(1 to 100 of 184 replies)
cjescudero 2:51pm, 23 February 2009
As you know, Nikon has announced the 35mm f/1.8G lens ( www.nikon.com/about/news/2009/0209_nikkor_01.htm ).

I am going to buy a D90 and, after try the 18-105 kit lens, I will buy a prime lens. My idea was to buy a 50mm f/1.8D after I read the news about the new 35mm.

What do you think about it? Which one is better for portraits? (Don't take into account the budget, because, the difference is going to be not so big)
(1 to 100 of 184 replies)
-jase- 10 years ago
Sometimes I think 50mm is "too tight" for doing portraits, other times I think it's just right. It all depends on the space you have to work in really. I bet the 35mm is going to be a strong seller, it's a very useful focal length for portrait work.

They're so cheap, you could probably get them BOTH for less than $350.
few purpose [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by few purpose (member) 10 years ago
On APS-C or thereabouts, 50mm is still a bit wide for head shots, or head and shoulders. It's probably about right a bit further out. At 35mm you'r probably talking 3/4 length and no closer.

That's classical portrait theory. You can also break the rules and enjoy the distortion. Or you could stick to wider angles and include more of the environment.

So to answer your question, 50mm is generally better for portraits, but it depends what portraits you are mostly going to shoot.
Anthony.RAW 10 years ago
if you get the 35 for a D90 its going to be the equivalent to what the 50mm is supposed to be.

in other words the D90 isnt a full frame camera so its missing some of the shot the 50 is taking

however, when you put the 35 on the D90 it will be what a full frame camera would get out of a 50mm1.8

at least thats my understanding.

hope this helps your decision :)
CotswoldPhoto 10 years ago
Anthony.RAW wrote
however, when you put the 35 on the D90 it will be what a full frame camera would get out of a 50mm1.8
But with 35mm distortion.

Bottom line is, with a crop sensor camera, like the D90, you need to give yourself a bit more room, unless you want the wide angle effect of the 35mm.
William Gilmour 10 years ago
'But with 35mm distortion.' - ClevaTreva - like to explain this one...and I do understand the difference between DX and FX, but why would the 35 distort and the 50 not?
CotswoldPhoto 10 years ago
As you go to wide angle, so the lens has the tendency (easily corrected in post) to bend horizontal and vertical lines. Also, the apparent depth of the view increases. For example, take a close up of a face in wide angle and the nose gets bigger in the view. At 50mm (DX or FX) the image looks more natural. All the cropped sensor does is just that, crop the edges off what would have appeared on a full frame sensor.

So, a 35mm may give you the same Field of View on a cropped sensor as a 50mm does on a full frame sensor, the image will be different.

So, the advantage of those shiny expensive cameras in this case? You can stand closer to the subject and get it all in.
Avec Lumière 10 years ago
is absolutely correct. For portraits I don't go below 50mm (in DX or FX), unless the composition calls for it.
cjescudero 10 years ago
So, I understand that 50mm is more suitable for portraits whilst 35mm is for panoramas.

Moreover, I assume that for a better Bokeh, 50mm should be better. Right?
kgreggbruce Posted 10 years ago. Edited by kgreggbruce (member) 10 years ago
No, the 50mm isnt just for portraits, and the 35mm isnt just for panoramas. People here are confusing themselves.

Want to know the difference between the 50mm and 35mm? Its15mm.

Want to know what this means in real life? Get your kit lens, put it on 50mm and shoot all day. Tomorrow, set it at 35mm and shoot all day.

Now you know.

Also, there are far more advantages to an FX camera than just being able to stand closer.
mountainous appliance [deleted] 10 years ago
After writing a big long spiel, I suddenly realized I would not survive without both my 35mm f2 and my 50mm, so I erased everything. Whichever way you go, you are going to enjoy it, and you will feel like you made the right decision. That's always a good feeling.
cjescudero 10 years ago
kgreggbruce, you are right, that is the best way to try both focal lengths.

Anyway, which one should be better for bokeh effect? To my knowledge, I believe that 50mm must have better bokeh, since it has more focal length. Is it correct?
.zOom. Posted 10 years ago. Edited by .zOom. (member) 10 years ago
Why not just just walk into your local camera store, try them both out and see which one you prefer?

''better for bokeh effect'' - No such thing as 'better bokeh'' just different.
Tim Serge 10 years ago
Here are some sample photos via DPReview:
wmbrianlee 10 years ago
If the 35mm is really of interest to you and what you shoot, I'd consider the 35mm f2 version (vs. the 1.8). The new f1.8 DX is indeed rather inexpensive, but it reportedly doesn't work well with FX format cameras. Given the very marginal difference in speed, I'd go for the f2 in the event you later upgrade to full frame.
staz512 10 years ago
50mm works just perfect from my point of view as the portrait lens. That's how I use it.
It is great cheap lens and it is a full frame one so on you D90 you'd be using only the best part of the glass.

