35mm or 50mm Lens

Thinking about upgrading your kit lens to a prime lens? Well, let us tell you that you are on the right path, sure you can get some amazing photos with a kit lens, but it just cannot beat the versatility of a prime lens. But here is where it gets interesting, you do understand the need for a prime lens but just cannot choose between a 35mm or 50mm lens. If this is the case, you are at the right place. Let us tell you not only the importance of a prime lens but also the one that will fit best for you.

Understanding a Prime Lens

First of all, whether you are upgrading from a kit lens or moving from a zoom lens, a prime lens is a great addition to your photography kit. Unlike a zoom lens, it has a fixed focal length. It means that you will have to be more active on your feet. Now, prime lenses are not only cheaper but lighter and faster than zoom lenses as well. Prime lenses come in various focal lengths; however, you should start with either a 35mm or 50mm lens. The difference in their focal lengths is not that big, but there is not any other choice between them. Let us now take a close look at both of the lenses.

Features of a 35mm Lens

35mm prime lens - 35mm or 50mm

When figuring out the perfect lens from a 35mm or 50mm lens, here are some of the advantages of a 35mm lens that may help you make a better choice.

Field of View

The first advantage that a 35mm lens has over a 50mm lens is the wider field of view. The 35mm provides you with a field of view of 54.4 degrees, whereas the 50mm allows 39.6 degrees. It means that you will be able to fit more of the scene in your frame with the help of a 35mm lens.

Depth of Field

There is not much difference in quality whether you choose a 35mm or 50mm lens, still, the 35mm comes as slightly sharper than the 50mm lens. The reason behind this again the field of view. A wider lens results in a greater depth of field which in turn brings more objects into focus. This feature makes it better for candid as well as street photography.

Minimal Distortion

It is wide-lens but it is not too wide to start distorting the images. If you are not familiar, some lenses cause distortion when the subject gets near the edge of the frame. However, the 35mm lens is perfectly balanced, therefore, minimizing the distortion.

Features of a 50mm Lens

50mm lens - 35mm or prime lens

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Now, let us move to the latter part of the 35mm or 50mm lens debate.

Narrow Field of View

The major difference between these lenses is the field of view. The 35mm lens leans towards the wide-angle side and tries to capture most of the scene. On the other hand, the 50mm lens lets you focus on just the parts that matter by narrowing the frame.


The thing about a 50mm lens is that it simply discards the clutter of the frame, due to this reason, the result of this result is referred to as more natural than the wide-angle lenses. This is also particularly helpful in portrait photography for portraying human features as naturally as possible.


Another advantage of a 50mm lens is that it gives better bokeh. You can say that it is better at isolating the subjects from the background. This is not only good for bokeh but portraits as well.

Which One to Choose, 35mm or 50mm Lens?

An important to remember at this point is that there is no winner and loser in this debate. Both are great prime lenses and both have their own sets of pros and cons.

On one side, you can capture sharp wide images with the 35mm, whereas 50mm will allow you to hone in on your subjects in a more natural way. 

The 35mm is great for capturing a beautiful scene but produces distortion in portraits. On the other hand, the 50mm is not that useful in tighter spaces. 

Both lenses produce aesthetic bokeh and are equally great in low light conditions, but the 50mm takes the lead in bokeh.

Lastly, one more thing that you should understand is whether you are using a crop sensor camera or a full-frame. The crop sensor increases the focal range making the 35mm around 60mm, whereas the 50mm reaches 80mm. If you use a crop sensor, keep this point in mind while choosing between a 35mm or 50mm lens.

Final Words on 35mm or 50mm lens

So, have you made a choice yet? You should know that both lenses are great as far as prime lenses are concerned. But all of the above points highlight the advantages one has over the other. So, it all comes down to preference and your photography style. If possible, try both lenses and figure out which appeals more to you. Always keep learning and practicing.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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