4 Best Budget Portrait Lenses Under $250 for Canon Full Frame Cameras

Since portrait mode has made its way to smartphones, the number of people clicking portrait images has significantly increased. However, there’s no denying that you can’t compare your smartphone’s artificial bokeh to the natural depth-of-field carrying photo taken using a full-frame camera. Undoubtedly, a camera paired with a good portrait lens is still the way to go if you want to shoot a good portrait photo.

budget portrait lenses for Canon

If you have a Canon full-frame camera, you’re probably aware that most lenses with focal lengths that are apt for portrait photography are expensive. But, a little bit of hunting around can get you some high-quality budget portrait lenses that can provide similar results to their more expensive counterparts. We’ve aggregated the best budget portrait lenses under $250 for Canon full-frame cameras to help you pick the right one for yourself.

But, before we get to the lenses themselves, here are some other articles you may be interested in –

Let’s get shooting now.

1. Yongnuo 35mm F2 Lens

Now, before you click out of this article by seeing a 35mm lens on this list, hear us out. While the 35mm focal length is quite wide to be apt for portrait photos, this lens from Yongnuo is pretty cheap and provides incredible value considering the price. This is exactly why it’s on this list.

While a 35mm lens may not give you a close crop like a traditional portrait lens with a higher focal length, the F2 aperture ensures you get a nice, creamy bokeh when you focus on the subject. The minimum focusing distance for this lens is 0.8ft which should be plenty to get close enough to your subject for a nice portrait photo.

Apart from the wide aperture that lets you capture photos in low light and the inexpensive price tag, the biggest advantage of this lens is you get Auto Focus. Many cheaper lenses skimp out on Auto Focus, but we’re glad that Yongnuo has gone against the convention.

This is quite a popular lens on Amazon and for a good reason. It’s one of the best lenses you can get for the Canon EF mount system around the $100 price point, even if you’re not specifically looking for a portrait lens. If you also take product shots or shoot vlogs, this can be an extremely handy lens that punches well above its weight.

2. Canon 50mm F1.8 Lens

This is the all-time favorite Canon 40mm prime lens with an aperture of f/1.8. The 50mm focal length is ideal for portrait shots since it’s neither too wide nor too close. The wide aperture lets you use the camera at night while letting in ample light.

If you want a closer crop than a 35mm lens and are more comfortable getting a lens from Canon directly, you cannot go wrong with this 50mm prime lens. It’s one of the most affordable prime lenses you can get from Canon, which is why it’s extremely popular across genres, from portrait photography to shooting headshots for videos.

This lens also has Auto Focus onboard, which can be helpful if you use the lens for other purposes like recording yourself from a distance. It’s one of the best-selling lenses from Canon, and it’s pretty evident when you look at the reviews on Amazon. It has an almost-perfect rating because it’s truly excellent at what it does.

While the lens is quite sharp, even at f/1.8, you can crank up the aperture for more details while maintaining a good background blur for your portrait shots. The only disadvantage of this lens is that there’s no image stabilization built-in, so if your camera lacks IBIS, you might need a tripod at slower shutter speeds.

3. Meike 85mm F1.8 Lens

If you want to get closer than a 50mm lens would, this lens from Meike with its 85mm focal length is ideal. You’re also getting the same wide F1.8 aperture as the 50mm prime lens from Canon, so you don’t need to worry about the depth-of-field either.

Here’s another popular product on Amazon, thanks to its value-for-money characteristics. This lens from Meike — while costing a fraction of Canon’s equivalent 85mm lens — is equally sharp and lighter, making it easy to carry around when you’re traveling. You also get a hood in the box. This is an Auto Focus lens, which makes the deal even better.

The 85mm focal length is ideal for portrait photos since the kind of framing you can get with this close crop and the background separation with the F1.8 aperture would look incredible. The only gripe with this lens is that it’s quite noisy when used with Auto Focus, so if you’re going to be using it to record videos as well, you need to keep this in mind.

Another advantage of getting this lens would be the extremely low minimum focus distance of 0.85m. That means when you’re not using the lens to capture portrait photos, you can use it as a macro lens to get extremely close to your subject. It’s priced slightly higher than the 50mm lens from Canon, but you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Samyang 85mm F1.4 Lens

Do you see that aperture? Yes, that’s exactly why this lens is on the list. This is an excellent lens to shoot in low-light conditions or at night. Also, the creamy bokeh you can get with that sort of aperture would give your portrait shots a beautiful look.

Just like the previous lens from Meike, this one from Samyang also has a focal length of 85mm. This makes it ideal for portrait photography and for taking close-up shots of objects. There are two main differentiating factors between this lens and the Meike one will help you decide which one is for you. Get the Meike lens if you’re okay with the slightly narrower aperture and want a lens with Auto Focus.

This Samyang lens does not have Auto Focus, so you will need to rely completely on getting the composition right and focusing on the subject. However, you get the wider aperture making it more suitable to shoot with in low light. Of course, there’s also a considerable price difference, based on which you can decide which lens would be more useful for your usage.

Since this is a manual lens, it’s not ideal to shoot videos. The lens is also heavier than other options with this focal length, so if you’re going to shoot handheld for a long duration, you might want to consider this aspect. Overall, it’s a beautiful lens that can take some excellent portrait shots, especially in low light. If you’re fine with a Fixed Focus lens, go ahead and get it.

Blur the Background

No matter which lens you get from above, you can capture some excellent portrait images with crisp details and an impressive depth-of-field. So, pick the focal length that’s best suited for your needs and get clicking.

Last updated on 10 August, 2022

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