9 BEST Nikon Lenses For Portraits – 2022 Guide

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Looking for the best Nikon lenses for portraits?!

If you shoot with a Nikon camera, having the best Nikon portrait lens is one of the most important parts of image quality and a factor not to overlook.

You see, while some lenses are made for landscape photography, some others were specifically designed for portraits, and you’ll want to know about them.

Without further ado, let’s go through the best Nikon lenses for portraits that you won’t be able to work without!

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OVERALL BEST NIKON LENSES FOR PORTRAITS

If you’re in a rush and with little time to go through the in-depth details further down in this post, here are the absolute best Nikon portrait lenses to consider.

While all of them have a 1.8 f-stop, they have different focal lengths, which gives you more power over your photos.

Needless to say, the bokeh is incredible with these lenses, and you surely won’t regret the investment.

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WHY YOUR LENS IS IMPORTANT

Having the best Nikon DSLR camera isn’t enough to stay on top of the game anymore, and, instead, the lens is what will keep you ahead of the herd.

A camera’s lens is the most important factor when it comes to photography – you can’t even take a photo with it!

But, apart from that, your lens will focus more or less light needed for your perfect shot. In addition, it will give a blurred background to focus on the subject and will increase image quality.

All things considered, if you’re serious about photography, then investing in a great lens is exactly what you need to do.

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WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON LENS FOR PORTRAITS UNDER 750$?

When we talk about the best Nikon lenses, the price quickly goes up high, and it can be daunting to find the perfect one for your budget.

If you want to keep the costs down, then the Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S is the one for you. It’s a great lens that can create a beautifully blurry background, and sharp photos, and works incredibly well for low-light photography.

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WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON LENS FOR NIKON F MOUNT?

Not all the options in this list may be the right ones for your F mount, so to keep it short, the best one for you is the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G.

For an affordable price point, you’ll have all the features of a premium lens in terms of color, focal length, and image quality. 

It’s also one of the best Nikon lenses for beginners who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a lens just yet.

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WHAT IS THE BEST PORTRAIT LENS FOR NIKON D7200?

If you happen to have the Nikon D7200, then the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G should be the lens to invest in. And it’s also one of the best Nikon lenses for F mount cameras in case you have different ones.

As a whole, this lens will take your photography game to the next level with sharp images and is compact enough to take everywhere with you. 

It’s worth noting that it was initially made for full-frame cameras; however, it still works very well for APS-C sensors like the D7200.

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WHAT IS THE BEST PORTRAIT LENS FOR NIKON D750?

The best portrait lens you can get for your D750 is the Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S.

While some recommend getting the f/1.4, I found that the f/1.8 S gives incredible results and didn’t notice that much difference in quality.

For under $800, this lens will last you for the years to come and, apart from portraits, you can use it for low-light shots, and the colors and contrast will blow your mind.

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4 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A NIKON PORTRAIT LENS

If you’re a beginner photographer or are unsure about what lens to get, you should consider a few elements. Of course, the price will ultimately make you decide, but what about the lens’s features and technology?

Let’s go through the most critical factors you have to check before buying a Nikon lens for portraits.

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Most modern cameras do have an Image Stabilizer equipped, but that’s sometimes not enough depending on your subject and needs.

Image stabilization helps with camera shake and will get you more detailed, crispier, and less blurry photos. Also, this is an important feature to have when shooting in poor lighting conditions and could save you the hassle of carrying a tripod.

Note that lenses with image stabilization cost much more than those without, but it’s definitely worth the price if you use them professionally.

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Make sure to check out this guide on the BEST NIKON CAMERAS FOR PORTRAITS as image resolution counts just as much as lenses!

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Then, considering the size and weight of your lens is an important point, especially if you choose a prime one. In fact, with zoom lenses, you can stay where you are and zoom in and out.

But with prime lenses, you’ll have to move, and if you consider buying several prime lenses, the weight of your kit will quickly accumulate.

For instance, if you were to buy three prime portrait lenses (say, 45mm, 50mm, and 85mm), you’ll get to over 2kg or 4lbs. But, if you invest in a zoom lens, you’ll decrease that to a few hundred grams, and that’s important, especially when carrying the lenses around in a backpack.

Lastly, if you want to get your hands on the best Nikon lens for family portraits, you’ll have to consider the weight as your luggage is definitely heavier than that of a solo traveler.

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BUILD QUALITY

Lenses are expensive for a reason. After going through the best Nikon lenses for portraits below, you may think they’re pricy.

But, an important side to consider is the build quality – is it weather-resistant? Is the autofocus noisy?

You might find a cheap lens with good specs, but you’ll be quickly disappointed if it takes bad photos in rough weather or gets ruined if it rains.

Also, I assure you that your nerves will be challenged when dealing with a slow and noisy autofocus system.

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AUTOFOCUS

The focus is a crucial element if you want to create crisp photos, and if you have little to no experience, read below.

Some lenses are only equipped with a manual focus instead of autofocus (typically cheaper ones). 

Autofocus saves you time and effort to get your subject clear and crisp in your shot as opposed to a manual system, where you have to spend some time getting the focus ready to shoot.

