35mm vs 50mm – A Comprehensive Comparison

Whether you’re just starting out in photography or have been shooting for years, you’ve likely come across 35mm and 50mm lenses. These two focal lengths are incredibly popular among photographers – and for good reason!

35mm and 50mm lenses are versatile tools that can be used to create a variety of images. They’re both small, light, easy to use, and relatively affordable as well. But they each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses that make them suited to different types of photography. Let’s take a closer look at what these two lens types offer so you can decide which one is right for you.

The Differences

The 35mm vs 50mm lens debate is one of the most common topics among photographers.Both lenses provide unique characteristics and capabilities which can be seen in many aspects. Here are some of the differences between these two lenses: 

  • Angle of View : The most important difference between 35mm and 50mm lenses is their angle of view. 35mm lenses typically offer a 63.4° angle of view, while 50mm lenses offer a 46.8° angle of view. This means that 35mm lenses provide a wider field of view than 50mm lenses. For example, if you’re taking a picture from the same spot with both lenses, the 35mm lens will capture more in the frame because its field of view is much larger. This makes a 35mm lens great when you want to capture wide-angle shots or when you’re shooting something like landscape photography or large groups of people. On the other hand, a 50 mm lens has a narrower angle of view, so it’s better suited for tighter shots where details are important. It also provides background compression that makes objects appear closer together than they actually are in reality.

  • Depth of Field : Another key difference between these two types of lenses is their depth of field. The depth of field describes how much of the image is in focus and this varies depending on both the focal length and aperture setting used. Generally speaking, wider lenses like the 35mm have greater depth of field compared to longer lenses like the 50 mm ones. This means that with a wide-angle lens like the 35 mm, more elements within your shot will be in focus.On the other hand, longer lenses like 50 mm tend to have shallower depth-of-field which can create images with beautiful subject separation and background bokeh.

  • Distortion : The next major difference between 35mm and 50 mm lenses is distortion. Distortion occurs when straight lines within the image appear curved or distorted in some way; this is usually due to the optics of the lens itself. Wide angle lenses typically produce more noticeable distortion than longer focal length lenses, so a 35mm lens will generally introduce more distortion than a 50 mm one. This type of distortion tends to stretch objects near the edges and corners, making them appear larger than they actually are in comparison with those taken with longer lenses like the 50mm one.

  • Weight & Size : Finally, weight & size is also another aspect worth considering when comparing between these two types of lenses. As one would expect from any type of optics equipment; weight & size can vary significantly depending on what brand/model/features we’re talking about but in most cases; you can expect 35 mm lenses to be smaller & lighter than their 50 mm counterparts due this latter often featuring bigger glass elements inside their barrel construction -which translates into higher levels optically performance at longer range distances but also into heavier & bigger overall sizes-.

What is the 35mm lens best for?

Landscape Photography

The 35mm lens is an indispensable tool for landscape photographers, providing them with an expansive selection of capabilities and advantages. Not only does its wide angle of view allow photographers to capture more of the environment in a single shot, but it also provides them with intricate detail and an exceptional depth of field unlike any other lens. 

The wide angle of view offered by the 35mm lens allows photographers to capture vast landscapes with ease. They can easily include elements such as mountains, forests, lakes and rivers in one shot – creating dynamic compositions that draw attention to certain elements and breathe life into the photo. Furthermore, it excels at capturing vast amounts of detail. The high resolution and sharpness of the 35mm lens allows photographers to capture all of the intricate details of a scenic view.

The 35mm lens also has a great depth-of-field, enabling photographers to keep both the foreground and background in sharp focus at the same time. This is incredibly useful when photographing landscapes as it ensures that all aspects of the photo are clear and well defined no matter how far away they are from each other. Plus, its lightweight and portable design make it an excellent choice for outdoor photography, especially if weight or space are limited. The 35mm lens can easily be carried around without becoming too cumbersome, allowing photographers to capture breathtaking shots wherever they go.

Interior Photography

The 35mm lens is an invaluable tool that provides photographers with a multitude of advantages when it comes to interior photography. By capturing wide angles, they are able to shoot large spaces in one single frame, giving the image a sense of scale and size. This is especially beneficial when shooting rooms or buildings with intricate details that need to be captured in their entirety.

When photographing interiors, depth-of-field is another major advantage that can be obtained from using a 35mm lens. This allows photographers to keep multiple elements in focus simultaneously, creating an image with greater clarity and detail than other lenses may achieve. For instance, if one were shooting furniture within an interior space, it’s important that all components are kept in focus in order to give viewers an understanding of how each item fits into the entire layout. The 35mm lens provides this capability without compromising on any important details or losing out on any potential aesthetic value.

