Best 85mm Lenses of 2020 – Complete Round-up

A camera without a lens is of no value, especially when you are a professional photographer.

Most photographers want to add a top-class 85mm lens to their collection, no matter what. One of the best perks of this type is that it allows you to capture what you see.

In this article, we will take a close look at the very best 85mm lenses available on the market and how they can be a game-changer for your photographic exploits.

Comparison of the Best 85mm Lenses

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens

  • Best 85mm lens for Canon
  • Comes with ultrasonic ring-type monitor
  • Close focusing distance is 2.8 feet
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

  • Best 85mm lens for Nikon
  • Comes with a minimum focus range of 0.8m
  • Equipped with a Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
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Samyang SY85M-E 85mm F1.4

  • Editor’s pick
  • Equipped with 9 elements in 7 groups
  • Features 28.3-degree angle of view and an aperture range of F1.4-22 focal length
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Sony FE 85mm f/1.4

  • Best for the money
  • Maximum focus distance is of 2.62 feet
  • Filter diameter of this lens in 67mm
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Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22

  • Best Sony 85mm lens
  • 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful round defocused bokeh
  • Equipped with ED glass element for corner-to-corner
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What Purpose Does 85mm Lens Serve?

For a photographer, an 85mm lens is a must-have, and it is suitable for many purposes. The very fact that this type of lens is featured with multiple perks stands out to us as well.

Versatility

An 85mm lens comes at an affordable price and convenient size, which makes it very easy to handle. Furthermore, it allows users to take portraits, landscape images, and much more. People prefer the 85mm lens over the 70-200mm because of this very reason.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens 

Travel-Friendly

You don’t have to pack a heavy lens that will weigh you down. An 85mm lens is perfect for packing with you when you are going on a trip. Plus, it is an ideal lens for travel photography as it is capable of taking remarkable low-light photographs.

Street Photography

An 85mm photography lens offers a great focal length that enables users to capture beautiful moments in the street. The focus is not that close to the object and at the same time, nor that far away. So whatever your need is, this lens is perfect to use for street photography.

What Makes a Great 85mm Lens?

A great 85mm lens has all of those qualities that an ideal lens should have. So if you are looking to purchase one for yourself, then make sure it has some of the following attributes:

Durable

You may be spending a huge amount of money on a lens, and, of course, you do intend to use it. So don’t just purchase a dainty lens because it has a nice feel to it and then just leave it to collect dust on your shelf. Invest in an 85mm lens that is built to withstand dust, storm, and rain. Make sure you choose the most reliable one now that you have decided to buy a lens. 

Price

These lenses usually have a high price tag attached to them, so be considerate of your budget before choosing your favorite. If this is the first time that you are buying a lens, then don’t set your eyes on the most expensive one. Start with the one that can help you practice and then move on to the high-end options. 

Warranty

It is wise to invest in a lens that comes with at least a one-year warranty. In case of any incident, you must be able to exchange that lens or at least get it fixed. It all depends on the terms and conditions of your potential manufacturer. 

Quick Take - Best 85mm Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best 85mm lenses:

  1. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens
  2. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  3. Samyang SY85M-E 85mm F1.4

Review of the Best 85mm Lenses

Here, we have reviewed some of the very best products in this category. Read through their pros and cons and main features and select the one that will best satisfy your photographic needs. 

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

PROS

  • Only 2.8 inches long
  • Warranty of one year
  • Comes with a detailed user manual
  • Easy to carry as it doesn’t weigh much
  • Provides a natural angle to every picture

CONS

  • Lens is not zoomable

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers of this lens are extremely happy with its picture quality. One user said that he had been using it for taking beautiful portraits of people; so far, this lens has not disappointed him, and he plans to use it on other occasions as well. Similarly, this product has satisfied all of its users. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens stands out to us because it is truly the best in every aspect. You don’t have to compromise on the quality and it promises to offer the very best features; the focal length and aperture are superior as well. Plus, it comes with a user manual, which makes it easier to use. 

Who Would Use This Most

Photographers who wish to invest in an 85mm lens that can help them to capture versatile photos would be thrilled with this. Overall, it is the best for portrait photography, so if you love capturing the emotions in people’s eyes, then investing in would be an incredible idea.

Bottom Line

Ideal focal length, maximum aperture, appropriate closing distance, and extremely easy to hold, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens is one of the very best on the market. This is a photographer’s best friend, and investing in it will not disappoint you.

Best 85mm Lens for Nikon:
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Easy to carry and mount on the camera
  • Affordable for most photographers
  • Maximum reproduction ratio of 0.12x
  • Equipped with a filter attachment size of 67mm
  • Designed and layered with a super integrated coating (SIC)

CONS

  • Might not be the best for beginners 

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone who has set hands on this lens is very happy with its performance. One of the recent buyers stated that he has not been able to let go of it ever since took it out of the box. Users also report that regardless of the event, the lens allows them to capture the perfect shots. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Nikon lens stands out to us for many reasons. The very fact that it is one of the favorites of professional photographers is extremely impressive. Hands down, it is the sharpest and the cleanest lens on the market.

Who Would Use This Most?

If you wish to take beautiful pictures of people in a wedding, an engagement session, an athlete, a family, or a child, then nothing can beat the efficiency of this lens. It is capable of adding certain depth and detail to your pictures that leave the audience mesmerized.

Bottom Line

This is one of the greatest lenses in the market with the silent wave motor and 7-blade diaphragm. So, what are you waiting for? Invest in this lens and take beautiful pictures of everything that is in your surroundings.