35mm as it was already said here on your D90 is gonna work as regular 50mm (35mm x 1.5 = 50mm); meaning in is not gonna be either wide or zoom, its right in between. It's also much more expensive lens.

For you it would be probably best to get your hens on the 18-105 first and check it out in terms of focal length. Then you can easily determine then which prime would be the most suitable for you.

Anyway that's said, you need to get one of them :)
-jase- 10 years ago
Has anybody had any luck finding the 35mm for sale yet?
sirshannon 10 years ago
I just opened my 35mm f/1.8 AS-F lens. It has been on the cold porch all day so I'm going to let it warm up a bit before I play with it.

I preordered it from Amazon last month, they were supposed to email me the estimated ship date whenever they figured out what that ship date was but never did. Instead, I got an email late last night saying that it would arrive today. :)
James Kaarremaa 10 years ago
This thread is a confusing.

Some people use wider lenses for portraits but most accept that longer lenses are technically the better choice. I honestly can't stand wide-angle distortion for a lot of applications especially when people or cars are involved (though some can pull it off). The longer lenses create a more flatter image which is often more flattering though in some instances it will compress features that you want to remain prominent because that's part of the persons beauty. I've used both the Nikon 24mm & 28mm for portraits and both are fine for full body shots but I would rather the 35mm for less distortion but still wider view than the 50mm.

When it comes to 35mm vs 50mm I say ideally both. I'm using a 50mm & an 85mm right now and they are excellent for portraits. I also want to add a 35mm to my portrait kit because for full-body portraits both the 50 & the 85 are much too long in smaller working spaces.
Robert P Baxter 10 years ago
People are basically disputing focal lengths for the convenience of shooting at distance, not the actual benefits of the focal length.

Increased focal lengths produce flatter images due to perspective, given that the relative distance between two points on a person's face is affected by the distance between the camera and the subject.

Let's say your goal is to shoot a photo that goes from the tip of the scalp to the base of the chin, for example. The relative distance between a person's nose and cheek is much more accented when shooting up close with a 25mm lens than shooting the same frame a few feet away with a 50mm lens. A 1 inch nose would appear only half as "deep" in comparison, whilst increasing the focal length adds magnifies this "flattening" effect. It's not that the greater focal length changes the image, it's simply an effect of standing further away from the subject.

They say that on a FX format, the ideal portrait range scales from 70-135mm. This simply means that it's a recommended range for flattening the image but not flattening it too much. In Nikon DX terms, this means that anything from a nifty fifty (=75mm FX) or a 85mm prime (=127.5mm) are in a sense the "low" and "high" ends of this recommended range on a DX lens. I personally like to use either my 50mm or my 70-300VR at 70mm when shooting portraits, depending on the available light.

Essentially, I am trying to point out that the convenience of getting your preferred composition at a close range and the goal of achieving an ideal "portrait" focal length should not be confused. Either you aim for the convenience of shooting closer to your subject or you move away to achieve a flatter image.
thetomer 9 years ago
Great discussion here guys.
I recently bought a 50mm 1.8 and fell in love with it completely. It's so sharp and clear that I'm sorry about all the portraits I shot without it:-)

Thing is, Sometimes I feel it's a bit too tight in POV terms and the addition of a 35mm seemed like a good idea

But one thing that bothers me: Say I'm shooting someone with my 50mm and want to catch more of the surrounding. can I step back few meters and get the exact same angle as I would have with a 35mm?

from what I read in Robert's comment I will get a flatter image but will that be the only difference? what about details?

any comments will be appreciated since I'm really that close to buy the new 35mm
simon.hucko Posted 9 years ago. Edited by simon.hucko (member) 9 years ago
i love my 50mm, but there are definitely times (especially when shooting indoors) that it's very tight, and i end up backing up into walls and missing the shot i want. if you don't have restrictions on the space, i don't think you'll see a big difference between the two using "sneaker zoom."

i'm assuming you have some sort of standard zoom. try this experiment yourself - pick a subject in front of a reasonably detailed background, and grab the shot you want at 35mm. then set your lens to 50mm and back up until you have the same framing on the subject, and take another shot. compare the two afterward. you will see a difference. whether you prefer one to the other is up to you (and can be dependent on the shot).

something that helped me wrap my head around perspective:


edit: i'm planning on purchasing a 35mm f1.8 for my wife's birthday this year. and i'm thinking about at 35mm f2 for myself, since i'm hoping to go full frame some day
thetomer 9 years ago
Simon thanks a lot - This is the answer I was looking 4. Cheers!
JuanRa' 9 years ago
are you going to buy a present for you in her birthday? jaja. I will try the experiment too. I looked on the web for the sigma 50mm f1.4 hsm but is some expensive.
simon.hucko 9 years ago
haha, well, my birthday is 4 days earlier, so i may buy myself a present too ;) possibly even earlier if i find a good deal on a used copy
abrasive spade [deleted] 9 years ago
Yes, sometimes it is very tight for me too so I bought the Sigma 30mm 1.4... what a sweet lens. Usually I will cary both on a small bag, be it with the D60 or D70.

