Best Nikon Portrait Lenses – Buyer’s Guide 2021

| Last Updated: June 28, 2021

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Good photography is one of the most loved skills at present, isn’t it? The feeling you get after capturing the perfect moments and places is so satisfying. 

But photography skills alone are not enough to capture the beauty of things. You need a competitive camera and lens for it, too.

Nikon are some of the best out there. Our review will help you know how to find a good lens and what kind you should be looking for. Here's all about the best Nikon Portrait lenses.

Comparison Chart of the Best Nikon Portrait Lenses

  • 50 mm lens with f/1.8 G
  • 47-degree picture angle with 35 mm format
  • Autofocus for Nikon DSLR cameras makes it the best overall
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  • ED zoom lens with f/2.8G specifications
  • Autofocus for all DSLR cameras by Nikon
  • Runner-up with a 24 to 70 mm focal length range
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  • Best for the money fixed lens
  • Medium telephoto lens with a quick focus
  • Has a maximum Reproduction Ratio 0.12x
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  • Fixed Nikon lens with f/1.8G
  • Best portrait lens for Nikon D3200
  • Comes with a maximum Reproduction Ratio of 0.12x
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  • Best portrait lens for D750 with f/1.4G
  • Multiple aperture settings for variable focus
  • Built-in autofocus for all Nikon DSLR cameras
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  • Autofocus for all the Nikon DSLR cameras
  • Best portrait lens for D7000 due to f/1.8G
  • 35 mm lens offers wide-angle photography
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What is a Portrait Lens?

A portrait lens is much like usual lenses, but it has a specific range of focal lengths. The ideal focal length for a portrait lens is between 70 mm and 135 mm. They have particular qualities for aperture and low-light functioning, as well. Lenses with a shallow depth-of-field can work as portrait lenses, too. 

What is a Portrait Lens Used For?

A portrait lens, as the name suggests, is used for taking portraits of people. Since humans are very fascinating subjects, portraits need professional equipment to truly capture them. A portrait lens provides the photographer with the right focal length to focus on the subject. 

It is also used for getting the right depth-of-field. It helps you focus more on the subject and distinguish it from the background. They also help you take nicer close-ups as they work in low-light conditions, too.

How to Choose a Quality Portrait Lens

Choosing a quality portrait lens is a necessity for all photographers. It helps them get better shots and have fewer worries. So, if you want to get a portrait lens, keep the following features in mind. 

Focal Length

The major purpose of getting a portrait lens is to have a better focal length. So, you need to be very particular about it. You need to get one with a long focal length. This will enable you to take close-up shots, even from a few feet away. The ideal range of focal length for portrait lenses is from 70 to 135 mm. 

Wide Aperture

The highest quality portrait lenses are the ones with the widest apertures. The wider the aperture, the better the depth-of-field will be. This is important because it helps you blur out the background easily. Therefore, there's a greater focus on the subject than the background. 

Distortion Quality

Now, the distortion quality of a portrait lens is something we do not usually consider. But it makes a significant difference when it comes to looking at the professional analysis of a photo. You cannot simply distort some parts of the portrait and leave the rest. There has to be a high-end distortion quality with a balance that pleases the eyes. 

Review of the Best Nikon Portrait Lens

Nikon portrait lenses are undoubtedly the best in the market at present. But there are so many of them that they leave new buyers confused. Here is a review of some of our most-liked Nikon portrait lenses to help you make the right decision. 

Best Overall:
 Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50 mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens


  • Edge-to-edge sharpness is highly optimized
  • 2.83-inch diameter helps in increasing focus
  • More natural depth-of-field for better background blur
  • Has smooth working with Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Aspherical lens element is the latest development in lenses


  • Has no zooming option
  • Hard to get the hang of its bokeh

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have loved this Nikon lens a lot. It helped them cover all aspects of the subjects that they wanted to cover. The customers are also pleased with its edge-to-edge sharpness optimization, which improves picture quality. The angle and picture format impressed buyers, too.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We have ranked this lens as the best overall because of its amazing features and price. It has aspherical lens elements for increasing your photography exposure. The depth-of-field is very natural, and the textures are soft, making the bokeh even better. Above all, we like the SWM of the lens, which makes its usage easier.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is most useful for professional photographers who prefer humans as their subjects. It helps them capture even the tiniest details in their subjects, making portraits even more full of life. It is perfect for those who have a Nikon DSLR camera and want to liven up their photography.

