35mm vs 50mm Lens Choice: Which is Better

November 06

17 min. to read

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This is one of the most common questions that beginners and professionals alike ask. When the time has come to choose the best option for your device there are many different things

This is becoming one of the most important points for a photographer. However, many people still don't understand how to choose between the two lenses: 35mm vs 50mm. Of course, the decision depends mostly on what you're shooting. Now we'll go into more detail and help you make the right decision for some style of the photoshoot so you won't have the slightest doubt about your purchase.

35mm vs 50mm: What is the Difference?

First of all, you need to understand the technical aspects of the difference between 35mm and 50mm. These are two of the simplest lenses which are similar, but it is the 15mm which plays an essential role. To explain in simpler terms, the 50mm is considered the best option and is a middle ground between the two most common categories, wide angle, and telephoto lenses. A 35mm lens provides a slightly wider focal length, but not that much longer.

Assuming the camera's sensor is full-frame, the first option provides an angle of view of approximately 47 degrees, and the second provides an angle of view of 63 degrees. Is all this a bit hard for you to imagine? Recall that 90 degrees are considered a right angle, so it's the 50mm prime that would be half of it (the 35mm is right in between). Of course, with a crop sensor, the effective angle of view will change somewhat. For example, on an APSC 1.5x sensor, the 50mm would become a slightly telephoto lens at 75mm (33-degree angle of view). Then the 35mm would become a regular lens at 52mm (44-degree angle of view).

Note that the full-frame camera has a sensor that is similar to a 35mm film camera. If you use a cropped sensor, the focal length will not match what you see directly on the lens. So it turns out that photographers shooting at 50mm complain about crowded conditions in closed rooms because they are photographing at 75mm. So we looked at some technical aspects of the difference between 50mm and 35mm lenses.

Both are prime camera lenses. That's why you can't zoom in and out right on the spot. You will have to move around on your own to get close to your subject. However, you have the choice between a wide aperture of f/1.4 or the more affordable f/1.8 version.

How To Choose Between the 35 mm vs 50 mm?

First of all, think about how the same photo will look with both options. Sometimes you will have to move away from your subject, and other times, take a couple of steps forward because of the wider range. So if you're interested in switching to a new kit lens and are trying to figure out exactly which solution will work best for you, we've put together some key benefits.

Benefits of using a 35mm lens

Let's explore all the main advantages that make many people pick it:

  1. The field of view will be slightly broader. If you compare the 35mm lens vs 50mm lens, the former gives you a field of vision of about 54.4 degrees. You can effortlessly capture a lot more detail in the picture, which is perfect for photographing journeys, crowds of subjects, buildings, and nature. It's also quite useful in small rooms when you can't get far back (great when you need to photograph an event). It's also the focal length you use to take pictures of unpredictable moving objects, like pets or small children (you'll get a far better opportunity to keep things essential in the frame).

  2. Much greater depth of field. Here you'll be able to capture more details in focus because of the wide angle. You'll have a greater opportunity of photographing fast-moving or completely unpredictable objects in focus. It also gives you a much better chance of getting a good shot if you are close to your object. It’s a good idea for taking pictures of playground activities. The difference between 35mm and 50mm lenses is that the first is better suited for casual photography in which you simply wanna capture the present time and not worry too much about the focus.

  3. Minimal picture distortion. Sure, wider-angle versions of lenses, and you will quickly find an alternative. However, one of the main advantages is a much truer and more distortion-free look. Because of this option, subjects will not be unnaturally stretching out when they are too close to the side of the camera's frame. This is one of the reasons why many photographers choose this equipment. This lens may be used quite often in street photography and photojournalism.

  4. Incredible flexibility. You can still get details and close-ups here just by using cropping. With wide-angle lenses, it's easy to take a confusing picture because of the wide range of coverage. But if you find there are too many disturbing elements, you can simply erase a few with a photo editor. This is one of the significant advantages. Although you won't have the option of zooming in on your subject, you can always crop the photo the way you want it.

Compare all the specifications of the 35mm vs 50mm lens to find the best option. 

Benefits of using a 50mm lens

To make it much easier for you, we will now highlight the main advantages of the next kind similarly:

  1. Get nearer to your subject. With a 50mm lens you will see how much better the picture quality is in low light and notice a nice blurring of the background. There are times when a wide view does not help at all and only creates more clutter in the picture. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to get a narrower shot and bring your subject closer to you.

  2. Closer to real human vision. 50 mm focal length is very similar to the way we see the picture. This version closes in terms of our ability to perceive objects that are at the edge of our sight and how we perceive perspective. Wide-angle lenses can still distort the image a bit by altering certain lines and things nearer to the edge of the frame. You can get away with that kind of trouble here, which is nice for quality portraits.

  3. Isolating your subject easily. 50mm vs 35mm portrait is often a moot point. The first option is to shoot from a long distance, which allows you to best isolate your subject from the background and create a fantastic portrait shot. By doing so, you can make the person stand out from the rest of the picture and put the right highlights. This technique gives the photograph the most film-like and soft look with out-of-focus areas. It's worth noting that wide apertures are great for low-light photography.

  4. More control and inspiration. This lens for your camera is more versatile in all light conditions. The narrow field of view allows you to fully engage in the artistic process and cut out unwanted elements. You get maximum freedom over which aspects get into focus and what should be in the frame. It's safe to say that 50mm is more suitable for your creativity.

If this detailed review of the benefits still doesn't help you choose 50mm or 35mm, below we'll briefly go over a few styles of photography.

35mm and 50mm: Photography Comparison

In truth, there is little difference between these focal lengths, but there are several distinguishing characteristics. They become even more apparent when considering several styles of photos.

Portrait Photos

If you use the 35mm correctly, you can create a more grown-up feeling of intimacy with some objects. People are trying to photograph a large group at 50mm, but then you need more room to step back and put everyone in the frame. That's not always possible in compact rooms. For instance, a 35mm vs 50mm portrait is more suited for a wedding or bride's morning photo session because you have to be in a tight space more often and photograph groups of 3-5 people.

Landscapes Photography

Think about whether you like to concentrate on simplified compositions, or whether you choose broad angles more frequently. In nature photoshoots, it is the technical factor of focal lengths plays a significant role. Let's explain why. For the most part, your subject is very far away from you. This means that a couple of steps or backward doesn't change much in the background or composition of the frame. That's why you have to match the creative and technical solution to the issue. There is no universal solution here, but most specialists choose 35mm.

Candid and Street Photography

Here too, let's look at the 50mm lens vs 35mm lens with obvious samples. To avoid interfering in a particularly quiet, intimate moment, take care to have a small f/1.8 or f/2 prime on your camera. In other situations, when you're not afraid to disturb someone and can easily get in on the action, it's the 35mm that will make viewers feel closer to the scene in the picture and see much more detail in the background.

Choosing between the 35mm vs 50mm lens: 3 Tips

We offer you some tips that will make this choice a lot simpler. Before you upgrade your device, keep a few simple rules in mind. It is clear that the choice depends mostly on your preferences, but it is not always possible to spend money on several lenses at once. It's frustrating when you buy a lens that doesn't perform as well for your style of photography.

Photography Style

Determine where you hold most of your time with your camera and what genre dominates your activities. If you're a beginner, just think about what you enjoy photographing the most. Are you often indoors or do you run after children or animals outside? Do you like environmental portraits and close-ups? Would you take pictures of nature much more often? The answers to simple questions like these will help you make a better decision. Be aware that 50 mm lens allows you to move nearer to the subject.

Renting a lens to compare

This is a great chance to see if your choice is right, not only from articles on the internet but also from practice. You can find plenty of photographers who rent out lenses completely inexpensively. You'll have a full week or more to try it out.

Just rent two good lenses and try to photograph all your favorite scenes, and arrange for a couple of photoshoots. Only in practice will you be able to figure out which one fits best with your style. If you find your lens, you won't trade it for anything else and that's fine.

Budget and Premium

If you don't feel like compromising on the performance and clarity of the resulting image, choose Canon and Nikon flagship. Sony Fujifilm has a good selection of lenses too, where you can appreciate all the benefits of 50mm vs 35mm and vice versa.

Is your budget limited, or are you just not ready to spend a few hundred on a new lens? Then you can try more affordable third-party options until you save up more money for better equipment. For example, you could try Yongnuo.

Closing Thoughts: the Best Lens for You

Today we tried to put an end to the 50mm vs 35mm lens contest. These lenses allow you to take incredible quality photos with a lot of advantages, there are almost no drawbacks. The best thing you can do is try the two options and see which one suits your individual creative style best.

If you're looking for one which more versatile, settle on a 35mm. Many photographers prefer to pick up two lenses at once and switch them around depending on the circumstances. Always remember that renting some equipment and practicing is a great idea. If you can't afford the best option from Canon or Nikon right away, work with the budget versions and save up for your dream. Be sure to consider your primary types of photography.




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