The Sony a6000 is a great mirrorless camera for portraits, and it’s no secret why! It’s small, it’s easy to use, and it can do just about anything.
But if you want to get the most out of your camera’s potential, you’ll want to invest in a lens—and there are plenty that will make your photos pop.
We’ve rounded up eight of our favorite portrait lenses for sony a6000 cameras. We’ve included some affordable options as well as some pricier ones so you can find what works for your budget.
- Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
- Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS
- Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
- Sony SEL1655G Alpha 16-55mm F2.8 G Standard Zoom APS-C Lens
- Sony – E 50mm F1.8 OSS
- Meike 35mm f/1.7
- Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens
1. Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
Sigma has once again made a compact, optically excellent mirrorless lens. The Sigma DN 56mm F1.4 C is the 6th (by my count) of Sigma’s DN line for APS-C and Micro 4/3rds cameras—and it lives up to that reputation!
The 56mm is a fantastic portrait lens for the Sony a6000. It has an equivalent focal length of 84mm on a full frame, and it’s incredibly sharp.
The lens has a fast f1.4 aperture, which makes it well-suited for low light situations and creates beautiful bokeh when shooting at wide apertures.
I was able to test it on my trusty Sony a6000 and was very impressed with the results.
Creamy bokeh and beautiful contrasty images are what I’ve come to expect from this lens.
The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 has a 9-rounded blade diaphragm, so you can take full advantage of its beautiful bokeh.
You can see some samples below that highlight the effect. The lens is also perfect for portraits, as it has a fast aperture and nice color rendering.
The images came out sharp and has plenty of details. And even at f/1.4, the images are very good and sharp. Although, the corner sharpness isn’t that great.
I was very impressed with how good the images were at such a wide aperture.
Great Build quality
The lens features a beautiful build and feels solid in your hands. It’s made from high-quality materials and feels like it will last for many years.
The focus ring is smooth and easy to operate, making manual focusing a breeze.
The lens is very affordable, especially when compared to other Sony f/1.4 lenses. Although it’s not cheap, it’s still less than half the price of some other fast prime lenses.
This is a great lens for people who want a fast prime but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
The autofocus on Sigma 56 f/1.4 is fairly fast and accurate.
Considering the amount of glass the focus motor has to move, this lens is pretty fast.
It focuses quickly and accurately, especially when paired with a newer Sony a6000 series model.
With the Sony a6000, the autofocus speed is outstanding and it’s capable of locking on to subjects very quickly.
The autofocus motor is quiet as well, which means that it won’t be heard when recording video or taking photos in low-light situations.
2. Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS
A lightweight and compact lens The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is a great choice if you want to keep a lighter setup.
It’s small and light, which is great if you plan on using it for long periods of time or have a smaller camera bag.
The lens itself weighs just 154 grams, making it easy to carry around all day long without feeling weighed down by your gear.
It’s also a great lens for beginners because it’s inexpensive, easy to use and has built-in image stabilization.
The 35mm f/1.8 OSS is a great option for those who want to take their first steps into the world of photography without breaking the bank on a more expensive lens.
Great standard lens for portraits
It has a 50mm equivalent field of view, which is great for taking portraits.
It’s also a good choice if you want to shoot while traveling or on vacation because it’s small and lightweight.
The f/1.8 aperture allows you to take photos in low-light situations without sacrificing quality.
It’s wide enough to capture the environment around your subject, but it also allows you to get in close and blur the background enough so that it doesn’t distract from the person you are taking a photo of.
This is a great lens if you want to experiment with different kinds of photography.
Lightweight and compact
This lens is easy to travel with. It’s also a good choice if you want to shoot while traveling or on vacation because it’s small and lightweight.
Along with the Sony a6000, this lens is perfect for photographers who are always on the go. It’s easy to carry around with you, but it still has all of the capabilities that you would expect from a high-quality lens.
One thing that I really like about this lens is its focusing speed. It is also fast and quiet. I was surprised by how fast the lens can focus, and it’s very quiet as well.
This means that I don’t have to worry about distracting my subject when I take their photo.
It also makes this lens perfect for people who are just getting started with photography because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require much skill.
Sharp and detailed photos
I love the images that I get with this lens. They are always sharp and crisp, even when I’m shooting in low light conditions.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is a great all-around lens that will help you take photos of anything from portraits to landscapes.
It’s extremely sharp and has a high level of detail, even when you’re shooting wide open.
And it will become sharper when you stop down the aperture.
I love shooting with this lens because it has a standard focal length that makes it easy to get great shots of people without being too close or too far away.
It’s also great for capturing landscapes and scenery because it allows me to take photos that are wide enough for my needs without having to switch lenses.
When it comes to colors and skin tones, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is really good.
I love using this lens for portraits because it gives me the perfect amount of contrast and saturation to bring out the best in my subjects.
The skin tones are pleasing and look natural.
Although, not as sharp and crisp as the Sigma 56 f/1.4, this lens gives you the option to get a more smooth, creamy look.