In addition, the 35mm lens is superb for low-light situations thanks to its large maximum aperture size. This makes it ideal for capturing interiors during dusk and dawn – when natural light is at its most dramatic – as well as other dimly lit areas such as basements or underground levels. From subtly illuminated chapels and churches to darkly lit bars and nightclubs; this type of lens can easily handle even the most complex lighting scenarios. 

Street Photography

Street photography is a genre that has been closely associated with prime lenses, and the 35mm focal length lens in particular has become something of an iconic symbol within this field. Lightweight and unobtrusive, these lenses are perfect for capturing candid shots without drawing too much attention to yourself. But beyond their convenience, they also offer certain unique advantages when it comes to shooting street scenes.

When shooting in tight spaces such as alleyways or crowds, the 35mm lens offers a wider angle of view than other types of lenses, allowing you to capture more of the scene in one shot. This makes it easier to portray an environment from the perspective of a bystander rather than a detached observer, adding an intimate quality to your photos. Additionally, the wide angle of view exaggerates the speed and energy of any objects moving through your frame, making it perfect for capturing fleeting moments on the street. This effect is especially noticeable at night, where you can use longer exposure times with slow shutter speeds without sacrificing clarity or resolution.

The final advantage of using a 35mm lens is its compact size. Unlike some other focal lengths, such as the 50mm lens, these lenses tend to be much smaller and lighter which makes them easy to carry around all day long while still providing quality shots. This makes them an ideal choice for street photographers who want to travel light without sacrificing image quality. 

Portrait Photography

The 35mm lens has become increasingly popular for portrait photography due to its versatility and simplicity.Its wide-angle view and relatively small size make it a great choice for creative portrait shots. From environmental portraits that capture the subject’s surroundings to capturing large groups of people in one go, the 35mm lens can help you create stunning images with ease. 

For environmental portraits, the 35mm lens allows photographers to capture more of their subject’s environment than would be possible with a longer lens such as a 50mm or 85mm. This makes it perfect for creating environmental portraits that tell a story about your subject and their surroundings. Whether you want to shoot a candid street style shot or show off your model’s trendy outfit in an urban setting, the 35mm is great for capturing those special moments.

Apart from environmental portraits, a 35mm lens also excels at capturing large groups all in one frame – something that can be difficult without having enough space or equipment on hand. Whether you’re trying to get a family photo, or show off the whole team during an event, this lens will come in handy when you need everyone in the same shot. And since it’s not as expensive as some of the other lenses on the market, it’s also accessible even if you’re just starting out with portrait photography.Plus, its lightweight and portable nature makes it easy to carry around anywhere you go.

What is the 50mm lens best for?

Portrait Photography

The 50mm lens is a popular choice for portrait photographers, as it offers a variety of benefits that can help create stunning portraits. This classic focal length offers natural perspective and a versatile option for various types of photography. With its great depth of field, this lens enables photographers to create beautiful images with stunning clarity and detail.

One of the most attractive features of the 50mm lens is its ability to provide a more natural perspective than any other focal length. It offers a field of view similar to that of human vision and can make your images look much more vivid and realistic.This natural-looking effect is beneficial because it helps capture people as they naturally appear without any distortion or warping. It also allows for more subtle nuances in facial features and expressions that may be unseen in wider angles or longer focal lengths.Plus, It can cover a variety of scenarios such as mid-range portraits, full body shots and even close up headshots with ease.

Another important advantage of using the 50mm lens is its ability to capture stunning images with exceptional depth-of-field capabilities. A large maximum aperture such as f/1.8 (or even bigger) gives you control over how much background blur you want in your photos–from razor thin slices of focus to dreamy bokeh effects that bring out artistic flair in any shot, make it easy to isolate your subject from the background and create stunningly shallow depth of field effects. Furthermore, the lens also has excellent lowlight capabilities, allowing you to take crisp and detailed images even in low light.

Street Photography

The 50mm lens is a beloved tool among street photographers, both professional and amateur alike. Its ability to create beautiful imagery with minimal distortion has made it the go-to choice for shooting on the streets. There are many reasons why this “normal” or “standard” lens is so popular, but its versatility and unobtrusiveness probably top the list.

First of all, the 50mm lens perfectly captures the way we see things in real life, allowing us to create natural-looking compositions that accurately reflect their surroundings. The shallow depth of field effect created by its wide maximum aperture (f/1.8 or wider) also allows for more creative control over focus points and helps bring out our subject without making them look out of place in their environment—a great feature for street photography where you might want to blur out distractions like signs and shoppers while still keeping your main subject crisp and clear. Additionally, this same wide aperture size allows for great low light performance and sharper images even when handheld in dimly lit locations such as alleys or nighttime cityscapes.

The 50mm lens’s compact size and lightweight design also make it incredibly unobtrusive—a huge plus when prowling around busy areas looking for candid shots. Since it’s not very big or heavy, it won’t draw too much attention which will help you remain hidden from view while still being able to capture stunning shots. This also makes it perfect for long days of shooting on foot without feeling weighed down at the end of your shoot! Plus, its versatility makes it ideal for travel photography; being small enough to pack away easily but powerful enough to take amazing images wherever your journey takes you!

