Is a 55mm-250mm Lens Good For Portraits?

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A good portrait shot exudes emotion and has excellent lighting. The compression of the subject on the frame is balanced out, and the light casts aesthetically pleasing shadows. 

When taking portraits, it is highly recommended that the zoom range of the lens that you’re going to use is above 70mm.

Is a 55mm-250mm Lens Good For Portraits?

The 55mm-250mm is deemed as one of the best lenses to use for portraits. You can achieve a shallow depth if you don’t stand too close to the subject, and the subject should be a few inches away from the background. 

Characteristics of a 55mm-250mm Lens 

The 55mm-250mm lens is also known as a telephoto zoom lens with a high maximum magnification ratio. This means that even if your subject is far, you can still capture portrait-style pictures. 

A Canon 55-250mm lens on a table
  • Image stabilization

Out of all the lens manufacturers, Canon is the only brand that produces the 55mm-250mm focal length range. It was built for the Canon EOS cameras. The lens has an image stabilization mechanism that ensures high-quality images and videos despite frequent camera shakes.

  • Ideal for portrait shots

The lens was released in the United States in April 2008 and was advertised as the predecessor of the Canon EF-S 18mm-55mm lens. The 55mm-250mm lens is meant for portrait shots. However, since it has a great zoom in feature and a long maximum focal length, some photographers use it for wildlife and sports photography

  • Fast and quiet autofocus

In June 2011, the second version of the Canon 55mm-250mm lens was announced. The Canon 55mm-250mm Mark II lens has an identical specification as its predecessor. The only difference is that the Mark II is a revised exterior design. 

In August 2013, the third version of the lens was rolled out, and it was equipped with Canon’s Stepping Motor or STM technology that ensures fast and quiet autofocus. 

55mm-250mm Lenses vs. 18mm-55mm Lenses

The 18mm-55mm lenses offer a lower zoom range, while the 55mm-250mm offers a higher zoom range. If you plan to go around for a walk and shoot pictures of buildings, people, the streets and more, then the 18mm-55mm lens is enough. 

If you want your portraits to have a soft blur on the background while the focus is on the face of the subject, then you can use the 55mm-250mm lens. Both lenses are ideal for beginners and hobbyists. 

55mm-250mm Lenses vs. 70mm-300mm Lenses

The 55mm-250mm lens is lighter and smaller than the 70mm-300mm lens. However, the 70mm-300mm lens has better glass, a more durable build, and a better and quieter autofocus system. 

When it comes to the image’s resolution, the accuracy of the portrait shots, and the absence of blurs, the 55-250mm lens is better. 

Selective focus of a 55-250mm zoom lens

Canon 55mm-250mm IS II vs. Canon 55mm-250mm IS STM

Aspiring photographers looking for the best lens for portrait photography are often confused about the difference between the 55mm-250mm IS II, and the 55mm-250mm IS STM Canon lenses. 

Both lenses support the same focal length range. The only difference between the two is the added feature on the lens. 

The Canon 55mm-250mm IS II is equipped with an image stabilization system that can counteract the camera’s movement. It prevents blurs that often appear on images when the ​camera is handheld. 

The Canon 55mm-250mm IS STM also has an image stabilization system. However, it has an added Stepping Motor or STM feature that prevents the autofocus motor from making any noise when you zoom in on your subject. 

Related Questions

Can the 55mm-250mm Lens Be Used on Non-Canon Cameras?

The 55mm-250mm lens can be used on third-party cameras. However, it depends on the brand of the camera. 

You can’t attach your Canon lens to a Nikon DSLR camera. Although the adapter will allow you to attach the lens to a Nikon camera, you won’t be able to use any of the features of your Canon lens, and you can’t also change the focal length to 250mm. The focus to infinity will also be disabled. 

As for Sony, the two brands are compatible. You can use your 55mm-250mm lens on a Sony APS-C camera by attaching the Vello Accelerator adapter.

The adapter is an additional accessory that allows all of the features of both the lens and the camera to work properly even though they are not from the same manufacturer. 

A camera with a 55-250mm lens placed on the ground

Can the 55mm-250mm Lens Be Attached to a Canon Full-Frame Camera?

The 55mm-250mm lens was built solely for Canon EF-S cameras. This means you can’t use the 55mm-250mm lens on a full-frame camera since the mount is different. 

The lenses compatible with the Canon full-frame cameras are the 18mm-55mm lens and the 70mm-300mm lens.


Portrait photography is one of the most common genres and is often done by beginners as it serves as a practice tool before stepping into a broader type of photography. 

With the 55mm-250mm lens, along with a few accessories such as a camera flash and a gimbal, it is easy to start your portrait photography journey as you already have the right focal length to capture an excellent shot. The 55mm-250mm lens can also let you experiment with other subjects such as wildlife and sports. 

Kaitlin Cooper is an active professional wedding and portrait photographer in San Diego, California at Kaitlin Cooper Photography. She is also a contributor to many large publications, including Bridal GuideBustlePixpaWith Joy, and Hello Giggles.