In the sea of lens options that are out there for your camera, there's certainly a lot that grabs your attention.
On the one hand, wide-angle lenses are great for landscapes. On the other hand, telephoto lenses are nice to have for sports or wildlife photography.
There's plenty to appreciate about a good 50mm lens too, as they are often quite inexpensive, but offer plenty of versatility for everything from portraiture to macro work.
But there's another lens - an old standard - that you should consider as being a great addition to your camera bag: the 35mm.
Let's go over a few of the best reasons why you need a 35mm lens.
Viewing a scene through an ultra wide-angle lens like a 12mm or a super telephoto lens like a 400mm renders a scene that's not familiar to the naked eye. In the former, we see a much wider angle of view; in the latter, a much narrower angle of view.
But with a 35mm lens, you get a result that closely mimics what you see with your own eyes.
Think about it - many movies are shot on 35mm film because it gives the audience a familar and realistic point of view.
The same is true of photography...
A 35mm prime lens like the Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G AF-S shown above will get you realistic-looking results in the images you create.
What's more, because it's a fixed focal length lens, or a prime lens, that means if you want to change the composition, you don't get to rely on zoom. Instead, you have to move your feet to change the composition, which challenges you to be a more creative photographer. That's a good thing!
They Have Big Apertures
By and large, 35mm lenses - whether you use them on your DSLR or mirrorless camera - have large maximum apertures.
This, of course, means a couple of important things.
For starters, the large maximum aperture makes it easier to get nice, blurry backgrounds for portraits. Since the size of the aperture influences the depth of field, the bigger the aperture of your lens, the easier it will be for you to get a nice bokeh-filled background.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is that a big aperture allows you to shoot in challenging lighting conditions without sacrificing as much shutter speed.
Open your 35mm lens up to f/2, f/1.8, or f/1.4, and allow it to collect the light you need to get stunning low-light portraits like the one shown above, all while being able to use faster shutter speeds while handholding your camera.
And with those big apertures, you also have more leeway with your ISO setting. Keep the ISO low to avoid digital noise, or if you want to add grain to the shot, bump up the ISO and increase the shutter speed even further.
Most 35mm lenses, like the Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon ZE T shown above, are small and compact, making them much easier to carry than heavier, longer lenses, particularly telephotos.
If you have a long day of shooting ahead of you, the last thing you want is to lumber around with a big, heavy lens attached to your camera.
Granted, sometimes you need a big, heavy lens, but more often than not, a small 35mm lens will get you what you need (more on versatility next).
That small size and feathery weight make the 35mm lens an ideal choice for a daily walk around lens or travel photography lens.
You might even find that after buying a 35mm lens that it becomes your default lens!
Like it's cousin the 50mm lens, a 35mm lens is known for having excellent versatility.
You can even use a 35mm lens for street photography, architecture, product photography, and macro photography as well. Heck, use it for weddings too, like the one shown above.
That means with just one lens, you can tackle virtually any subject that doesn't require a telephoto focal length.
And, in case you haven't noticed, photography is a pretty expensive hobby, so being able to do a bunch of different things with a single lens is a good thing. It's even better when you can find a good used 35mm lens for a great price.
They're a Perfect Bridge Between Wide-Angle and Standard
If you shoot with a wide-angle lens, you can be somewhat restricted in terms of the subject matter.
Landscapes look great, but portraits can be distorted because of the wide-angle view.
On the other hand, a standard lens, like a 50mm, is great for a lot of things, but in tight spaces - especially if mounted to a crop sensor camera - a 50mm can be too narrow of a view.
The 35mm lens is an ideal compromise between the two.
As noted earlier, a 35mm lens creates an image that's pleasing to view because it closely resembles our own field of vision.
But beyond that, you can take portraits without the wide-angle distortion of a true wide-angle lens, and you can take photos of all manner and sort in tight spaces without sacrificing a lot of the scene, as would happen with a 50mm lens.
In other words, the 35mm lens is simply a well-rounded, versatile, and dependable piece of glass.
Can it do everything? No...
But can it do a whole lot of things well? You bet! Find out more about why you need a 35mm lens in the video above by DigitalRev TV.