If it is a major deal, just buy the cheapest one first, 50mm, and depending on how you feel go from there. That lens is a must to have on any lens collection especially for the price, and if anything... selling a Nikon 50mm in mint condition will be a loss of a few bucks as it preserves its resale value.
no focus PRO 9 years ago
Each lens (50mm/1.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, 30/1.4), contrary to popular wisdom, can handle portraits beautifully or horribly, depending upon the situation. Simon's "sneaker zoom" exercise is great for understanding the strengths of each with respect to perspective and DOF. One thing not explained is that, since we're speaking of portraits here, the "in-the-face" sort of portrait which the 30mm or shorter focal length lenses sometimes force you into, may work wonderfully for the very young (infants, children) and the very old, because the former will display flawless skin, and the latter have "lines" which add interest to the face - you're treading on thin ice if you pull out your 24 or 30mm for a portrait of anybody in between!!! Every little detail in the face will be exaggerated and come out "unflattering", because you're close enough to pick up every single real or imagined "skin flaw", and you're going to get fingers wagging in your face as soon as the subject sees your photograph!!! LOL.

My advice is to rent or borrow a friend's lens in the 35mm category and the 50mm as well, and shoot each exclusively for a week if you can, with your typical range of subjects and lighting. I'd be very, very surprised if one of the lenses doesn't "speak" to you loud and clear for your type of shooting. Neither is "wrong on principle".
basegrinder 9 years ago
I got the 50mm D only because it gives great results Sounds like the new 35mm works well too.
Canuckish 9 years ago
What -is- the difference between DX, FX, and the letters after the 1.8 - D, G?
simon.hucko Posted 9 years ago. Edited by simon.hucko (member) 9 years ago
i'm not generally a big ken rockwell fan, but he does provide an excellent description of the nikon alphabet soup on his page:


take his opinions with a grain of salt, but his descriptions of what the various abbreviations are should be pretty accurate

to answer your specific question, DX is the digital APS-C size sensor system, which most Nikon DSLR's use (everything except the D700, D3/x). FX is the term given to the new "full frame" DSLR's, ie the d700 and D3/x, which approximates the size of standard 35mm film. all nikon lenses (AI, AI-S, AF, AF-D, AF-S), except those designated as "DX," will work on both systems. the DX lenses, however, have a reduced image circle that only covers the smaller sensor, so it will not function properly on a film or FX body.

the "D" in the lens name stands for "distance," meaning that the lens can report focusing distance information to the camera body. this impacts 3D (matrix) metering and flash metering in some instances.

not sure what the "G" designation stands for, but it means that the lens does not have a dedicated aperture ring, so that the aperture is controlled entirely from the camera body. all Nikon DSLR's can do this, and it's only a problem if you shoot on older film bodies. all G lenses also give distance information (D)

most newer lenses from Nikon are AF-S G lenses.
Canuckish 9 years ago
wow. thanks for the knowledge. appreciate the help.
simon.hucko 9 years ago
no problem. it's all pretty confusing. and every lens manufacturer has their own code, so if you look at the sigma or tamron website you'll have to wade through a whole new list of letters
Peter Loc Le 9 years ago
The 35mm 1.8g should let in more light because you can handhold the camera at a slower shutter speed.
simon.hucko 9 years ago
nope, it lets in the same amount of light relative to its focal length (that's what the f number stands for). the bit about hand holding at a slower speed has to do with the circle of confusion (ie acceptable amount of blur). wider focal lengths de-emphasize camera shake because of the scale of what they capture. a longer focal length magnifies camera shake, so you generally have to use a faster shutter speed to avoid seeing the blur in your photo.

see here: www.rags-int-inc.com/PhotoTechStuff/DoF/
zippy fnord [deleted] 9 years ago
I have been debating about ordering the 35mm 1.8...I have the 50mm f/1.8 along with the Tamron 28-75;

