3 Reasons Why the 35mm is my go-to camera lens

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If you’re lens shopping then here are 3 Reasons Why the 35mm is my go-to camera lens. So many great lenses to choose from, it can be confusing!

Why the 35mm lens is my favorite go-to lens

3 Reasons why the 35mm is my go-to camera lens…coming right up! Welcome back to another installation of Photo Tip Tuesday, where I’ll share why the 35mm lens is my go-to camera lens. {Links contain affiliates} SO many lenses, so many questions, I remember way back when I was learning to really use my camera the right way, I did not understand why there wasn’t just ONE lens that could do everything. I still wish there were, but there isn’t. I keep 3-5 lenses in my camera bag and often switch them out on photo shoots, but when I travel, if I want to make it easy on myself, I JUST take the 35mm lens, and today I’ll share why.

When I used to teach camera workshops based off of my Say NO to Auto book, I mentioned that the 50mm lens is the greatest to help you learn manual for the least amount of money, and I still stand by that. It’s one of the most inexpensive lenses I can think of, and such a great deal. BUT, the 35mm is a step above in my heart, thought it’s more expensive, and here is why. Just FYI, it runs about $350 at a base price.

I’ll always love my 50mm lens, but here is why I love his sister, the 35mm lens

  1. Captures The Big Picture
  2. Portable
  3. No distortion

I remember the day my youngest graduated from a stroller, and I was bummed, because it meant the basket down below would no longer be there to carry my heavy camera around.

I’d be responsible for it. When I traveled to places like our adventures around Ghana and London, if I didn’t have a car to keep my lenses in, I’d just strap my camera on me with the most versatile lens I have, and that’s the 35mm lens.

  1. More Space–What do I mean when I say “the big picture?” Well the 35mm is more like what you might actually be seeing with your eye, than any other lens.  It’s most used in movies, because of that more realistic feel. I’ve found that I have to move around more, but it also gives me more flexibility with the distance, than I have on the 50mm lens. Generally speaking, if I was standing in front of a 2 story home, I could not capture it with my 50mm lens, but the 35mm gives me that extra space I need. Here is an image I would not have been able to capture with my previous favorite, the 50mm from our trip to Hollywood Studios in FloridaGiant-Play-Doh-hollywood-studios
  2. Portable–The 35mm is my baby lens, it’s the smallest, the lightest, less bulky, and the easiest to tote around when I don’t want to drag my bag around.  Because of this, and #1, it’s often the only lens I take when I travel. When we went to Disney World, I just kept my camera strapped to me all day, and that’s the lens I had on. Here is a pic of me on vacation with my camera strapped to me. (I love my FOTOstrap strap)best travel lens for your camera
  3. As a “people” photographer, I’m all about close, intimate images. I love the up close and personal that I can get with my 85mm lens, and that 50mm lens, well I’ll always have a love for it, but the 35mm I love because it allows me to photograph people and still see the environment–without distortion. It’s great inside to capture a room, that’s what I use to photograph rooms in my home. Here is a picture of our family with the background of our home clearly visible. I love that you can see HOW we live surrounding our faces.photos-at-home-with-family

There you have it! If you have a 50mm lens and love it, you might just consider the 35mm lens as your next purchase, you’ll love it, too!

FYI, links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means you don’t pay any extra, but I earn a small percentage if you purchase within 24 hours of clicking on the links on this site. The 35mm lens tends to start around $300

Tell me, do you have, or have you tried a 35mm lens? What do you love about it? What is your current favorite lens?

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  1. Jacqueline says:

    My absolute favorite is my 50 mm (on my crop sensor). I also have a 24mm, which is similar to a 35 mm on a full frame. I was just remarking to a friend the other day that I use the 24 mm purely as a functional lens, to either show the big picture or get a shot in a tight space. But I’ve never really shot a picture with the 24 mm that has any kind of wow factor. I probably need to start leaving the 50 mm at home and make myself practice more with the 24 mm.
    Love your new blog look by the way!

  2. Jung A says:

    The 35 is my favorite as well! Love it!

  3. Candice says:

    I’ve been looking for a good indoor lens. Am do you shoot full frame of crop sensor?
    Mine is full frame so not sure if this would work.

  4. I agree…the 35mm is a great lens!

  5. Ashley says:

    I clicked on your amazon link for this lens & it is priced at $283 but says (OLD MODEL) – I found a newer model on amazon at $599, do you have any idea about why there is such a huge price difference? Or would you recommend another place to buy this lens closer to the $300 mark? I have the 50mm and just bought the 85mm, so curious about the 35 as well. Thanks!!

  6. Vaughn Jardine says:

    I’m a bit new to photography, but I read a lot. Forgive me for the question if it seems off. When you speak of a 35mm are you referring to that on a full frame or a crop sensor camera? So many articles fail to mention which they are talking about that I get confused. A photographer once told me the 50 mm is the best thing since sliced bread and he uses it all the time on his D750 and suggest I buy one for my D5300. Mine is a crop sensor and from what I read that equates to 50 x 1.5 = 75mm angle of view since the crop sensor is 1.5% smaller.

    For me to get a similar angle of view to a 50mm (FF) I would have to use a 35mm (DX) which equates to 35 x 1.5 = 52.5 (close enough). For me to get a similar angle of view to a 35mm (FF) I would have to us a 24mm (DX).

    I often have to guess which camera body the author is talking about for it to make sense. Anyone else has this issue? Maybe you can tell me how to interpret the articles.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, true, the lenses look different on different camera bodies. The only thing different though, is how it’s cropped and where you stand. If I’m on a cropped and you are on a full, we’d just stand in different spots and get the same result.

  7. Gary says:


    Thanks for your thoughts on the 35mm. I’ve never tried one, but maybe I should…??

  8. I have just done my first indoor portrait session with the 35mm dx for me it got to much of the surroundings in but as i say I was only having a play to see what it can do. half way through the shot I changed back to the 50mm and got the result that I required

  9. Mark says:

    I’m curious if the author is using the 35 on a crop sensor or full frame. The photos suggest full frame, but most audiences would probably be using APS-C. When using APS-C, I got a 50mm thinking I would love it and while the sharpness and speed were nice, I didn’t find a lot of use for it. Thanks ended up getting a 35 and thought it was a wonderful. As someone who learned on 35mm, it was like using the reliable 50mm – which it effectively was with the crop factor. Now that I am transitioning to full frame I’m using the 50 more. My 35 is DX, but instead of getting a 35mm in FX, I would prefer a 24 or even 20 for the ability to focus close up.