Product Photography

The 50mm lens is an incredibly useful and versatile tool for product photography. With its versatile focal length, sharpness, and ability to capture crisp images, it can be used in a variety of ways to create stunning photos of products. In the world of product photography, the 50mm lens holds many advantages that make it exceptionally valuable.

The 50mm lens has many advantages that make it ideal for product photography. One of the most valuable benefits is its usability and versatility. Compared to longer lenses like 85mm or 135mm, the 50mm lens is compact, lightweight and can be used handheld without needing extra support. This makes it faster and easier to use than longer lenses while still providing excellent image quality. The focal length of 50mm makes it great for capturing detailed and intricate product shots. Its range allows the photographer to capture close-up macro images, mid-range shots, and full-length shots all with a single lens without concern for distortion. This saves time and energy by eliminating the need to switch between lenses while shooting products.Plus, its sharpness and clarity provide stunning detail in product images, perfect for e-commerce or print photography.

Furthermore, the 50mm lens also allows photographers to easily control what is in focus and what isn’t thanks to its remarkable depth-of-field range and its wide maximum apertures. By utilizing this feature, photographers can create striking visuals with prominent details along with beautiful blurry backgrounds for a more dramatic effect – all while avoiding distractions from other elements in the photo. This helps draw attention to certain areas of the image allowing for maximum impactfulness for viewers who view the photographs taken by this particular lens.

Macro Photography

A 50mm lens is an attractive choice for many photographers looking to venture into macro photography.This type of lens is great for general macro shooting, giving you the ability to get close up shots of small objects or details.With its wide aperture range, excellent sharpness and beautiful bokeh look to the images, there are many advantages to using a 50mm lens for macro photography.

One of the primary benefits of using a 50mm lens for macro photography is its ability to provide excellent depth of field. The depth of field is essential when it comes to taking close-up images as it determines how much of the subject and background are in focus at any given time. With the 50mm lens, you can easily control the depth of field by simply adjusting the aperture size. This enables you to blur out any distracting elements in your image while still maintaining enough clarity to capture intricate details in your shot.

Another benefit that comes with using a 50mm lens is its portability factor; thanks to its lightweight construction and small size, this type of lens can be easily carried around so that you can take uninterrupted shots wherever your creative vision leads you. Furthermore, this lens is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of macro lenses on the market. This makes it a great choice for beginner macro photographers who are looking to get started without having to break the bank.

Despite the obvious advantages of opting for a 50mm lens, there are some factors to consider before using it for macro photography. Firstly, This type of lens typically features a 1:2 ratio ( except Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro), meaning that they may not be suitable for capturing very close-up shots such as photographing tiny objects like jewelry or insects.Additionally, because the distance between the subject and camera has to be quite close (in order to get good results) it could be problematic if you don’t want intrusive shadows on your subject from having to shoot too close up.  

35mm vs 50mm Lens , Which one is better?

For Street Photography

Picking between a 35mm and 50mm lens for street photography really depends on your personal preferences. A 35mm lens is great for capturing wider scenes, allowing you to capture more of the urban landscape without needing to move around too much. On the other hand, a 50mm lens has been called the “nifty fifty” and it offers greater separation between subject and background while also providing shallower depth of field – all advantages when shooting in public places.

If you have both lenses available, it can be helpful to think about what kind of stories you want to tell with your street photography first – do you want wide angle shots that encompass an entire scene or do you prefer close-up compositions? Do you expect people or objects closer or further away from each other within the frame?

The 35 mm focal length is usually better suited for cramped spaces where movement is limited because it doesn’t require as much walking backwards and forwards to get different views of a scene. It’s often used by photojournalists who need maximum flexibility during their assignments – able to quickly move around tight spots while still being able keeping everything in frame. For example, if photographing inside an establishment such as a café with limited space, then a 35mm lens will do the job very well.

A 50mm lens on the other hand is ideal for isolating the subject from its surroundings. By taking a few steps back, you can easily frame a person or object against a plain backdrop, separate them from the hustle and bustle of city life. It also produces more shallow depth of field which is great for accentuating certain elements in the scene while blurring out distractions.This makes the 50mm lens a great choice for street photography when there is more space available.

The way you frame your shot also depends on whether you’re using a 35mm or 50mm lens – while a 35mm gives you a wider angle of view and can make life easier when trying to capture a scene or group of people with minimal fuss, a 50mm can allow you to isolate your subject and focus on one particular element. To make the most out of this lens, you often have to move back a bit more in order to get an overall composition that works for the shot.

