Nordica Photography

FAQ | Our Favourite Portrait Lenses

January 2, 2010

We often get questions about what lenses we use and which lenses to use in which situations. The latter is hard to answer, since all photographers work in their own ways with their own favourite lenses. The first part is easier though, since we mostly use only two lenses:

The Nikon 50mm f/1,4 and the Nikon 85mm f/1,8.


Both of these are great for what we’re mostly shooting – people. Both of them are also great in low light situations if you – like us – strive to avoid the flash. The 50mm f/1,4 is especially good because of the low f-stop. (There is a 85mm f/1,4 as well. We’d love to get our hands on it).

These two are prime lenses, that is: no zoom. They are 50 and 85 mm and that’s it, which means you have to use your feet for zooming. This did bother us a bit when we first started using them since we were used to zooms, but as we saw the results and got used to moving around instead of zooming, we were sold. We’ll never go back. The pictures are that much better.

Another advantage with these two lenses is the size – they’re small. Put a zoom lens on your camera and it’s usually huge and heavy. With these prime lenses it’s not.

The 50mm f/1,4 is definitely our favourite lens right now. We could easily shoot a whole wedding with that lens alone. It’s around $500-600 (somewhere around 4000 SEK or 400 EUR, for international readers) and is very much worth the money. There’s also a 50mm f/1,8 that’s less than half the price and also great for portraits and low light situations.

Additionally we have a Sigma 20mm f/1,8, a Sigma 18-50mm f/2,8Nikon 70-300mm f/4,5-5,6, and a Tamron 90mm f/2,8 Macro. They are all good lenses for different purposes and we use them every once in a while, but for people photography the 50mm and the 85mm are our most frequently used ones.

(This text was originally posted on

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By Cole & Jakob  

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  1. Jakub

    The exact same two lenses we're using right now :) Great reading some of these older posts!

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