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35Mm Vs 50Mm Lens: Which One Should You Use?

35mm lenses are best for wider shots, while 50mm lenses are ideal for portraits and close-ups. When it comes to choosing between these two types of lenses, it ultimately depends on the type of photography you prefer.

Photography is a highly valued art in today’s digital era, and photographers always strive to obtain high-quality images. However, choosing the right lens is a critical aspect of photography, as it can affect the outcome of your images. For instance, 35mm lenses are perfect for landscape photography, as they capture a broader view of the surrounding environment.

On the other hand, 50mm lenses are suitable for portraits and close-up shots, as they offer a more natural perspective. Understanding these differences can help you make the best decision when it comes to selecting the perfect lens for your photography needs.

Table of Contents

The Basics Of Camera Lens Focal Lengths

When it comes to photography, the right lens can make all the difference. Two of the most popular focal lengths for cameras are 35mm and 50mm. However, before choosing one over the other, it is important to understand the basics of camera lens focal lengths.

Definition Of Focal Length And Its Impact On Photography

Focal length refers to the distance between the lens and the camera’s sensor. This distance affects the angle of view and the magnification of the image. The angle of view determines how much of the scene the lens can capture, while the magnification determines how large the subject will appear in the frame.

Different focal lengths can produce dramatically different results. A shorter focal length (wider angle of view) provides a broader perspective, while a longer focal length (narrower angle of view) reduces the field of view and can compress the subject.

Different Types Of Camera Lenses: Prime Vs Zoom Lenses

Camera lenses fall into two categories: prime and zoom lenses.

Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, meaning that you cannot zoom in or out. However, prime lenses have a larger maximum aperture, which allows more light to enter the lens. This means that prime lenses produce sharper, clearer images, especially in low light.

They are also more compact and lightweight, making them ideal for travel photography.

Zoom lenses, on the other hand, have a variable focal length that allows you to zoom in or out. This makes zoom lenses more versatile than prime lenses, as they can capture a wider range of photographs. However, zoom lenses tend to have a smaller maximum aperture, which can negatively impact image quality.

They can also be larger and heavier, making them less portable than prime lenses.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Different Focal Lengths

Choosing the right focal length depends on your needs, preferences, and shooting conditions. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of different focal lengths:

  • 35mm:
  • Advantages:
  • Wider angle of view, which can capture more of the scene.
  • More versatile and can be used for various types of photography, such as landscapes, portraits, and street photography.
  • Disadvantages:
  • May distort the image if used for portraits.
  • May not blur the background as much as longer focal lengths.
  • 50mm:
  • Advantages:
  • Produces a natural perspective that closely mimics what the human eye sees.
  • Creates a pleasing bokeh in the background, making the subject stand out.
  • Disadvantages:
  • May not be wide enough for some types of photography, such as landscapes.
  • Not ideal for capturing subjects from a distance.

Understanding the basics of camera lens focal lengths is crucial for producing high-quality photographs. While 35mm and 50mm lenses are popular choices, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and shooting conditions. Whether you prefer the versatility of a zoom lens or the sharpness of a prime lens, choosing the right focal length can make all the difference in your final images.

Exploring The 35Mm Lens

If you’re a newbie in photography or a professional shooter, choosing the best lens can be challenging. One of the lenses that every photographer should consider is the 35mm lens. It is a versatile lens that can be used in almost all types of photography, from landscapes and travel to street and portrait photography.

Let’s explore the characteristics, popular use cases, advantages and limitations of the 35mm lens.

Characteristics Of The 35Mm Lens

The 35mm lens is a prime lens with a fixed focal length of 35mm. Here are the key characteristics to consider:

  • 35mm focal length is close to the human eye’s view, giving the images a natural look.
  • Wide aperture of f/1.4 to f/2.8, which provides excellent low-light performance and bokeh effect.
  • Light and compact design, perfect for travel and street photography.
  • Produces high-quality images with less distortion and sharper corners than the 50mm lens.

Popular Use Cases For The 35Mm Lens

The 35mm lens is a versatile lens that can be used in various photography genres. Here are some of the popular use cases:

  • Landscape and travel photography: The wide-angle of 35mm is ideal for capturing landscapes, cityscapes and travel scenes.
  • Street photography: The 35mm lens provides a wider field of view, allowing the photographer to get closer to the subject and capture the essence of the street.
  • Portrait photography: The 35mm lens can be used for environmental and full-length portraits, but it is not recommended for headshots or close-ups.
  • Documentary photography: The 35mm lens is a top choice for photographers looking to capture an everyday scene or to document an event.