Bottom Line

All in all, it's one of the most-liked Nikon portrait lenses, and rightfully so. The price and features offered are so good that it is almost unbelievable. Its focus and sharpness are better than most other portrait lenses, as well.

 Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70 mm f/2.8G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • 3 aspherical lenses for a better focus
  • Low-light performance is incredibly high
  • Can focus on a minimum focus distance of 1.2 feet
  • Precision Glass Mold (PGM) is a favorite of professionals
  • Nanocrystal coat makes the lens anti-reflexive and clearer


  • Ultrasonic focus type only
  • Sharpness is tricky to control

What Recent Buyers Report

People who bought this Nikon lens have given very positive feedback after using it. The precision glass mold (PGM) has helped the professionals in increasing the focus on the details. They also like it for the perfection of the auto-focus that it comes with.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We find it exceptional due to its Nanocrystal coating and sharper focus. The coating does not only protect the lens from scratches but also helps in improving its function. The focus is in all the right places, making subjects look more attractive.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens works equally well for both professional and semi-professional photographers. It is best for wedding shoots as well ,since it works amazingly in indoor settings, too. We recommend it to photographers who have just begun photography, as it is easy to configure.

Bottom Line

All in all, Nikon lenses are the best in the league and this is one of the best ones they make. The presence of three aspherical lenses make it a better fit for the coating. The precision glass mold makes it a great choice for those who focus on details.

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

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


  • Has a focal length of 85 mm
  • Minimum focus range is 0.80 m
  • 7 diaphragm blades for better focus and sharpness
  • Super Integrated Coating (SIC) protects the lens better
  • Very sophisticated working with Silent Wave Motor (SWM)


  • Does not zoom or optimize
  • Requires 1 lithium-ion battery for functioning

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers had a nice experience with this lens by Nikon, as it brought significant improvement to their work. They liked its reproduction ratio of 1.2x, which helped them capture things in their exact form. Buyers also found its quick focus quite helpful to use when they were short of time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Its fast shutter in low-light makes it stand out to us from other Nikon lenses in the market. The focal length of 85 mm is another cool feature that enables you to shoot portraits, even from a distance. The clarity of portraits is also a nice addition to the package of features it comes with.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is best suited to the needs of professional photographers who work in different work conditions. The picture quality is higher with seven diaphragm blades, making it more suitable for human subject photographers. It is great for outdoor and wildlife photography, as well, since it has a protective layer.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this Nikon lens has an easy-to-fix shape and is even easier to handle. The clarity of pictures and focus are so amazing that you just cannot resist it. So, go for it if you want to go rich on features without spending much.

Best Portrait Lens for Nikon D3200:
 Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85 mm

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85MM F/1.8G Lens, JAA341DA


  • Telephoto lens with fast aperture control
  • Internal focus with a focal length of 85 mm
  • Lens has a Super Integrated Coating (SIC) by Nikon
  • Silent Wave Motor installed for optimal functioning
  • Rounded diaphragm opening with 7 diaphragm blades


  • Does not work well indoors
  • Might seem slightly expensive to some

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have had a good user experience mostly because of the auto-focus and reproduction ratio of 0.12x of this lens. They liked the way its seven diaphragm blades coordinate to make a rounded camera opening. Its silent wave motor functioning has gained many fans, as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It grabs our attention with its super integrated coating, which makes it scratch-resistant. The lens also becomes more likable to us, as it has no light aberrations. The fast aperture control is smooth and easy too, for better photos. 

Who Will Use This Most

Photographers who like outdoor settings will use this most. It captures outdoor lights in a perfect manner and has minimal aberrations. This is also because the depth-of-field is very close to natural. 

Bottom Line

To conclude, the Nikon NS F NIKKOR is one of the ideal choices for modern-day photographers. If you have just set up a studio or are thinking of setting one up, then get it.

Best Portrait Lens for D750:
 Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50 mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • HB-47-type lens hood is there
  • Has amazing 58 mm filters in place
  • AF motor is ultrasonic type and competitive
  • Amazing focus with a minimum point of 17.72 inches
  • Full-time manual focusing operational with auto-focus, too


  • Sharpness needs active configuration
  • Selecting the right aperture is not very easy

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens has won over the hearts of buyers with its remarkable features. They like its functioning with Nikon's DSLR camera the most, as it complements it very well. Buyers have very high opinions of the auto-focus and picture quality both indoors and outdoors.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It makes it to our list because of its highly precise focus points and depth-of-field characteristics. The focal length and aperture width control are great, too, as they make the overall portraits better. We also like this lens for its ultrasonic AF motor type, which is among the most competitive on the market.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is best for those who prefer to work manually, as it does not have any zoom. The focus and picture quality make up for the lack of zoom feature. It works with Nikon cameras best, so if you have one, you will enjoy its functioning a lot.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this lens by Nikon is a great addition to every photographer’s collection of lenses. It captures amazing portraits, as well as landscape photos. The multiple functioning capability makes it one of the must-haves for professional photographers.

