Best Lenses for Doll Photography (2022 Ultimate Guide and Review)

What is the best lens for doll photography? If you ask this question, congratulations, you are entering a whole new world. Just as clothes express a doll’s style and personality, different lenses can give completely different effects to the same objects and scenes.

Wondering why you just can’t achieve the anticipated result? Sometimes the lens restricts your camera’s ability. Of course, besides the lens, other elements for a great photo are also important. So I have created another post to introduce everything about doll photography. Check out if you are interested:

So, back to the point: Which is the perfect lens for doll photography? The short answer is there’s no perfect one. But I will analyze different lenses from various perspectives to see which works the best for doll photography. By the end, you will find the best lens you can count on for your price range. Let’s get started!

Things to Consider before Choosing the Lens for Doll Photography

Prime Lens or Zoom Lens

A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length. It typically has a maximum aperture from f2.8 to f1.2. A zoom lens, on the other hand, allows you to zoom in and out but usually with a smaller maximum aperture.

There are three reasons we prefer a prime lens over a zoom lens:

Create Beautiful Bokeh

Bokeh is one of the buzzwords in photography. It comes from the Japanese word boke(ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”. In other words, bokeh is an effect of out-of-focus points of light that you get when you use a very big aperture(low f-stops) such as f/1.8 to shoot a subject.

Bokeh makes the doll photo more appealing because:

  • The out-of-focus points of light have a dreamlike quality and send people into a reverie.
  • The blurred background makes the doll stand out better.
  • Distractions in the background will be blurred out and not visible.

Prime lenses generally have wider apertures to create bokeh than most zoom lenses. They have maximum apertures of f1.8,  f/1.4, f/1.2, and even f/0.95, making it possible to maximize the bokeh effect.

Produce Sharper Image

Prime lenses are considerably sharper than most zoom lenses due to their simpler constructions. They have fewer moving parts and less glass that are used to zoom in and out. As a result, they have less diffraction and a more remarkable ability to preserve the integrity of the image.

Cheaper and Lighter

Most prime lenses have lower prices than zoom lenses. And, even better, they are smaller and lighter for the same reason as above: fewer elements, less glass. Therefore, you can travel with ease and feel more focused when shooting.

Focal Length

After discussing prime lenses versus zoom lenses, another question arises: which focal length should I choose? Let’s first explain why focal length matters to doll photography.

Focal Length Affects the Perspective

Perspective refers to the sense of depth and spatial relationship between objects in an image. The shorter the focal length you are using, the stronger the perspective effect is. It is great for outdoor photography because the doll will look more natural and realistic in the three-dimensional scene. But anything shorter than 50mm will give perspective distortion making the dolls look odd.

Focal Length Affects the Background

The focal length determines how much of a scene is captured in an image. Wide-angle lenses(14-35mm) allow you to get a wider field of view, while telephoto lenses(70-200mm) condense the background and allow you to take photos at a distance.

Imagine you are in Grand Canyon with your dolls. You will take particular pride in capturing magnificent and striking views with a wide-angle lens. Whereas, if you are stuck at home on a rainy day and have only a small backdrop to do doll photography, then a telephoto lens will be perfect in this situation. It has the ability to compress the background where elements will become much smaller.

Size and Weight

Generally, telephoto lenses are longer and heavier than wide-angle lenses. But when it comes to weight, as I mentioned earlier, prime lenses are lighter than zoom lenses. So a prime telephoto lens could be lighter than a wide-angle zoom lens. Pay attention to the product specifications when purchasing the lens.

Armed with the understanding of the above concepts, let’s choose an ideal lens wisely!

50mm Prime Lenses

50mm prime lenses are a must-have not only for doll photography but also for almost every other genre of photography.

Like the 85mm, which is perfect for human portraits, the 50mm is ideal for doll portraits, considering the doll’s small sizes. They produce more outstanding image quality while being more versatile and affordable than kit lenses and standard zoom lenses.

