Best Canon Lens For Family Portraits
Whether you're a person who desires to capture regular snaps of your family or a professional photographer wishing to affix family portraits to your list of services, having the right lens will decide how well your images will turn out. A prime or zoom lens will serve best for family photography. Canon has several lenses in this category and will perfectly fit your EOS and APS-C cameras.
To get the right lens for family photography, you first need to know which aperture setting, focal length, autofocus motor will best suit this purpose. I being a professional photographer for 15 years, have tried and tested many lenses, so I know which lens model will satisfy a particular task. In this article, I have come up with these best Canon lenses for family portraits. All the lenses mentioned below are updated Canon lenses with the latest features. Please have a look at them and choose the one that rightly fits your budget and needs.
Table of Contents
- LIST OF BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
- 10 BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS REVIEW
- 1. EF 50MM F/1.8 STM - BEST CANON PRIME LENS FOR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY
- 2. CANON EF 50 MM F/1.4 USM- BEST PORTRAIT LENS FOR LOW LIGHT
- 3. CANON EF 24-70MM F/2.8L II USM - BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
- 4. CANON EF 85MM F/1.4L IS USM LENS - BEST TELEPHOTO LENS FOR POTRAITS
- 5. CANON EF 75-300MM F/4-5.6 - AFFORDABLE ZOOM LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
- 6. CANON EF-S 18-200MM F/3.5-5.6 LENS
- 7. CANON EF-S 15-85MM F/3.5-5.6 UD STANDARD ZOOM LENS
- 8. CANON EF-M 32MM F/1.4 STM LENS
- 9. CANON RF 50MM F/1.2L - BEST CANON RF LENS FOR PORTRAITS
- 10. CANON EF 24-105MM F/3.5-5.6 IS STM LENS
- BUYING GUIDE FOR THE BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
LIST OF BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
10 BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS REVIEW
1. EF 50MM F/1.8 STM - BEST CANON PRIME LENS FOR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY
" Big brother of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens with improved features"
FEATURES: " Lightweight and Compact." It is one of the best prime lenses for Canon Full-Frame EOS cameras as they are capable of capturing beautiful family pictures even without a studio setup. I'm not joking! When used on a full-frame camera, it gives an effective focal length of 50mm, which is considered the best focal length for taking family portraits.
This lens does wonders in an APS-C camera as well because it gives an effective focal length of 80mm when used in this format. But make sure you take into account a crop factor of 1.6x.
DESIGN: Both the 50mm f/1.8 II lens and the 50mm f/1.8 STM lens are compact in size and weight. However, there are few modifications in the latter model. The first noticeable change is the use of a metal mount instead of a plastic lens mount.
Secondly, this lens uses a Stepper motor technology instead of a micro motor. One of the desirable features a lens should possess, especially for family portraits, is a sturdy manual focus ring. Imagine you have set everything in place, and when you tend to use the manual focus ring, it slips off. I know how you'll feel irritated.
Be glad that the manual focus ring of this lens is very sturdy. And guess what? You can toggle between auto and manual focus easily just by using a single control switch.
The lens is known for its bokeh quality. Do you want to know the reason behind it? There are seven rounded diaphragm blades used in its design.
PERFORMANCE: Last year, I was on a trip to Los Angeles. I used this prime lens on my Canon 35mm EOS camera to shoot a picture of my four-membered family. I couldn't restrain myself from taking more family shots with this lens. Because it gave me a wide aperture of f/1.8, which is ultimate for family portraits.
This wide aperture range allows more light to pass through the camera sensor, so even if your background is slightly dim, this lens will make it brighter. Another advantage of using this lens is that because it has a wide- aperture, it also has a fast shuttering speed. Meaning you will not have the issues of camera shakes in your shots.
Secondly, I've also mentioned in the buying guide stating an effective focal length of 50mm is the much-required length for taking family pictures in an open area. And this lens has that. With the combo of a 50mm focal length and a bright maximum aperture of f/1.8, you can take beautiful portrait shots even in low-lights. You get perfect defocusing effects (bokeh) and stunning background blur with this prime lens.
