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$659.95

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Shooting a portrait goes way beyond capturing an individual. These must seize emotion, personality, thoughts, identity. In other words, if a portrait doesn't tell you a story, you are doing it wrong. Here are some of Nikon's best options to help you with that.

Before you learn about the best Nikon lenses, you should understand the essentials of portrait photography.

wedio top picks
Best Nikon Lenses for Portrait
Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8S
  • Fast and accurate autofocus – Internal Focusing
  • Weight – 470 g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$659.95
BUY
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8S
  • Focal length – 50 mm
  • Weight – 415g and Weather sealing
  • Filter-attachment size – 62 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$524.95
BUY
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S
  • Exposure stability during fast bursts – Focal length: 35 mm
  • Lightweight – 370g
  • Filter-attachment size – 62 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$637.20
BUY
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8S
  • Sharp results – Focal length: 24-70 mm
  • Weight – 805g
  • Very customizable – Filter-attachment size: 82 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$2,396.95
BUY
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • Mount – Nikon F (FX)
  • Weight – 350g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$476.95
BUY
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • Mount – Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Weight – 1540g
  • Focus limiter switch – Focal length: 200mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$1,551
BUY
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  • Mount – Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Compact and lightweight – 185g
  • Low price – Filter-attachment size: 58 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$216.95
BUY
Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G
  • Sharpness and focus – focal length: 24 - 85mm
  • Weight – 465g
  • Filter-attachment size – 72mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$479.99
BUY
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • Effective VR system – Focal length: 18 - 140mm
  • Lightweight and portable – 490g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$496.95
BUY

9 of the best Nikon lenses for portraits

1. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8S

Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8S
  • Fast and accurate autofocus – Internal Focusing
  • Weight – 470 g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$659.95
BUY

Key features

  • Z lens mount
  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/16
  • Angle of View (DX-format): 18°50′
  • Angle of View (FX-format): 28°30′
  • Internal Focusing: Yes
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 2.62 ft. / 0.8 m
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.12x
  • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Weight: 16.6 oz. (470 g)

Pros

  • Top class build and image quality
  • High contrast and sharpness
  • Dust and moisture-resistant
  • Fast and accurate autofocus

Cons

  • Price
  • Not very compact

2. Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8S
  • Focal length – 50 mm
  • Weight – 415g and Weather sealing
  • Filter-attachment size – 62 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$524.95
BUY

Key features

  • Z lens mount
  • Focal length 50 mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 47°
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 31°30'
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.4 m/1.32 ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.15x
  • Filter-attachment size: 62 mm
  • Weight: 14.7 oz (415g)
  • Supplied accessories: LC-62B 62 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap, HB-90 Bayonet Hood, CL-C1 Lens Case

Pros

  • Sharp even at wide apertures
  • Reduced chromatic aberration
  • Weather sealing

Cons

  • Heavier than F-Mount 50mm f/1.8
  • Pricier than F-Mount 50mm f/1.8

3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S
  • Exposure stability during fast bursts – Focal length: 35 mm
  • Lightweight – 370g
  • Filter-attachment size – 62 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$637.20
BUY

Key features

  • Z lens mount
  • Focal length: 35 mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 63°
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 44°
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.25 m/0.82 ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.19x
  • Filter-attachment size: 62 mm
  • Weight: 13.1 oz (370g)
  • Supplied accessories: LC-62B 62 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap, HB-89 Bayonet Hood, CL-C1 Lens Case

Pros

  • Reduced distortion and chromatic aberrations
  • Increased sharpness and clarity
  • Enhanced exposure stability during fast bursts
  • Resistant to dust and splash water
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Expensive
nikon lens ground

4. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8S

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8S
  • Sharp results – Focal length: 24-70 mm
  • Weight – 805g
  • Very customizable – Filter-attachment size: 82 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$2,396.95
BUY

Key features

  • Z lens mount
  • Focal length: 24-70 mm
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 84° - 34°20'
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 61° - 22°50'
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38 m/1.25 ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Filter-attachment size: 82 mm
  • Weight: 12.4 oz (805g)
  • Supplied accessories: LC-82B 82 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap, HB-87 Bayonet Hood, CL-C2 Lens Case

Pros

  • Sharp results
  • Excellent flare resistance
  • Dust and moisture-resistant
  • Easy to handle
  • Very customizable

Cons

  • Price
  • Distortion levels
  • Vignetting

5. Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4-1.8G

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • Mount – Nikon F (FX)
  • Weight – 350g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$476.95
BUY

Key features

  • Mount: Nikon F (FX)
  • Focal length: 85 mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.4 to f/1.8
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 28.5°
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 18.8º
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.80 m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.124×
  • Filter-attachment size: 67mm
  • Weight: 350g (0.77 lb)