I keep hearing the 35mm is a great little lens to have around in your bag, but not sure if I should place my order (even though it's been back ordered for more than a month!).....
manyworlds Posted 9 years ago. Edited by manyworlds (member) 9 years ago
get both. and get a 135 f2 dc for those headshots.
only joking. i got the new 35, but since i found a very cheap and sharp made in japan 50 1.8, it's the latter which sits on my camera most of the time. the 35 has better bokeh, though, but more distortion. more isnt correct, really, as the 50mm has none at all.
-jase- 9 years ago
How many of you 50mm owners bought the 35mm and now use that more than the 50? I'm finding I like the focal length better than the 50. I suppose each lens has it's purposes and disadvantages, but in general, the 35 is more used these days.
Convict J-man 9 years ago
The distortion you'll get from a 35mm is minimal, and unless you're working with geometric shapes, it's doubtful that it would make any difference. I shot my sister's wedding with a 50mm... bad idea. I had to stand 30 ft away for full body shots or group shots, far enough that people got in the way. I really love my 50mm, but wish I'd had a 35mm then.
James Kaarremaa 9 years ago
-jase-: Count me in. I finally bought the 35mm f1.8 about 2 months ago and use it far more than my 50mm. The 35mm f1.8's downside is the distortion which is fairly high for this focal range (seems to be more like the 24mm I use to have) but other than that it's far more useful all around lens. You can get shots with background or you can move closer unlike the 50mm where often you can't move back far enough. Though the 35mm is sharper wide open I'd still prefer to shoot 50mm on FX due to less distortion.

I'll still pull out the 50mm when I'm doing portraits (and can't use the 85mm).
in2food 9 years ago
The focal length on the 50mm is better but you need to assess how you are going to use it. If it is for formal portraiture with a camera set-up and lighting with static background( you know, like a studio) or outdoors then positioning yourself back a ways will not be a problem. If, by portraits, you mean pictures of people in natural situations, like in the house, the 35mm will be less limiting. Many rooms may be to tight for you to back up enough to accommodate the 50mm.
edward_to 9 years ago
Thanks for this topic, it's been very helpful so far.

I have been debating whether to get a 50mm or 35mm, and from what I've heard I believe 35mm will suit be better.

Now my question is, if I have no plans to upgrade to full frame anytime soon, what are the advantages of owning the $100 more expensive 35mm f/2 as opposed to the AF-S 35mm f/1.8? What are the differences between the two, apart from the aperture sizes and the fact that the AF-S will obviously not work on full frame?

Thanks in advance!
basegrinder Posted 9 years ago. Edited by basegrinder (member) 9 years ago
35mm cropped

V at the Legion

not cropped


---different photos of course---
Since, I didn't see it cleared up to the OP in this thread:

The D90 is not a full frame camera, it is DX
ChrisMike2009 Posted 9 years ago. Edited by ChrisMike2009 (member) 9 years ago

I have learned this here and there " to each is own" in basic terms there really is no right and wrong, but we keep going perhaps because it is fun. After 100 pics I just returned my 35 1.8 back to the store. Next to try is 20-35 2.8 or 24 2.8, maybe even the 17-35. See what I mean.

al.barber@yahoo.com 9 years ago
Having tried both these lenses, I have to say for me the 35mm just didn't give the look I was seeking in portraits but the 50mm is just fine. It gives you a little more comfort space between you and your subject. Of course the 35mm was good for landscape shots but your original post asked about portraits.
*Focus 9 years ago
I had 35mm f/2D... no doubt it's sharp and great lens but I've used my Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D when I had them both before I've sold it. It all depends on what you shoot. I am coming back to Nikon and first thing I did were order 50mm focal length lens...which happen to be f/1.8D not 1.4D. It's perfectly fine for my style of shooting so it all depends on what you like to shoot... that you have to figure out.
AmandaPadgett 9 years ago
I have both the 35mm 1.8 and the 50mm and they are both great. I keep the 35mm on my D60 and the 50mm on my D200.
ea83 9 years ago
Pick 50mm for protraits.
Miguel M. Almeida 9 years ago
I agree with Anthony.RAW when he says "if you get the 35 for a D90 its going to be the equivalent to what the 50mm is supposed to be." :)

However, you can't just look at 35*1.5 = ~50mm... because you'll loose DoF. Conclusion: on a non-fullframe camera you have to sacrifice one of two thing: the angle (buying a 50mm) or the DoF (buying a 35mm). My dilemma too, right now :s
MrDAT 9 years ago
+ Distortion.
stonebear 9 years ago
You can always stand back a bit with the 35mm and crop to get the same flattening as you would with the 50mm? Not always convenient though, I suppose.
Miguel M. Almeida 9 years ago
@MrDAT true.
@stoneber, you're right... but that is bad in two sittuations: 1) in interiors, because you have the wall... 2) when you want to be "inside" the scene, like this one:
Week 06/52 - Lost by Tiagø Ribeiro
. If you stand back, the walls will "move away" from each other... if you understand me. i.e. you notice that you've stand back a bit when you watch the photo :s
C. Strife PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by C. Strife (member) 9 years ago
get both!!!! i did. >_>

one thing to remember is that the focal length never really changes. 35mm is a 35mm...50mm is a 50mm.

Seen in the group"Nikkor 50mm 1.8" (?)
stonebear 9 years ago
Miguel M. Almeida
Yea, I know what you mean. :-)
IntoTh3Rainbow Posted 9 years ago. Edited by IntoTh3Rainbow (member) 9 years ago
you may consider this:
.The 35mm is about twice expensive since it will AF with any DX cameras
.The 50mm can't AF in some, for example D40, D40x ...