Advantages Of Using A 35Mm Lens

The 35mm lens has several advantages that make it a popular choice among photographers.

  • Versatility: The 35mm lens can be used in various photography genres, making it a versatile lens.
  • Natural perspective: The 35mm focal length provides a natural perspective, similar to what the human eye sees, giving your images a realistic feel.
  • Wide aperture: The wide aperture of f/1.4 to f/2.8 provides exceptional low-light performance, allowing you to shoot in low light conditions without a flash.
  • Compact and lightweight: The 35mm lens is smaller and lighter than other lenses, making it easy to carry and perfect for travel photography.

Limitations Of The 35Mm Lens

While the 35mm lens has several advantages, it also has some limitations that you need to consider.

  • Not suitable for close-ups and headshots: While the 35mm lens can be used for portraits, it is not the best choice for close-ups or headshots. For that, you’ll need a longer lens like the 85mm or the 135mm.
  • Barrel distortion: The 35mm lens can produce barrel distortion, especially when used at a close distance. This distortion can be corrected in post-processing, but it adds extra work to your workflow.
  • More expensive: The 35mm lens is more expensive than the 50mm lens, but it is more versatile.

Incorporating 35Mm Lens Into Your Photography Kit

If you’re considering incorporating the 35mm lens into your photography kit, here are some tips to get you started.

  • Get comfortable: Spend time shooting with your 35mm lens to get used to its characteristics and limitations.
  • Experiment: Try shooting in different lighting conditions, apertures, and distances to see how the lens performs.
  • Pair it with other lenses: While the 35mm lens is versatile, it can be paired with other lenses to create even more creative possibilities.
  • Use filters: Use filters like neutral density and polarizers to enhance your images further.

When it comes to lenses, the 35mm lens is an excellent choice for photographers looking for a versatile, high-performance lens. With its natural perspective, wide aperture, and compact design, this lens offers several advantages over other lenses. Keep in mind its limitations and incorporate it into your photography kit to take your photography to the next level.

Examining The 50Mm Lens

Characteristics Of The 50Mm Lens

The 50mm lens is a fixed focal length prime lens that offers a natural field of view, similar to what the human eye perceives. This lens is versatile and is available for both dslr and mirrorless cameras. Some of the key characteristics of the 50mm lens are:

  • Aperture: Most 50mm lenses have a maximum aperture of f/1.8 or f/1.4. This feature enables photographers to capture images with beautiful bokeh and better low-light performance.
  • Lightweight and compact: 50mm lenses are often small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. This characteristic makes them ideal for street photography, travel, and documentary projects.
  • Sharpness: These lenses are known for their sharpness and ability to produce high-quality images with excellent details.

Popular Use Cases For The 50Mm Lens

One of the most popular use cases for the 50mm lens is portrait photography. The natural field of view allows photographers to capture the subject’s face and upper body with a beautiful shallow depth of field. Additionally, the 50mm lens is great for:

  • Street photography: The compact size, quick autofocus and wide aperture allow photographers to capture candid moments while being discreet.
  • Food and product photography: The shallow depth of field and sharpness of the lens enables photographers to make the subject stand out while blurring out the background.
  • Travel photography: The lightweight and compact size make the 50mm lens an ideal choice for travel photography, as it doesn’t add too much weight to a photographer’s kit.

Advantages Of Using A 50Mm Lens

Photographers can benefit greatly from using a 50mm lens due to its characteristics and popular use cases. Some advantages of using a 50mm lens include:

  • Low-light performance: With a wide aperture, photographers can achieve excellent low-light performance, making it perfect for indoor photography or shooting during golden hour.
  • Bokeh: The wide aperture can create a beautiful bokeh effect, resulting in stunning images.
  • Affordable option: Compared to other prime lenses like the 35mm or 85mm, the 50mm lens is often a more affordable option, making it a popular choice for photographers on a budget.

Limitations Of The 50Mm Lens

While the 50mm lens has many advantages, there are some limitations to keep in mind:

  • Limited zoom capabilities: As a prime lens, the 50mm is a fixed focal length and doesn’t allow for zooming in or out. As a result, photographers need to be more creative when framing their shots.
  • Less versatile: The 50mm lens is not suitable for some types of photography, such as wildlife or sports photography, where a zoom lens would be more beneficial.
  • Depth of field: The shallow depth of field can also be a limitation, especially if a photographer wants to capture a broad scene or subject.

