Best Canon Lenses For Portraits – 2020 Top Picks Reviewed

Have you ever looked at an image that mesmerized you completely? Was it one by a famous photographer? How was he able to capture the real essence and beauty of his subject, and more importantly, can you do the same? 

These are some of the questions you might come across after looking at great portrait photography. But did you know you could excel at the art yourself with just a little practice and the right Canon Lens?

Having the right portrait lens is the key to becoming a great artist, and we are here to help you embark on that mission.

Comparison Chart of the Best Canon Lenses For Portraits

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens

  • Best Canon Lens For Portraits
  • Comes with a Micro-Ultra Sonic Motor design
  • Dispersion glass is ultra-low and contains fluorite elements
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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens

  • Maximum aperture is set at f/2.8
  • Comes with a 100m of large focus length
  • Supreme lens construction to make it last long
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

  • Best for the money
  • Maximum aperture size is f/1.8 allows greater subject focus
  • Comes with a 50 mm focal length that is ideal for indoor photography
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

  • Best Canon lens for landscape and portraits
  • Greater focal length allows for greater magnification
  • Higher aperture lens allows capturing a shallow depth of field
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Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens

  • Best Canon 50mm portrait lens
  • Wide aperture allows you a better bokeh
  • Focal length is only 50mm which allows for better close-up
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

  • Best Canon EF Portrait lens
  • Closest focusing distance of the lens is set at 1.48 ft.
  • Comes with a short focal length of 50 mm for less distorted imagery
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto

  • Best portrait lens for Canon 6D
  • Allows for a diverse range of shooting positions
  • Comes with a 50mm focal length that is great for low light photography
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens

  • Best portrait lens for Canon 80D
  • USM can bring your subject into focus quickly
  • Comes with a larger 85mm lens for telephoto photography
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Can Any Canon Lens Be Used For Portraits?

When it comes to photography-related equipment, a lens is your best investment. But most people wonder whether they need to buy a new lens for portrait photography or if they can keep using their old one. The answer to this is simple; although most lenses can be used for the purpose, not all of them will make you excel in the art.

The purpose of portrait photography is to tell a story about the subject and its surroundings. It allows photographers to capture the aesthetics of the view before them; thus, it is important that they do it the right way.

The best Canon lens for portrait photography would be the ones having a focal length between 35mm and 200mm. The aperture needs to be wide in order to allow more light. Moreover, those that come with greater bokeh also work well for portrait photography.

Why Did These Canon Lenses Make Our List?

We know how important a lens is to you. Therefore, we have gone through considerable lengths to ensure that you get the best possible features. Here are some of the top features of our products. All these make for a great option.

Focal Length Between 50mm and 135mm

This range has been carefully selected because it eliminates any of the harms associated with the extreme focal lengths on both sides. Smaller lengths ensure fewer distortions whereas higher ones like a 135mm allow for a natural, beautiful blur.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens

Wide Aperture

It is universally known that wide apertures are necessary for good portrait photography. Most of the products on our list provide a wide aperture size that allows for great photography, even in low-light conditions. Not just this, having a wide aperture will also allow your subject to be in focus, even at night time.

Higher Bokeh Effect

The bokeh effect is essential for ensuring the real aesthetics of a portrait image. All the products in this list come with some level of nokeh, depending upon their aperture size. This means they can achieve minimal depth-of-field while keeping your background blurred.

Quick Take - Best Canon Lenses For Portraits

Before we dive into our review, here are the best Canon lenses for portraits:

  1. Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens
  2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
  3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Review of the Best Canon Lenses For Portraits

Interest in the field of photography is forever on the rise, so naturally, many new lenses have come forth, each bringing a new set of features with them. We have reviewed all those products and have shortlisted the top Canon portrait lenses for you.

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed, Black - 2520A004

PROS

  • Allows for a faster autofocus
  • Soft bokeh is ensured via the circular bokeh
  • Doesn’t create noise, hence allows you to focus better
  • Large aperture length allows for close focusing distance
  • Comes with an ultra-soft lens case hood and a smooth case

CONS

  • Warranty is less
  • Lens is not zoomable
  • Price is relatively higher than other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have praised this Canon lens for its amazing focal length and wide aperture size. It is considered one of the most ideal lenses for indoor photography. Consumers also like the USM technology that aids the automatic focus capabilities of the lens. Moreover, you can also shift to the manual focus whenever you need it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out to us because of the beautiful blur it creates. The 135mm focal length of the lens allows capturing the sharp image of your subject and creating a perfect natural blur in the background. Moreover, it also ensures light and soft bokeh necessary for a more aesthetic picture quality.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens comes with a good focal length and a wide aperture. The USM technology allows for focused photography, thus allowing for perfect indoor sports photography. Furthermore, the f/2 aperture allows you to capture clear images, even in low-light conditions. This is because the wide aperture allows significant light to enter the lens, thus enhancing clarity.