If u don't use such cameras, why bother spend more for the 35mm while you can move a bit further with your camera i supposed?

1 more thing, if u're thinking of upgrading into FX, the 35mm 1.8 is not a good idea then.

I was in the same situation as you 2 weeks ago and I chose the 50mm :D
Great Scott Photog 9 years ago
get the 35mm, it's a must have for a crop body... then couple it with an 85mm 1.8 as well and you have some good variety.... my opinion is that both the 35mm and 50mm are so cheap, you might as well own both, as well as the 85 but for two only do the 35 and 85...
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
Costwold photo, you are not correct on this one, at least not completely. You are confusing perspective and distortion. Distortion is a characteristic of a certain lens, and yes, the wider ones tend to bend lines more, but it doesn't make noses bigger, perspective does that, and it depends on how far away are you from the subject, the closer you are, the bigger the nose is :). You certainly have a good point, because in practice, it's not that that simple, and wider lenses render the scene differently than the longer ones. But a 35 on DX is almost (the key word is almost) the same as a 50mm on FX, and the distortion you are talking about is actualy perspective, so with a 35mm on DX, and 50mm on FX, with the SAME DISTANCE FROM THE SUBJECT, you would get a very similar result, but a 50 would get you a shallower DOF. That's why 85mm is a better choice for portraits (if you like those perfectly flattering portraits) for FX, because in order to fill a frame with a face, you need to get close if you have a 50mm, and that way you are forsing the perspective.
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
stonebear, no, you wouldn't need to stand back a little bit to get the same flattening, because that flattening comes from perspective, not he focal lenght, and if you shoot from the same spot, the perspective is the same. If you stay in the same spot and shoot with both 50mm and 35mm, the perspective would be the same, and to get the same result, you would only need to crop the 35mm shot. Of course, the DOF would be shallower with the 50mm.
C. Strife PRO 9 years ago
the 50 1.8 focuses about as close as the 35mm

Seen in the group"Nikkor 50mm 1.8" (?)
bluessax 9 years ago
I have the 35 f2 instead of the f1.8. Much closer focusing, very sharp, and less distortion. Although I have a D80 I also still shoot film with a F100, F3 or a FM2n. The 35 f2 is interchangeable, the 35 f1.8 isn't.

I also use a 50 f1.8 about as much as the 35 f2.
Nick Arora Photo Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Nick Arora Photo (member) 9 years ago
alright let's just lay it all out there -

The Nikon Cheap DX Prime Showdown

35mm 1.8G > 50mm 1.8D
- 35mm is closer to the normal field of view on DX sensors (equivalent to 50mm on FX sensors)
- 35mm is better able to shoot in closed spaces / anywhere where you just don't have 5 feet to back up
- 35mm is a Modern AF-S lens - fast accurate focus; sharp
- 50mm 1.8D is equivalent a 75mm lens on FX sensors. This is an awkward focal length, just shy of what is traditionally accepted as "portrait" length (85-135mm). Note that 75mm primes were never built, probably with good reason.
- 50mm has moving parts on the outside - possible to damage
- 35mm works on all nikon bodies, including the D40, D60, etc.
- 35mm can be handheld at slightly slower shutter speeds than the 50mm and still be sharp.

50mm 1.8D > 35mm 1.8G
- 50mm has a shallower depth of field than the 35mm at F1.8
- 35mm has distortion issues that have to be corrected via post processing
- 50mm will be functional if you upgrade to FX
- 50mm is cheaper
- The 50mm allows you to stand at a distance, creating more pleasing portraits (compression)
- 50mm has an aperture ring (useful if you shoot video)

Where they both fail
- Bokeh. Both have notoriously "choppy" bokeh. Neither has smooth bokeh like the 85mm 1.4, 105mm DC, or the 135mm DC.

Where they both succeed
- sharp images
- subject isolation using shallow depth of field
- Shooting in low light
- light weight / non-intimidating to subjects

So who wins?
Neither. They serve different purposes.