Incorporating 50Mm Lens Into Your Photography Kit

If you’re considering incorporating a 50mm lens into your photography kit, here are some tips to get started:

  • Experiment: Take some time to experiment with your 50mm lens and try out different techniques and styles. Get a feel for the focal length and how it can be used to create unique images.
  • Understand its capabilities: Know the strengths and weaknesses of the 50mm lens before shooting. Understanding the lens’ capabilities will help you to produce better results.
  • Pair it with other lenses: Consider pairing the 50mm lens with other lenses in your kit, such as a telephoto lens or a wide-angle lens. This will give you greater flexibility in what you can shoot.
  • Use filters: Consider using filters such as polarizers, neutral density filters, or graduated filters to enhance your images further.

With its natural field of view, wide aperture, and compact size, the 50mm lens is a versatile and affordable option for photographers. With an understanding of its capabilities and limitations, you can create stunning images, whether you’re shooting portraits, street photography, or product photography.

Consider When Choosing Between The 35Mm And 50Mm Lenses

Focal Length And Perspective

The focal length determines the angle of view and magnification of the lens. The 35mm lens is considered a ‘standard lens’ because its perspective is close to that of human vision and makes images look natural. The 50mm lens provides a narrower and more magnified view, making it ideal for portraits and isolated subjects.

Here are some key points on focal length and perspective to consider when choosing between 35mm and 50mm lenses:

  • The 35mm lens is better suited for capturing a wider view, while the 50mm lens is ideal for close-up portraits.
  • The 50mm lens produces a more significant bokeh effect, while the 35mm has a broader depth of field.
  • The 35mm lens allows for better background inclusion, while the 50mm lens makes it easy to isolate the subject.

Depth Of Field And Aperture

Depth of field is the range of focus in an image, from the foreground to the background. The aperture controls the size of the opening in the lens that lets light pass through the sensor. Here are some key points on the depth of field and aperture to consider when choosing between 35mm and 50mm lenses:

  • The 50mm lens has a larger maximum aperture than the 35mm lens, making it ideal for low-light conditions.
  • The 35mm lens has a broader depth of field than the 50mm lens, which means that more of the image will be in focus.
  • The larger aperture of the 50mm lens means that it can produce a more significant bokeh effect than the 35mm lens.

Image Quality And Sharpness

The quality of an image is determined by the sharpness of the lens, the sensor’s resolution, and lighting conditions. Here are some key points on image quality and sharpness to consider when choosing between 35mm and 50mm lenses:

  • Both lenses are excellent in terms of image quality and sharpness, but some users have reported that the 50mm lens is slightly sharper.
  • The 35mm lens is compatible with a wider range of cameras, including cropped sensor cameras.
  • The 50mm lens produces sharper images at wider apertures.

Low Light Performance And Bokeh

Low light performance is crucial when capturing images in dimly lit conditions, while bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus areas in an image. Here are some key points on low light performance and bokeh to consider when choosing between 35mm and 50mm lenses:

  • The 50mm lens has a larger aperture, which means that it performs better in low-light conditions.
  • The 35mm lens has a broader depth of field, which means that it produces a more extensive depth of field than the 50mm lens.
  • The larger aperture of the 50mm lens produces a more significant bokeh effect than the 35mm lens.

Both the 35mm and 50mm lenses have their advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to determine what you want to capture and the conditions in which you will be shooting before making a decision. By considering the factors discussed above, you will be able to choose the lens that is right for you.

Common Photography Scenarios And The Best Lens Choice

35Mm Vs 50Mm Lens: Common Photography Scenarios And The Best Lens Choice

When it comes to choosing the right lens, photographers often debate between 35mm and 50mm. While both lenses have their own unique advantages, the best lens choice can vary depending on the photography scenario. We explore the scenarios and factors that make the 35mm or 50mm lens the best choice for portrait, landscape, street, and wedding photography.

Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is all about capturing the subject’s personality and emotions in the best possible way. The right lens choice can make all the difference in achieving the desired results. In portrait photography scenarios, here’s why the 50mm lens makes the best choice:

  • It offers a flattering focal length, especially for headshots and upper body shots.
  • It provides a wider aperture, which helps create a shallow depth of field, blurring the background and allowing the subject to stand out.
  • It’s more lightweight and compact, making it easier to handle during the shoot.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is all about capturing the beauty of nature and scenery. It requires a different set of skills and techniques than portrait photography. Here’s why the 35mm lens is the commonly recommended lens for landscape photography:

  • It offers a wider field of view, which is ideal for capturing expansive landscapes and vistas.
  • It produces sharper images, especially in the corners of the frame, creating a more detailed and vibrant picture.
  • It’s versatile and can capture a range of perspectives, from wide-angle to normal shots.