Bottom Line 

If this isn’t the best lens for shooting portrait photography, then no other lens is. The Canon EF 135mm lens has just the right focal length for both indoor and outdoor photography. This, coupled with the wide aperture size, helps in making the camera the right fit for clearer and brighter images. Moreover, the USM technology lets you work in silence, thus adding to your convenience.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, Lens Only

PROS

  • The inner focusing system comes with USM
  • Higher diagonal view lets you take great pictures
  • Allows crystal clear detailing in portrait photography
  • Allows full-time manual focusing, thus aiding creativity
  • It also includes image stabilization which is extremely sophisticated

CONS

  • You cannot use extenders with it
  • Close-up magnification is set up at only 1X
  • Does not have any compatible close-up lenses

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are really pleased with the beautiful and crystal-clear images they get via this amazing lens. It comes with a 100mm focal length that allows you to get less distortion and clearer images. Moreover, consumers also like the excellent optical quality that ensures a fine and detailed image at all times.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The product stands out to us because of its high-quality design and construction. It is engineered with the most high-quality materials and has been carefully weather-sealed to ensure robust results at all times. Moreover, the ultra-low dispersion removes any exceptional bokeh or any chromatic aberrations you might experience otherwise.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is widely used to capture images of food and still scenery, but that’s not all. Its supreme quality also makes it the perfect fit for macro and portrait-level photography. Its high-end construction allows you to capture images without any aberrations and with greater clarity. Moreover, it comes with image stabilization, which further adds to its appeal.

Bottom Line

The lens comes with a true magnification feature, which means that the size of your camera sensor is the same as the object you are capturing. This, coupled with the ULD feature, allows you to get amazing portrait images, even in low-light conditions. Moreover, the lens allows you to capture a shallow depth of field that comes with beautiful bokeh.

Best for the Money:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

PROS

  • Movie Servo design allows for better stills
  • Better construction adds to higher durability
  • Allows horizontal, diagonal, and vertical views
  • Great for action, portrait, and nighttime photography
  • Complete silence is ensured via the stepping motor system

CONS

  • Allows maximum magnification of 0.21x
  • Has more distortion compared to 35mm focal length
  • Creates a larger in-focus area, thus hindering the sharpness of the single-subject

What Recent Buyers Report

When it comes to consumers and recent buyers, the weight of the product means a great deal. Fans of the product love the compact shape and stature of the lens that allow them to carry it effortlessly. It also comes with an advanced USM system that ensures complete silence. This not only allows photographers to stay focused, but also ensures better imagery.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Not many lenses bring something new to the market, but that’s certainly not true for this Canon EF 50mm lens. It comes with a new and advanced coating that helps attain an excellent color balance for all your images. Not just that, it also brings minimized flare and ghosting, thus allowing you to capture images in real estate.

Who Will Use This Most

The product will be used best by people interested in action, portrait, and nighttime photography. This is because the bright aperture of f/1.8 allows you to capture the best images, even in the lowest light situations. Moreover, it allows you to capture the background blur beautifully via its circular seven-blade circular design.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to get sharp images without distortion, then this is definitely the right product for you. It is compact and lightweight and brings you an updated lens with better features. Moreover, its Movie Servo feature allows for much better stills. It also allows for the best nighttime photography at a relatively low price.

Best Canon Lens for Landscape and Portrait:
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras, Lens Only

PROS

  • Wide range of diagonal view is allowed
  • Lens construction is smooth and steady
  • Front lens does not rotate at all during focusing
  • Allows for focus adjustment with the special USM system
  • Allows photographers to capture close-ups, despite standing some feet away

CONS

  • Heavier than most other models
  • Not suitable for indoor photography
  • The tripod collar needs to be bought separately

What Recent Buyers Report

Appealing to recent buyers is hard, but not when your product is this smooth and amazing. This telephoto zoom lens allows you to capture close-up images despite standing a couple of feet away from them. Consumers also feel that the wide range of angles allowed for diagonal view makes it easier for them to experiment with different styles and rotations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a zoom lens, which means that it comes with more benefits than you can imagine. The best thing about this feature is that it allows the photographer to change the focal length without changing the lens. This allows them to adjust their focal lengths according to the needs and requirements of the area around them.

