35mm vs 85mm Lens for Portrait Photography: Which Does It Better?

What is the best lens for portrait photography? This is a debate that has raged through the ages amongst photographers. There are quite a few focal lengths and apertures that are the favorites for shooting portraits, but many photographers agree that prime lenses are the way to go.

But which prime lens is the best for portraits? Photographer Mitch Lally puts two to the test in the below lens shootout: 35mm vs 85mm for portrait photography. Lally uses the Canon EOS RP camera with Tamron 35mm f/1.4 and a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 while photographing model Niki Stach for the comparison shoot.

"These two lenses are fairly different in terms of focal length and look," Lally explains. "This is the combo I would go to if I was shooting a wedding because they both have really nice shallow depth of field."

He then photographers Niki in a range of settings while testing both lenses for their portrait capabilities. As you'll see in the video each lens produces a slightly different look and which one you prefer might be a matter of taste or assignment.

"The 85 lens is much better for close-ups as it's much more zoomed in," Lally says."But the 35 allows you to show more context to the surroundings, so it's a much better travel lens if you want to see more of the environment in the image."

Take a look at all of Lally's photos and let us know which one you prefer for your portraits. If you want to see some other prime options for portrait, check out this video where Lally compares 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm prime lenses. You might also be interested in seeing how much better a 50mm f/1.2 lens performs vs a 50mm f/1.8 here.

And make sure to visit Lally's YouTube channel to see all of his photography content.