When it comes to portrait photography, zoom lenses aren’t exactly the first that come to mind. Fast prime lenses are the prime choices for this purpose, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with other types of lenses. Some zoom lenses, for example, come with focal lengths and maximum apertures that overlap with the ones usually associated with portraits.
That said, are there other reasons why should you use zoom lenses for portrait photography? First, there are versatile options like standard zoom lenses that don’t distort the face the way wide-angle lenses do. Also, they’re great for trying out different focal lengths without the need to bring different lenses. Finally, they allow you to work in tight or small spaces, so you have no problems getting close to your subjects.
Third-party lens manufacturers like Tamron actually have a selection of zoom lenses that work great for portrait photography. If you’re interested in experimenting with one, here are five for you to choose from.
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post.
While wide focal lengths aren’t always great for portraits, they prove useful for shots where you need to show more of the space. So, while 17mm may be too wide, you have other focal length options to choose from in this compact and lightweight 17-70mm f/2.8 lens. As a bonus, this lens is a great choice if you tend to do both landscape or travel photography alongside portraits. Other key features that make it great for portrait photography include the fast aperture of f/2.8, Minimum Object Distance (MOD) of 0.19m (7.5 in), in-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion) and Eye AF.
Check out our review of the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8.
If you’re still using a full frame DSLR for your portrait work, this 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom lens is a top option for you. Its focal length range is great for various portrait settings and environments. This high-speed standard zoom lens boasts of the highest image stabilization levels in its class, superior color reproduction and impressive sharpness. It also comes equipped with a dual micro-processing unit (MPU) control system which dramatically improved the autofocus accuracy and speed.
Another fast aperture standard zoom lens for Sony mirrorless cameras, this 28-75mm f/2.8 promises to deliver outstanding resolution and superb performance in a compact and lightweight package. Its optical construction was designed to minimize optical aberrations, while the fast aperture provides superb low light performance and a soft, appealing bokeh that is desired for captivating portraits. Its fast, high-precision AF also works great for dynamic portraits, especially when used with eye tracking and continuous AF.
Check out our review of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2.
If portraits are part of your travel or event photography repertoire, you’re going to love this zoom lens. It’s the first zoom lens for mirrorless cameras that comes with a maximum aperture of f/2. As with the rest of the lenses on this list, the 35-150mm f/2-2.8 is a solid, well-built lens. It comes with superb image stabilization, fast autofocus and remarkable low light performance. As another plus, its wide focal range will save you the space and weight of two lenses in your camera bag.
Check out our review of the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8.
Finally, we have the second generation of the 70-180mm f/2.8, the smallest and lightest f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens in its class. Apart from the fast aperture, its improved autofocus tracking allows for a faster and more precise AF. This new model also comes equipped with Tamron’s proprietary Vibration Compensation, which is useful for keeping camera shake at bay when taking low light portraits. Meanwhile, the improved close-up capability with a Minimum Object Distance of 0.3 mm (11.8 in) opens up many creative possibilities for your portrait work. Getting experimental, like zooming in from a headshot to a small portion of your model’s face, is a breeze with this lens.