Choosing between a 35mm and 50mm lens can be a tough decision for photographers, especially those who are new to the field. Both lenses have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. In this guide, we’ll explore the key differences between these two lenses, and help you determine which one is the best fit for your photography style. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, read on to discover the benefits and drawbacks of each lens, and find the perfect match for your camera.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Lens
Your Photography Style
When deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens, it’s important to consider your photography style. Each lens offers unique characteristics that can greatly impact the final image.
For portrait photography, the 35mm lens is often the preferred choice. The focal length provides a natural field of view that is similar to the human eye, resulting in flattering portraits with accurate facial features and proportions. The 35mm lens also captures a wider background, making it ideal for environmental portraits.
On the other hand, the 50mm lens can create a slightly more dramatic effect in portrait photography. The focal length produces a slightly compressed perspective, which can add depth and dimension to the image. However, the 50mm lens may not be as flattering for subjects, as it can emphasize minor imperfections.
For landscape photography, the 50mm lens is generally the better choice. The focal length provides a natural perspective that closely resembles human vision, making it ideal for capturing wide vistas and grand landscapes. The 50mm lens also provides a good balance between foreground and background elements, allowing for more dynamic compositions.
The 35mm lens can also be used for landscape photography, but it offers a wider field of view that can be more challenging to manage, especially in crowded scenes. However, the 35mm lens can produce stunning images when used creatively, capturing a wider range of elements in the scene.
For street photography, both the 35mm and 50mm lenses can be effective, depending on the photographer’s preference. The 35mm lens provides a wider field of view, making it ideal for capturing dynamic street scenes with a lot of action. The lens allows for more of the scene to be captured, making it easier to tell a story and convey the energy of the moment.
The 50mm lens, on the other hand, can produce a more intimate and focused perspective on street photography. The lens can capture the essence of a scene with precision, highlighting key elements and details. The 50mm lens also provides a flattering perspective for portraits of strangers, adding a sense of depth and dimensionality to the image.
In conclusion, the choice between a 35mm or 50mm lens ultimately depends on the photographer’s personal style and the type of images they want to create. Both lenses have their own unique characteristics and strengths, and the right choice will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the photographer.
Your Shooting Distance
When deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens, your shooting distance is an essential factor to consider. Both lenses have unique characteristics that make them suitable for different shooting distances.
For close-up shots, a 50mm lens is often preferred. The 50mm focal length provides a natural field of view that is similar to the human eye, making it ideal for capturing intimate moments and details. The lens also produces a shallow depth of field, which can create a beautiful bokeh effect and emphasize the subject.
On the other hand, a 35mm lens is better suited for slightly wider shots. The wider field of view can capture more of the scene, making it ideal for environmental portraits or landscapes. However, the shorter focal length may not produce as much of a shallow depth of field as a 50mm lens, which can be a disadvantage for some photographers.
Medium to Long Distance Shots
For medium to long distance shots, both lenses can be used effectively. However, the 35mm lens is often preferred for its wider field of view, which can be helpful in capturing a larger scene or group of people. The lens can also be used for candid or street photography, where a more natural perspective is desired.
The 50mm lens, on the other hand, can be useful for isolating a subject in the frame and creating a more intimate portrait. The lens’s natural perspective can also be helpful in capturing more traditional portraits or fashion photography.
Ultimately, the choice between a 35mm or 50mm lens will depend on your shooting style and the type of photography you want to pursue. By considering your shooting distance and the characteristics of each lens, you can make an informed decision that will help you achieve your creative goals.
Your Comfort and Handling
Weight and Balance
The weight and balance of a lens can greatly impact your comfort while using it. Heavier lenses can cause fatigue during long shoots, while unbalanced lenses can make it difficult to keep the camera steady. It’s important to consider the weight and balance of a lens when deciding which one to purchase.