Furthermore, the stepping engine provides quiet and continuous Film Movie Servo AF for stills. At the same time, the manual focus changes are extremely quick and fast, thanks to a restructured exterior and improved focus ring positioning.
Overall, as this is a prime lens, I needn't have to peddle with changing the focal lengths. This fixed focal length of 50mm perfectly did the job of taking beautiful family portraits. I would recommend this lens for photographers and filmmakers looking to extend their artistic possibilities with their EOS camera.
2. CANON EF 50 MM F/1.4 USM- BEST PORTRAIT LENS FOR LOW LIGHT
" A favorite choice among photographers because of its high-quality performance."
FEATURES: A even more fantastic lens than the above-mentioned f/1.8 lens with a USM motor for autofocus. When used at a wide aperture, say f/2 or f/2.8, you will get the perfect family portraits apt to hang in your living room. Let's get to know more about the lens by going through its design and performance.
DESIGN: For your convenience, I would like to compare the construction of this lens with that of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. Firstly, like the previous lens, this is also compact and lightweight. It does have the same kind of metal mounting with a manual focus ring. However, the sturdiness and fit of this ring are not as great as that of the f/1.8 lens mentioned above.
Secondly, as said earlier, this lens design uses a USM technology for autofocus. I would say this is a plus and a better feature when compared to the previous lens. I'm not telling an STM lens is bad; they are equally good, but even the slightest noise you get while using manual focus with that lens is removed here. USM also excels in shooting still photographs.
However, the number of diaphragm blades remains almost the same for both. The lens consists of 8 circular blades inside.
PERFORMANCE: Personally, I loved working with both 50mm f/1.8 STM and this 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. But if I have to say which delivers less lens flare, I would choose the f/1.4 lens. The reason is obviously a little more wide aperture of f/1.4 found in this lens.
Generally, taking family pictures with a short telephoto lens requires a focal length of around 50mm. As this lens not only has the same but also has a fast and bright aperture, you cannot go wrong with this lens. The image quality is also excellent, and you also receive perfect out-of-focus blur effects(bokeh).
When coming to its autofocus performance. That also works great with the lens. It's fast, less noisy and also accurate. The use of Full Time Manual concentrating is encouraged, and during focusing, the 50 f/1.4 stretches up to 5/16".
If your someone who doesn't like using a flash, you can go for this lens as it delivers bright images in low-lights even without a flash.
One thing that could have been implemented in this lens is image stabilization, but we know Canon doesn't ensure this in most cases. I know this lens almost costs double the previous lens, but it has dominating features as well! So, it's worthy of being listed in the best Canon lens for family portraits catalog.
3. CANON EF 24-70MM F/2.8L II USM - BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
" Best in terms of image quality and AF response."
FEATURES: All-in-one package! This is one such lens that gets a tick for both essential qualities needed in a lens for taking family portraits. You get to work with a focal length of 50mm and a bright aperture of f/2.8 using this lens. I purchased this lens just by looking at these two amazing features!
DESIGN: I was impressed by the lens' build quality. The only thing I felt missing is the lack of image stabilization. But still, a tough competitor, let's see why. It comes with an Ultra-Sonic motor to render autofocus. What's so special even the above lens has the same? Is that what you're thinking right now? I'll bring a surprise factor the above lens had a Micro USM, whereas this lens has a Ring-type USM. Meaning the AF speed is supreme.
Secondly, the much famous 9-bladed diaphragm design is employed in its construction. It has also got a zoom lock switch.
PERFORMANCE: You will not feel like this lens has omitted the IS feature because it delivers such high-quality contrast images even without image stabilization. With an f2.8 maximum aperture, be ready to click perfect family photographs and make your day special. It helps me to focus on the subject clearly while blurring the background.
