35mm or 50mm lens?

Haleighbeth

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I have done Photography off and on for about 10 years now, but I am just now building a full portfolio and building clients. Which lens do you prefer between a 35mm and a 50mm? I'm dying for an 85mm but that breaks the bank right now.
I will be doing family, maternity, and newborn/children photography.
I currently have a Canon rebel T1i, hoping to upgrade that soon as well, but focusing on the lens for now.
 

jcdeboever

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I don't think you can go wrong with either one. The 35 is nice to have when you have space constraints but other than that the 50 will work.
 

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Which lens do you prefer between a 35mm and a 50mm?
So you're into portraiture. I should point out that is you are back away some from your subjects, the resulting photograph will be more flattering and true to life.

Next thing to consider is how far back can you get? If you do most of your photography in a house, and in a room, you might not be able to get far enough back to use the one you really want, the 85mm.

Examine your standard operating procedure and focal lengths that you use the most as of now. If you find that you're usually in a smallish room with your zoom at around 50mm, then get the 50.

Either that or continue to save up for the 85mm and change your standard procedure to always give yourself plenty of space in which to back up. You might have to find an alternative venue to do that.
 

SquarePeg

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Of the two focal lengths you’re asking about, I would get the 50. I don’t know any specifics about these lenses from Canon but I had both from Nikon and the 50 was better for portraits. Assuming Canon quality is similar...
 

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So what exactly do you have now, maybe an 18-55 kit? If so, I'd seriously save my money for the longer focal length. Either a good used or if you don't mind manual, a Rokinon. Facial distortion is an issue with wider lens especially as you get closer to the subject. Here's a link that provides a great visual comparison by lens focal length. https://gizmodo.com/5857279/this-is-how-lenses-beautify-or-uglify-your-pretty-face
 

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I'd vote for the 50mm, for its narrower angle of view on your APS-C sensor d-slr.
 

pendennis

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If you're shooting FX format, I'd concentrate on a lens, even a zoom, which gives you at least 105mm at the long end. A 50mm lens is not good for head and shoulders portraits, because you don't get quite enough compression, even though it's a slightly long lens. A good rule of thumb is to have a portrait lens that's 2x the focal length of your "normal" lens. Anything at the 50mm end is good for full-length or even waist-length portraits. Wider than 50mm should be used only for group shots. For that a 35mm lens is good. When you get to 28mm it's a bit wide, and distortion starts to creep in along the edges.

An 85mm is almost exactly 2x the focal length of the 24x36 format, and is considered an "ideal" lens, although anything out to 120mm will work for close up portraits. After 120mm the compression grows and makes some facial features flatten too much. As with all portrait lenses, you don't want something that's too sharp. Most folks don't like a portrait which shows things warts and all.
 

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The 35 might be useful for group shots, but for single person portraits the 50 is far superior. This would IMO be true unless you're shooting with a camera with a sensor significantly smaller than four thirds - a 35 would be somewhat long on a Pentax Q with a 5 fold crop.
 

adamhiram

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The 35mm is more for capturing a whole scene as your eyes would see it, or small group shots at close range, such as in tight indoor spaces. The 50mm will be better for tight shots and is a more pleasing focal length for portraits and small group shots, but you may find that you need more space to back up than some rooms allow. The 85mm is by far my favorite lens, but you’ll find its use is pretty limited, as is is a pretty long focal length, especially on DX, and isn’t particularly fast to focus. It’s great for tight head shots or where you have a lot of space to work with, but definitely wont see as much use for the scenarios you described.
 

Charliel

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A 50mm is more appropriate....
 

fotkar

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Do I understand this correctly: everybody is suggesting 50mm. Since OP has CMOS sensor this means he will get 75mm in reality.

So for FX camera best would be 75 or 80mm?

I am in the process of buying Nikon DSLR. My friend (pro photographer) told me that I must get AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens as I will need this constantly indoors.

Should I rather consider 50mm/f/1.8?
 

petrochemist

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Do I understand this correctly: everybody is suggesting 50mm. Since OP has CMOS sensor this means he will get 75mm in reality.

So for FX camera best would be 75 or 80mm?

I am in the process of buying Nikon DSLR. My friend (pro photographer) told me that I must get AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens as I will need this constantly indoors.

Should I rather consider 50mm/f/1.8?
CMOS has nothing to do with the size of the sensor. It's a technology used in camera phones & compacts, all the way up to medium format & possible bigger. The other major sensor technology is CCD which is now rarely used on mainstream cameras - when cooled it is preferable for astronomical uses so is more common for some REALLY big cameras.

A 50mm lens on APSC will give the same FOV as a 75mm on FF which is slightly shorter than the 'ideal portrait' focal length often considered to be 85mm. These longer lenses encourage the photographer to stand further back which gives a more pleasing perspective for portraits.
The crop 35mm gives roughly the same FOV as the human eye. It's great for indoor shots when your trying to include more than just one person.
 

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Do I understand this correctly: everybody is suggesting 50mm. Since OP has CMOS sensor this means he will get 75mm in reality.

So for FX camera best would be 75 or 80mm?

I am in the process of buying Nikon DSLR. My friend (pro photographer) told me that I must get AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens as I will need this constantly indoors.

Should I rather consider 50mm/f/1.8?

The OP is asking specifically about portrait photos.
 

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So for FX camera best would be 75 or 80mm?

think "more ideal". I'd personally rather a 200mm f/2 over an 85mm f/1.4 for portraits. :p
 

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