I personally believe that a 35mm + 85mm combo is best on Crop sensors. But my opinion doesn't mean anything. It all depends on how you like to shoot, and what your budget is.
neilc76 9 years ago
Hi, been having the same debate myself.
I have the 50mm 1.8 on my D300, I love the image quality but find it too tight for photos of the kids around the house. I've just sold my 18-200vr which was so so soft and I wasn't convinced that the focussing was that accurate. So now I'm thinking of both the 35mm f1.8 & the 85mm f1.8. I'm starting to get into shooting portraits so I know the primes will serve me well, however I'm just concerned the 35mm won't be wide enough...
Great Scott Photog 9 years ago
35mm is as wide as you're going to get when looking at the 1.8 range.... or consider something like the 18-50 2.8 Sigma and then the 85mm 1.8... thats a good little package there.
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
I really think you should go with the 35, it's newer, it is AF-S, it's a little better optically, and by that I mean sharper wide open, and I think more useful on a DX body. Then be patient and save money to buy a 85/1.8, because it's a lot more versatile combination then just a 50. I rushed a little bit and bought a 50, but I would really love to have a 35, but I would need to sell the 50 to buy it, but a 50/1.8 is a really good lens, so I am kind of attached to it :D On the other hand, If you are really going to shoot only portraits with this lens, then a better choice is 85/1.8, and a 35 later when you save enough for it, for wider shots, but it's more expensive than these two.
neilc76 9 years ago
Thankfully I can just about afford the 35mm & the 85mm.
I'm starting to shoot portraits, kids, families etc. But I still need to be able to do the family snapshots. The only place I've found the 50mm limiting is indoors, however most of my portrait work will be indoors. Is there a lot of difference between the 35mm & the 50mm, I would check this on a zoom, but I haven't got one now!!!
Does anyone shooting just prime lenses feel limited in what they are able to photograph?
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
No, I found it to be liberating, I don't need to think about focal lenght, and at which zoom setting I should put the lens, plus it's small, I always found zooms somewhat unbalanced on a camera and uncomfortable to use, and when I use a prime, I only think about shooting since I know how much my camera will see and what can i capture with a certain lens. But it's just me, and I don't think that zooms are bad or something, they can be practical as hell and when the light is good, I enjoy shooting with my 18-135, but I don't zoom in or out whenever I can, I try to see the image first and then try to find a good balance between perspective and focal lenght. Back to your question about 35 vs 50, If you are shooting portraits indoors, a 50 is wide enough, but it depends on what is your definition of a portrait, I sometimes like to include the environment and the things that surround my subject, and if you do that indoors, it can be tricky with a 50mm.
Great Scott Photog 9 years ago
the 85mm is wicked sharp, I use it at f/2 when I'm wanting it to be crisp and it is that.
leon_all_shots Posted 9 years ago. Edited by leon_all_shots (member) 8 years ago
I bought a Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS, old manual focus lens.

I own the 50mm f/1.8D too, but found it too tight for normal usage.
The 28mm, even though it's f/2.8, manual focus and manual metering, still gets used more like 80% of the time compared with the 50mm's 20%.

That's just me, everyone is different. If I had a FF 35x24mm camera, I reckon The 50mm f/1.8 would be bolted on near permanently.
neilc76 9 years ago
Hi all,
thanks for all the info and advice.
I've finally reached my decision.....
I'm going to get the 35mm f1.8 & the 85mm f1.8.

I love the image quality, the shallow depth of field and the portability of the lenses. If I were to get the 17-50 f2.8 I feel it would be a compromise. If however I need a zoom, the Tamron will be the top of my list.

Thanks again all, I'll be posting some pics taken with my primes soon.

stonebear 9 years ago
Miroslav Majstorovic

I see what you mean, I didn't have it right in my mind. To get the same size object I would need to stand closer with the 35mm and that would give me the big nose effect, is what I think I meant.....
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
there is a lot of confusion about this, I often get confused myself. There are people who say that wider lenses make noses bigger and that they change perspective, and those who say that it makes no difference. I think that they are both right in some way, since the focal lenght doesn't change perspective, but on the other hand a 35mm lens doesn't "see" the same way a 50mm lens does. I've never done tests about this, but my best argument against those who think that when you go wider, noses automatically grow, is a question: what about P&S cameras? Their lenses begin with 5 or 6 mm or so, but they are not distorting human faces aren't they?
SAS Photographie PRO 9 years ago
There is something VERY important to think about:

There are pretty few used AF-1.8-50 or AF-2-35 lenses available (they exist for what? 20 years?) and there are quite a lot of used 1.8-35G on the used market (consider the lens is available for only a year).

Customer satisfaction with the 1.8-35 seems not THAT high ....
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
Maybe it's not just because of the quality of the lens, but rather the fact that the 35/1.8 is a little bit more demanding for shooting, a lot of people who bought this lens commented about that "wide angle effect''. With 50mm you can stand further and get more flattening perspective, and people generally like that. I personally like the feeling of being close to your subject, which you get with the 35mm (cause you can stand closer), I don't have that lens, but I often use 35mm setting on my kit lens, when I want to get closer. But this doesn't explain why 35/2 is so popular, I guess it is maybe used more among FX shooters, and it's the only AF 35mm lens made for FX (or film), and on FX, and it behaves differently on FX since it is actually a wide angle lens on FX.
reeez Posted 9 years ago. Edited by reeez (member) 9 years ago
i kind of regretted getting the 50mm because i had to step back a lot sometimes; 35mm is much more practical.

