As the name implies, a portrait lens is one that is used to take portraits and gives certain advantages to the photographer. In fact, despite popular belief, there are no "portrait" lenses as such. That is, manufacturers, when releasing a lens, do not specifically design it for any particular type of shooting. Therefore, there is often a lot of debate about what should be the best portrait lens. This does not take into account the fact that all photographers shoot in different conditions, each of them has his own characteristic handwriting and his own priorities. Therefore, in this article we will look at the characteristics of the lenses most commonly used for portrait photography.
The very first and main characteristic of any lens is its aperture. Aperture is indicated by the f marking, which carries information about the maximum aperture. It's simple: the wider the aperture of your lens is open, the more light will hit the matrix, the moreluminosity. The smaller the f-number, the wider the aperture can open. A portrait lens should have a high aperture, which will allow you to create sharp details, which is extremely important in portrait photography. For example, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 portrait lens is considered one of the best in this regard and far outperforms many others.
When choosing a portrait lens, it is important to decide what focal length you use most often. It is well known that for shooting portraits it is better to use primes (i.e. lenses with a fixed focal length), rather than zoom lenses, since they have a larger aperture due to the lack of a lens block responsible for zooming. Many professionals believe that a portrait lens should have a focal length between 50mm and 200mm. Moreover, a longer focal length gives a more beautiful bokeh - a blur pattern - and implies a greater distance between the photographer and the model. That is, if you are shooting in a small studio, then a 200mm portrait lens is useless to you. You can, of course, opt for a zoom lens to be able to adjust the distance from the camera to the model to your liking, but using it will require good lighting. In addition, a good zoom lens is usually more expensive than a prime lens.Minor, but equally important characteristics are the presence of an image stabilization system and the type of focus. The image stabilizer compensates for camera shake, so it never hurts. Focusing is a little more difficult. It is better, of course, to choose a lens with two types of focus -manual and automatic. If, suppose, you are used to using only manual focus, it is still worth remembering that sometimes spontaneous situations occur when it is simply long or inconvenient to search for focus manually.
So before choosing a lens for portraits, decide how you plan to use it. And, depending on what exactly you need, prioritize for yourself and determine the most optimal characteristics. This will allow you to narrow your search, and also not to doubt the correctness of your choice.