For Portrait Photography

When it comes to portrait photography, choosing the right lens is an important factor in capturing the perfect shot. While 35mm and 50mm lenses both have their benefits when it comes to shooting portraits, each has its own strengths and weaknesses that must be taken into consideration.

The primary benefit of using a 35mm lens for portrait photography is that it captures more of the subject’s environment, adding context and ambience to the shot. Its wider angle allows for interesting angles and unique perspectives that aren’t possible with longer lenses like a 50mm lens. However, this wider angle can also be a double-edged sword; when shooting too close to the subject,  it can often distort facial features and proportions, making the shot unappealing or awkward.

On the other hand, a 50mm lens is often considered ideal for portrait photography due to its ability to provide flattering results without distorting perspectives or making subjects appear too large or small regardless of how far away they may be from the camera. The relationship between aperture size and field of view also plays a role here, as the 50mm lens allows for shallower depth-of-field compared to 35mm lenses which can help isolate and draw attention to the subject. However, this narrower field of view also means that you won’t be able to capture much of your subject’s environment which can limit creativity when shooting in cramped spaces.

For Landscape Photography

Generally speaking, a 35mm lens offers the most versatility for landscape photographers as the wide angle allows you to capture more of the scene in one photo. This means you don’t have to take multiple shots from different angles in order to get the full picture of a beautiful view or stunning architecture; rather, you can easily include everything in one shot without having to step back too far away.

Additionally, with a wider field of view available with this type of lens it is often easier for photographers to capture small details and intricate patterns within their landscapes that may otherwise be difficult or impossible with other lenses. For example, when photographing foliage like trees and grassy fields – they are all visible together which gives photos using this lens an extra sense of depth and atmosphere.

A 50mm prime lens on the other hand has its own advantages when used for landscape photography as well – mainly providing more control over focus points due to its shallower depth-of-field capabilities compared with wider lenses. This allows photographers greater precision when capturing scenes involving fore/mid/background elements – making them stand out individually rather than blending into one another.

Another advantage of the 50mm prime lens is its ability to isolate subjects within a scene and have them stand out more prominently, even against very busy backgrounds. For example in a landscape where there are many trees, rocks, flowers etc – a photographer can select their subject and make it the focal point while still keeping the wider landscape in view.


All in all, both 35mm and 50mm lenses offer unique advantages depending on the type of photography you are doing.

The 35mm lens is great for capturing landscapes, street photography, environmental portraits, group photos,and more as it offers an expansive field of view and deep depth of field which keeps everything from the foreground to background in focus.This type of lens is also highly portable and can easily be carried around, making it a great choice for photographers who like to travel light.

On the other hand, the 50mm lens is a versatile piece of gear that can be used for many different types of photography including portraits, street photography, product shots and even macro photography.It offers more control over depth of field than the 35mm lens which allowing you to isolate your subject from the background and create stunningly shallow depth of field effects with beautiful bokeh .Plus, it’s lightweight construction means it can be easily carried with you on any trip or outing. 

Ultimately, whether you choose one type of lens over another will depend on your individual needs. Both types of lenses can be used creatively but they serve different purposes so make sure to consider what type of photography you plan on doing when deciding between them. Whichever one you choose though, just remember that practice makes perfect!


Why is 50mm so popular?

50mm lenses are immensely popular among photographers of all levels, from professionals to hobbyists. They boast a fantastic combination of features that make them incredibly versatile; the focal length is perfect for capturing a wide range of subjects, from portraiture to landscapes, and the sharpness and low distortion ensure excellent image quality. On top of that, 50mm lenses are lightweight and easy to use – all in all, they make a great choice for anyone looking to get the most out of their photography.  All things considered, it’s no surprise that 50mm lenses remain such a popular option!

Is 35mm or 50mm closer to the human eye?

50mm lenses offer an angle of view that closely mimics what the human eye would naturally see; providing a more realistic and natural perspective than any other lens. This makes them ideal for everyday photography, portraiture and capturing scenes in a way that is familiar to us. 35mm lenses, on the other hand, provide a slightly wider field of view than our own eyes.

Is a 35mm lens good for weddings?

Yes, a  35mm lens can be a great choice for wedding photography in terms of capturing large groups of people such as the bride and groom with all their family and guests or overall shots of the venue. It allows you to get a wide field of view which is ideal for taking those memorable shots.However, it’s not the best choice for close-ups portraits due to its wide angle coverage which can distort facial features if used too close. For those moments, you might want to consider a longer lens such as a 50mm or 85mm for shots of the bride and groom in more intimate settings and create beautiful portraits for them.


I’m a professional photographer with 17 years of experience in a wide range of photography, and over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to use a variety of photographic equipment now I would like to share my knowledge with you through this website. I hope Cameraindepth.com becomes the go-to destination when selecting the best gears for any project. Here you can access unbiased reviews and make an informed decision when choosing gears.

Sittha Sathutham Photographer and Writer

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