Af-s 35mm 1.8 vs Af-s 50mm 1.8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by meisam_hedayat, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. I own Nikon d3100 with Kit lens.
    I am planning to purchase my first Prime Lens. But I can not decide between Af-s 35mm 1.8 and Af-s 50mm 1.8.
    I was wondering weather they differ in sharpness and quality or it is just about focal lens.
    If not, Which can creat better bokeh and what are advantages of each and disadvantages.
    Generally speaking which one is more recommended?
  2. Personally, I`d opt for the 35mm lens. Regardless of the sharpness or quality, I find 50mm on DX simply too long.
    For most applications, close to a "standard" focal lenght, the 35 seem way more usable. A 50mm lens will be good as a short tele, for portraiture, etc. but not for "general" use.
    The longer the lens. the more compressed background, providing maybe a more differentiated subject. Depth of field will be the same on both lenses. Don`t know about bokeh.
  3. Meisam, you'll find many threads already for comparison between these 2 lenses. The one sound advice that's always offered, is: take your 18-55 lens, put it to 35mm for a day and see how it works for you. Next, put it to 50mm, see how it works for you. Then you know which lens works better for you.
    In the choice between these 2, sharpness and bokeh are roughly equal. But given the fact they're two different focal lengths, your primary concern should be which focal length is useful for you. I can tell you which of the two I'd choose and use a lot (I actually own the other one...), but my style of photography might be different from yours. So what's useful to me, might be useless to you.
  4. For DX you can't do better than the 35mm f/1.8G. The 50 is as stated too long for general photography. It is also new. Tests I've seen show it to ahve a consederable amount of distortion, which is frankly weird for a 50mm. I suspect but am not sure that the 35mm is sharper, too.
  5. Wouter has given you some sensible advice. I personally have the 35mm. It's closest to being a 'normal' lens on a DX sensor camera. Depending on your shooting preferences, it may be just right, too short or too long!
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    But given the fact they're two different focal lengths, your primary concern should be which focal length is useful for you.​
    Wouter is exactly right. By far the most important selection criterion is which focal length works for you, and in case both work (but perhaps for different reasons), maybe you should eventually get both. But choose based on focal length first. Otherwise, both the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S and 50mm/f1.8 AF-S are fine lenses. The 35mm has fairly serious chromatic aberration, though.
    I have the 50mm/f1.8 AF-S and also tested a different sample on loan from Nikon. There is a tiny bit of barrel distortion; I don't think it is something you need to worry about, though. I captured the following test image with an FX D700. On the D3100, the distortion will be even less due to the crop. You can see the water level is a bit curved.
    You can find a larger version of that image here:
  7. For me, the 35 is a better, more "standard" range. I have the 35 and the older 50mm f1.8D, and the 50 only gets used for the occasional portrait. the 35 gets used a LOT, though.
    The CA on the 35 is there, but hasn't been an issue for me, as it's the kind that is easily correctable.
  8. Wouter has it. Pick the focal length that meets your Field of View requirements. Then find the lens at that focal length that meets other needs like speed or Bokeh. What exactly are you planning to use this prime for?
  9. "Generally speaking which one is more recommended?"
    For what purpose? And don't forget that you can see how useful these focal lengths will be by setting your kit lens to 35mm or 50mm and seeing how they work for you.
  10. Thank you all for your quick and helpful reply.
    Well my purpose is mainly obtaining sharper portrait and capturing better photos in low light conditions. Most of my photos are from my family,and friends individually and in group both indoor and outdoor.
    Besides I carry most of the times my cam and captures scenes that I like.
    I tried both focal lengths with my kit length as you suggested. As some of you mentioned for general shooting 35 is more convenient. on the other hand I am more convenient with 50 for portrait(I took some from my 3 years old son).
    Although 35 still can be used for portrait by getting closer to the object by few steps.
    I am almost now in favor of 35 in scene of focal length.
    Any more hints is appreciated. since I have to pay for either of them about 350 USD according price in my region. although the global price is much less. Then I don't want to spend this amount and then dream on the other one.LOL
  11. A Shun says, both focal lenghts could work for you; they are different. One doesn`t replace the other.

    I find the 50 a better choice for portraiture; it will let you to rapidly fill the frame, and to work at a larger focus distance, providing a slightly more flattened look. As mentioned, the background will appear a bit more compressed, also interesting for those who look for a higher separation. You will need a bit larger spaces; about 1.4x times the distance you need to fill a frame with the 35.

    The 35 is a "standard" look, all-round lens for DX, still a bit "longuish" indoors, far from wide angle. Getting a bit closer to your subject for portraiture doesn`t need to show ugly distorted faces; a half body or full body portrait will look perfectly fine. Even getting closer, a slightly rounded face in a child is not unpleasant at all... they use to have tiny noses. You`ll have more space to move, looking for the perfect framing.

    That`s my personal opinion, based on my own experience and needs. Your approach could be pretty different. As mentioned above, check which one works for you.
  12. I suspect you may want both as they are different and it looks like you have use for both.
  13. Hi Carl, I also have a D3100 and that 35mm prime. It's my only prime at the moment and I can tell you honestly that it is a jewel for its price! But it has a little flare problem that can be avoided by choosing different shooting angle. The 6 diaphragm diesign makes its bokeh almost circular when opened wide and it looks nice (to me, at least). Jose is absolutely right about the fact "The 35 is a "standard" look, all-round lens for DX, still a bit "longuish" indoors, far from wide angle" If you are sitting at a restaurant then you will be able to capture up to 2-3 people with that 35. But if you want individual shot then 50 is the choice. This all depends whether you dont want to leave your chair. LOL.
  14. oops! I got the name wrong! So sorry! it's for you Meisam.
  15. I bought the 35 over the 50 for one reason. I often use it in low-light situations, e.g. inside churches. With a 35, I can often walk closer to what I want to fill the frame; with a 50, I might not have to walk forward, but often find I cannot back up to fill the frame with a panorama.
    So, if (as it appears) you are somewhat torn, remember that you can usually walk closer, but you can't always back up.
  16. How about ( if you can live with f2.8) an "in between" option i.e. Nikkor 40mm F2.8, wich gives you the extra option of doing some Macro experiments ?
  17. I bought both (or nearly, mine is the 50 mm f/1.4 AF-S), and I am waiting for a something like a 20 or 24 mm f/1.8 to complete the range. Most of my shooting is done with the 50 mm, I like the short tele. I own a 17-55 mm f/2.8 AF-S too, but it sits on the shelf or on the backup body most of the time: autofocus is so much faster and spot-on with the 1.4 and 1.8 lenses, even if for most pictures I use f/2.8 or f/3.5 (more DOF), autofocus works better with these primes.
    I would opt for the 50, and hope for a 24 or something for the wider end (group shots).

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