Who Will Use This Most

Since the lens comes with a zoom feature, a range of people can use it easily. The camera lens allows for a focal length between 70 and 200. This means that people wanting to capture indoor, as well as outdoor, photography can benefit from it. Moreover, this feature also allows you to capture the real beauty of landscapes and beautiful scenery around you, all from a distance.

Bottom Line

High performance, aesthetic beauty, and convenience are just a few of the many words used to describe this amazing lens. It combines the ease of a compact size with the comfort of a zoomable lens, thus bringing you a product that allows you to capture diverse imagery at the same time. Moreover, the front lens doesn’t rotate at all, making it the perfect zoom lens.

Best Canon 50mm Portrait Lens:
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens

PROS

  • Allows for less distortion
  • Better lens construction makes for higher durability
  • Filter size is good for cleaner and brighter photography
  • Allows for a wide diagonal angle of view, which is 46 degrees
  • Front group of the linear extension comes with a system with AFD

CONS

  • Does not come with a zoom lens
  • Less portable due to larger dimensions
  • Less warranty as compared to other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Any lens that comes with this many great features is likely to impress buyers. It is highly praised by recent users for its ability to produce images with fewer aberrations and distortions. This is also aided by the filter size of the lens that allows for clearer images. Moreover, fans of the product also like the high durability that makes it last longer.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most noticeable feature of this Canon lens is its floating optical system. This might sound strange because not many come with this great addition. The optical system enables you to get sharp delineation on your images at all focusing distances. This, when coupled with the maximum aperture size, helps to capture images in low-light settings.

Who Will Use This Most

If you like to capture intricate details of your subject, such as facial features, in your images, then this might be the miracle product for you. The wide aperture size allows you to capture image,s even when there isn’t much light available to you. It is suitable for capturing very small objects like insects and petals, and even very minute flowers.

Bottom Line

Diversity and convenience come together to make this Canon lens one of the best ones in the market. With only a small focal length of 50mm, it already allows photographers to capture a shallow depth of field with fewer distortions. It also allows for better focus adjustment thanks to its supreme construction and the advanced front group of linear extensions.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras - Fixed

PROS

  • Allows for greater depth of field
  • Comes with a weather-resistant build
  • Greater control for in-focus photography
  • Allows for working in low-light conditions
  • Helps to limit the unnecessary spherical aberrations

CONS

  • Does not allow for a higher bokeh
  • Less light is available to the system
  • Does not allow for a smaller depth of field

What Recent Buyers Report

With a greater depth of field and affordable price, this Canon lens is already making a name in the market and fans couldn’t be happier with its performance. The product contains a large aperture that comes with a relatively narrower field of depth. The USM technology is also loved by consumers who feel that the feature allows them to work in peace.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The feature that sets this model apart from the rest of the lenses is its superior construction. The Canon EF 50mm comes with weather-sealed construction. This makes the lens able to withstand basic wear and tear caused by external factors. Moreover, the product is also dust-resistant, which means it will capture clear images and will last for a longer time.

Who Will Use This Most

The best thing about this lens is that it is suitable for nearly any shooting conditions. This is because its superior construction allows for less glare and ghosting. It is also optimized to ensure high performance and better image resolution. Moreover, the short focal length allows for better focusing while capturing images.

Bottom Line

With a shorter focal length and wide aperture lens, there isn’t much that can go wrong with this model. It features a strong construction with higher weather-resistance. This, coupled with the compact size and greater portability, makes this model a fine fit for all kinds of portrait photography.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed

PROS

  • Allows for a shallow depth of field
  • The USM for silent photography
  • Can suppress the astigmatic differences
  • Ensures clear photography even in low-light situations
  • Gaussian optics can completely eliminate the astigmatism

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

This product has garnered huge praise from recent buyers. It doesn’t come with a zoom feature, but that is a small drawback compared to the plethora of benefits that it presents. The Canon 6D comes with ultra-fine USM technology that helps you work in a silent and peaceful environment, something consumers like a lot.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Many people find it difficult to capture the real essence of their subject and their beauty in low-light situations. This is because a lack of proper lighting makes the subject appear darker than usual. This also eliminates the natural contrast between the subject and the background. The right kind of bokeh ensured via this lens helps deal with that problem and capture sharp images in low-light situations.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a lens for people who like to play around with their subjects. The 50mm lens allows for greater creative scope, thus allowing photographers to experiment with different styles and views. Moreover, it is great for indoor photography where the subject is nearby and the lens can be easily focused.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to capture aesthetic images in your home, then this is the best lens for you. It comes with just the right focal length to ensure minimal distortion whilst also providing you with in-depth photography. All this comes along with the eight-blade system of the lens, thus making it the best portrait lens for Canon 6D.

