There are several popular forms of photography and one of them is portraiture. We wanted to put together a list of the best portrait lenses for Nikon users so they could have a wide array of choices. The ideal focal range for a Nikon portrait lens is between 70-135mm with the sweet spot being hit around 85mm. An 85mm focal length results in your subject being closely framed and punched out from the background of the image.
But, the reality is, no perfect lens has been designed for portraits. It all depends on different factors that a photographer desires. So, before getting the right camera lens, a photographer has to look for conditions, location, and lighting, as all of them are very important for your lens to take the best portraits.
In this article, we will take a look at a wide range of the best Nikon portrait lenses.
The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens for a DX-format (small sensor) camera. It gives you a tight feel similar to the 50mm on a full-frame camera. It’s the only lens included in this list that is specifically intended for DX-format cameras. It has a solid build quality, fast and quiet internal focusing, and is perfect for beginners.
At f/1.8, it allows you to take sharp images with a smooth bokeh. And, f/1.8 also works well indoors and in low-light situations. The lens features a silent wave motor AF system, but image stabilization is missing.
While it can’t be called a professional lens, it’s capable enough to perform well if being used by the right person. For beginners who are ready to advance their photography skills, this Nikon portrait lens is a great starter purchase.
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II is a super-expensive lens from Nikon. Certainly, anyone would think twice before investing that much money but it pays back with a stunning performance. It produces spectacular images and that appear out of this world.
The lens has a focal length of 200mm which is good for taking full-body portraits, and at f/2 it will deliver results beyond your imagination. It may suit the needs of any type of photographer but action photographers specifically would love to have this lens in their camera bag.
It features an ultrasonic motor based AF system and image stabilization with up to four stops of vibration reduction (VR II).
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G offers excellent bokeh, value and great autofocus for the users of full-frame Nikon cameras or DX-format cameras. Although this Nikon portrait lens is designed for beginners, it can take amazing photos of people, animals, and other subjects if used in the right hands.
The lens has a few issues with optical aberration, but the edge to edge sharpness and silent wave motor AF system make it one of the great Nikon lenses for portrait photography. The lens doesn’t offer an image stabilization feature.
People who want professional quality portrait lenses at significantly lower prices, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G is for you. It features high-quality optics with fast subject focusing.
While an 85mm lens fitted on a DX camera is a bit tight for most at 136mm, those with an FX camera, on the other hand, will get outstanding image quality and fast focusing with this lens.
This Nikon portrait lens is durable and has a manual focus override option for situations where it’s difficult for autofocus to find its mark. It doesn’t come with image stabilization.
There are some minor drawbacks as well. The lens has some issues with chromatic aberration and the body is built with plastic. However, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G offers great quality optics and is available at a very reasonable price.
The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED is both a portrait and macro lens which is a rarely found specialty. It delivers results with great color and contrast, and amazing sharpness. The lens boasts excellent speed as well. At a very close focusing distance of one foot, it produces incredibly sharp macro shots.
The lens’ autofocus system is based on a silent wave motor and offers image stabilization with up to four stops of shake reduction.
The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED is an excellent lens for event photography and does well in low light conditions. At a focal length of 105mm, it takes good portraits, but it’s all about the taste of the photographer.
Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D is another excellent lens on the list that captures stunning images and produces creamy bokeh. It may not be as sharp as some people think but in some cases, there is no other like it, which is its color, contrast, and bokeh. But above all, it has a bottom line feature referred to as defocus control.
Defocus control is an extremely useful feature that enables you to adjust the unfocused areas of an image. It allows the user to adjust the quality of the blur in front or behind the subject, which makes it very easy to shoot amazing portraits with this lens.
Picking the Best Nikon Portrait Lens
In this guide we wanted you to know about some unique portrait lenses and we believe every lens that we included in the list is perfect for your specific set of needs. These are some of the best budget portrait lenses and many of them are available at a very reasonable price.