Do you want to build up a solid collection of portrait lenses for your Sony camera? Do you want to make sure you get quality glass without incurring the national debt? Well, you’re in luck. Sony’s E mount platform has the most diverse lens lineup of any mirrorless platform, and there are lots of fantastic portrait lenses that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

There are some genuine bargains out there in the land of lenses. Of course, you might give up a few creature comforts with more affordable lenses, but one area that always impresses is image quality.

All of the lenses listed below have fantastic optics that will make your portraits shine. They’re all fast, so you’ll be able to create plenty of subject separation. They all have excellent optics, which will help create razor-sharp images, and they all play nicely with the stunning Sony autofocus algorithms. So let’s take a closer look at four portrait lenses that will be friendly to your wallet.

Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary — A must-have portrait lens

portrait lenses

The Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary is one of the best 35mm portrait lenses for under $700. The lens has a gorgeous retro look and feel. The metal body is terrific, it features some weather sealing and the optics are sublime. In our review, we said:

“Compared to the Sony 35mm f/1.8, the Sigma 35mm f/2 certainly holds its own. The Sigma just has a certain look to it, and I have to say that I really, really like that look.”

Managing Editor — Bryan Esler

If you want a lens for environmental portraits and full body shots that packs a ton of character, the Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary is the way to go. The fast aperture makes subject isolation easy and the quality of the bokeh is top-notch. So if you’re looking to add a 35mm prime to your portrait lens arsenal, take a closer look at this option.

Sigma 65mm f/2 Contemporary — A bokeh beast that’s hard to beat

portrait lenses

Another lens from the Sigma Contemporary series makes our list. However, it’s here on merit like the rest of the lenses. While many portrait photographers like to have a 50mm prime as part of their kit, we can’t help but feel this 65mm option is just plain better. In our review, we said:

“At f/2, the 65mm is sharp and contrasty with excellent subject isolation. In the center of the frame, optics are razor sharp! With it’s 9-blade rounded aperture diaphragm, out of focus blur is smooth and creamy.”

Darren Miles

This focal length lends itself well to 3/4 length and headshot portraits. Being 65mm, this portrait lens will also give you a little more compression when compared to 50mm options, which will help flatten facial features. This will lead to more pleasing images. Like the 35mm, this lens features an all-metal build, some weather sealing and quality optics. It’s hard to ignore this portrait lens.

Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 — A bargain with top-notch optics

A lens from Tokina? You bet! This 85mm lens surprised us when we had it in for review. Our jaws hit the ground when we looked at the images. They’re sharp, contrasty and the colors are fantastic. In our review, we said:

“One of the strong suits of the Tokina is the out of focus area performance or the “bokeh.” With it’s 9 rounded blade aperture, the Tokina renders out of focus backgrounds with smooth silky bokeh!”

Darren Miles

If you want to create beautiful headshots with bokeh that melts away, you need to check out the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8. It’s well made, focuses like a champ and has top-notch optics. Considering the price (under $500), this portrait lens is a no-brainer for photographers on a budget.

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD — One of the best all-around portrait lenses

portrait lenses

The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 is the most expensive lens on this list, and many might not consider it a budget option. However, for what this lens is, it deserves to be here. When you look at the competition from Sony in their 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master, and you see that it costs more than twice as much as this offering from Tamron, you’ll understand why it’s here. In our review, we said:

“All in all, the Tamron 70-180mm has some great optics. And while there’s some minor distortion and vignetting present, it shouldn’t be a worry with this lens. Outside of that, the lens is tack sharp and offers a great subject separation with some bokeh.”

Managing Editor — Bryan Esler

A telephoto lens with a fast aperture is a staple portrait lens. This particular offering from Tamron is fully weather-sealed, the optics are second to none, and the colors and bokeh that this lens renders will leave you speechless. If you want one lens that covers many of the most widely used focal lengths (85mm, 90mm, 105mm and 135mm) for portrait photography, this is the lens for you.