Street Photography

Street photography is all about capturing the candid and unpredictable moments of everyday life. It requires an ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and a lens that can keep up. Here’s why the 35mm lens is the preferred lens for street photography:

  • It provides a natural field of view, similar to what the human eye sees, allowing for a more intimate and realistic feel to the images.
  • It’s compact and lightweight, making it easier to carry around and capture those unexpected moments.
  • It’s unobtrusive and less intimidating to subjects, allowing photographers to capture more in-the-moment snaps.

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is all about capturing those cherished moments of the special day, from the ceremony to the reception. It requires a versatile lens that can capture both posed and candid shots. Here’s why the 50mm lens is the best lens for wedding photography:

  • It provides a flattering focal length for portraits, especially for capturing the bride and groom.
  • It offers a wider aperture, which creates softer bokeh and isolates the subject, creating a more romantic feel.
  • It’s versatile enough to capture both posed and candid shots, making it a go-to lens for many wedding photographers.

Choosing the right lens is crucial to producing high-quality images in different photography scenarios. While the 35mm and 50mm lenses both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, selecting the best lens depends on the photographer’s needs and the photography scenario’s requirements.

Choosing The Best Lens For Your Budget

Comparing Prices And Value

When it comes to buying camera lenses, it’s essential to strike a balance between price and value. After all, we all want to get the best bang for our buck. Here are some key points to consider when choosing between a 35mm and a 50mm lens:

  • A 35mm lens generally costs a bit less than a 50mm lens. However, the quality of the lens can also affect the price. It’s essential to compare the features and quality of the lenses before making a final decision.
  • Keep in mind that the focal length of a lens has a direct impact on its price. So, a 50mm lens with a lower aperture will cost more than a 35mm lens with a lower aperture.
  • It’s also crucial to consider the purpose of your photography. If you mainly shoot portraits, a 50mm lens may be more suitable. On the other hand, if you’re taking wider shots or landscapes, a 35mm lens may be a better choice.

Tips For Saving Money On A Lens Purchase

Buying a camera lens can be a significant investment, but there are ways to save some money without compromising quality. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider buying a used lens from a reputable seller. Used lenses can be an excellent way to save money, but make sure they’re in good condition before making a purchase.
  • Look for bundle deals. Many retailers offer bundle deals that include accessories with the lens to provide overall value for the money.
  • Consider purchasing a third-party lens. Third-party lenses can be a great budget-friendly alternative to a brand-name lens. Before making a purchase, research reputable third-party lens manufacturers.
  • Keep an eye on sales and promotions. Many camera retailers offer sales and promotions on lenses throughout the year. Follow their social media pages or subscribe to their newsletters to stay updated on any deals.

Remember, the most expensive lens isn’t always the best choice. It’s essential to do your research and compare features and prices to find the right lens for your needs and budget.

Lens Care And Maintenance

Proper Storage And Cleaning Techniques

Taking care of your lenses is crucial in maintaining their quality and longevity. Here are some proper storage and cleaning techniques you can follow to ensure that your lenses stay in good condition:

  • When not in use, store your lenses in a dry and cool place. Avoid areas with extreme temperatures, humidity, and direct sunlight to prevent damage to your lens coatings.
  • Keep your lenses in their original case to protect them from scratches, dust, and other debris. If you don’t have the original case, invest in a durable and padded case that fits your lens snugly.
  • Before cleaning your lenses, blow away any loose dust or debris using a blower brush. This helps prevent scratching the lens. Be sure to also clean the front and rear caps of your lenses to prevent dust from accumulating inside them.
  • Use a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe your lenses and remove any smudges or fingerprints. Avoid using your shirt or a tissue paper, as they may leave scratches or fibers on your lens surface.
  • Use lens cleaning solution sparingly and apply it to the cleaning cloth, not directly to the lens. Avoid using household cleaning products like glass cleaner, as they may damage the lens coatings.
  • Gently wipe the lens surface in a circular motion, starting from the center and moving outward. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use a circular motion on the front element of the lens, as it may damage the coatings.
  • After cleaning your lenses, store them in their case or in a clean and dry environment. Never leave your lenses on a table or just lying around.