Best Portrait Lens for D7000:
 Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35 mm f/1.8G Lens

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras,2183,Black


  • Impressive aperture range from f/1.8 to 22
  • Excellent low-light performance even indoors
  • The AF system operates on Silent Wave Motor
  • Comes with a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.16x
  • The 52.5 mm lens is equivalent in function to a 35 mm


  • Works with a lithium-ion battery only
  • Barrel distortion needs improvement

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers had a nice time clicking away portraits with it due to its wide aperture. They have recommended it to all those who want a competitive, yet budget-friendly, camera. Some of the buyers have even gifted this lens to other photographer friends, as they loved its functioning.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It catches our eye with a Silent Wave Motor, which has ultra-quiet functioning. The maximum reproduction ratio of 0.16x is another impressive feature which makes the lens more worthwhile.

Who Will Use This Most

This is best for people who are low on budget but want something extraordinary. The lens is packed with features and fulfills the needs of most photographers. So, you can safely go for this one.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, this is one of the coolest lenses by Nikon, and is highly affordable, too. You are sure to love working with it, whether you are a professional, or not.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

To enjoy the best features of Nikon portrait lenses, you need to buy the right one. This becomes easier when you know what to look for before buying. So, here are the aspects you need to consider before buying in order to click the best portraits.


Sharpness and focus of the lens are the top priorities when it comes to portraits. All of the focus needs to be on the subject, so you have to consider it carefully. Most Nikon portrait lenses have a great sharpness range, so you will not have to worry about it. 


The bokeh of portraits is quite tricky. What seems attractive to some is unattractive for others. This makes choosing the right bokeh a complicated thing. Just go for the one you feel is right, as it varies from person to person. 

Aperture Width

The width of the aperture in the lens has to be accurate for the kind of portraits you want. The wider the aperture, the better the lens. But, there is a limit to it, and you have to keep that in mind while buying a Nikon portrait lens.


Summing it all up, Nikon portrait lenses are truly amazing if you know how to work with them. Keep all the above-mentioned features in your mind and get one to see how your portrait photography improves.

As you now know all about Nikon portrait lenses, make sure you buy the right one for you.

People Also Ask

Nikon portrait lenses are getting more popular every day. They improve the quality of portrait shots magically and have become essential for professional photographers. This is why there is constant curiosity about them in the photography world. 

Below, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about these lenses to remove all confusion. 

Is a 24 mm Lens Good for Portraits?

A 24 mm lens is great for portraits where you have to photograph people in reference to their surroundings. The lens lays major focus on the subject, but the background is important, too. But it is not as good for head and shoulder portraits. 

Is 35 mm a Good Portrait Lens?

A 35 mm lens is one of the best choices for landscape photography. It helps you capture the environment from a wider perspective. But, it is not very suitable for close-up shots, as it makes certain features look bigger than they are. Still, if you want to bring in some of the surroundings in focus too, then it can be helpful.

Is a 50 mm Lens Good for Portraits?

A 50 mm lens is quite good for portraits, as it has a wide-angle. The distortions in it are less, too, which makes close-ups seem more defined. The 50 mm lens is a better choice for most portraiture cases as it gives you a broad range of focus.

Is a 24 mm Lens Good for Portraits?

A 24 mm lens is one of the best lenses for portraits as it has a wide-angle and perfect distortion. It lets you focus more on the subject. So, even if the background is not good enough, you can enjoy photography. They have a nice aperture width for portrait photography, as well. 

Is a Wide-Angle Lens Good For Portraits?

Portraits do not need wide-angle lenses when they are subject-centered. Wide-angle lenses are good for portraits that need attention on the surroundings, too. But, if you want to take a close-up shot of your subject, they are not a good choice. 

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Hi, I’m Andy. I’ve been taking pictures for just about as long as I’ve been old enough to hold a camera. I studied photography in community college after high school but was encouraged to follow a career path that was more stable. I do gigs here and there on the side but never took the leap to focus my efforts full-time. When Pam reached out to me through a mutual friend, I jumped on the opportunity to be a writer. Favorite type of photography: macro and street.