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Alpha Spotlight: The Leading Lens Of Portrait Photography

The Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master has been a popular lens for portrait photography of all kinds for years. Many professionals include the prime in their kits, whether it be for wedding portraits, self-portraits, studio portraits, environmental portraits or even vlogging. Basically, if you’re including a person in the frame as you’re subject in any way, the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master is where it’s at. It won an EISA Award for Best Compact System Lens and ranked high in the DxOMark database, taking the top spot for portrait photography. Below we take a look at some of the images creators have made using the lens and read why so many call it the king of portrait photography.

In the Goldilocks zone of not too wide nor too tele, pro photographers explain why this fast G Master is one of the best Sony lenses for portrait photography.

Professional photographer and Sony Artisan Nino Rakichevich says 85mm is the perfect lens for what he does, so you’ll always find it in his portrait and fashion photography kit. “I was very excited when Sony came out with this lens because to me, 85mm lens is the perfect focal length for portraits and fashion. It has a 1.4 aperture so it is a fast lens, and it's a G Master so it has the best glass. I love the bokeh it produces and it really blurs out the background well.” Read more in What’s In My Bag: A Look At The Photo Kit This Pro Uses For Runway And On-Location Fashion.

Photo by Nino Rakichevich. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/8000-sec., f/1.8, ISO 400

Photo by Nino Rakichevich. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/8000-sec., f/1.8, ISO 400

Prime lenses have a lot of advantages when it comes to portraiture, and the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master is one of Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles’ favorites. “One of the biggest advantages is the fact that typically these lenses give you the best sharpness, the best image quality, less chromatic aberration. It’s just going to be overall optically a much better lens. But, the restriction is that you’re locked into that one focal length, so it kind of makes sense that you’re going to get the best of all that is to come with image quality.” Watch the video below as Quiles walks through portrait lens options and read more in Zooms Vs. Primes: Which Is Better For Portraits?

Photographer Eric Ward doesn’t consider himself much of a portrait photographer, but the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master has convinced him to create more portraiture. “When I began using this lens for portraits it was instantly a favorite,” the Alpha Collective member says. “I’ve used the 85 for portraits in sunflower fields to my own living room with my kids. While portraits have never been an area of my photography that I’ve shared much, the 85mm f/1.4 has convinced me to shoot more portraits.” Read more in What’s In My Bag: Littlecoal's Versatile Kit For Scroll-Stopping Imagery.

Photo by Eric Ward. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/320-sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

Photo by Eric Ward. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/320-sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

Creative Terry Warfield likes to pack the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master in his vlogging kit for when he wants a different look. He also carries multiple camera bodies for redundancy in case something were to happen to one, and also to capture the same scene using different angles. Watch the video below to learn more about his gear and read more in Vlogging Tips & Gear With Terry Warfield.

Professional wedding photographer and Sony Artisan Robert Evans likes to use the lens to capture reactions. He likes it because it allows him to isolate people while he moves around. “If I’m capturing the reaction of a guest, I don’t want them to be wondering why I’m pointing the camera at them. Using these lenses combined with the silent shutter means I’m not disturbing anyone.” Read more in Wedding Pro's Camera & Lighting Setup For Receptions.

Photo by Robert Evans. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/25-sec., f/1.4, ISO 125

Photo by Robert Evans. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/25-sec., f/1.4, ISO 125

Street photographer and Alpha Collective member Ashley Noel always includes the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master in her kit and calls it her favorite lens. “It goes everywhere with me. My first experience with this outstanding lens was in a sensory overload of a city like Tokyo. I found it to be a great focal-length for street photography and while it is often thought of as a portrait lens, I find that it is ideal for street shooting, in that it enables me to capture my subject with a crisp clarity, with the creamy, smooth bokeh in the background. It creates the perfect cinematic depth of field, in isolating my subject and separating the background, that is  so perfect for intimate travel or city moments.” Read more in What’s In My Bag: A Simple Sony Kit For A Street Photographer With Wanderlust.

Photo by Ashley Noel. Sony Alpha 7 II. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/6000-sec., f/1.4, ISO 200

Photo by Ashley Noel. Sony Alpha 7 II. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/6000-sec., f/1.4, ISO 200

Professional portrait photographer Monica Sigmon includes the lens in her kit for creating frame-worthy portraiture both in the studio and on location. “An exceptional lens and one of my very, very favorites,” says the Sony Artisan. “I use this quite a lot with window light, and also when I want close-ups with the modeling light only on my strobes. I love the forced perspective of the fixed 85mm, and the fall-off when shooting wide open is stunning.” Read more in What’s In My Bag: 2 Zooms, 2 Primes & A High-Megapixel Workhorse For High-End Portraits.

Photo by Monica Sigmon. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 160

Photo by Monica Sigmon. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 160

When creative and Alpha Collective member Jeremy Cohen creates his TikTok videos, sometimes he uses his phone on the go and other times he has a plan and uses his go-to minimal gear of the Sony Alpha 1 and his Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master - a great focal length for the type of portrait and street content he creates. Read more in Jeremy Cohen’s Top 5 Tips To Win On TikTok and learn more about how he creates vertical video content in the video below.

Photographer and Alpha Collective member Lizzy Gadd takes calming, ethereal self-portraits, and she loves to use the 85mm to tell her story. “For the same reason I love my 50mm and 35mm, this lens has an insane low aperture which really brings out the dreamy effect I love so much in my imagery,” she explains. “Having a longer focal length, I often use this lens when I’m a little further away from the camera and I want to compress the scene. It does the job amazingly well.” Read more in What’s In My Bag: 3 Primes & 2 Zooms For Dreamy Self-Portraiture.

Photo by Lizzy Gadd. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/3200-sec., f/1.6, ISO 50

“Desolate” Photo by Lizzy Gadd. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/3200-sec., f/1.6, ISO 50

Bronx-based creative and Alpha Collective member Dennis Cacho calls the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master the King Of Portrait Photography, and he’s also found other uses for the focal length. “For me, I’ve been able to use this lens in many scenarios outside of portraiture like landscape, street and minimalistic photography.” Read more about his gear and see more of his work in What’s In My Bag: See This Creative's Kit For Street Photography, Portraits & More.

Photo by Dennis Cacho. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/1.4, ISO 50

Photo by Dennis Cacho. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/1.4, ISO 50

Pro sports photographer and Sony Artisan Jean Fruth also uses the lens for her storytelling portraits. You’ll find many of the portraits in her photo projects were taken with the lens. Read more in Women In Baseball – Jean Fruth’s Newest Project Documents Inspiring Females On & Off The Field.

Women In Baseball. Photo by Jean Fruth

Photo by Jean Fruth. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/1.4, ISO 400

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