Also, the 24-70 L is sharp in the middle at f/2.8 and works well in the corners. In comparison, some corner softness is evident at the wide end of the focal length spectrum.
With this lens, you needn't add a shading effect at the corners of the photo. I'll tell you a trick. Fix the focal length at 24mm and try using the lens at f/4. You will naturally get a shading effect only at the four corners. Simply superb!
Lastly, the focal length range of 24-70mm makes it supreme for capturing large group shots. Adding to it, I don't get intrigued by any kind of noise during autofocus. Thanks to the ring USM feature!
Because of all of these above features, I would surely recommend you this camera as it rightly one of the best Canon lenses for family portraits.
4. CANON EF 85MM F/1.4L IS USM LENS - BEST TELEPHOTO LENS FOR POTRAITS
" Enjoy perfect headshot family portraits with this short-telephoto lens."
FEATURES: This lens is ideal for those who do not want more of the background to be seen in their family photographs. It will perfectly take a family portrait of two to three members with more focus on the subject. This is also a great low-light lens as it has a maximum aperture of f/1.4 allowing more amount light to reach the sensor.
DESIGN: The Company has rightly given the 'L' tag to this lens as it is loved by professionals for its sturdy build and optical design. This lens incorporates a high-precision aspherical glass and comes coated with multiple "Air Sphere" and fluorine coatings.
One of the biggest reasons behind this lens's success is the impressive bokeh (out-of-focus blur effects) it gives. The reason behind this is the 9-bladed circular aperture and the fast aperture.
The other features include a ring-type Ultra-Sonic motor, an internal focus feature, and the famous image stabilization technology.
PERFORMANCE: As said above, this lens can comfortably capture a portrait shot of around three members. The lens has a minimum aperture of f/22 and a maximum aperture of f/1.4.
I used this lens on my Canon 35mm EOS camera to take a family picture of my friend's family. I fixed the aperture at f/5.6 and shot the snap in my garden. My friend was extremely happy with the wonderful family portrait picture I gave him.
It is, therefore, preferable to use this f/5.6 setting if you're a bokeh person. Expert's claim this the only Canon IS lens so far designed to give the widest aperture facility. Adding to it, you get a quiet, fast, and accurate autofocus.
You needn't peddle with the settings to toggle between automatic to manual focus; use the focus ring provided and enjoy the manual-focus override instantly.
5. CANON EF 75-300MM F/4-5.6 - AFFORDABLE ZOOM LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
" A mid-range telephoto lens zoom lens from Canon"
FEATURES: An affordable lens with a maximum aperture rating of f/4 at 75mm and f/5.6 at 300mm. Telephoto lenses with an aperture rating of f/4 do a good job while capturing portraits. As this lens has a focal length range of 75-300mm, you can use it for nature and wildlife photography as well.
DESIGN: Many people confuse this Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens with the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Lens. Though both have the same optical structure, they are not the same because the former uses a DC motor for autofocus while the latter uses an Ultra-Sonic autofocus motor.
When it comes to its build quality, for the price of around $200, you get a medium-quality lens. I'm only saying in terms of build. The rings for manual focus are not sturdy when compared to Canon's high-end lenses.
PERFORMANCE: Though this EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens was launched even before the USM model. If you compare this lens with its twin-like USM model, you will notice that this lens has a better image quality than the latter. But I wouldn't say that the image quality produced by this lens is as good when compared to the 50mm Canon lenses mentioned above.
The reason behind telling you this is that the lens will work great if you're using it in between the range of 70-200mm. It will deliver sharp images at this range. But if used after 300mm, you may notice a slight lens flare and aberrations.
Coming to the bokeh quality: the 7-bladed circular aperture feature aids in producing smooth and pleasing bokeh. Overall, if you on a tight budget looking for a medium-quality lens to shoot family portraits, you can go for this lens.
6. CANON EF-S 18-200MM F/3.5-5.6 LENS
The Canon's EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens is compatible with cameras having APS-C-sized image sensors and is equipped to provide a large zoom range in a small and lightweight package.