Focus and Manual Adjustments
Another factor to consider when choosing a lens is the ease of focus and manual adjustments. Some lenses may have smoother focus rings or more intuitive manual adjustments, making it easier to make precise adjustments quickly. This can be especially important during fast-paced shoots or when working with subjects that require quick changes in focus. Additionally, some lenses may have more advanced autofocus systems that make it easier to track moving subjects or capture sharp images in low light conditions.
35mm Lens Overview
Key Features and Characteristics
Focal Length and Aperture
The 35mm lens is often referred to as a “normal” lens, as it closely mimics the field of view of the human eye. It provides a slightly wider angle of view compared to the 50mm lens, which makes it a popular choice for various photography genres, including street, landscape, and portrait photography. The focal length of a 35mm lens typically ranges from 35mm to 70mm, with an aperture range of f/1.4 to f/2.8. This aperture range allows for better low-light performance and a shallower depth of field, resulting in more pleasing background blur in portraits and landscapes.
Optical Quality and Image Stabilization
One of the key features of a 35mm lens is its optical quality. Many 35mm lenses offer exceptional sharpness and contrast, with minimal distortion and chromatic aberration. Additionally, many high-end 35mm lenses come with image stabilization technology, which helps to reduce camera shake and capture sharper images in low-light conditions or when shooting handheld.
Weight and Size
Compared to the 50mm lens, the 35mm lens is generally smaller and lighter, making it a more convenient option for photographers who need to carry their equipment for extended periods. The smaller size also makes it easier to handle and maneuver during shooting, providing greater flexibility when framing and capturing images. Furthermore, the 35mm lens’s smaller size and weight often result in more affordable pricing, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious photographers.
Best Use Cases
Portraits and Environmental Portraits
The 35mm lens is a versatile choice for capturing portraits and environmental portraits. Its focal length is ideal for capturing a subject’s facial features and expressions while also incorporating their surroundings. This lens can produce flattering results for both subjects and backgrounds, making it suitable for various shooting scenarios.
The 35mm lens is an excellent choice for street photography due to its wide angle of view and ability to capture candid moments. Its focal length allows for easy framing and composition, enabling photographers to capture the energy and movement of the city. Additionally, the lens’s relatively fast aperture can help in low-light situations, making it possible to shoot in a variety of conditions.
The 35mm lens is well-suited for low-light situations due to its wide aperture, which allows for more light to enter the camera. This characteristic enables photographers to shoot in dimly lit environments without the need for excessive ISO settings or flash. Additionally, the lens’s wide angle of view provides more flexibility when shooting in challenging lighting conditions, making it easier to capture sharp images with minimal noise.
50mm Lens Overview
The 50mm lens is characterized by its fixed focal length, which provides a natural field of view similar to that of the human eye. This focal length is well-suited for a wide range of photography applications, including portraits, landscapes, and street photography. Additionally, the 50mm lens typically offers a large maximum aperture, allowing for greater control over depth of field and low-light shooting.
One of the key features of the 50mm lens is its optical quality. Many 50mm lenses are designed with high-quality glass elements and advanced optical designs to minimize distortion and ensure sharpness across the frame. Additionally, some 50mm lenses feature image stabilization technology, which helps to reduce camera shake and produce sharper images in low-light conditions.
The 50mm lens is generally lightweight and compact, making it an ideal choice for photographers who need to travel light or shoot in tight spaces. The relatively small size and weight of the 50mm lens also make it easy to carry and use for extended periods of time.
Overall, the 50mm lens offers a versatile combination of focal length, aperture, optical quality, and size, making it a popular choice for photographers of all skill levels and shooting styles.
The 50mm lens is a popular choice for capturing portraits and environmental portraits due to its natural field of view that closely resembles the human eye. This lens is well-suited for portraits because it can create a flattering perspective that emphasizes the subject’s facial features while minimizing any distortion. Environmental portraits, which depict the subject within their surroundings, benefit from the 50mm lens’ ability to capture contextual information while still focusing on the subject.