but i'm just gonna get the 35mm 1.4 or 1.8 when i have the money :>
Miroslav Majstorovic 9 years ago
^me too, I was thinking of selling the 50mm to get the 35mm, but I am sure that there would be a lot of situations when I would miss my 50mm, it's sometimes too long, but on the other hand a 35mm can be too short, if you can't get closer.
ronirecords 9 years ago
i swear the 50mm is the best thing ever. with extra money anything else is a nice addition of course. but if anyone were to have just ONE lens, there is no doubt. period.
themajik Posted 9 years ago. Edited by themajik (member) 9 years ago
I have them both. The 35mm is my standard lens and mounted almost all the time on my D90. When I shoot portrait, I prefer the 50mm 1.8D. But it is not really good for head portrait, since you have to get pretty near to the person. I also plan to buy a 85mm 1.4 for head portrait. But I don't want to sell my 50mm 1.8D, since it is really cheap, and of course it can do something that my 35mm and a 85mm cannot :-). My advice: buy them both!
-issata 8 years ago
I just picked up the 35mm today and going to be testing it out this weekend. So far it's not a huge difference between my 50mm and 35mm, but the autofocus is much faster.
everyone's already hit the technical aspects above so i'll touch a bit on the practicality side.

i inherited a 50mm 1.8 AI-S that was manual everything, so it was a pain and i sold it. i got the 35mm 1.8 to take its place early this year and that is the lens that i have on my D90 almost 90% of the time i'm shooting for my personal collection. when i gave my gf my D40, i felt like i could justify "giving" her the 35mm and buying myself the "cheaper" 50mm AF-D (if anyone has a wife/gf, you know why we have to use these words).

for work, i always use the 50mm when i know i can control the environment (step forward or back, shoot, reframe, shoot, etc). but in the real world or casual shooting, where i can't make impatient nieces and nephews sit still for more than 5 seconds, or dinner with friends, it's the 35mm. i refuse to use them vice versa and put either on my body depending on what i know i'm getting into. like someone else said, you can get both for just a little over $300.
Topper Ballola 8 years ago
Wow. I really thank this topic for ever having done. I recently used a borrowed 50mm/1.8 and was satisfied with the results. Unfortunately, my other friend was insisting on buying a 35mm/1.8 and with this discussion, I have already reached a decision. :)
nictheartist 8 years ago
I must admit I have just traded in my 50mm AND the kit lens for the 35mm. I'm not regretting this (yet). The 50mm was great for setting up stills etc or really patient sitters, but not terribly suitable for my purposes.Maybe I was just too damn slow to focus manually, I did get the hang of it, but it was quite slow to do. I just couldn't get spontaneous shots of, say, the pet -or people- as they were moving around so much. Your choice really depends on what you do with it.
eager island [deleted] 8 years ago
I own both. Love 'em both! Got my 35mm for $199.95 new, and my 50mm for $99.95 refurbished. That's some great glass for under $300.00 (both lenses)
oleyski 8 years ago
The 35 can be of a great choice in terms of price and availability. dont worry about distortions, adobe photoshop CS5 can handle that =)...
kgreggbruce 8 years ago
' dont worry about distortions, adobe photoshop CS5 can handle that =)... '

So can being aware of your distance/angles before you press the shutter button. The above is horrid advice that should be avoided at all costs.
rhetorical haircut [deleted] 8 years ago
I shoot a D90 and started with the 50 1.8 but found it just a little to tight for most indoor, informal type shots - birthday parties, christmas and such - so I went out and got a 35 1.8 and don;t regret it. The 35 1.8 works really well for those indoor, informal type shots and I don't notice any distortion cuased by the wider angel unless I get right up in someone's grill.

I continue to use the 50 1.8 for outdoor, general walkaround stuff becuse it's a FX lens and I like to take advantage of the center glass with my DX camera when I can.

Both are fantasitc in my opinion so I recomend getting both if you can swing it.
scott.walls 8 years ago
when i had a d90, the 35mm f2 was almost always on my camera. with d700, 50mm f1.8 is almost always on my camera.

CharlesSalvacion 8 years ago
Interesting discussion :) im thinking of getting the 35mm also after reading the posts' above.
K. Gerontis 8 years ago
I allready own the 50mm f/1.8D lens but now I decided to buy the 35mm as well. It's really cheap so It wouldn't hurt having both, and I could really use the extra space and sharpness at 1.8 the 35mm can offer. It could become my standard lens on my d90. Though I admit I'm in love with my 50mm, which can also be easily used with macro tubes to do some macro due to the aperture ring :) I suppose I'm greedy... :p
J&MReams PRO 8 years ago
I have the 50 1.8. It is by far my fav lens. I've considered also getting the 35, but I don't find myself feeling like the 50 is too tight very often - if ever. Personally I like some seperation for portrait shots. I would be concerned that I would have to get too close to the subject to get a tight shot with the 35mm
PiecesofmeJen 7 years ago
what is the REAL difference between 50mm 1.4 and 1.8

I need it mostly for portraits, natural light, to get a great sharp focus...and details up close

which one is better? it seems the 1.4 is double the price!