In short, a 50mm lens has the following advantages for doll photography:

  • creates bokeh–blurred backgrounds, making the doll outstanding and attractive
  • produces high-quality images which often outmatch much more expensive lenses
  • smaller and lighter which means carrying around with it is just easy peasy
  • all-round and great for all types of photography

Now let’s look at what different 50mm lenses famous camera brands offer.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Effective focal length: 50mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: Stepping motor
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.35m
  • Filter thread: 49mm
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • Dimensions (WxL): 69 x 39mm
  • Weight: 160g
best canon prime lens for doll photography

If you are a Canon user, you are lucky. Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM lens is cheaper and lighter than other brands’ 50mm F1.8 lenses. It weighs only 160g, which is 25g lighter than Nikon’s and 26g lighter than Sony’s. It is optimized for full-frame cameras. But you can also use it on an APS-C camera and get an 80mm effective focal length.

With lens coating, you can capture backlit images without getting significant ghosts. The STM stepping motor makes the autofocusing nearly silent.

It has a minimum focus distance of 0.35m, which is shorter than Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM and other brands’ 50mm lenses and enables you to get closer to the doll when it comes to close-up shots.

Mirrorless Options

Advanced Options

Nikon 50mm F1.8G AF-S

  • Mount: Nikon F
  • Effective focal length: 50mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: Ultrasonic motor
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.45m
  • Filter thread: 58mm
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • Dimensions (WxL): 72 x 53mm
  • Weight: 185g
best Nikon prime lens for doll photography

Nikon 50mm F1.8G AF-S lens is the top choice among all Nikon 50mm lenses. It is dedicated to Nikon FX sensors but is also suited to DX sensors.

The autofocus is fast and accurate. With a silent wave motor (AF-S) incorporated, you can take doll photos quietly and peacefully. The autofocus function is also available on entry-level DSLRs like D3000, D3100, D5000, D5100, and D5300.

Nikon 50mm F1.8G AF-S lens also has Super Integrated Coating, which allows you to use the backlight technique without visible ghosts or flare in the image. It is sharp at every aperture. In fact, the Nikon 50mm F1.8 G is among Nikon’s Sharpest lenses.

Mirrorless Options

Advanced Options

Sony 50mm F1.8

  • Mount: Sony E-mount
  • Effective focal length: 50mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: DC Motor
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.45m
  • Filter thread: 49mm
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • Dimensions (WxL): 69 x 65mm
  • Weight: 186g

Sony has many 50mm or near 50mm lenses, but FE 50mm F1.8 lens is the most affordable. It works on all Sony E-mount cameras, including full-frame and APS-C sensors. On an APS-C sensor, it offers an apparent focal length of roughly 75mm.

The lens is designed with a DC motor for fast and precise autofocus performance. Although it makes a funny little noise when autofocusing, it’s not a big deal in most cases. It’s sharp and has great bokeh.

Advanced Options

24-70mm F2.8 Zoom Lenses

Because of their versatilities, every prominent lens manufacturer provides premium quality options. These top-notch 24-70mm lenses have the maximum aperture at f/2.8, which is enough for doll photographers to get a decent bokeh. Unlike cheaper zoom lenses, its maximum aperture does not change while zooming.

If you want to travel with ease and only take one lens with you, a 24-70mm lens is the one you must choose. Stretching from wide to standard to telephoto, it opens up more possibilities.

With a wide-angle lens, you can incorporate the surrounding scenery into the image for storytelling and immediately zoom in to telephoto for a body shot without going back and forth. This can save you lots of energy when capturing different shot styles.

A 24-70mm f/2.8 lens typically has a minimum focal length (distance from the subject to the image sensor) of 0.38m, which means you can get as close as about 0.38m to the doll while in focus. Note that a prime lens’s general minimum focal length is 0.45m. So the close-up capability of a 24-70mm zoom lens is better than that of a 50mm prime lens.

Speaking of the image quality, the bokeh effect is quite close to that of a prime at f/2.8. If you zoom into 70mm, you will get an even more blurry background than a prime lens. It also has excellent sharpness and rich color.

In addition, a 24-70 f/2.8 lens features a solid build and is used by most photographers as a workhouse lens. It is designed to protect against dust, moisture, and harsh weather conditions. Due to its durability and versatility, the price is much higher than that of a 50mm prime lens.

