best portrait lens for canon rebel t6

The Canon Rebel is a crop sensor camera which has a sensor size of 22 x 14.7mm. A crop sensor only uses the center area of the image coming through a 35mm lens. Thus, with lenses that are designed for ‘normal’ 35mm cameras, the Canon Rebel Cameras and other such crop-sensor cameras use the center area of the image while discarding the rest. Today, we will be reviewing the Best Portrait Lens For Canon Rebel T6, best canon lens for portraits and the the best canon rebel t6 lenses to buy.

The effect is similar to using a slightly longer focal length. This is referred to as the ‘crop-factor’. Different crop sensor cameras have different crop factors. Using the crop-factor it is possible to establish the ‘effective focal length’ of a lens when it is mounted on a crop-sensor camera. For Canon crop cameras the factor is 1.6x.

Lenses for the Canon EOS Rebel

There are also lenses which are tailor-made for these crop cameras. These have smaller image circles, optimized for the smaller sized sensor behind them. Canon calls these lenses EF-S mount. Where S stands for short back focus.

Crop cameras from Canon, at least the ones that are released in the last decade, tend to enjoy a wider choice of lenses. These cameras are compatible with both Canon EF (full-frame) and EF-S lenses.

Which Lenses are Suitable for Portraitures?

Traditionally, any lens that has a focal length of 85mm or longer is suitable for portraitures. A lot of photographers prefer the 70-200mm zoom. This lens covers what is known as the ‘prime focal length range’.

A 70-200mm lens, when mounted on a Canon Rebel, will give the equivalent focal length coverage as that of an 112-320mm lens mounted on a 35mm camera.

At this stage, you might ask why do you need a long lens such as a 200mm for shooting portraits?

Distortion with Wide Angle Lenses

The reason is primary to do with distortion. No lens is optically perfect and distortion is evident in all lenses, albeit in varying degrees. Typically, a wide angle lens (by that I mean any lens that has a focal length under 50mm), will distort facial features. This happens because with a wide angle lens you cover a wider area of the scene. For portraitures, a tighter crop is preferred.

To do that you will need to move forward; and when you move forward, barrel distortion prevalent in wide angle lenses start to take effect. Facial features get elongated and distorted. It’s a mess. With longer focal lengths, this problem never happens.Aperture & Bokeh – Kit Lens vs a Prime Lens

Depth of Field

The next question he asked: How to get a little more Depth of Field (DoF).

I presume he meant a bit more of the shallow depth of field which is often used in portrait photography.

In case, he meant a larger DoF, all he needs to do is to stop down the lens to a smaller aperture. Something like f/8 or f/11 and automatically a lot of the frame will be in focus.

You could also shoot at the hyperfocal distance and much of the frame will be acceptably sharp. Shallow DoF is the exact opposite. The shallow depth of field depends on a number of factors. But primarily it depends on the aperture being used.
Wide aperture equals smaller aperture number and narrow aperture equals higher aperture number.
With kit lenses, the maximum aperture that you can use is f/3.5. But that is too when the lens is zoomed out all the way. When zoomed in, at the end of the zoom, the maximum aperture stops down to f/5.6, even f/6.3 (depending on the specific lens). This is no good for those beautiful shallow DoF that you see in professional portraitures.

You may have heard about the term ‘bokeh’. It is often used in conjunction with shallow DoF. Bokeh is not the same as shallow DoF. It refers to the quality of the out of focus area and not simply the out of focus area itself.

In no way am I hinting that aperture alone is responsible for getting a shallow depth of field. If there is a considerable amount of gap between the subject and the background, you are likely to get a similar effect. But by far aperture is the prime factor that governs depth of field.

So what Aperture should you Shoot Portraits in?

To start off anything that is f/2 or wider. Kit lenses don’t have that, but expensive zoom lenses, as well as inexpensive primes, do.

Best Portrait Lens For Canon Rebel T6

1. EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Lenses such as the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. With lenses such as this, you can create a much shallower DoF than what is possible with kit lenses.

2. 85mm f/1.8 USM

85mm f/1.8 USM
85mm f/1.8 USM

Another choice would be the 85mm f/1.8 USM. This is a cheaper version costing less than $375.

3. EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Best Portrait Lens for Canon Rebel: EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Best Portrait Prime Lens: EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

For those with a bigger budget, the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is a far better choice.

Both these Canon 85mm lenses are designed for the full-frame 35mm cameras. Thus, with a Canon Rebel cameras, you get an effective 35mm focal length equivalent of 136mm.

There are plenty of zoom lenses which offer a wider aperture compared to a kit lens.

Best Telephoto Zoom Lenses To Shoot Portraits

1. Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM

Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM
Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM

Canon makes an excellent 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens which has a fixed f/4 maximum aperture.

This lens gives a 35mm format equivalent focal length of 38 – 112mm, ideal for portraits as well as landscape photography.

The wide f/4 aperture allows you to blur out the background and capture that beautiful bokeh.

Plus, this lens has something that none of the other lenses I mentioned thus far (barring the kit lenses) has – image stabilization. Image stabilization allows you to use a much slower shutter speed than you would normally be able to when hand holding a lens. This is a big advantage when shooting portraits in low light.

2. The EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Best Canon Telephoto Zoom Lens for Portrait Photography
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM

The final telelens that I will recommend is the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM.

This lens gives an effective 35mm format equivalent focal length range of 112-320mm. A slightly longer telelens is what this lens is when mounted on a crop sensor camera like the Rebel T-Series.

But it is worth the price because at times you would want to shoot from a distance instead of close-up.

Shooting from a close distance makes the model conscious. E.g., in the case of a baby she would be looking directly at.
A slightly longer focal length makes it possible to shoot candid images as the subject does not feel observed and will not make unnatural poses.

3. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens

Sigma 210101 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens

There many other third party lenses that would work wonderfully well with the Canon T3.

Sigma has a bunch of Art lenses that are prime candidates.

My pick would be the 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art. Why a wide angle lens? You don’t always need to zoom in tight. Even with a wide angle lens if the subject is placed towards the center of the frame distortions would be at its minimum.

Thus, if you are stuck with a wide angle lens don’t feel disappointed. Forget the rule of thirds and place the subject at the center of the frame and fire away.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’


Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

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