In landscape photography, the 50mm lens offers a versatile and dynamic range of focal lengths that can capture both wide-angle and standard perspectives. The lens’s natural field of view provides photographers with a more realistic representation of the scene, making it easier to create compositions that accurately convey the beauty of the landscape. The 50mm lens is also suitable for capturing close-up shots of specific elements within the landscape, such as flowers or textures.
The 50mm lens is a popular choice for low-light situations due to its larger maximum aperture, which allows more light to enter the camera. This results in better image quality and reduced noise in low-light environments. The larger aperture also enables photographers to achieve a shallow depth of field, which can create a pleasing bokeh effect and emphasize the subject by blurring the background. Additionally, the 50mm lens’s natural field of view provides a more accurate representation of the scene, making it easier to compose and focus in low-light conditions.
Comparing 35mm and 50mm Lenses
When it comes to comparing 35mm and 50mm lenses, there are several similarities that are worth noting. While these lenses may have different focal lengths and field of view, they share many common characteristics that make them appealing to photographers.
Focal Length and Field of View
One of the most obvious similarities between the 35mm and 50mm lenses is their focal length. Both lenses have a focal length that falls within the normal range, which makes them well-suited for a wide variety of shooting scenarios. The 35mm lens typically has a focal length of around 35-70mm, while the 50mm lens has a focal length of around 50-85mm. This means that both lenses are capable of capturing a wide range of shots, from portraits to landscapes, and everything in between.
Aperture and Depth of Field
Another similarity between the 35mm and 50mm lenses is their aperture and depth of field. Both lenses typically have a maximum aperture of around f/1.8 to f/2.8, which allows for good low-light performance and the ability to create a shallow depth of field when needed. This makes them well-suited for shooting in a variety of lighting conditions, and for creating images with a professional, cinematic look.
Finally, both the 35mm and 50mm lenses are known for their good low-light performance. This is due in part to their wide maximum aperture, but also to their design and construction. Both lenses are typically built with high-quality glass and are designed to minimize noise and blur at high ISO settings. This makes them well-suited for shooting in low-light environments, such as indoor events or nighttime street photography.
Overall, while the 35mm and 50mm lenses may have some differences in terms of their focal length and field of view, they share many common characteristics that make them appealing to photographers. Whether you’re looking for a lens for portraits, landscapes, or low-light shooting, both the 35mm and 50mm lenses are worth considering.
When deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens, it is important to consider the differences between the two. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
Perspective and Composition
One of the most significant differences between a 35mm and 50mm lens is the perspective and composition they offer. A 35mm lens provides a wider field of view, making it a great choice for capturing expansive landscapes or group shots. On the other hand, a 50mm lens offers a more narrow field of view, making it ideal for isolating specific subjects or shooting in tight spaces.
Bokeh and Depth of Field
Another difference between 35mm and 50mm lenses is their bokeh and depth of field. A 35mm lens typically offers a shallower depth of field, making it easier to create a pleasing bokeh effect in out-of-focus areas of the image. In contrast, a 50mm lens offers a deeper depth of field, which can be useful for shooting subjects that are farther away or when you want more of the scene in focus.
Focus and Shooting Distance
Finally, the focus and shooting distance of a 35mm and 50mm lens can also differ. A 35mm lens is often preferred for its ability to focus on subjects that are farther away, while a 50mm lens is typically better suited for closer shooting distances. This means that a 35mm lens can be a better choice for wildlife or sports photography, while a 50mm lens can be ideal for portrait or studio work.
Making the Right Choice
Questions to Ask Yourself
What Type of Photography Do You Shoot?
When deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens, it is important to consider the type of photography you shoot. Both lenses have unique characteristics that make them suitable for different genres of photography. For instance, if you are into landscape photography, a 35mm lens might be a better choice as it provides a wider field of view, allowing you to capture more of the scene. On the other hand, if you are into portrait photography, a 50mm lens may be more suitable as it is perfect for capturing sharp and detailed images of your subjects. Therefore, it is essential to determine the type of photography you intend to shoot before making a decision.