By following these proper storage and cleaning techniques, you can prolong the life of your lenses and maintain their overall quality. Remember to handle your lenses with care and make sure they are well protected when not in use.

Practical Shooting Tips For 35Mm And 50Mm Lenses

To Get The Right Shot, Know Your Lens

Knowing your lens is crucial to getting the best shot possible. The 35mm and 50mm lenses are both versatile, but they have different strengths. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • A 35mm lens is wider, giving you a larger field of view. This is great for landscapes and group shots.
  • A 50mm lens is closer to what the human eye sees, making it ideal for portraits and street photography.
  • Both lenses have wide apertures, allowing for a shallow depth of field and great low-light performance.

Understanding The Importance Of Shutter Speed And Iso

Shutter speed and iso are essential settings that need to be used in tandem with your lenses to get the perfect shot.

  • Shutter speed is the time that the camera’s shutter is open, and it controls how much light is let in. A faster shutter speed can “freeze” motion, while a slower one can create blur.
  • Iso affects the camera’s sensitivity to light. Higher iso values can produce brighter images but can also introduce grain or noise.

Understanding the relationship between lens aperture, shutter speed and iso can result in images with the best possible exposure.

Background And Foreground Considerations

Background and foreground are essential elements that can affect the overall quality of your image. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Consider the depth of field. A wider aperture (lower f-stop number) can create a shallower depth of field, leading to more bokeh, while a narrower aperture (higher f-stop number) can create a deeper field of focus.
  • Keep an eye on the background and make sure that it doesn’t detract from the focus of the image.
  • Use foreground to create depth and lead the eye into the image.

Compositional Techniques To Enhance Your Photos

Composition can make or break a photo. Here are some elements to pay attention to:

  • Use the rule of thirds, where the subject is placed at an intersection of three horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Leading lines can direct the viewer’s eye into the image.
  • Framing the subject can create context and enhance the overall composition.
  • Symmetry can be used for a more formal feel, while asymmetry can add dynamism to the image.

By keeping these considerations in mind and practicing with your lenses, you can get the most out of your 35mm and 50mm lenses and create stunning photographs.

Frequently Asked Questions Of 35Mm Vs 50Mm Lens

What Are 35Mm And 50Mm Lenses Used For?

35mm lenses are versatile and ideal for everyday photography, including street, documentary, and landscape. A 50mm lens is a portrait specialist, capturing sharp, detailed portraits with plenty of background blur.

What Is The Main Difference Between 35Mm And 50Mm Lenses?

The major difference is in focal length – the 50mm lens has a longer focal length, giving it a narrower field of view than the 35mm. This means the 50mm captures a smaller area of the scene, puts attention on the subject and reduces distracting elements.

Which Lens Is Better – 35Mm Or 50Mm?

There is no definite answer to this question, it depends on your intended application. Both lenses have different strengths and weaknesses. Choose 35mm for its versatility in capturing wide scenes, choose 50mm for its specialist portrait capabilities.

Can 35Mm Lens Be Used For Portrait Photography?

A 35mm lens is versatile and can be used for portraits. However, it is not as effective as a 50mm lens due to its wider field of view. You will have to capture more than just the subject, making portraits less intimate.

What Is The Difference In Depth Of Field Between 35Mm And 50Mm Lenses?

A 50mm lens has a narrower angle of view, meaning less light enters the camera. This allows for a shallower depth of field, resulting in a more pronounced background blur. A 35mm lens, on the other hand, has a wider angle of view which makes it harder to achieve the same degree of background blur.

Can I Use A 35Mm Or 50Mm Lens For Landscape Photography?

Indeed you can use a 35mm or 50mm lens for landscape photography, but a 35mm lens is often considered better for this purpose. It has a wider angle of view, and typically more depth of field compared to a 50mm lens.

With a 35mm lens, you can capture more of the landscape in your frame.


After comparing the 35mm and 50mm lenses, we can conclude that the choice between them depends on the photographer’s needs and shooting style. While the 35mm is ideal for wide-angle shots and capturing more of the scene, the 50mm is better suited for portraits and low-light photography.

The wider aperture of the 50mm allows for more bokeh and shallow depth of field, creating stunning bokeh effects that can make portraits look more appealing. However, the greater depth of field of the 35mm lens produces more details and sharpness.

It’s essential to consider these differences when selecting a lens so that you can maximize its potential. Whether you choose a 35mm or 50mm lens, the most important thing is to be comfortable with it and able to capture your vision.

So the final decision rests upon your creative vision and needs.


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