Tomnikon 7 years ago
I´ve got a 50mm f 1.8. Do you think it is advisable to buy de 35mm AF-S 1.8? Remember that I have a Nikon D60, so I can´t focus auto... I have to do it manually in the 50mm. While I learn a lot by focusing manually with the nifty fifty, sometimes I wish I had an af-s lense, such as the 35mm af-s

So... you think that having the 50mm buying the 35mm af-s would be a good choice? Will I see any difference between them or not?

The Lurgadhan 7 years ago
I am a little late finding this post, but for what ever its worth, I loved my 35mm f/1.8G. I bought the 50mm with my camera (D300s) and thought it was a great lens. On a whim I bought the 35mm f/1.8G, and I am so glad I did. For the next year or so it rarely left my camera and the 50mm rarely came out of the bag. In fact I used it so much I went and bought the f/1.4 version a month ago.

On my camera body the 35mm f/1.8G actually focuses a little bit slower than the 50mm, but I think on a crop body the 35mm focal length is so much more usable. To anyone on the fence about this lens, I say go for it. The only situation I would say the 50mm outshines the 35mm is for head and shoulders portraits, and in that situation I use the 85mm prime with is much more flattering.

ChuckShot 7 years ago
I have both. I use both. Depends on how tight my situation is. I think both of them produce fantastic images. I just bought the Nikon 17-55 2.8 DX, so I may not be using the 35 and 50 for a while.

Tomnikon I would get the 35. Having AF is great and it will be the same focal length as a 50 on a FF camera.
newphotogal 7 years ago
Basketball... I've got a D7000. 18-200VR and need something different. I'm thinking of going with either the 50mm1.8 or the 35mm 1.8- any recommendations and why?
La.Main.Noire PRO 7 years ago
Salut tout le monde! Quand j'ai commandé mon d90, j'ai commandé en même temps le petit 35mm f1.8. Les critiques étaient bonnes, le prix intéressant...18 105 ou coûteux et peu efficaces 18 200 ne me plaisaient pas de toute façon!
depuis mon achats, j'ai fait beaucoup de photos avec ce fameux 35. J'ai pu me rendre compte de son efficacité (et de sa distortion trop importante aussi!)...
Puis, il y a peu, je me suis acheté le très réputé 50mm 1.8! Comment dire? Depuis que j'ai cet objectif, il ne quitte plus ou presque mon d90!! Cet objectif est un véritable petit bijou! il ne coûte pas cher. Il n'est pas trop mal construit, l'AF est rapide, et il a un piqué énorme!! Bref cet objectif est tout simplement INDISPENSABLE!!!
Voilà bon shoot à tous!
Edster951 7 years ago
I have both 35 and 50 1.8.

I mainly use the 35mm as it is closer to what my eye sees and I like the working distance. I put on the 50 and look through the view finder and say.."woah, too close" and swap back the 35mm.

distortion has never been an issue for ,me.
qp wakafuji 7 years ago
I'd say 35mm more for indoor normal shots. 50mm for outdoor normal shots. Either lens is about the same really. 35mm DX does have more distortion, but not really too noticeable unless you shooting at a brick wall. the 35mm did go up in price since after the earthquake hit japan tho.
chad_d_stud Posted 7 years ago. Edited by chad_d_stud (member) 7 years ago
okay, am i the only one who noticed this? The 35mm is designated as 'DX'. I really don't understand why one would worry if you would plug it into a d90. You plug it into a d90 you get the full 35mm fp. This is not the same comparing it to the 'FX' 50mm that will always have a crop factor on dx cameras. At the time of this writing there never was a 50mm designed for the small frame dslrs. (mind you i still keep wishing there would be) And the reason why 50mm is too close is because it is of course a 75mm lens on a d90 or similar.

On a d90 or similar, If you had both lenses you actually have a true 35mm (because it's dx) and somewhat a 75mm lens (because it is fx).
MrDAT 7 years ago
said "At the time of this writing there never was a 50mm designed for the small frame dslrs. (mind you i still keep wishing there would be) "

Why would it matter if the 50mm is DX or FF? It's 50mm either way and will look exactly the same with either lens on your D90.l
chad_d_stud Posted 7 years ago. Edited by chad_d_stud (member) 7 years ago
no it won't. On a dx slr it's actually 75mm. That's the 1.5 crop factor on the smaller sensors. I thought everyone knew this?!

They won't look the same because they were made for diferent types of sensor sizes. Would the others here keep both if they looked the same?
MrDAT 7 years ago
It doesn't magically change. It's a 50mm lens no matter what body. FF, DX, or old APS film.

For example, if you take 35mm 1.8G DX lens and the 35mm f2D lens and put them on your D90, they will look the same through the viewfinder.
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