Best Portrait Lens for Canon 80D:
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed

PROS

  • Ensures a better natural angle of view
  • Greater portability due to its low weight
  • Allows for a close focusing distance of 2.8 m
  • The front lens does not rotate at all during focusing
  • Allows pictures to have a natural automatic smooth background blur

CONS

  • Lens is not zoomable
  • Relatively more expensive than some other models
  • More distortions than smaller focal length lenses

What Recent Buyers Report

This is one of the best telephoto lenses in the market, and recent buyers agree, too. It comes with a relatively large focal length needed to capture images with a shallow depth of field. Moreover, the USM allows you to get the subject in focus instantly. This sets really well with most consumers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The lens stands out to us because of its super-delineation property. This allows it to capture clearer and sharper images regardless of the aperture size. Moreover, it also allows your portrait images to have a natural look to them. This is ensured via the natural background blur made possible with the wide aperture size.

Who Will Use This Most

Fans of natural photography will love the results of this lens. It comes with a large focal length of 85mm, which means that it can capture the shallow depth of field of their subject, thereby ensuring greater focus. Not only this, but it also produces a beautiful zoom that further adds to its appeal. The front lens does not rotate during focusing, making it a good option for people who value convenience.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this one is quite simple. It is a lens that is portable and brings you quality images at all aperture sizes, especially if you own a Canon 80D. It does not require rotation, and hence as a photographer, it is extremely easy to handle and operate. If you are a fan of a natural view, then this is definitely the lens for you.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

If you are a photographer or simply someone who is interested in the art, chances are you want to invest in the best possible lens. Here are some of the aspects you should absolutely consider before you buy a lens for your Canon camera.

Zoom or No Zoom

While going through the above list, you will come across lenses that come with a zoom, as well as those that come without it. The former makes it easier for you to take a wider variety of pictures without having to switch to a new lens of different focal length. Prime lenses do not come with a zoom feature and have a fixed focal length. A lot of photographers prefer prime lenses because they usually come with wider apertures.

Focal Length

This is probably one of the most important factors to consider. The right focal length depends mostly on the place you will be shooting in and some other factors like the number of people in the image, the nearby environment, and the available light. For portrait photography, you can go for any focal length between 35mm and 200mm.

Bokeh

This is another word you saw repeatedly in this article. This is because it is extremely important in portrait photography. Having the right amount of bokeh will ensure that you have a beautiful blur in the background while also having a focused subject. For more bokeh, go for a lens with a wider aperture. This will allow you to not only get better performance in low light but will also allow you to get a shallow depth of field in all your images.

Conclusion

If you are passionate about portrait photography, you definitely need to get yourself the right lens. Without it, you will not be able to capture the real essence and beauty of your subject. The perfect lens would be one with a focal length between 35 and 200mm. It will also come with a wide aperture, so make sure you keep these two things in mind while choosing your next lens. We promise you with the right lens, your photography skills will go up a notch.

People Also Ask

The purpose of this article is to ensure that none of your questions remain unanswered. Here are the most common questions asked by consumers. The answers have been given after thorough research to enable you to make an informed decision.

Which is Better For Portraits, 50mm or 85mm?

When it comes to portrait photography, both 50mm and 85mm lenses come with their own sets of benefits. The 85mm lens will ensure the image you capture is closely framed on the subject, whereas a lens with a 50mm focal length will allow you to capture more of the background. Thus, deciding which one is better will depend solely on your own criteria.

Which Aperture is Best For Portraits?

The aperture size is extremely important when it comes to good portrait photography. When shooting a clear picture, make sure your aperture is between f/2.8 and f/5.6. This allows you to capture a shallow depth of field. Moreover, it ensures that the background of your subject is blurred nicely, hence making your individual subject stands out better.

What Size Lens is Best For Portraits?

The choice of the lens solely depends on the kind of image you want. A lens with an 85mm focal length and f/1.8 aperture length is considered the best. This is because it ensures a clear aesthetic image with a shallow depth of field.

What is the Best ISO Setting For Portraits?

The best ISO setting for portraits is definitely one between 100 and 400. You can also get a faster setting if more shutter speed is needed. You can set the lens to a single point and then use the back button for autofocus. Again, like most settings, the ISO will depend on the kind of photography you intend to do.