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Choosing your perfect beginner portrait lens

12th October 2021

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new lens – It can be quite daunting especially if you are new to the photography scene evaluating between the many lenses to choose from. Here are some tips on picking your perfect beginner portrait lens.

What do the lens names mean?

E.g., RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

RF - Mount system

50mm - Focal length

f/1.8 - Aperture

STM - Motor type

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you decide on a lens

• What are you shooting

• How could it elevate your current gear collection

• How it could change or add to your photography skills

Portrait lenses are best suited for general photography, they are commonly used for taking portraiture photos due to their ideal focal length, most natural and closet to the human eye for taking beautiful photos of people.

Canon EOS 90D DSLR with EF 50mm f/1.4 STM Lens

Portrait lenses are a great addition to your kit; either for parents who are wanting some photographs of your newborn baby or toddler. Events, in low light night for an affordable price point and, for couples wanting great portrait photos.

A portrait lens delivers an intimate feel to your shot, by softening out the foreground, background, and directing your eyes towards the subject. These lenses are also fantastic value for money, especially given the quality of the results of your shots.

Shot on Canon EOS R6 with RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

By having a set focal length - usually 50mm, rather than a zoom (variable focal length), these prime lenses can be built with a large aperture which gives this iconic professional look. The name prime lens indicates that in order to zoom in on a subject, the photographer will need to physically move closer, unlike a lens with zoom which would allow you to change the focal length on the lens.

The quality of the soft out of focus areas of your image are described by a Japanese term “Bokeh” - the larger the maximum aperture, the greater the effect. An f/1.4 aperture is approximately 1.6 times larger than f/1.8.

Fun Fact: Prime lenses are often more compact and lightweight than zoom lenses.

Here are some beginner portrait lens suggestions for the different Canon systems

• RF System: RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

• EF System: EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens

• EF-M System: EFM 22mm 2.0 STM Lens

Here are some videos to give you a bit of an insight to a portrait lens!

Shot on Canon EOS R6 with RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Shot on Canon EOS 90D DSLR with EF 50mm f/1.4 STM Lens

Shot on Canon EOS M50 Mark II with EFM 22mm 2.0 STM Lens