Also, it has an 11-fold zoom range and spans a focal length equal to 29-320mm in 35mm format while weighing just 595 grams. While its built-in image stabilization offers a shutter speed advantage of around four f-stops, the device can sense when the camera is panned.
Furthermore, it is the best canon lens for family portraits as it is made of environmentally safe lead-free glass and includes UD glass and high-precision aspheric components, with 16 elements in 12 classes. And the internal focus mechanisms ensure smooth focusing and make angle-critical filters like polarizer and graduates simply to use.
Lastly, instead of the faster USM ring-type motors, a gear-driven micro-motor mechanism is used for autofocusing. And electronic contacts are also included in the lens, which provides data for E-TTL II flash metering.
7. CANON EF-S 15-85MM F/3.5-5.6 UD STANDARD ZOOM LENS
The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a 24-136mm-equivalent lens designed for APS-C-format DSLRs. It's a powerful zoom that can help you work in any situation.
The optical design includes ultra-low dispersion and aspherical elements to monitor color fringing, distortion, and some aberrations across the zoom range, as well as a super spectra coating, to minimize flare and ghosting for better contrast and color fidelity, thus, compelling it as one of the best Canon lens for family portraits.
The lens also has an optical image stabilizer, which decreases the appearance of camera shake by four stops, allowing for easier handheld shooting in low-light situations. And a ring-type ultrasonic motor is also included, providing fast, quiet autofocus performance as well as full-time manual focus override.
Lastly, the rounded seven blade diaphragm helps to achieve a pleasant focus quality, which benefits the use of low field depth.
8. CANON EF-M 32MM F/1.4 STM LENS
The Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM is a premium normal lens, that has an impressively luminous f/1.4 and a maximum openness of 32 mm, which is the equivalent of prime. This rapid nature allows an increase in field depth control for selective focal techniques and also suits shooting under challenging illumination conditions.
In the optical design, one aspherical factor is used to decrease spherical aberrations and distortion for improvement of sharpness and clarity throughout the opening range.
Finally, in bright or rear-lighting settings, a super spectra coating was also used to monitor the flare and ghosting for greater contrast. And an STM engine also features a fast, smooth and precise autofocusing function with a manual override full time.
9. CANON RF 50MM F/1.2L - BEST CANON RF LENS FOR PORTRAITS
The RF 50mm f/1.2L USM from Canon is a desirable standard-length prime lens that has varied focal length and bright maximum f/1.2 aperture. It is characterized by its speed. And its rapid architecture stands out in challenging lighting conditions and also benefits from low field depth and selective focus techniques.
Its optical structure includes a UD element and a sound element, which help chromatic and spherical aberrations to improve clarity and sharpness. And the bokeh quality also benefits from a 10-blade diaphragm that is rounded for isolating subjects of field depth.
Finally, an ultrasonic ring engine that provides fast, almost silent autofocus and a full-term manual focus override is an addition to the capabilities of the imaging.
10. CANON EF 24-105MM F/3.5-5.6 IS STM LENS
The EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 from Canon is a useful zoom lens that can be used for a wide variety of shooting appliances, with a versatile wide-angle to short telephoto range.
The spherical, as well as chromatic aberrations, are well managed with two aspherical elements and the ultra-low dispersal element to achieve a high level of sharpness and clarity.
In lighting conditions, a Super Spectra coating has been added to minimize lens flare and improve contrast and color fidelity.
Also, they use the STM stepped AF engine to perform fast, silent autofocus with the full-time manual focus override, using both photo and video applications. Furthermore, a four-stop Image Stabilizer device allows minimum camera shakes for sharper handheld shooting.
BUYING GUIDE FOR THE BEST CANON LENS FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
Though every Canon lens is helpful in its own way, specific specs and features are to be looked upon while choosing a lens to take a family or group photo. Below I have mentioned in detail what should be the focal length, aperture range, autofocus system, build quality, etc. Read carefully and purchase a lens that rightly satisfies these specs.
