In today’s article, we are going to be going over what we feel the best lenses for portrait photography with a Sony a6000 camera. With the Sony A6000 being such a popular choice of camera we keep seeing people reaching out for advice about it time and time again.
Although competition is pretty touch we have managed to narrow our list down to three solid lens choices. Each has their own unique quirks that we will cover in more detail throughout the article but we do have a comparison table below highlighting some of the main points of each lens. Two of the lenses are prime lenses and one is a variable zoom lens ensuring that you have options to meet your needs no matter what type of portrait photography niche you are planning on working in.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS
Due to the lens having such a massive existing customer base there are an absolute ton of independent reviews online (click here to read some of them) that you can read if you wish. They offer an insight into the performance of the lens from people who use it as their go-to lens of choice and use it on a regular basis.
Performance And Functionality
Being a Sony E-mount lens the Sony 35mm f/1.8 will mount directly to your Sony A6000 camera body without the need for an adaptor or additional converter or anything like that. Being a prime lens with a fixed focal length of 35mm also makes it the ideal portrait lens choice too ensuring excellent image quality for your portrait photographs.
The f/1.8 aperture of the lens ensures that you get the best possible low light performance for your money while also ensuring that it is a quick and snappy lens too. The 35mm field of view from the lens will be the equivalent to a 52.5mm field of view in a full-frame camera. This provides you with an excellent shallow depth of field that is also handy for things like recording YouTube videos close to your A6000 in addition to portrait photography.
The manual focus ring on the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is very well put together ensuring that you can quickly and easily manually tweak the focus of the lens if using it in manual mode although the auto-focus technology on it is solid in all fairness. If you do choose to manually tweak your focus then you are able to capture some very sharp images with minimal effort.
As you would expect for its price point in the market, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 comes with an excellent level of build quality that ensures that you are getting a lightweight yet very robust lens. If you have been involved in the photography space for any great length of time you will probably be aware that you can take every step possible to protect your lens but something can still end up breaking it.
The robust build quality of the lens adds an additional layer of protection to minimize the chances of this happening when traveling between your photography locations. As it is inevitable that your lens will end up taking a few knocks during use, the robust build quality offers peace of mind that the lens should be able to take its fair share of knocks without breaking.
Although we touched on the manual focus ring of the lens above we just want to quickly comment on its design and build quality. Sony really has done a great job on the actual ring itself as it is very responsive even in wet or cold conditions. This ensures that you are able to use the lens no matter the conditions to get you the photograph that you want.
Question – Do you get a lens hood included with your purchase of the lens?
Answer – Yes, a lens hood is included with your purchase as standard.
Question – Is this a full frame lens?
Answer – No, this is not a full frame lens, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 works out to be a 52.5mm full frame focal equivalent.
Question – Can you use lens filter accessories with this lens?
Answer – Yes, the lens comes with a 49mm filter thread so make sure that you purchase lens filters with the correct thread size.
We hope that we have done a good enough job of explaining why we feel that the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is the best lens for portrait photography currently available on the market right now for a Sony A6000 camera. We love everything about it from its build quality to its performance to its functionality to its image quality.
If you have the budget available then this is definatley the portrait lens for you. As the price tag of the lens can be a little high for some peoples budgets you may want to check out the 50mm variant of the lens covered below as it is slightly cheaper. On the flipside of this though, if you are willing to use a second hand or refurbished Sony 35mm f/1.8 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) then you can potentially end up saving a fair bit on list price. Just keep in mind that this depends on the market as well as who is selling their lens and what price they are willing to accept for it.
The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.
The Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS
It should be no surprise that the Sony 50mm also has a massive existing core customer base who are borderline fanatic about the lens. Over the years since its release, these customers have posted plenty of their own independent reviews online (click here to read some of them) for the lens sharing their thoughts, impressions, and experiences with it. Again, if you have the time spare then reading some of these could definatley offer a valuable external insight into the lens and how it performs from other photographers who use it as an integral part of their photography kit.
Performance And Functionality
As you can probably guess from its name, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is another prime lens but this its time based around the 50mm focal length rather than 35mm. Depending on your own personal portrait photography style, you may actually prefer the 50mm focal length over the 35mm due to the slightly different image quality that it offers you.
It also comes with an f/1.8 aperture on it to ensure that it is quick while also offering you some excellent low light performance to allow you to use this portrait lens in pretty much any situation you can think of.
Both the depth of field and the bokeh offered by the Sony 50mm f/1.8 are great and are pretty much what you would expect from a portrait lens. When using on a crop sensor camera body the lens comes in with a field of view of 75mm full frame equivelant ensuing that you are able to capture your subject in all their glory.
The manual focus ring on the 50mm variant is also smooth and responsive allowing you to easily tweak your image quality to perfection before choosing to capture your photography ensuring that you are getting some very sharp images. One thing that we would like to add regarding the manual focus ring is that it also has a nice resistance level to it ensuring that you don’t over or under rotate your focus when adjusting. Although this may sound pretty basic, over the course of a day of portrait photography, all these seconds that would otherwise be wasted re-adjusting your focus are saved and it all builds up.
Considering the price tag of the Sony 50mm f/1.8 we really think that the performance covered above, as well as its build quality, make it one of the best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras in general, never mind just portrait-based photography and that goes for any other mirrorless cameras that you may use it on.
Coming with the Sony E-mount as standard, the lens will mount directly to your A6000 camera body without issue or the need for an adapter. In addition to this, the actual mount is made from a high quality, solid metal alloy that will not warp in shape over time. This ensures that in the future, you will always be able to quickly and easily mount or unmount the Sony 50mm f/1.8 from your A6000 without issue.
