outstanding stills and HD videos. It provides you with flattering portraits in any light and stunning background blur in low-light situations.

It comes with an internal lens that does not change during AF operation, which allows for closer focusing distances. It is also compact and lightweight which designates it as an IF lens.

It also features an M/a focus mode switch which has different focusing modes allowing you to choose between autofocus and manual focusing without any lagging in time, which you may adjust by turning the ring in the lens.

It includes Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor, which is the technology of changing the traveling waves into rotational energy used to focus the optics. This in turn allows high-speed autofocusing with accurate and quiet performance.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ The price is reasonable. ➖ Close focus is limited even though it supports close focus mode
➕ Increased Sharpness ➖ Optical stabilization is absent
➕ Avoids distortion

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Fast aperture medium telephoto lens
  • Internal focus, focal length: 85 millimeter, minimum focus range: 0.80 meter
  • Silent wave motor (SWM). Number of diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • M/a focus mode switch. Filter-attachment size is 67 millimeter (p=0.75 millimeter)
  • Nikon super integrated coating (sic)

 

6. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm. Image Credits: Amazon

The best lens all-in-one lens 

Focal Length: 70mm | Dimensions: 3.82 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches | Weight: 1.5kg | Aperture Range :  f/2.8

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is the best all-in-one zoom lens.

If you want a single lens to take care of all the work, then this is an ideal one. It can shoot from wide-angle to ultra-high-power zoom shots.

It features Nikon’s second-generation VR II technology to ensure it delivers razor-sharp shots. It features a compact and lightweight design which also ensures it gives a great close-up shooting experience.

With VR II image stabilization provides 3.5 stops* of blur-free handheld shooting along with assuring to delivery of still images and HD video capture.

With its optical design technology, it is equipped with SWM for ultra-speed autofocus. In addition, an Aspherical (AS) lens to avoid lens aberration.

It also includes ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass elements for enhanced color contrast, flare, and ghosting avoidance.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ Delivers sharp shots ➖ Expensive
➕ VR system is effective
➕ Portable and lightweight

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon...
  • Goes from wide-angle (18 millimeter ) to telephoto (140 millimeter ) for great snapshots and videos in just about any situation
  • Nikon Silent Wave Motor (AFS) enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus, Minimum focus distance 0.45 m (1.48 ft) from focal plane at all zoom positions Focal Length : 18-140 millimeter
  • VR image stabilization for sharper handheld photos and videos in low-light situations and at telephoto distances.Zoom Ratio 7.8 x
  • Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass minimizes chromatic aberration, and aspherical lens element virtually eliminates coma. Type G AF-S DX lens with built-in CPU and F mount. Lens construction-17 elements...
  • Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances light transmission efficiency and offers superior color consistency and reduced flare

 

7. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm. Image Credits: Amazon

 

The best Sharp shooter lens 

Focal Length: 67mm | Dimensions: 8.46 x 3.43 x 3.43 inches| Weight: 350g | Aperture Range :  f/2.8

The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II is an ideal choice for low-light, wildlife, sports, concerts, portraits, weddings, and everyday shooting.

It features six ED glass elements, Fluorite (FL), and High Refractive (HRI) lens elements for sharpness, smoothness, and accuracy in nature.

It also features a Nano Crystal Coat (N) to eliminate distortion and glare and maximize sharpness in difficult backlit situations. The f/2.8 aperture provides stunning background blur shots.

It is also weather-sealed, which makes every movable part of the lens resistant to dust and water. Additionally, Nikon’s non-stick Fluorine coat is on the front lens element, making it resistant to dirt, fingerprints, and smudges.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ Provides sharpness with all zoom ranges ➖ It still features distortion.
➕ Focus limiter switch.
➕ Vibration is reduced.

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras - White Box (New)
  • Compact, lightweight G-type fast 2.9x telephoto zoom with Vibration Reduction
  • VR operation offers the equivalent of using a shutter speed 3 stops (eight times) faster
  • Holds fast and constant f2.8 maximum aperture through the entire focal range
  • Built-in Single Wave Motor for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet AF operation
  • Five ED glass elements for higher optical performance

 

8. Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G 

Nikon 24-85mm
Nikon 24-85mm. Image Credits: Amazon

 

The best versatile FX-format standard zoom lens 

Focal Length: 24mm | Dimensions: 3.23 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches | Weight: 500g | Aperture Range : F3.5 – F4.5

Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G delivers sharper photos and HD videos with its vibrant, advanced, and versatile standard zoom lens.

It also possesses VR II image stabilization to provide 4.0 stops* of blur-free handheld shooting to ensure sharper and still images.

It has the widest focal length of 24mm on FX-format D-SLRs, and 36 mm on DX-format D-SLRs making it ideal for landscapes, group shots, and travel.

Its longest focal length of 85mm on FX-format D-SLRs, and 136.5mm on DX-format D-SLRs make it a perfect choice for close-ups and portraits.

It comes with the latest advanced technologies like Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for smooth, fast, and quiet autofocusing.

Super Integrated Coating (SIC) for flare and ghosting reduction, Extra-low Dispersion Glass Element (ED) for correction of chromatic aberrations, and Aspherical Lens Element Design (AS) to avoid refractive index from the center of the lens.

Pros 

Cons 

➕ Gives good sharpness and focus. ➖ Build quality subpar
➕ Lightweight.
➕ Price is affordable.

 

Latest Price on Amazon:

NIKON 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens - White Box
484 Reviews
NIKON 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens - White Box
  • Engineered for Nikon FX-format DSLRs
  • Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 61°, Minimum Angle of View (DX format): 18°50’, Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 84°, Minimum Angle of View (FX-format): 28°30’.Focal Length Range : 24 to...
  • Nikon VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization
  • 1 Extra low Dispersion (ED) Element. Maximum aperture : f/3.5-4.5. Minimum aperture : f/22-29
  • Silent Wave Motor, Internal Focusing

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the most basic thing to remember while buying a portrait lens?

The best lens for a portrait should have an aperture of a minimum of f/1.8 to a maximum of f/8 or larger. Anything less than this will result in a large in-focus area which is not ideal for photographs.

Which is the best lens for portraits, 85mm or 50mm?

If you prefer taking headshots, then 85mm is the best choice. While 50mm is an ideal choice for full-body or group shots. Also, 50mm can put headshots into an uncomfortably close focus to the subject if it is headshots.

What is the purpose of a portrait lens?

You get blurry backgrounds when you use portrait lenses, and have a shallow depth of field if you use a wide aperture. Essentially, this is what gives you the classic portrait look of a sharp subject framed by a blurry and bokeh-filled background.

 

Best Nikon Lens for Portraits – Final Takeaway 

Choosing the best Nikon lens for portrait photography always depends on your choice and the type of photography you do.

No matter if you are a wildlife photographer, hobbyist, event photographer, or just the one eager to capture faces. It all depends on you to choose the best lens for you and your requirements once your setup is ready.

Be sure you invest your money wisely while you are hunting for the best lens. Make sure to go through the guide on how to choose the best Nikon lens for the portrait above, and be sure to check the features, pros, and cons mentioned in the article.

This way it helps you find the best and the most out of Nikon lens for portrait photography.

Have a good time photographing.


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