What is A 35mm Lens?

A 35mm lens refers to a type of camera lens with a fixed focal length or a zoom range that encompasses the 35mm focal length. The term “35mm” originates from the standard film format size it was originally designed for, which measures 35mm in width. In modern digital cameras, the term is still used to describe lenses with a similar focal length, regardless of the imaging sensor size.

The 35mm lens is known for its flexibility and is viewed as a famous choice among photographic artists because of its capacity to catch great scenes and subjects. It offers a moderately wide point of view, taking into consideration a reasonable portrayal of the climate while retaining a natural perspective. This makes it appropriate for different sorts of photography, including landscape, street, portrait, and documentary.

Types of 35mm Lenses

Let’s delve into the different types of 35mm lenses and discover how each one brings its own unique perspective and possibilities to the world of photography.

Prime Lenses

1. Wide-angle Primes

These lenses have a focal length more limited than 35mm, normally ranging from 14mm to 24mm. They offer an extensive field of view, making them ideal for catching immense scenes, designing wonders, and immersive cityscapes. Wide-angle primes likewise succeed in astrophotography, permitting photographic artists to catch the glory of the night sky.

2. Normal Primes

Normal lenses have a focal length of approximately 35mm, providing a field of view similar to what the human eye sees. They are versatile lenses suitable for a wide range of subjects, including street photography, environmental portraits, and general everyday photography. Normal primes deliver a natural perspective and are often favored for their compactness and excellent image quality.

3. Telephoto Primes

Telephoto lenses have a focal length longer than 35mm, typically ranging from 85mm to 135mm and beyond. They offer a narrower field of view, allowing photographers to isolate subjects from a distance, compress perspectives, and capture stunning portraits with pleasing background blur. Telephoto primes are also popular for sports, wildlife, and event photography.

Zoom Lenses

1. Wide-angle Zooms

These lenses cover a focal length range that includes 35mm and extends wider. They offer flexibility, allowing photographers to adjust their field of view without changing lenses. Wide-angle zooms are great for capturing expansive landscapes, interiors, and architectural details while retaining the ability to frame subjects more tightly when needed.

2. Standard Zooms

Standard zoom lenses encompass the 35mm focal length and provide a versatile range that typically extends from wide-angle to short telephoto. They are all-purpose lenses, suitable for a variety of photography genres, from landscapes and portraits to travel and events. Standard zooms strike a balance between wide coverage and subject magnification.

3. Telephoto Zooms

These lenses cover a focal length range beyond 35mm, reaching longer telephoto capabilities. With their extended reach, telephoto zooms allow photographers to capture distant subjects in detail, making them popular for wildlife, sports, and documentary photography. They offer flexibility by providing multiple focal lengths in a single lens, enabling photographers to adapt to various shooting scenarios.

Why is 35mm so special?

The 35mm focal length holds a special place in the world of photography for several reasons:


The 35mm lens finds some kind of harmony between wider angles and telephoto capabilities, offering a flexible field of view. It permits photographic artists to catch a large number of subjects, from clearing landscapes to intimate portraits, settling on it a go-to decision for some genres of photography.

Natural Perspective

The 35mm focal length closely resembles the field of view of the human eye. This natural perspective creates images that feel familiar and immersive, allowing viewers to connect with the photograph on a deeper level. It can enhance the storytelling aspect of photography, making the viewer feel as if they are part of the captured moment.

Depth and Dimension

The 35mm lens is known for its ability to capture scenes with depth and dimensionality. It strikes a balance between including enough background and context while still allowing the subject to stand out. This characteristic is especially valuable in storytelling, as it helps convey a sense of place and adds visual interest to the composition.


35mm lenses are often compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry and handle. Their portability allows photographers to be agile and responsive, ready to capture fleeting moments without being encumbered by heavy gear. This convenience makes 35mm lenses popular among street photographers and photojournalists who value mobility.

Wide Aperture Options

Many 35mm lenses offer wide maximum apertures, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. These wide apertures allow for excellent low-light performance, enabling photographers to shoot in challenging lighting conditions and achieve shallow depth of field effects. The ability to separate the subject from the background with creamy bokeh adds a creative dimension to the photographs taken with a 35mm lens.

Historical Significance

The 35mm format has a rich history in photography. It originated from the film era, where 35mm film became a standard format due to its portability and convenience. Today, even in the digital age, the 35mm focal length remains popular and widely used, carrying on the legacy and timeless appeal of this format.

What is 35mm Lens Best Used For?

The 35mm lens is a versatile tool that can be used effectively in various photography genres and scenarios. Here are some of the key applications where the 35mm lens excels:

Street Photography

The 35mm lens is often regarded as a quintessential choice for street photography. Its moderate wide-angle perspective allows photographers to capture the energy, spontaneity, and everyday moments of urban environments. It offers enough field of view to include the surroundings while allowing for closer framing of subjects, resulting in dynamic and immersive street images.

Documentary Photography

Whether capturing social issues, cultural events, or candid moments, the 35mm lens is highly suitable for documentary photography. It offers a natural perspective, enabling photographers to depict scenes authentically and tell compelling stories. Its versatility allows for a quick response to changing situations, making it ideal for capturing fleeting moments in real-life situations.

Environmental Portraits

The 35mm lens is perfect for natural portraits, where the subject is portrayed inside their environmental elements. Its wide angle of view permits photographers to remember the environment while as yet keeping a concentration on the subject. This makes a sense of context and gives a storytelling component to the pictures, displaying the subject’s character and the world they occupy.

Travel Photography

When exploring new destinations, the 35mm lens is a popular choice for capturing landscapes, cityscapes, and cultural experiences. Its versatile focal length allows photographers to document the essence of a place, from iconic landmarks to hidden corners. It can capture wide vistas, architecture, and street scenes, making it an all-purpose lens for travel photography.

Documentary Filmmaking

In addition to still photography, the 35mm lens is commonly used in filmmaking, particularly in the genre of documentary filmmaking. Its natural perspective and versatility make it suitable for capturing interviews, establishing shots, and general coverage. Its wide aperture options allow for shallow depth of field effects, which can add a cinematic look to video footage.

Low-Light Photography

Many 35mm lenses come with wide maximum apertures, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. This makes them excellent choices for low-light photography, as they can gather more light and produce well-exposed images in challenging lighting conditions. This is particularly useful for capturing nighttime scenes, indoor events, or any situation where available light is limited.

Examples of Photographs Taken by a 35mm Lens









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