The actual body of the lens is made from the same lightweight yet very robust materials as the 35mm variant that we covered above. This offers the same benefits to you as it ensures the lens is as lightweight as possible while also being able to take its fair share of punishment during use. If you are a professional photographer working in a busy studio then this really can be beneficial over the course of a working day as a heavy lens can take its toll on you when holding your camera body plus lens weight up for extended periods of time.
The forward lens element on the lens is also made from some high-quality glass to ensure it will be able to easily stand the test of time too. Even without using a UV filter to help to protect it, the forward lens element shouldn’t be chipping or scratching any time soon due to the production process the glass is put through to make it as clear and tough as possible.
Question – Is the Sony 50mm f/1.8 manufactured in Japan?
Answer – No, it is manufactured in China to the highest possible standards.
Question – What is the focal length of the lens in its Full-frame equivalence?
Answer – It comes in at 75mm on a full frame camera body.
Question – What lens filter thread does the Sony 50mm f/1.8 use?
Answer – The lens comes with a 49mm lens filter thread size.
Although overall we personally prefer the Sony 35mm lens that we covered first in our article, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is still a great lens and its lower price tag can make it the obvious option if you are on a tight budget needing to keep your costs down. We have no doubt that this lens will make an excellent addition to your camera accessories and that over time, it will also help to improve the image quality that you capture during your portrait photography sessions.
The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.
The Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN Art
If you are on a very tight budget then we would consider the best budget-friendly lens for portrait photography with a Sony A6000 camera to be the Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN Art (Click here to check for product prices and availability). It has one of the lowest price tags on the market for solid portrait lens choices and coming from the Sigma Art range it is going to provide you with some of the sharpest image quality available too.
As you would expect from such a great little lens with a low price tag, it has proven to be very popular within the community. Its solid performance, build quality, and functionality keep its customer base growing at a steady rate month to month too. Many of these independent photographers who use the Sigma 60mm F2.8 have posted reviews online (click here to read some of them) that you can read for an external insight into the performance of the lens.
Performance And Functionality
Being another prime lens, this time based around the 60mm focal length you can rest assured that adding this lens to your collection of camera accessories will help to improve your portrait photography performance. Although its f/2.8 aperture is a little slower than the lenses above, it is still pretty quick and will also offer you some decent image quality when used in low light conditions.
The lens has a great shallow depth of field as well as a crisp and clear focus with a nice creamy bokeh that can easily be manipulated to meet your needs and situation. The manual focus ring on the lens is also quick and responsive allowing you to quickly and easily perfect the level of focus on your subject with minimal effort.
As we touched on earlier, the Sigma Art lens range has been specifically designed to capture photographs with some of the absolute sharpest image possible. This allows you to capture your subjects portrait ensuring that your photographs show all of the detail of their face in the best quality possible for this price point on the market right now.
Although not an actual Sony lens, the Sigma 60mm F2.8 still comes with the standard Sony E-mount connector meaning that it will mount directly to your A6000 without issue. The actual build quality of the lens is solid for its price tag on the market and Sigma really has done a great job of designing the lens and putting it together.
That said, it is pretty heavy when compared to the other two lenses on our list but Sigma has had to use heavier materials to ensure that the lens is robust while also keeping the cost as low as possible. If you work in a photography studio then this will probably not be an issue but if you travel around doing event-based portrait photography with a bunch of lenses this can be a bit of a pain due to the increased weight.
The front lens element on the Sigma 60mm F2.8 is solid for the price tag of the lens too. Its coatings will help prevent ant scratching or potential damage to the lens during use but ideally, you will be mounting a UV filter anyway.
Although the manual focus ring on the lens is smooth and responsive, we did manage to find a few reports from independent photographers who reported dust getting under the ring and causing increased resistance after a few years. This does seem to be a tiny minority of reports when you take into account to overall number that are available online and we do not know the conditions these photographers were keeping their lenses in or the maintenance or servicing they were receiving.
If on the off chance you do have a problem with dust getting under your manual focus ring then we would recommend that you first port of call would be to pick up a cheap air duster. If you have been in the photography game for any amount of time then there is a good chance you already have one in your kit anyway and try to blog the dust out from under the ring. If this does not work, many local photography stores do offer a strip cleaning service for cameras and lenses so you could try this if required.
Question – Does the autofocus on the Sigma 60mm F2.8 work with the Sony A6000?
Answer – Yes, the autofocus functionality on the lens will natively work with your A6000 without issue.
Question – Does the Sigma 60mm F2.8 come with included image stabilization?
Answer – No, being a more budget-friendly lens, Sigma has not included image stabilization with the lens.
Question – Does the Sigma 60mm F2.8 have a build in lens filter thread?
Answer – Yes, the lens has metal threads allowing you to further customize the performance of the lens via a range of popular lens filters if you wish.
Considering the price point in the market, we feel that Sigma has done an excellent job with the Sigma 60mm F2.8. It offers a cheap lens that is perfect for portrait photography and will work perfectly with your Sony A6000. As we mentioned, it provides some of the sharpest image quality that you will get at this price point while also offering sharper photographs than some higher price point lenses on the market too. If you are trying to keep your costs as low as possible then this is an excellent little lens to add to your A6000 camera accessories.
The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Sigma 60mm F2.8 EX DN Art to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.
Rounding Everything Up
We feel that we have covered these three lenses in detail and explained the positives and negatives of each of them. As we don’t know your own personal circumstances such as the budget you have available or your new portrait lens or what type of portrait photographer you will be involved in. This leaves a fair bit of wiggle room available for what one of these three lenses really as considered the absolute best portrait lens for an A6000 camera.
That said though, we are confident that choosing either of the lenses that we have highlighted in this article will be an excellent choice. Each of them performs well when it comes to portrait photography for their price point in the market and will make a solid addition to your camera accessoris.