Which Lens is Ideal for You: 35mm Vs. 50mm Vs. 85mm?

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Have you ever wondered about the finest portrait photographic lens? That’s an age-old debate. However, for most photographers, there is no better lens than an 85mm lens. A 50mm telephoto zoom is a far better choice for so many other photographers. So, which one of these great portrait focal lengths suits you best?

Advantages of the 35mm lens

The 35mm lens has also been a popular first choice amongst aspiring photographers. It has a perspective that is extremely similar to that of an iPhone’s default lens, which could be why new photographers are accustomed to this telephoto lens.

While using this lens, the background seems to be “rolled back” and smaller. The photograph will incorporate more foreground because the focal length is “broader” (or more whizzed out). Since it is broad enough to capture moments easily as they happen, most upcoming photographers find it easier and more comfortable to use and mostly use the lenses on wedding ceremonies for context and natural images.

35mm lens stretches the image slightly to give you a better view.

50mm lens advantages

Furthermore, 50mm lenses are compact and light. A small lens is essential for some portrait photographers.

The 50mm lens length is wide enough to take shots of the entire body and part of the environment around the subject. When shooting with a 35mm lens, you’ll get even more context, but with an 85mm, you’ll get less.

Since the photographer will now be standing extremely close to the subject when utilizing the 50mm lens length, it is critical that the subject feels at ease, particularly when capturing young children. When employing the 50mm focal length, photographers must also consider the subject’s backdrop, as it will not be blurred.

A 50mm lens is an excellent initial lens investment for photographers who are just starting. It’s the most adaptable of the three focal lengths, suitable for landscape and portrait photography.

One of the most notable characteristics of 50mm lenses is their low cost.

It’s also worth mentioning how versatile a 50mm lens is.

Large aperture versions, such as f/1.4 and f/1.2 lenses, can be used in low-light settings and indoors and outdoors for sports photography.

A 50mm lens is also suitable for macro photography and video; if you install the lens backward, it will work.

Finally, 50mm lenses work well with full-frame as well as crop-sensor cameras. Keep in mind that, based on the cropping ratio of the camera, a 50mm lens should perform just like a 75-80mm lens.

Regardless of the camera you choose, it’s still a good pick.

The 80mm lens advantages

While 50mm lenses are excellent for portrait photography, 85mm lenses have their very own set of benefits.

To begin with, on a full-frame camera with an 85mm, the portrait provided will look quite natural.

If you position your camera in landscape mode and focus through the lens with one eye while looking at the subject with the other, with no distortion in the image captured, your eyes will see just about the same thing.

Moreover, because it is in the short telephoto range, 85mm is a wonderful focal length for portraiture because it allows you to stand further away from the subject while still getting nice close-up photos.

The best-recommended lens for headshots is the 85mm lens, widely known as the classical portrait lens. An 85mm lens offers beautiful compression. The lens design maintains and keeps the proportions of the human face and makes them look better.

The jawlines have shortened, the nose has lengthened, and the hair has thickened. The strange effect of the “disembodied head” obtained with the 35mm lens is no longer present. The image captured pleases the eye.

The 85mm lens, on the other hand, creates a far more professional as well as proportionally perfect image.

Simultaneously, using a greater focal length produces gorgeous bokeh, which blurs the background and helps distinguish the subject in the frame.

Which one is right for you: 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm?

The ideal lens for you varies depending on the circumstances, as is typically the case in these kinds of head-to-head comparisons.

Framing differences

When shooting, take considerable time contemplating the substance of your backdrops as well. A background will more sharply frame an image captured with an 85mm on your subject. Shooting using a 50mm lens, on the contrary, results in a picture that contains more of the backdrop. However, it’s not quite as much as photographing with a Canon 35mm lens.

Do you, on the contrary, often strive to hide the backgrounds in your photographs? Do you film on location with backgrounds that are sometimes unpredictable and/or out of your control? In that instance, the 85mm lens might be a good option.

When the 85mm lens’s shallow depth of field is combined with the tighter framing of your point of interest, the 85mm lens excels at generating attractive portrait photos in practically any setting.

Depth of Field Variations

One of the most significant differences between the lenses of 85mm and 50mm is the distance between you and your subject that you will need to maintain.

This means you’ll be standing farther from your scene using an 85mm lens than you would be using a 50mm lens. As a result, even when employing the same aperture, photographs produced using an 85mm lens have far blurrier bokeh than images shot using a 50mm lens.

A 50mm lens suits you well if you like on-the-run portraitures. Such as travel photography and wedding photography. Also, street photography activities necessitate a lens that’s small, adaptable, and lightweight.

An 85mm lens, on the other hand, would be great if you need a bit of extra focal length for photographs of sportsmen on the pitch, or else prefer the compactness provided by the 85mm lens for more classic portraiture.

In any case, a 50mm lens is an incredible asset to your camera gear. A great addition to your backpack is an 85mm lens!

In conclusion

Because of the degree of compression it provides and the fact that it does not distort facial features, the 85mm focal length is ideal for portraiture. Softening facial characteristics with distortion control and compression will result in considerably more flattering photos of your subjects. Face reality, everyone loves to look better in pictures.

Telephoto lenses have a characteristic termed compression—the compression assists in making the backdrop appear closer, allowing your object to stand out even more. Even though we utilize these lenses in various ways, each shines brightest when put to its proper function!

So when you’re looking at other photographers’ art, try making mental notes about the types of photographs you like best.

Henri Findlay
My name is Henri, and I'd like to introduce myself. I've had a passion for photography for most of my life, and I spend a lot of time researching, purchasing, and using various sorts of photography equipment. I give you the most up-to-date and trustworthy information, either from my own personal experiences or from a variety of dependable sources.

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