Here are the lenses from the top three major manufacturers:

Canon 24-70mm F2.8

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Effective focal length: 24-70mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: Ring-type Ultrasonic Motor
  • Stabilizer: No
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
  • Filter thread: 82mm
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • Dimensions (WxL): 88.5 x 113mm
  • Weight: 805g
best canon zoom lens for doll photography

Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM is the best-in-class lens among all Canon lenses. “L” means luxury lenses designed for Canon’s high-end full-frame bodies. But it can also be used on an APS-C DSLR, on which it offers a 38-112mm equivalent angle of view.

“II” means it is the newer, updated version. It is way better than its previous version Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L USM. USM means Ultra-Sonic Motor, which makes the autofocus silent.

The best part of this lens is that it is even sharper than Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM at wider apertures (f/2.8 & f/4). It also has 2 ultra-low dispersion (UD) glass elements and one Super UD aspheric element to minimize chromatic aberrations.

The autofocus is fast and accurate, especially at f/2.8. Every shot is perfect at every focal length. This means a lot for doll photographers who use f/2.8 in most cases.

Budget Options

Mirrorless Options

Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm F2.8G ED

  • Mount: Nikon F
  • Effective focal length: 24-70mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: Silent Wave Motor
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • Dimensions (WxL): 83 x 133mm
  • Weight: 900g

Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm F2.8G ED was Nikon’s best and most luxury midrange zoom until before 2015. The newer version—Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR—was equipped with vibration reduction (VR), and was, therefore, more expensive and heavier. But VR is not necessary for doll photography since we can use a tripod to eliminate vibration.

Unlike Canon’s 24-70mm with plastic construction, the body is made of a solid metal block. The lens is weather-sealed and can perform very well when it is hot or cold or in extreme weather conditions.

The silent wave motor makes fast, dead-on, and quiet autofocus possible. Moreover, its Nano Crystal Coating technology helps reduce ghosting and flare. 3 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements also help minimize chromatic aberration and increase sharpness. It is deadly sharp even at f/2.8 at every focal length, which is excellent for doll photography.

Budget Options

Mirrorless Options

Sony 24-70mm F2.8

  • Mount: Sony E-mount
  • Effective focal length: 24-70mm
  • Full-frame compatible: Yes
  • Autofocus type: Piezoelectric
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
  • Filter thread: 82mm
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • Dimensions (WxL): 88 x 136mm
  • Weight: 900g

Sony 24-70mm F2.8 lens plays a major role in Sony’s Master f/2.8 zoom line-up. It is designed for Sony’s full-frame Alpha mirrorless cameras, but it also works great on APS-C cameras.

Like Canon and Sony, it is robust and serves as a workhorse for many professional photographers. For doll photographers, we care much about the maximum aperture of f/2.8. It is part of the reason for buying this costly lens. The image quality at f/2.8 won’t let you down. The image captured at f/2.8 is deadly sharp. The bokeh is also smooth and beautiful. It also has an ED glass element to control chromatic aberration and has Nano AR Coating to minimize ghosting and flare.

The downside is its steep price and hefty weight. It is as heavy as Nikon but about 95g heavier than Canon and more oversized than Nikon and Canon. Even so, it is still an excellent option for doll photography.

Budget Options

Macro Lenses

A macro lens can increase the magnification of the doll to make it look bigger. This is advantageous for doll photography because it makes the doll looks genuine and engaging. With a macro lens, you can get stunning headshots with tack-sharp eyes and skin texture. It can also be used as a regular lens with a little higher price than a 50mm prime lens. Consider the following macro lenses if you are interested.

Other Telephoto Lenses

As mentioned earlier in this article, the longer the focal length is, the more minor background you need. In addition to this, the background will get creamier with less texture. So the below lenses are great complements to 24-70 zoom lenses.

Summary

Choosing the right lenses for your camera is as important as honing your photography skills. For this reason, I have listed the best lenses that can boost your doll photography at every stage—whether you’re new to doll photography or you’re a seasoned photographer looking to upgrade your gear. If you have more questions or tips that you can share with others, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

PhotoMentorNYC participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Leave a Comment