50mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography

When it comes to portrait photography, choosing the right lens can make all the difference in achieving the perfect shot. Two popular options among photographers are the 50mm and 85mm lenses. Both offer unique qualities that can enhance your portrait photography in different ways. The 50mm lens is known for being versatile and great for capturing a wider field of view, while the 85mm lens is ideal for creating beautiful bokeh and a more flattering perspective for portraits. In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two lenses and help you determine which one is best suited for your portrait photography needs.







50mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography

50mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography

Introduction

When it comes to portrait photography, choosing the right lens can make a significant difference in the outcome of your images. Two popular options for portrait photographers are the 50mm and 85mm lenses. Both lenses have their own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the differences between the two can help you decide which one is best for your photography needs.

50mm Lens

The 50mm lens is a versatile option for portrait photography. It is often referred to as a “standard” lens because it closely mimics the natural perspective of the human eye. This makes it a popular choice for capturing portraits that feel true to life.

Advantages of a 50mm Lens

  • Compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around
  • Wider field of view, allowing you to capture more of the background in your portraits
  • Fast aperture, typically around f/1.8, for great low light performance and shallow depth of field

Disadvantages of a 50mm Lens

  • May not provide as much bokeh (background blur) as longer lenses
  • May not be as flattering for close-up portraits due to distortion

85mm Lens

The 85mm lens is a popular choice for portrait photography because of its ability to create beautiful, creamy bokeh. This lens is often referred to as a “portrait” lens because of the flattering perspective it provides.

Advantages of an 85mm Lens

  • Ideal focal length for capturing flattering portraits with minimal distortion
  • Narrower field of view, helping to isolate your subject from the background
  • Wide aperture, typically around f/1.8 or even f/1.4, for stunning bokeh

Disadvantages of an 85mm Lens

  • Heavier and bulkier than a 50mm lens, making it less convenient for travel
  • More expensive than a 50mm lens, especially for lenses with wider apertures

Which Lens is Right for You?

Choosing between a 50mm and 85mm lens ultimately depends on your personal style and the type of portraits you prefer to capture. If you enjoy a wider field of view and a more natural perspective, the 50mm lens may be the better choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more flattering perspective with stunning bokeh, the 85mm lens is likely the way to go.

Some photographers even choose to have both lenses in their kit, using each for different scenarios. Whichever lens you choose, practice and experimentation will help you get the most out of your portrait photography.

Conclusion

Both the 50mm and 85mm lenses have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to portrait photography. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision on which lens is best suited for your needs. Whether you prefer the versatility of the 50mm lens or the flattering perspective of the 85mm lens, both options can help you capture stunning portraits that highlight the beauty of your subjects.


FAQ: 50mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography

Q: What is the difference between a 50mm and an 85mm lens for portrait photography?

A: The main difference between these two lenses is the focal length. A 50mm lens is considered a wide-angle lens, which is great for capturing a wider field of view and is often used for environmental portraits. On the other hand, an 85mm lens is a short telephoto lens, which is ideal for capturing more close-up portraits with a shallower depth of field.

Q: Which lens is better for portrait photography?

A: Both lenses have their own advantages. If you prefer a wider shot and want to include more of the background in your portraits, a 50mm lens is a good choice. If you want a more flattering look with a blurred background and more focus on your subject, an 85mm lens is recommended.

Q: Can I use a 50mm lens for close-up portraits?

A: While a 50mm lens can still produce great close-up portraits, an 85mm lens is generally preferred for tight headshots and close-ups due to its longer focal length and ability to create more background separation.

Q: Which lens is better for shooting in low light conditions?

A: An 85mm lens typically has a wider aperture (such as f/1.8 or f/1.4) compared to a 50mm lens, allowing more light to enter the camera and resulting in better performance in low light situations. However, both lenses can perform well in low light with the right settings and techniques.

I hope you find useful my article 50mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

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