What Is a 35mm Lens Good For?

What Is a 35mm Lens Good For featured photo

If you are shopping for a lens, you probably heard about the 35mm lens. You may be wondering what the buzz is all about. After all, it seems like an average-looking lens compared to a telephoto lens. However, do not let its unassuming design fool you.

A 35mm lens is considered among the most versatile lenses. It can suit a wide range of situations, from landscapes to street photography. It is also ideal for portraiture due to its bright aperture and beautiful background blur.

This article will cover other types of photography where a 35mm lens is useful. We will also compare it to another popular prime lens. But first, let us look into the definition of the 35mm lens.

What Is a 35mm Lens? 

What Is a 35mm Lens

A 35mm lens is a prime lens with a short focal length. It offers a wide angle of view that lets you capture most of the scene in front of you. Due to its broad perspective, the 35mm lens can photograph a wide range of subjects. It is among the most versatile lenses you can use today.

Another advantage of a 35mm lens is its compact and lightweight build. It can easily adapt to most shooting situations. And it is easy to bring almost anywhere to capture photos. Simply put it inside a camera bag when traveling. Even if you have a 35mm zoom lens, you will find it easier to carry than other telephoto zoom lenses.

Plus, this wide-angle lens has a balanced field of view close to what the human eyes see. The short focal length can help you create creative compositions while maintaining a natural feel to the images.

What Is a 35mm Lens Good For? 7 Reasons to Use This Wide-Angle Lens

A 35mm lens is good for several shooting situations. Below, we will talk about each one and how you can take advantage of the 35mm lens in that instance.


A 35mm lens can suit almost any type of photography due to its versatile focal length. It has a wide enough field of view to capture background elements. At the same time, it is narrow enough to photograph close-up details of a subject.

The 35mm focal length is also close to what our eyes see. It does not cause distortion, making it ideal for different situations.

Lightweight and Portable

Most 35mm lenses have a compact and lightweight build, owing to their short focal lengths. They are easy to bring and use whenever you want. They are extremely handy during traveling because you can fit the lens in your bag.

Plus, these prime lenses can save your back. There is no need to haul heavy telephoto lenses. You can hang the camera and the lightweight 35mm lens around your neck or shoulder without physical strain.

Street and Travel Photography

Considering its versatile focal length and compact size, it is no surprise that a 35mm lens suits street and travel photography.

The 35mm focal length is wide enough to capture street scenes. However, it also offers a blurry background to help isolate the subject in the frame. For example, you can highlight a street sign or a street vendor instead of showing the entire scene.

The 35mm lens also has a small and lightweight construction that is perfect for travel. It is easy to bring so you do not miss a single moment.

It even has the ability to be a wide and a standard lens at the same time. It eliminates the need to switch between different lenses to capture photos during your travel.

Low-light Performance

Most 35mm lenses tend to have a large maximum aperture. The aperture is the lens opening that controls how much light enters the sensor. A larger opening (aperture) allows more light to reach the sensor, which means improved image quality. It is expressed in small f-stops or f-numbers, such as f/1.2, f/1.8, or f/2.8.

Hence, 35mm lenses are an excellent choice for night or low-light photography. They can eliminate the need to increase the ISO, which introduces grain in the photo. These prime lenses also allow you to shoot handheld with faster shutter speeds.


A 35mm lens may not be the first lens you think of when it comes to portrait photography. However, it can help you capture stunning pictures of people and pets.

The 35mm prime lens offers a natural field of view with minimal distortion. It can accurately record details of a person or a pet. 

And thanks to its large aperture, it can create a shallow depth of field. It helps isolate the subject from the background to make it stand out in the frame. The shallow DoF also produces a stunning background blur or bokeh.

With that said, the 35mm lens shines the best in environmental portraiture. It has a wide enough focal length that lets you include the background when photographing a subject. It ultimately adds context to the image.

Landscape Photography

A 35mm camera lens is also good for landscape photography. It offers a wide angle of view that can capture a large portion of the scene in front of you. It is ideal for capturing different types of surroundings.

But unlike other landscape lenses, the 35mm focal length maintains a natural perspective. It does not cause too much distortion. It is a top lens choice for landscape compositions.

Architectural Subjects

The 35mm prime lens can suit architecture photography because of its slightly wide perspective. It can help you capture the exterior design of the building while still including background elements. By photographing the surroundings, the lens provides context to the image and tells a story.

A 35mm camera lens also minimizes the bending of straight lines and excessive warping. It offers minimal distortion, which is essential for architectural accuracy.

Which Prime Lens Is Better: 35mm Or 50mm Lens?

When shopping for a prime lens, you probably heard the 35mm vs. 50mm lens debate. You may be wondering about the differences between the two lenses and if one is better than the other.

A 35mm lens offers a wider angle of view than a 50mm lens. While the former offers a natural perspective, the latter provides a field of view that is closest to what our eyes see.

Both types of lenses are extremely versatile and suit a wide range of situations. They also tend to have brighter apertures to handle low-light shooting environments. However, choosing between a 35mm and a 50mm prime lens depends on your specific needs and shooting style.

The 35mm lens is ideal for photographers who want a wider perspective in a compact form. This prime lens is a perfect choice for landscape, street, and travel photography. However, it can also suit architecture and portraiture. It allows you to capture the subject with background elements. Hence, it adds context and storytelling to the image.

On the other hand, the 50mm lens brings you closer to the subject. It can photograph important details you might otherwise miss when using a wide-angle lens like the 35mm. The 50mm prime also offers a natural perspective with little to no distortion. It is ideal for portraiture, documentary work, and everyday photography.

What Are the Disadvantages of 35mm Lens?

While the 35mm lens is good for many situations, it still has a few downsides. 

The major disadvantage of the 35mm lens is its limited focal length reach. It is unable to bring distant subjects closer. Hence, it cannot capture wildlife, sports, action, and other situations where you need a significant amount of zoom.

And unlike a telephoto lens, the 35mm wide-angle lens has less background compression. That means it cannot effectively separate the subject from its surroundings. It leads to a busier background and less pronounced bokeh. But as previously mentioned, the background elements can add context to the scene. So this downside might be a pro to other photographers.

The 35mm lens may also be challenging to use for traditional portraits. It offers a wider perspective that slightly exaggerates the facial features when shooting up close. 

Shooting at close distances with a 35mm lens can even cause distortion near the edges of the frame. It can stretch or warp objects, which is unsuitable for certain types of photography.


The 35mm camera lens is among the top lens choices of many photographers. It might seem like a simple lens, but it packs powerful features.

So, what is a 35mm lens good for? It suits a wide range of situations, thanks to its slightly wide focal length. It can capture most of the scene in front of you, ideal for architecture, landscape, and street photography. It also has a natural perspective with minimal distortion to suit portraiture and everyday situations. Finally, its compact and lightweight build makes it perfect for traveling, regardless if you are using a crop-sensor or full-frame camera.

Do you have other questions about the 35mm lens? Feel free to visit our website and share your thoughts via our contact page!