What Are Your Shooting Priorities?
Another important question to ask yourself when deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens is what your shooting priorities are. Do you prioritize sharpness, low-light performance, or versatility? The answer to this question will help you determine which lens is better suited to your needs. For instance, if you prioritize sharpness, a 50mm lens might be a better choice as it is generally known for its ability to produce razor-sharp images. On the other hand, if you prioritize versatility, a 35mm lens may be more suitable as it is a good all-around lens that can be used for various types of photography.
How Comfortable Are You with Manual Adjustments?
The last question to ask yourself when deciding between a 35mm or 50mm lens is how comfortable you are with manual adjustments. Both lenses require manual adjustments to achieve the desired focus, and it is essential to be comfortable with these adjustments to get the best results. If you are not comfortable with manual adjustments, a 35mm lens may be a better choice as it is generally easier to use and requires less manual adjustments. However, if you are comfortable with manual adjustments, a 50mm lens may be more suitable as it offers more control over the focus and can produce more detailed images.
Budget and Cost
When considering the purchase of a 35mm or 50mm lens, it is important to take into account your budget and cost constraints. While some lenses may be more expensive than others, it is important to consider the long-term investment and the potential value that a high-quality lens can bring to your photography. Additionally, there may be opportunities to purchase used or refurbished lenses, which can offer significant savings without sacrificing quality.
Brand and Model
Another factor to consider when choosing between a 35mm or 50mm lens is the brand and model. Some photographers may have a preference for a particular brand or model, while others may be more open to exploring different options. It is important to research and compare different brands and models to determine which one best fits your needs and preferences. Some popular brands include Canon, Nikon, and Sony, while some popular models include the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM and the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G.
Lens Adapters and Accessories
When purchasing a 35mm or 50mm lens, it is important to consider the potential need for lens adapters and accessories. For example, if you are using a camera with a different mount, you may need to purchase an adapter to allow the lens to fit properly. Additionally, there may be accessories such as lens hoods, filters, or cases that can enhance the functionality and durability of your lens. It is important to consider these additional costs when making your decision.
1. What is the difference between a 35mm and 50mm lens?
A 35mm lens is a wide-angle lens, which is great for capturing a wide field of view and for shooting in tight spaces. A 50mm lens, on the other hand, is a standard lens, which is great for everyday use and for capturing natural-looking images.
2. Which lens is better for landscape photography?
For landscape photography, a 35mm lens is a better choice because it allows you to capture a wide field of view and to include more of the scene in your shots.
3. Which lens is better for portrait photography?
For portrait photography, a 50mm lens is a better choice because it captures natural-looking images and can help to create a pleasing background blur.
4. Can I use either lens for both landscape and portrait photography?
Yes, you can use either lens for both landscape and portrait photography. However, depending on the type of shot you want to take, one lens may be better suited for the task than the other.
5. What are the pros and cons of using a 35mm lens?
The pros of using a 35mm lens include its ability to capture a wide field of view and its versatility in tight spaces. The cons include its potential for distortion and its tendency to produce less pleasing background blur.
6. What are the pros and cons of using a 50mm lens?
The pros of using a 50mm lens include its ability to capture natural-looking images and its versatility for everyday use. The cons include its narrower field of view and its potential for less pleasing background blur.
7. Which lens is better for low light situations?
For low light situations, a 50mm lens is generally better because it allows for a faster shutter speed and can help to capture more light.
8. Which lens is better for action shots?
For action shots, a 35mm lens is generally better because it allows you to capture a wider field of view and to keep up with moving subjects.
9. Which lens is better for studio photography?
For studio photography, a 50mm lens is generally better because it allows you to capture natural-looking images and to create a pleasing background blur.
10. Can I switch between a 35mm and 50mm lens depending on the situation?
Yes, you can switch between a 35mm and 50mm lens depending on the situation. Just keep in mind that each lens has its own strengths and weaknesses, and choose the one that is best suited for the type of shot you want to take.