But I’ve always been impressed with how well the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens captures colors in my photos.
3. Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
As a part of Sigma’s holy trinity of APS-C lenses, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary is an excellent lens for portrait, landscape, architectural, and astrophotography.
It’s also great for taking portraits since it has a wide focal length and wide aperture that allows you to get closer to your subject while still providing sufficient background bokeh.
And having a wide-angle lens is extremely useful when shooting in tight spaces.
Great for full body and environmental portraits
If you love to shoot full-body photos and environmental portraits like the great Alex Soth, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 Contemporary is an excellent lens for you.
Its wide focal length allows you to capture full-length portraits, yet it has a wide aperture that allows you to get close enough so that the background blur looks great.
Even when the background is close to the subject, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 can still provide you with a good amount of bokeh.
It’s also perfect for shooting at night since it has a large f/1.4 aperture that can help you get more light into your camera sensor when shooting in low-light conditions.
The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DC Contemporary lens has great image quality with great sharpness, contrast, and color saturation.
I also recommend this lens for experienced photographers since it’s a wide-angle lens that can introduce distortion in your photos if you’re not careful.
Its AF speed is impressively fast when paired with a Sony a6000.
And it will definitely be more impressive when paired with the newer Sony a6500 or Sony a6600.
The focusing was quick and quiet, as well as smooth when used for manual focus.
I had no problems with the lens’s performance in low light situations or during night shots—I’m very pleased with its autofocus capabilities.
4. Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary
The Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens is a high-quality general-purpose option for APS-C camera owners looking to upgrade their kit lenses (or purchase their first prime lens).
General purpose lens
Its full-frame 45mm perspective mimics the human eye to produce a natural appearance, making it ideal for general use.
This lens’s standard focal length is a great all-around option for landscapes, portraits, and street photography.
The f/1.4 aperture allows you to shoot handheld in challenging lighting conditions without sacrificing image quality.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is also not heavy and is easy to carry around all day. The lens’s lightweight construction allows you to take it everywhere, and its durable design ensures that it will last for years of heavy use.
I also like that is fairly compact for a lens that has an f/1.4 aperture.
Great background blur
When paired with a Sony a6000, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 can produce pleasing and creamy bokeh.
Compared to the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS, the Sigma produces more separation between the subject and the background.
Well, that is because the Sigma has a much larger aperture, which allows you to blur the background more effectively while keeping the subject sharp.
I also like that it has a rounded 9-blade aperture for smooth out-of-focus highlights.
And like all Sigma contemporary lenses, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary has vivid colors and excellent contrast.
The lens is very sharp, even wide open at f/1.4, with only a bit of chromatic aberration in the corners.
Effective and affordable
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN is an excellent lens for the money.
If you are looking for a fast prime lens and don’t want to spend over $400, this one is worth considering.
It is sharp, has good color and contrast, and has a large aperture of f/1.4 that allows you to blur out your background beautifully while keeping your subject in focus.
When it comes to its low-light performance, the lens does not disappoint.
It has a very good performance and the lens is especially useful when shooting indoors or in low-light situations.
5. Sony SEL1655G Alpha 16-55mm F2.8 G Standard Zoom APS-C Lens
For me the Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G is the ultimate APS-C zoom lens for portraits.
It is a perfect balance between versatility, size, and image quality. It has a lot of advanced features but they come at a price.
The Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G is one of the most expensive lenses on this list but it is also my favorite one.
It is built like a tank and has a very good image quality that allows you to shoot wide open at f/2.8 without compromising the sharpness or contrast of your images.
A great everyday lens
It’s a great day-to-day lens that will serve you well in most situations and is especially suited for portraits.
The Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G is a great choice if you want to travel light but still want to be able to shoot at any time of day or in low-light situations.
I have been using this lens for over a year now, and it has never disappointed me.
It is sharp at all focal lengths with excellent contrast and color rendition.
Its autofocus speed is blazingly fast and accurate, which I really like because it allows me to have an easier time focusing with my Sony a6000.
The lens also has a constant f/2.8 aperture which gives you the ability to shoot in low-light situations without having to worry about losing an inch of your depth of field due to slow shutter speeds.
It has an equivalent of 24-82mm, which is a very versatile focal range that allows you to shoot just about any type of subject matter.
And with 494 grams of weight, it is not too heavy to carry around for long periods of time.
I love this lens and would highly recommend it if you are looking for a versatile mid-range zoom that can cover most situations.
The lens is such a joy to use.
It is solidly built and feels like it will last me for many years to come.
The lens covers a very versatile range of focal lengths, from wide-angle to telephoto, which makes it ideal for all kinds of photography.
Images are sharp, vivid, and more pop than I expected from a zoom lens. Even with a smaller f/2.8 aperture, the bokeh it produces is quite creamy and smooth.
The bokeh is also very consistent across the range of focal lengths and it will get even better at the telephoto end of this lens.
This glass is almost perfect and it really minimizes distortion and chromatic aberration.