Pros

  • Increased sharpness and reduced distortion
  • Wide aperture
  • Low-priced

Cons

  • No optical stabilization
  • Limited close focus capability

6. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • Mount – Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Weight – 1540g
  • Focus limiter switch – Focal length: 200mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$1,551
BUY

Key features

  • Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 34°20'
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 22°50'
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.4m (4.6 ft.)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.12x
  • Filter-attachment size: 77mm
  • Weight: 54.3 oz. (1540 g)

Pros

  • Sharp with all zoom ranges
  • Doesn't elongate when zooming
  • Focus limiter switch
  • Reduced vibration

Cons

  • Some distortion.
  • Close focus restricted to 4.6 feet.
nikon lens table

7. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4-1.8G

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  • Mount – Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Compact and lightweight – 185g
  • Low price – Filter-attachment size: 58 mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$216.95
BUY

Key features

  • Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal length: 50 mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 47°
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 31°30'
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.45 m (17.72″)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.15×
  • Filter-attachment size: 58 mm
  • Weight: 185 g (0.41 lb)

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Fast aperture.
  • Low price

Cons

  • No vibration reduction or aperture ring.

8. Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G

Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G
  • Sharpness and focus – focal length: 24 - 85mm
  • Weight – 465g
  • Filter-attachment size – 72mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$479.99
BUY

Key features

  • Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal length: 24 - 85mm
  • Aperture range: ƒ/3.5 - 4.5 to ƒ/22 - 29
  • Angle of view (FX-format): 84°
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 61°
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38m (1.25 ft.)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Filter-attachment size: 72mm
  • Weight: 16.4 oz (465g)

Pros

  • Weight
  • Sharpness and focus
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Some distortion
  • Below average built quality

9. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • Effective VR system – Focal length: 18 - 140mm
  • Lightweight and portable – 490g
  • Filter-attachment size – 67mm
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
$496.95
BUY

Key features

  • Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal length: 18 - 140mm
  • Aperture range: f/ 3.5-5.6 to f/ 22-38
  • Angle of view (DX-format): 76°
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.48 ft. (0.45m)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.23x
  • Filter-attachment size: 67mm
  • Weight: 17.3 oz. (490 g)

Pros

  • Good sharpness
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Effective VR system
  • Convenient zoom range

Cons

  • Distortion (especially at 18mm)
  • Price

4 Things to consider in a Nikon lens

Best Nikon Lens for Portraits

1. Distortion

When capturing a wide field of view, your lenses capture the edges of the image at a different distance from its centre, leading to some distortion.

Of course, when shooting a portrait, you will want your results to be as close to reality as possible. To avoid that your subject's face looking disfigured, this is an aspect you will want to consider when choosing a lens.

2. Sharpness

Portrait photographers want their lens to capture the subject's soul. Since that might not be possible, you will want at least to catch the peach fuzz on its face. In other words, when selecting a lens, invest in sharpness. Ideally, choose ones apt to soft focus.

3. Weight and size

It is not all about the image you capture. Photographers' choices need to incorporate the entire work experience. Depending on the shooting you planned, you might have to consider portability and weight.

4. Bokeh

Bokeh refers to producing a blurred background, and it is crucial to make your portraits look professional. Such an effect allows you to clearly distinguish between your subject and the setting, allowing it to stand out.

Rent or subscribe to a Nikon lens

You are ready to give portrait photography a try, and you have some great options to select from. Do not waste more time and rent or subscribe to a Nikon lens.

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If you are still figuring out what photographer you want to be, have a look at our page on photography to figure out which set-ups are for you.

About the instructors

Gustav Sloth

Gustav Sloth

Filmmaker

Aarhus, Denmark

Gustav Idun Sloth is a filmmaker and a co-founder of Movimentum together with Marcus Hasselgaard. They are two creative minds who are passionate about making movies and telling stories.

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Kristian Kettner

Film Creator

Risskov, Denmark

Kristian Kettner is a colorist, workflow specialist, and film creator. He started with wedding videography to being the lead colorist on a feature film.

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Creative Philosopher

Copenhagen, Denmark

OUTFOX, founded by Mazdak Luyeh, is a bold Danish PR and communication agency that gathers clever ideas and tell amazing stories with visual expressions that focus on quality.

Best Nikon lenses FAQ

Which Nikon lens is best for portraits?

Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8S

How do I take better portraits with my Nikon?

Consider distortion, sharpness, portability and bokeh.

Rent cameras from local creators.

Save up to 40%.
Global Coverage included.

Rent to try

€10

Rent to own

€20

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