7 Good Reasons to Use A 35mm Fixed Focal Lens

  • Lenses
  • 6 min read
35 mm Fixed-Focal Lens

The 35mm fixed focal lens is one of the most talked lenses by photographers. While the 50 mm is considered by many to be the ‘normal’ focal point closest to the human field of view, the 35 mm is the favorite focal point for photo reporters, street photographers and many experts.

Here are 7 reasons why you should use a fixed 35 mm more often as well as the different models of the moment for your Nikon camera.

To the attention of users of Nikon DX: to have a focal length equivalent to 35 mm with a Nikon DX camera. It is necessary to take into account the conversion factor x1.5. The 35 mm equivalent in DX is therefore a 24 mm focal length lens (24×1.5 = 36 mm by approximation).

1. 35 mm Field Angle and Framing

Shooting at 35 mm means using a focal length a little shorter than the ‘normal’ or ‘standard’ focal length. It is theoretically 43 mm – diagonal of the format 24×36. Photographers have long considered the 50 mm as this standard focal length. This makes little sense nowadays since ‘normality’ is rather on the side of zooms 24-70 mm or equivalent in DX (18-55 mm).

The 35 mm allows you to frame a little wider, have more space in the image to integrate peripheral elements that may be of interest. This is one of the reasons that led reporters to use this focal when they did not yet have high-performance zooms.

2. 35mm Fixed Focal Lens Versatility

Unlike long televisions or ultra-wide angles, the 35 mm goes everywhere.

You can use it to do Landscape, portrait, studio, street photo, urban, etc… The 35 mm has only advantages in everyday life. It does not distort the perspectives as much as the 24 mm, does not tighten the different planes like a small TV (85 or 105 mm) and lets the subject breathe in the image.

3. Taking into Account the Environment

If you want to photograph a subject in its environment without isolating it completely, then the 35mm is the focal lens you need.

Take a minimum step back and include in your composition the decor, the scene, the additional elements that will allow the viewer to situate the subject in its context.

The 50 mm allows to reach a close result but it leaves less freedom by tightening the field a little more.

The 24 mm incorporates many elements into the image, with the risks that this entails of ‘losing’ the subject.

4. Involvement of The Photographer

With a 35 mm you have to be at the heart of the action. Whether it is a street scene or a sporting event, the 35mm requires the photographer to approach the subject so that it is highlighted in the composition.

And to approach the subject is to get involved, take risks and make more original images than with a telescopic zoom pushed to its maximum a few or tens of meters away.

Photographing at 35 mm requires you most of the time to be seen. Rather than stealing a portrait from afar, you engage your subject. It’s up to you to manage the relationship, but that’s also photography.

5. Slow Speeds and Low Lights

A 35mm fixed is mostly open to f/2 or f/1.8. You have low lights, slow speeds and pretty background blur. If you’ve only ever used a trans-standard zoom that opens at f/3.5 or f/4, you’ll soon feel the difference.

A 35 mm f/1.8 allows to work at slow speed at nightfall without using flash and without generating blur of movement. Coupled with the extreme sensitivity of recent enclosures, it is an absolute weapon for dark places like church interiors, castles or other poorly lit interiors.

6. Compactness and Lightness

A 35 mm is a lens that knows how to be compact. Let’s leave out the Pro models open to f/1.4 whose size is equal only to the tariff. Take a look at the small 35 mm and see what they give when mounted on your case. They will change your life on the ground.

With a fixed 35 mm, you travel light, you do not attack your subject and you make much less tourist.

7. Affordable Rate

There are fixed 35mm lenses at quite affordable rates. Abandon the f/1.4 models reserved for the most demanding photographers, and prefer the lens that open to f/2 or f/1.8. The difference in opening is not noticeable, but your wallet will thank you.

The 35 mm Nikon And Compatible

In the Nikon range available at the time we write these lines, there are 3 models of 35 mm fixed.

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.4 G, heavyweight of the range reserved for the most demanding (and wealthy) of our readers – about $1600. The Nikon AF Nikkor 35 mm f/2 D, more accessible but aging (it should be replaced soon by a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 G compatible FX) – about $320.

The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 G, this 35 mm is reserved for DX cases on which it equals a 50 mm – about 180 dollars.

Nikkor 35 mm f / 1.8 G
Nikon 35 mm f / 1.8 G

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In independent lenses, the following models are found:

The Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AE UMC, affordable for an opening of f/1.4 but cumbersome to use-about 480 dollars.

Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AE UMC
Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 AE UMC

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The Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, another lens with large aperture, not very compact but very high performance about 830 dollars.

Sigma 35 mm f / 1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 35 mm f / 1.4 DG HSM

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