The Ultimate Lens Quartet for Entertainment Portraits


As the year draws to a close, I look back on what I’ve shot and accomplished and think about what I’ve learned. What’s been most enjoyable to shoot, what’s been the most difficult, and how do you get around those difficulties? For myself, I’ve been loving the portrait and editorial work I’ve done, though I at times felt limited by the amount of light I have available and flash is not an option. How do you overcome that scenario?

The answer is fast glass. Specifically, I mean lenses with an aperture of f/2.8 or less. That lead me to thinking of a trend I’ve noticed among photographers on Instagram, the four lens setup. Usually, it consists of two zoom lenses, and a prime lens, with another lens depending on what subject is being shot. Going with this setup, I thought I would create my own based on the subject I shoot the most, portraits and products. As a disclaimer, my current camera is the Nikon D7100, an APS-C (cropped sensor) camera, so my ideal kit might differ from someone using a full-frame camera. 

D7100 + Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art. Image via

D7100 + Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art. Image via

My main lens would be the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art. It would serve as my wide angle zoom lens, great for establishing shots, with the USB dock for lens calibration. The Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 is an obvious lens to pair with the 18-35mm, but I tend to shoot past 100mm for tighter shots. In lieu of that, I would pair the 18-35mm with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 as my telephoto lens, even with the 1.5x crop factor. It’s one of the best lenses I’ve used so far, and being able to use the sharpest part of the lens on my camera means that images come out crisp.


That covers the two extremes that I would more than likely find myself shooting. That leaves a slot wide in the middle for the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S lens. I would have something that’s small enough that it won’t have my camera too front heavy.

That leaves room for one more lens. For that, I’m adding in one more prime lens, the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD, used for super tight product shots to separate objects from the background.

So that's my ideal ultimate lens quartet: 

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art - Wide angle shots
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S - Portrait shots
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 - Tighter portrait shots with more compression
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD - Macro and Product Shots

What would your ideal ultimate lens quartet be? Feel free to leave me a comment.

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