Sure, most official Nikon portrait lenses and third-party ones are equipped with autofocus, but some cheaper models don’t, and you should make sure to consider this before purchase.

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PRIME VS ZOOM FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY – WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?

You’ll find a variety of differences between prime and zoom lenses, from the focal length to the size and versatility.

Of course, you’ll find pros and cons in both types of lenses, and it all depends on your requirements.

Prime ones are normally smaller and more compact and have maximum aperture making them better for low-light situations.

But, since they don’t zoom in or out, you’ll have to move to get your perfect shot or have to change the lens, which makes them a bit uncomfortable when traveling.

On the other hand, zoom lenses are more practical as you won’t need to bring multiple lenses with you, and only one will be enough.

Apart from that, they are heavier than prime ones and perform better in daylight situations – unless you spend thousands of dollars to get a low f-stop.

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9 BEST NIKON LENSES FOR PORTRAITS

If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to discover the 9 best Nikon lenses for portraits to up your game as a photographer!

May it be for stock photography, blogging, or selling NFTs – let’s get started.

NIKON Z 85MM f/1.8 S

You simply can’t avoid this Nikon portrait lens if you have a mirrorless Nikon camera.

With an 85 mm focal length and an aperture range that can be pushed up to f/16, it quickly became one of the best lenses on the market.

The build quality is incredible and will last you years, and the image quality is mind-blowing with the sophisticated technology inside. The 1.8 f-stop guarantees excellent shots during the night or in plain daylight.

PROS OF THE NIKON Z 85MM f/1.8S

  • Weather and dust-resistant
  • Produces very sharp photos
  • Fast and reliable autofocus system
  • The bokeh gives more texture and character to the photos
  • The resolution and image quality are among the best you’ll find

CONS OF THE NIKON Z 85MM f/1.8S

  • Not very compact – 470 grams or 1lbs.
  • Price – $800 for a prime lens isn’t for all budgets, but it’s worth the value
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NIKON NIKKOR Z 50MM f/1.8 S

Despite the fact that the f/1.8 is sometimes underestimated and exchanged for the f/1.4, I can’t stop but list this excellent Nikon lens for portraits.

In fact, it’s more affordable than other lenses on this level, it delivers fantastic quality in pretty much any situation, and the lightweight build is definitely a plus.

On top of that, the autofocus is almost silent, fast, and reliable, which is exactly what a professional photographer needs.

I want to highlight that it still weighs 415g and doesn’t have a stabilizing feature which could be a deal-breaker for some.

All in all, it’s one of my favorite picks for a Nikon portrait lens, and I couldn’t recommend it enough if you have a Z50, a Z5, Z6, or a Z7.

PROS OF THE NIKON NIKKOR Z 50MM f/1.8 S

  • Compact
  • Fast autofocus
  • You’ll get tack-sharp portraits
  • The bokeh is fantastic for being an f/1.8 lens

CONS OF THE NIKON NIKKOR Z 50MM f/1.8 S

  • No image stabilizer
  • The price is a bit high at $600
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TAMRON SP 45MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

Next on this list of portrait lenses for Nikon is the Tamron SP 45mm, which brings endless advantages and will positively surprise you with every shot you take.

Tamron designed this lens to boost image quality while keeping a durable build and advanced technology.

What I personally like about this is that it has a wide angle, unlike the usual 50mm lenses from Nikon, and it gives you more room to play around with your models.

Not only that, but it’s also equipped with image stabilization and vibration reduction, and this is one of the best features anyone could ask for – you can leave your tripod at home!

PROS OF THE TAMRON SP 45MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

  • Image stabilization
  • Incredibly sharp images
  • Lots of light for an f/1.8 lens

CONS OF THE TAMRON SP 45MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

  • The autofocus could be faster
  • $600 for a third-party lens is a bit high
  • It’s heavy for a 45mm lens – 520 grams
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SAMYANG 85MAF-N 85MM f/1.4

A little less known than its competitor Tamron, Samyang designed this great lens that’s capable of shooting world-class portraits. That being said, you’ll have to get used to its manual focus, as it doesn’t have an autofocus system.

Initially made for the Z6 and Z7, it lacks image stabilization and vibration reduction, but that can easily be enabled in the settings hence not a big deal if you own a Nikon mirrorless camera.

Apart from that, the advanced 85mm sensor size makes it one of the best Nikon lenses for landscape, other than portraits only. The dimensions are also compact, and the price is very affordable for such quality.

PROS OF THE SAMYANG 85MAF-N 85MM f/1.4

  • Great price
  • Weather sealed feature
  • The f-stop allows lots of light in
  • Good dimensions, despite the weight
  • Best Nikon lens for family portraits – affordable and premium photos

CONS OF THE SAMYANG 85MAF-N 85MM f/1.4

  • No autofocus
  • No image stabilization
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NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70MM f/2.8 S

Increasing in size and price, but also in versatility and convenience, comes the Nikkor Z 24-70mm 2.8 S, one of the best Nikon lenses for portraits money can buy.

