What's your favorite portrait lens? In this video, Manny Ortiz picks his among a 35mm, 55mm, 85mm, and 70-200mm.
The best lens for portraits is one of the oldest and most contested arguments in photography. All are great for different reasons, but everyone always seems to have their favorite. Many argue that 50mm or 55mm is the best option because it most resembles the field of view of the human eye, while others love the 35mm for environmental portraits. Some street photographers and photojournalists love the 50mm, while others in the same genre use only the 35mm.
Henri Cartier-Bresson — the father of photojournalism and master street photographer — mainly used a 50mm. He often chose the 50mm because anything more cuts out certain elements while anything less contains too many elements. One of the most renown American photographers today, Annie Leibovitz, loves shooting with a 35mm. She loves the environment that's captured along with her subject, which often creates more interesting images. In the above video, Manny Ortiz balances the pros of each lens, creating reasonable arguments to choose any of the four options he tests.
Personally, my favorite portrait lenses are my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 and my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. Both are incredibly tack sharp and I'm always blown away with the in-camera results. I enjoy creating compositions with the field of view the 50mm offers, and I love the compression and versatility that the 70-200mm offers.
What is your favorite portrait lens, and why?