And being a G lens, we can expect that the Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 G’s corner-to-corner performance is nothing short of exceptional.
The lens is also very well-built and feels solid in the hand. It has a smooth zoom ring with just enough friction to prevent it from jumping between focal lengths when you’re shooting handheld.
6. Sony – E 50mm F1.8 OSS
Another lightweight and compact portrait lens from Sony, the 50mm f/1.8 OSS is a great option for anyone who wants a fast and affordable portrait lens.
It’s small enough to fit into any camera bag but has a large aperture of f/1.8 which lets you work in low light conditions without using a flash.
Optical Image Stabilization
Optical Steady Shot (OSS) image stabilization is also built into the lens, which makes it an ideal choice for shooting handheld in low light conditions or at night.
This feature is useful, especially for a telephoto lens like the Sony – E 50mm F1.8 where you have to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/50 or slower.
The OSS helps make your images sharper and clearer by reducing camera shake.
The 50mm f/1.8 OSS has a 7-blade circular aperture that creates beautiful bokeh when shooting with a wide open aperture.
The circular aperture gives the background a creamy look.
This is great for portraits, where you want to blur out the background and make your subject stand out.
The bokeh effect works especially well when shooting at a wide open aperture of f/1.8.
Also, the depth-of-field is very shallow at this aperture, so you can use it creatively to create beautiful images.
However, the bokeh this lens creates tends to be quite busy and not as creamy as the Sigma 56 f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary.
But still, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS is a great lens for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively shoot with bokeh.
7. Meike 35mm f/1.7 Manual Lens
If you’re looking for a portrait lens under $100, the Meike 35mm f/1.7 is a great option. It’s a fully manual lens that’s why the price is so low. But it produces great images and is a lot of fun to use.
The lens is sharp and has a fast 1.7 aperture for low-light shooting. It’s also very compact and small but it’s a bit heavier than the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS.
This lens can produce really sharp images, especially in the center. The lens has a good amount of contrast and produces images with good color rendition.
The bokeh this lens creates is creamy but not too smooth.
The colors are accurate and it has the right amount of saturation but it definitely looks flatter compared to Sony and Sigma lenses.
At f/1.7 the center sharpness is great while it decreases towards the edges of the frame. The corners are a bit soft at f/1.7 and improve as you stop down.
At f/2.8 and you will be impressed with its sharpness across the frame. The lens has some chromatic aberration but it’s very well controlled.
Great build quality
Don’t let its small size fool you, this lens is built solidly. The body feels solid, it feels like you’re holding a metal lens.
I can confidently say that the Meike 35mm f/1.7 will last for years to come, providing that you take care good of it.
A manual lens that’s easy to use
The focus ring is smooth and it has a nice amount of resistance to prevent your fingers from sliding off while using it. It makes precision focusing easier.
It also has a distance scale and a depth-of-field scale, which is helpful for photographers who love shooting with manual lenses.
The aperture ring clicks into place at every stop and is easy to turn but it has a short travel from f/8 to f/22.
Also, if you’re new to this kind of setup, it is really important to learn how to zone focus.
8. Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens
Last but not the least, the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Lens is another great choice for a versatile lens that you can use on your Sony a6000 camera.
It’s also a good all-around lens with a focal range of 25-105 mm, making it suitable for most photography.
Stabilized zoom lens
Tamron has its own VC (Vibration Compensation) system that allows photographers to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds with increased image stability and sharpness.
It is a great advantage because it lets you take photos in low light without having to use a flash.
This is especially important during the golden hour, which is when the sun sets and there’s not much light but still good opportunities for shooting interesting portraits.
VC is also helpful when filming because it reduces camera shake, which makes your videos look smoother and less shaky.
The lens also has a constant aperture of f/2.8, which means it’s great for shooting in low-light situations where you need a shallow depth of field.
For portraits, having a large and constant aperture of f/2.8 means that you can get a beautiful background blur, which is especially helpful for isolating your subject from their surroundings.
Its bokeh can be quite distracting at times but I wouldn’t worry too much about it —it’s not a dealbreaker by any means. One thing that I dislike about the Tamron 17-70 f/2.8 is its CA.
It’s not well controlled and you’ll see some fringing in your images.
That’s why it’s important to shoot RAW and post-process the photos in order to get rid of these artifacts.
Finally, its autofocus speed performance. The autofocus is quick and accurate, which means that you can get the shot you want without having to worry about it constantly hunting for focus.
I tested it with my Sony a6000 and Sony a6600, the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 performed well in both cameras.
I was able to track moving subjects, lock on them and get the shot that I wanted.
So overall, I think that the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 is a great lens to have in your bag if you’re looking for something versatile.
Emma Lucy is the Founder & CEO of Emma Lucy Photography. She has over a decade of experience shooting weddings and other intimate events. She also tests the latest digital camera bodies, lenses, analog cameras and other gear from Canon, Nikon, Sony and other camera brands. She currently lives in London where she spends most of her time being a self-employed professional photographer and writer.