35mm Lens vs. 50mm Lens

What's the Difference?

The 35mm lens and the 50mm lens are both popular choices among photographers, but they have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different purposes. The 35mm lens is known for its wider field of view, making it ideal for capturing landscapes, architecture, and group shots. It allows photographers to include more elements in the frame and provides a sense of depth. On the other hand, the 50mm lens offers a more natural perspective, similar to what the human eye sees. It is often preferred for portrait photography, as it produces flattering results with its shallow depth of field and ability to isolate subjects from the background. Ultimately, the choice between these lenses depends on the desired composition and the photographer's specific needs.


35mm Lens
Photo by Al Mansur on Unsplash
Attribute35mm Lens50mm Lens
Focal Length35mm50mm
Field of ViewWideNormal
Aperture RangeVariesVaries
Depth of FieldShallowShallow
Image DistortionMinimalMinimal
Low Light PerformanceGoodGood
50mm Lens
Photo by Simon Woehrer on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to photography, the choice of lens can greatly impact the outcome of your images. Two popular lens options for many photographers are the 35mm lens and the 50mm lens. Both lenses have their own unique characteristics and advantages, making them suitable for different types of photography. In this article, we will explore the attributes of these lenses and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Focal Length

The most significant difference between the 35mm lens and the 50mm lens is their focal length. The 35mm lens has a wider angle of view, capturing a larger portion of the scene. This makes it ideal for landscape photography, street photography, and situations where you want to include more elements in the frame. On the other hand, the 50mm lens has a narrower angle of view, resulting in a more compressed perspective. This makes it great for portraits, as it allows you to isolate your subject and create a pleasing background blur.


Another important attribute to consider is the maximum aperture of the lens. The 35mm lens typically has a wider maximum aperture, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8, allowing for better low-light performance and the ability to achieve a shallower depth of field. This makes it a versatile lens for various lighting conditions and creative effects. On the other hand, the 50mm lens also offers wide maximum apertures, but they are often slightly narrower, such as f/1.8 or f/2.8. While not as wide as the 35mm lens, these apertures still provide excellent low-light capabilities and depth of field control.

Image Quality

Both the 35mm lens and the 50mm lens are known for their excellent image quality. However, there are some differences to consider. The 35mm lens tends to have less distortion and vignetting compared to the 50mm lens, especially when used at wider apertures. This makes it a preferred choice for architectural and documentary photography, where straight lines and even illumination are crucial. On the other hand, the 50mm lens may exhibit slightly more distortion and vignetting, but it often produces a more pleasing bokeh due to its longer focal length. This makes it a popular choice for portrait photographers who want to achieve a creamy background blur.

Size and Weight

When it comes to size and weight, the 35mm lens is generally smaller and lighter compared to the 50mm lens. This makes it a more portable option, perfect for photographers who value mobility and want to keep their gear lightweight. The compact size of the 35mm lens also makes it less obtrusive, allowing for more discreet shooting in street photography or other situations where you want to blend in. On the other hand, the 50mm lens is slightly larger and heavier, but still relatively compact. It strikes a good balance between portability and performance, making it a versatile choice for various photography genres.


Price is often a significant factor when choosing a lens. Generally, the 35mm lens tends to be more expensive than the 50mm lens. This is partly due to the wider angle of view and the wider maximum aperture offered by the 35mm lens. However, the price difference may vary depending on the specific brand and model. It's important to consider your budget and the specific requirements of your photography before making a decision.


Both the 35mm lens and the 50mm lens have their own unique attributes and advantages. The choice between these lenses ultimately depends on your specific photography needs and preferences. If you enjoy capturing wide scenes, shooting in low light, or want to achieve a shallow depth of field, the 35mm lens may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you primarily shoot portraits, want a more compressed perspective, or prefer a slightly more affordable option, the 50mm lens could be the better fit. Whichever lens you choose, both the 35mm and 50mm lenses are excellent tools that can help you capture stunning images.

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