Samyang SY85M-E 85mm F1.4 Aspherical High Speed Lens for Sony E-Mount Cameras

PROS

  • Extremely compact and light in weight
  • Offers ideal and remarkable focal length
  • Minimum focusing distance of 3.3 feet
  • Also available in mirror fewer camera bodies
  • Filter size of 72mm with removable lens hood

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the recent buyers of this lens says that he was surprised when he realized that he was getting all of these remarkable features for a very modest price. Another recent buyer said that its autofocus is outstanding. Overall, users report that they made a wise decision when they invested in this lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Samyang SY85M-E 85mm F1.4 stands out to us because it offers manual focus, which allows the user to control the quality of the image. You can play with the depth, color, and contrast of the photo on multiple levels. The very fact that it offers control to the person clicking pictures makes it stand out to us.

Who Would Use This Most

If you want to experiment with some professional-level photography, then this is an exceptional choice. However, if you are a parent who wants to take pictures of a kid in the football field or someone who wishes to take photographs of a family on an event, then this is not a perfect choice in that case.

Bottom Line

Need a lens that captures the moment as it is? Stop looking, because you have just stumbled across the very best one. Take your photography game to the next level and enhance the quality of your pictures with the Samyang SY85M-E 85mm F1.4. 

Best for the Money:
Sony FE 85mm f/1.4

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

PROS

  • Equipped with the linear SSM focus system
  • Designed and crafted with Nano AR coating
  • Comes with the angle of view of 19 degrees
  • Beautiful design that is dust and moisture resistant
  • Features one AX element and three ED elements

CONS

  • Manual focus is difficult to focus

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyers of the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 are very happy with the beautiful contrast shades and sharpness of the pictures that are shot with it. Another buyer complimented the picture quality of this lens, saying that it does not need a lot of editing after. So, photographers who are on a tight schedule should consider buying this lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The very fact that this elegant product is dust and moisture resistant makes it stand out to us. You can use this remarkable lens in any environment you want. Whether it is raining outside or dusty in the field, with this, a photographer will be able to capture any and all moments at will.

Who Would Use This Most

If you love taking wedding pictures or are fond of portraits and architecture photography, then you would be excited to know that this is one of the very best options on the market for just that. Sometimes, you might get distracted with the sound while zooming in and zooming out, but those can be overlooked considering the results it provides. 

Bottom Line

This Sony lens comes with SSM for fast, quiet, precise focusing, an 11-blade circular aperture, AR nano-coating, and remarkable precision. If you are looking for a lens with may remarkable features and a not-so-high price tag, then you are in for a fair deal with the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4. 

Best Sony 85mm Lens:
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22

Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed Prime Camera Lens, Black

PROS

  • Features an f1.8 maximum aperture 
  • Maximum magnification ratio is 0.13
  • Double linear motor system for precise focusing
  • Comes with the angle of the degree of 29 degree
  • Offers direct control with customizable focus hold button

CONS

  • Does not come with a front lens cap

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone that had their eyes set on this lens was extremely excited by its remarkable performance. Beginner photographers and those who invested in an 85mm lens for the first time were extremely happy with their results when using this lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The very fact that the Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 comes with AM/MF switch was the top reason we had to include it on this list. This allows users to easily switch between autofocus or manual focus. You can easily select your preferred mode, without navigating through the whole menu, giving more control to the user.

Who Would Use This Most

Photographers who are looking for refined optical performance and want to enjoy the remarkable feature of the ED glass element will find this to be a great pick. It dramatically reduces chromatic aberration on the image and even provides refined and superior contrast over the images. If you want corner to corner sharpness, then this is the best lens in that department.

Bottom Line

Take advantage of a large F1.8 maximum aperture, AF/MF switch, refined optical performance, internal focusing, 9-blade circular aperture, and remarkable internal focusing by investing in this state-of-the-art lens. Given its features and results, it would surely be a great choice. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Buying a lens is no different from buying a car. You pick a car that satisfies your needs and promises to give you the results that you are looking for. We want you to make a wise decision, so here we have listed some of the most important factors that one must consider when shopping for an 85mm lens. 

Manufacturer

Shopping for the lens is not like shopping for candy; you can’t buy a lens whenever you feel like buying it. In fact, it should be a one-time investment. To land on the best deal possible, make sure you are connected with a reputable, authentic manufacturer. Always look for the official logo on the lens to stay safe from any scams.

Features

Make sure your lens has the aperture, focal length, contrast, sharpness, and bokeh just the way you want it. All these features are printed on the box of the lens. Give those features a read and make sure they align with your needs.

Compatibility

If you are only shopping for a lens and already have a camera, then make sure your recently bought lens is compatible with the camera that you already own. Usually, this information is mentioned on the box, so check it before you invest. 

Conclusion

We know how tricky it can be to buy an ideal 85mm lens. To save you from some of the trouble we have done half of your work. Thoughtfully compare the available lenses by their price tags and features, and we are sure you will find one that suits your needs!

People Also Ask

To help you get rid of some of the confusion regarding lens, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions. We hope that you find an 85mm lens that is a perfect fit for your camera and photography needs. 

What is the Difference Between 50mm and 85mm Lens?

Quite a lot of difference is found between a 50mm lens and an 85mm lens. The difference lies in their focal length; the former has a focal length of 50mm, and the latter has a focal length of 85mm. Pick the lens that is more ideal and suitable for your photography needs. 

Is 85mm a Good Portrait Lens?

As compared to a 135mm lens, we would say that this lens is just average for portrait photography. On the other hand, when it comes to versatility, nothing can beat the remarkable results of this lens. If you are an amateur photographer, then starting with this lens would be a smart idea.