PRIME OR ZOOM LENS:
As far as family portraits are concerned, two types of lenses are most preferred: prime lens and a zoom lens.
PRIME LENS: If you already know how far you should stand away from the camera to take a perfect shot, you can go for prime lenses. These lenses have fixed focal lengths and also have higher aperture rates.
ZOOM LENS: If you like to have only one camera and explore multiple shooting styles, you can go for zoom lenses. These lenses have a minimum and maximum focal length. You get to explore more with this lens because you can try different focal lengths and decide which setting will work out the best.
For taking a family shot of, say, around 5-6 members, you need a wide-focal length range, right! This lens will give you that provision.
Overall, Both work great for family photography but be sure you maintain the minimum shooting distance for the focal length you've set. Only then will you get beautiful family shots.
Now that you've decided which kind of lens you need, the next thing to look upon is the desired focal length. Experts and professional photographers recommend a 50mm focal length because it gives a wide aperture, shallow depth of field, and beautiful bokeh. It also allows you to have a sharp focus on the subject and blur out backgrounds which is very much needed while shooting family portrait pictures.
If you're selecting a prime lens, make sure its fixed focal length is 50mm. Or, if your a zoom lens person, check if it can shoot at 50mm focal length.
I am coming to my favorite part, which is the lens aperture. This element does wonders in photography. Aperture generally means the opening of the lens's diaphragm through which the light enters the lens and falls on the sensor. So wider the aperture, the more light will fall on the sensor, and more bright images will be achieved. It is generally expressed in terms of F-number or F-stops.
The smaller the F-stops, say f/1.4 wider the lens diaphragm opens, and more light enters the lens. This is why such kinds of wide-aperture lenses are great for low-light photography. Does a miracle to make dim shots brighter!
This kind of wide-aperture lenses works even great for outdoor shoots. Because as long as you're in a studio setup, you have so many artificial lights to give you bright images. But if you want to take family photographs outdoors, lighting becomes an issue; this is where wide-apertures do their job. You need to be on your toes to capture the shot when the Sun is bright. These wide-aperture lenses fast shuttering speed to allow light to enter the cameras quickly.
If you're wondering what a shutter speed is, it's nothing but a photography term, meaning how much time the lens shutter is open. For family portraits, it is desirable to fix the shutter speed at least double the times of the focal length you're using. Say, for example, you're working with a 70mm focal length; in that case, fix the shutter speed at between 1/200 and 1/400.
Fast shutter speeds are the main reason behind reducing camera shakes. So, go for a lens that has a maximum aperture of around f/1.8 -f/2.8.
This is an important criterion for family portrait shots because the details of the face should be clear and in the right proportion. So choose a lens that has a fast autofocus system, and that doesn't produce a lot of noise while autofocusing.
Secondly, see if you can switch between automatic to manual focus instantly without peddling with. The manual focus should be very accurate; only then will you get the perfect focus of your planned shots. So ensure if the manual focus rings are sturdy so that they don't flip away while you shoot.
At the end of the day, all we want is a high-quality family photograph that could be cherished. So choose the lens that provides minimal distortion, aberrations, less lens flare, and a vignette. Also, note if the lens is capable enough of providing sharp images.
SIZE AND WEIGHT:
Generally, a heavier lens means it has more tech features in it. If you're a beginner, I would recommend starting off with a light lens because if you're going for handheld shooting, heavy lenses will frustrate your performance. If we compare zoom lenses vs. prime lenses in terms of size and weight, the former is larger, so beginners can opt for prime lenses.
If you're a professional photographer, the size of the lens will not be a matter of consideration for you as the main thing to look upon is their features.
So, these were my choices of the top 10 best Canon lens for family portraits that you can consider purchasing. And technically speaking, you can use any of the above lenses to get an amazing picture quality. But while purchasing it, you must be aware of your requirements as everyone has different requirements and uses. I hope to see you in my next article thank you for reading!