Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

selective focus photo of black camera lens

The Top 5 Canon Portrait Lenses Are Too Expensive

If you are a portrait photographer, you know how important it is to have the right lens for your camera. A good portrait lens can make your subject stand out from the background, create a flattering perspective, and capture sharp details and beautiful bokeh. But with so many options available, how do you choose the best Canon lens for portraits?

In this blog post, we will review the 5 best Canon lenses for portrait photography, based on their focal length, aperture, image quality, autofocus, and other features. We will also give you some tips on how to use them effectively for different types of portraits.

However, I will also go ahead and give you the alternatives to these monsters of portrait photography.

Want the best Portrait Lenses? $$$

Here are the 5 best and most expensive Canon lenses for portrait photography:

  1. Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
    This is one of the most popular and praised portrait lenses among Canon users. It has a classic 85mm focal length that is ideal for headshots and close-up portraits, as it creates a natural and flattering perspective without distorting the facial features. It also has a very fast f/1.2 aperture that allows you to shoot in low-light conditions and create a shallow depth of field with stunning bokeh. The image quality is superb, with sharp details, accurate colors, and minimal chromatic aberration. The autofocus is fast and silent, thanks to the USM (Ultrasonic Motor) technology. The lens also has a durable and weather-sealed construction, making it suitable for outdoor use. The only drawbacks of this lens are its hefty weight (1025g) and high price tag.
  2. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
    If you have a Canon mirrorless camera with an RF mount, this is one of the best portrait lenses you can get. It has a versatile 50mm focal length that can be used for full-body, half-body, or headshot portraits, depending on your distance from the subject. It also has an ultra-fast f/1.2 aperture that enables you to capture stunning portraits with creamy bokeh. Smooth transitions between in-focus and out-of-focus areas. The image quality is outstanding, with sharp details across the frame, even at wide apertures. The autofocus is quick and accurate, thanks to the USM technology and the customizable control ring on the lens barrel. The lens also has a robust and weather-resistant design, making it reliable and durable.
  3. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art
    This is a third-party lens from Sigma that is compatible with Canon EF and RF mounts (with an adapter). It is a macro lens that can also double as a portrait lens, thanks to its 105mm focal length that is perfect for tight headshots and close-up details. It has a fast f/2.8 aperture that allows you to isolate your subject from the background and create beautiful bokeh. The image quality is excellent, with sharp details, vivid colors, and minimal distortion or aberration. The autofocus is smooth and quiet, thanks to the HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) technology. The lens also has an optical image stabilization system that helps you avoid camera shake and blur when shooting handheld. The lens also has a solid and sleek design, with a metal barrel and a rubberized focus ring.
  4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
    This is one of the most versatile and useful lenses for any photographer, as it covers a wide range of focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto. It can be used for various types of portraits, from environmental to group to individual portraits, depending on your zoom setting and distance from the subject. It has a fast f/2.8 aperture that remains constant throughout the zoom range, giving you consistent exposure and depth of field control. The image quality is superb, with sharp details, rich colors, and minimal distortion or aberration. The autofocus is fast and silent, thanks to the USM technology. The lens also has a sturdy and weather-sealed construction, making it suitable for harsh environments.
  5. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
    This is another versatile and powerful zoom lens that can be used for portrait photography, especially if you want to shoot from a distance or compress the perspective for a more dramatic effect. It has a long telephoto range from 70mm to 200mm that can be used for headshots, half-body shots, or full-body shots, depending on your zoom setting and distance from the subject. It also has a fast f/2.8 aperture that remains constant throughout the zoom range, giving you consistent exposure and depth of field control. The image quality is superb, with sharp details, vibrant colors, and minimal distortion or aberration. The autofocus is fast and silent. Thanks to the USM technology. The lens also has an optical image stabilization system that helps you avoid camera shake and blur when shooting handheld or in low-light conditions.
    The lens also has a robust and weather-resistant design.

However, these all break the bank in most cases.

Let’s Save Some Money

Here are great alternatives to the top tier expensive lenses. They are literally just as good, sometimes, even better than their top tier counterparts. When you get to a point where the quality is nearly the same, for over a thousand dollars less sometimes! That’s better in my opinion. However, I will say Sigma’s 105mm is still in a class of it’s own.

Canon 85mm f/1.8


This is a prime lens that offers a fast aperture of f/1.8, which is ideal for low-light situations and creating beautiful bokeh effects. The 85mm focal length is perfect for portraits, as it produces flattering results without distorting the subject’s features. The lens also has a USM (Ultrasonic Motor) that provides fast and quiet autofocus, and a manual focus override for more control.

Canon 50mm f/1.8


This is another prime lens that is often referred to as the “nifty fifty” because of its versatility and affordability. The 50mm focal length is close to the human eye’s perspective. It is suitable for a variety of genres, such as street photography, landscapes, and events. The f/1.8 aperture allows you to capture sharp images in low light and isolate your subject from the background. The lens is also compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Canon


This is a zoom lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths, from wide-angle to telephoto. The constant aperture of f/2.8 ensures consistent performance throughout the zoom range. The OS (Optical Stabilizer) helps to reduce camera shake and blur. The lens also has a HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) that delivers fast and accurate autofocus, and a weather-sealed construction that protects it from dust and moisture.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II


This is a superzoom lens that offers an incredible 22.2x zoom ratio, making it the ultimate all-in-one lens for travel and wildlife photography. The lens can cover everything from wide-angle to super-telephoto. Giving you the flexibility to capture any scene without changing lenses. The lens also has a VC (Vibration Compensation) system that compensates for camera shake up to 2.5 stops, and a zoom lock mechanism that prevents the lens from extending when not in use.

Go get a lens to up your portrait game!

Stefan Glazer
Stefan Glazer

Author, Photographer, Artist, Pug Dad, Podcast Host, Teacher, Friend

Articles: 210

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter