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35mm vs. 50mm: Definition | Features | How to Choose

When you want to replace your kit lens or attempt to determine which focal length best suits you, the 35mm and 50mm lenses are great classic options. They both offer a lot of versatility, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both of these. Dive in to find out more about 35mm s 50mm lenses and choose the one that suits you.

What is a 35mm Lens?

A 35mm lens is a lens that offers a wide-angle view and is ideal for creative photography. It offers 54.4 ˚  angle of view and a 35mm focal length.

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Key Features

  • The 35mm lens is excellent in confined spaces since the broad angle immediately catches those details adjacent to the primary focal point.
  • Since it has a 54.4 degrees field of view, it gives a comprehensive view and avoids distortion.
  • You can easily photograph landscapes and close-ups with this lens's versatility enabling you to partake in action and engage with your model more.
  • It is great for full-body shots but not people’s faces due to harsh distortions. You can use the Canon EF 35mm (f/1.4L) II USM lens to avoid distortions and keep the ISO low for excellent photos.

    Benefits of Using a 35mm Lens

      Suitable in low light

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    The aperture of the 35mm lens is comparatively large. With little light available, the camera can perform to its fullest ability because of a wider aperture. Any photo can be made or broken by lighting, specifically outdoor lighting. It's incredibly important, and a tool like the 35mm lens can help greatly.


    Even though a shorter focal length provides you with a wider view, a smaller focal length is equivalent in size to a smaller lens. Due to this, a 35mm lens is relatively portable. It is ideal for guerilla film shooting or travel photography when you need to move swiftly and move around light.

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     Fewer deviations from the correct projection

    While still taking images with a shallow depth of field, most 35mm lenses can address many of the distortion problems present with broader focal lengths. They don't cause a lot of deviation from the correct projection in the image, thus giving the image a realistic feel. When taking a photo and your hands are close to the frame, your hands will not look longer, thanks to this lens.


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     Comprehensive field of view

    With a 35mm lens, you may get various camera photos from various angles. Although close enough to photograph more intimate pictures like coverage and portraiture, it is wide enough to capture background details.

    What is a 50mm Lens?

    The 50mm lens is among the standard lenses, which have fewer distortions. It has a focal length of 50 mm and a 46 ˚ angle of view.

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    • Compared to the kit lenses, it offers significantly superior photo quality. With this lens, the photographer is compelled to roam around and venture outside their comfort zone to get good photos.
    • It features a 46-degree field of view and is a good option for photographers who use a 50 mm kit lens.
    • It has a field of view similar to the human eye, most closely approximated to a 50mm lens.

    Benefits of a 50 mm lens

     Good for landscape shots

    Going too wide and failing to accent any one point of interest in a landscape photograph is a typical error. Much of the backdrop is removed when you crop in at 50mm, giving the subject more opportunity to thrive as the picture's focal point. Furthermore, if you find that you require a wider focal length,  post-production panorama stitching is always an option.


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     Sharper shots

    The 50mm prime lens is sharper than the kit lens, even when operating at its highest aperture of f/1.8. You can get tack-sharp results by dropping down to a lower aperture, say f/4.

     Great for portraits

    Although the 50mm lens is commonly referred to as a standard lens, it can also be used as a short telephoto, making it an excellent choice for portraiture. While a 50mm lens won't give you the same compression effects as a higher lens, it will let you add some environmental background to your portraiture.

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     It offers good perspective

    Many people find that 50mm closely resembles how they perceive the world, particularly their ability to ignore objects in their visual field and perception of perspective. Wide-angle lenses tend to cause distortion, stretching facial features and possibly inflating the size of components near the outside of the frame. However, the 50mm pulls away from this, making it more attractive for portraiture since it prevents noses from being excessively pointy or arms from becoming very sharp.

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    Similarity & Difference between 35mm and 50mm Lens

    Similarities: Prime lens

    A prime lens is a lens without an in- or out-zoom feature. Both 35mm lens and 50mm lens are prime lenses with constant focal lengths. The zoom effect is unavailable. Therefore, you must move your legs. For the two lenses, the focal length remains at 35mm or 50mm when seen through the viewfinder.

    Differences: Focal length

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    A crop sensor camera has a smaller sensor than a full-frame frame camera, with a sensor more like a 35mm film camera. A 35mm lens focal length is exactly 35mm lens for focal lengths of lenses on a full frame. The focal length on a crop sensor is not the same as that shown on the lens. Therefore, based on your camera's crop sensor, you often look at 1.5 times the focal length. 50mm is closer to 75mm, while 35mm is closer to 52.5mm. It explains why users of crop sensor cameras frequently claim that a 50mm lens is uncomfortably close-up in enclosed settings since, in essence, you are using a 75mm lens.

    Which one to Choose: 35mm vs. 50mm?

     You can choose between 35mm vs. 50mm depending on the following facts:

     Your budget

    The 35mm lens is pricier compared to the 50mm lens. Since both lenses include an F/ 1.4 and an F/ 1.8 option, choose your desired aperture so you can carefully discern prices.

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     Your photography type

    Whether you are a landscape, kids, portrait, or any other photographer, you can choose what lens works well for you. You can decide by figuring out what you like to photograph.


    Knowing the lens you want to use will help you pick the right focal length. Go for the 35mm lens if you want something more adaptable and are unsure which focal length will work best for you. However, the 50mm lens is best if you are unsure about the focal length or frequently take portraits due to its potential to produce that stunning narrow depth-of-field effect.

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