It is incredibly sophisticated with advanced technology included, and you can shoot not only great portraits but also landscapes or sports.

Its 2.8 f-stop makes it a great ally for low-light photography at all zoom ranges, and that’s something I highly value as a full-time traveler.

Of course, this lens is much heavier than the other ones listed above. Weighing 805g (1.77 lbs.), you won’t have to carry multiple prime lenses, which, in the long run, will make your life easier.

In plain words, if you want a Nikon lens that will shoot tack-sharp, crisp photos in all situations, that opens the doors to creativity, and that is easy to handle, this is the one for you.

PROS OF THE NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70MM f/2.8 S

  • Fast autofocus
  • Weather and dust resistant
  • Top photos with crisp details
  • Convenience with a long zoom range
  • A great lens for low-light photography

CONS OF THE NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70MM f/2.8 S

  • Price
  • Weight and dimensions
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TAMRON SP 85MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

Another Tamron gem comes into this list of the best Nikon lenses for portraits, and we stay in the 85mm zoom range, great for adding character to your model.

The build quality is impressive, and it won’t get damaged when used during rough weather.

In addition, it has reliable autofocus as well as image stabilization, and you will definitely like this part. Sure, it is pretty heavy for a prime lens, at 660g, but it’s a versatile lens that you can use for pretty much any purpose.

While I found this lens to be excellent, I want to highlight the small distortion at maximum aperture, which could be an issue for some.

PROS OF THE TAMRON SP 85MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

  • Image quality
  • The optical stabilizer is great
  • Build quality and weather-resistant

CONS OF THE TAMRON SP 85MM f/1.8 Di VC USD

  • Quite heavy – 660g/1.4 lbs.
  • Some noticeable distortion when using wide apertures
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SIGMA 50MM f/1.4 DG HSM

Another third-party company that produces excellent glass, not only for Nikon but also Canon lenses, is Sigma.

This lens is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C sensors, which is fantastic for all beginners, advanced, or professional photographers.

Despite not having weather-resistant sealing, it has a robust build quality and will definitely last you ages.

One good part of having heavy, premium glass is the quality that the technology brings – the bokeh is among the best I’ve seen, and the images are simply incredible.

To sum up, if you don’t mind getting a slightly more expensive and heavier lens, this is one of the best options you should consider.

PROS OF THE SIGMA 50MM f/1.4 DG HSM

  • Fast autofocus
  • High-quality build
  • The bokeh is worth the lens’ price
  • Outstanding for all photography genres

CONS OF THE SIGMA 50MM f/1.4 DG HSM

  • It isn’t weather or dust-resistant
  • Quite heavy compared to other lenses
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NIKON AF-S FX 50MM f/1.4G

Here comes one of the best Nikon FX lenses you could ever find on the market – the Nikon AF-S FX 50mm.

First of all, a 50mm focal length is one of the most convenient for portrait photography, and it’s backed up by the f/1.4, which provides crisp, detailed shots.

Secondly, while you won’t get that much light compared to the f/1.8 version, you’ll still find more light which is fantastic for low-light situations.

Moreover, the autofocus is fairly quick, but I wouldn’t recommend this lens if you shoot moving subjects.

On the flip side, the bokeh isn’t quite the best you’ll find, and you’ll notice the coma when taking wide-angle shots.

PROS OF THE NIKON AF-S FX 50MM f/1.4G

  • Lots of light coming in
  • Great dimensions and weight
  • The photos are sharp and with excellent contrast

CONS OF THE NIKON AF-S FX 50MM f/1.4G

  • Noticeable coma
  • You’ll see some bokeh fringing
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NIKON AF-S FX 24-70MM f/2.8 ZOOM LENS

Another one of the best Nikon FX lenses is the 24-70mm, which is a zoom lens, unlike the prime one above. Let me tell you what I love about this lens.

To start with, autofocus is fast and reliable and is such a great feature, especially when shooting movie subjects. Apart from that, the photos are tack sharp whether you’re shooting on the street while traveling, and more.

We might argue that it’s an expensive lens, setting you back nearly $650, but it’s much cheaper than other lenses or buying different prime ones.

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that this is a big, long, heavy lens. Also, the zoom ring is at the back, and it could be some kind of a letdown if you’re used to other lenses. 

All in all, the Nikon 24-70MM is one of the best Nikon lenses for portraits, and you’ll never get enough of it.

PROS OF THE NIKON 24-70MM f/2.8G ED

  • Very fast autofocus
  • Image quality is incredible
  • Outstanding low-light performance

CONS OF THE NIKON 24-70MM f/2.8G ED

  • No image stabilization
  • Released in 2007, it doesn’t have the technology of recent lenses
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SUMMARY

Shooting portraits are a fun genre of photography. A portrait is not only a face – it’s a story, feelings, a character, and even when you take photos for a blog!

The best way to capture great portraits is with your camera lens, but what kind should you use? No matter the type of portraits you’re planning to shoot, you’re covered with these Nikon portrait lenses.

I hope this full guide answered all the questions you may have about the best portrait lens for Nikon and that you’re finally ready to get one of these lenses to up your game!

If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

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THANKS FOR READING

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