Have you ever considered purchasing the best lens for studio photography?
If you answered positively, you were perhaps thinking of opening your studio or starting a commercial photography business.
Or perhaps you wanted to create mesmerizing portraits and close-ups to replicate the visuals of world magazine cover pages.
Regardless of the motive behind the notion, purchasing this type of optics is not accessible if you consider they are a hefty investment and have many technical details to know.
Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t offer many helpful buying guides, so navigating the market under those conditions can be tricky.
With that idea in mind, I have created a buying guide to help fellow photographers who want to embark on a studio adventure.
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Canon 85mm f/1.4 sports an optical design of 14 elements in 10 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 28° 30′, with a minimum focus distance of 2,79 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,12x. The lens has optical image stabilization with up to four stops of shake correction and a fast aperture to ensure prime photographic quality, even under dim lighting.
The main reason:
Why this Canon made the studio photography lenses list is the excellent bokeh it creates. It provides a dreamy, utterly defocused background while keeping the subject tack-sharp. I did, however, notice issues with chromatic aberration and lateral aberrations.
Although they are easy to remove in post-production, they are worth noting. OIS is another great thing because it is tremendously helpful in low-light situations, especially if the subject is moving. It works pretty well at all shutter speeds, and I also noticed it helps in locking the focus on more minor issues.
The focus system is fast and accurate and hasn’t caused me any problems so far. I am also satisfied with the overall image quality. All of the pictures appear sharp across the frame, with traces of aberrations and vignetting in corners, but overall, they look gorgeous. The lens is designed well, with a nice finish and compact weight.
- Fast aperture
- Fast focus
- Aberrations and vignetting
Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 is optically constructed of 12 elements in eight groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 28° 30′, with a minimum focus distance of 2,62 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,12x.
Despite the lack of optical image stabilization, the lens is equipped with a fast aperture that produces high-quality pictures, even under low-light situations. One of the reasons why I put it the best lens for studio photography is its distinctive ergonomic design.
The lens is dust and drip-resistant, with extensive sealing that keeps the dust and moisture out (although it doesn’t play a crucial role in studio photography, the 85mm is versatile and could be used outside).
Furthermore, it has a customizable control ring, which is an excellent addition if you want an extra level of control. And on top of that, the lens weighs incredibly little. The overall image quality is outstanding, with an excellent level of sharpness even at the maximum opening, and it stays sharp across all apertures.
No chromatic aberrations are noticeable under 95% of situations, especially in studio lighting. They can occur under highly harsh outdoor light, and the vignetting is well managed. For extreme lighting conditions on the other side of the spectrum, an f/1.4 would be a better choice. Still, for studio photography, it is good to go, mainly due to its affordable price.
- Fast aperture
- Great design
- Lack of OIS
Sony 85mm f/1.4 offers an optical design of 11 elements in eight groups, with 11 rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 29°, with a minimum focus distance of 2,62 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,12x. Although it doesn’t sport optical image stabilization, it has a high-speed aperture of an f/1.4 that ensures top-notch photo quality when the lighting is not good.
Most contemporary Sony camera bodies come equipped with OIS, so it won’t be a deal-breaker. The main reason why I put it on the best lens for studio photography list is the excellent image quality it produces. Pictures are tack-sharp across the frame, with no edge softness or exaggerated vignetting issues. This lens is also suitable for studio fashion photography.
The color palette is beautifully rendered, and although there are overly vibrant bluish tones, it’s not a problem to remove in the post-production. The aperture is a game-changer for this Sony, providing outstanding performance under dimmed lighting.
I never had issues with foul shots due to bad lighting, even when shooting moving subjects. The 11 blades create a circular and mesmerizing bokeh effect, with completely defocused backgrounds while keeping the subject tack-sharp. Focusing is also fast, responsive, and doesn’t cause missed shots. The only objection in that regard is the noise, which is irritating in quiet environments, but apart from that, the focus system is excellent.
- Overall sharpness
- Fast aperture
- Fast focusing
- Lack of OIS
Tamron 85mm F/1.8 offers an optical construction of 13 elements in nine groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 28° 33′, a minimum focus distance of 2,62 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,14x. The lens is also equipped with optical image stabilization and a fast aperture for producing outstanding images, even under low-light.
It has a fluorine coating and moist-resistance construction. The main reason I included it as the best lens for studio photography is its outstandingly helpful optical image stabilization that produces stunning images, no matter the shutter speed.
I also didn’t have to use the flash in most situations, which is crucial if you work a lot with models. In comparison tests, Tamron did a better job delivering excellent results, with phenomenal sharpness from edge to edge.
When I occasionally missed a shot with another lens, I hit the score with the given Tamron. The general image look is perfect, with beautifully rendered colors full of vibrancy and with solid and deep blacks. The bokeh effect is another selling point of the lens.
It looks gorgeous, with circular and defocused backgrounds and sharp subjects in the foreground. It also preserves a good amount of details, and issues appear razor-sharp, even at an f/1.8. The lens is also very light and compact and is a great overall choice.
- Fast aperture
- Great OIS
- The focus could be faster
Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 offers an optical design of 11 elements in eight groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 28,5 degrees, with a minimum focus distance of 2,3 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,09x. The lens doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but it has a vast opening of an f/1.2.
The lens’s sharpness is excellent, and I was pretty content with the overall image sharpness, even at the maximum opening. It is one of the reasons why I put it on the best lens for studio photography.
The focus system is solid; it is accurate and responsive. Only sparingly did I have an issue with a missed shot or focus hunting. It does a good job overall, although it could be faster under dim lighting. The bokeh effect is excellent; it is circular and defocused in most situations. However, to truly achieve it, you should aim to shoot at the maximum opening and from a distance (from the subject).
If you don’t do it that way, there is a risk of not-so-great bokeh results. The design of the lens is excellent. It is not heavy, and it feels good in your hands. It is built of solid materials, and it shows that Fujinon is aiming for an upper class when it comes to optics.
- Fast aperture
- Compact design
- Not the fastest focus
Purchasing the best lens for studio photography doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly difficult experience if you apply the knowledge outlined in the article. As you can see, there are a lot of technicalities and details to consider, but they all come down to your basic photographic needs and habits.
Luckily, no matter your preferred shooting style or the brand you mostly like, picking any of the lenses on this list is a sure way to upgrade your portfolio.
Now that you’ve read this guide and learned something new, it’s time to choose a lens that will improve your photography. We recommend this lens if you are still unsure which one is ideal.
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