Buyers Guides |Best 35mm lenses in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best 35mm lenses in 2022

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art
Buyers Guide

If you like to shoot street photography or environmental portraiture, a 35mm lens could be the perfect lens for you. It’s focal length is wide enough to capture environmental context, yet a 35mm lens doesn’t cause the distortion effects you get with ultra wide-angle lenses. A 35mm lens is long enough that you can still compose your subject large in the frame.

Along with this angle of view, the best 35mm lenses are small, fast and produce smooth bokeh effects. For anyone building out their lens kit for the first time, a 35mm lens is an essential optic to have – even if you shoot something other street photography or photojournalism. Landscape and architectural photographers, in particular, might find this focal length appealing.

Because 35mm primes are such a popular focal length, there are thankfully plenty of options out there to choose from for all camera mounts. In this guide we’ve rounded up some of the best 35mm lenses we’ve tested over the years and explained what we feel makes them special.

50mm vs 35mm lens

The ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm prime is a stalwart lens for many photographers given its human eye angle of view. A 35mm lens provides a little bit wider angle of view that allows you to capture some environmental context in your photos. With portraiture in particular, that slightly wider focal length means you can shoot in tighter spaces than you could with a 50mm prime.

In fact, a case could be made that the best 35mm lenses are more versatile than the best 50mm lenses. This is because of the greater flexibility we have these days to crop into an image in post-production without having to sacrifice too much image quality. So if you decide later that you want a tighter crop, it’s not an issue.

Is a 35mm lens good for video?

Because it offers that little bit wider angle of view than a 50mm, a 35mm lens is great for video. Vloggers will appreciate the environmental context it brings into the frame. It also creates space for a split screen in your frame.

What’s more, if you’re filming in 8K or 4K and want to crop into your footage for a tighter frame, you can do this.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN | Art

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art review

Specification

  • Lens type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Announced: 27th April 2021
  • Available mounts: L-mount, Sony E-mount (FE)
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Construction: 15 elements in 11 groups, with 1 FLD, 1 ELD, 2 SLD and 2 aspherical elements
  • Coatings: Super Multi Layer, water and oil repellant (front element)
  • Number of aperture blades: 11
  • Angle of view: 63.4°
  • Focus mechanism: Stepping motor
  • Closest focusing distance: 30cm /11.8-inches
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:5.4
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Supplied accessory: Petal lens hood
  • Dimensions (diameter x length): L-mount: 75.5 x 109.5mm, Sony E-mount: 75.5 x 111.5mm
  • Weight: L-mount: 645g, Sony E-mount: 640g

Sigma reworked its first Art lens to create the superb Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN for L-mount and Sony FE-mount cameras. The original 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art was introduced in 2012 and it was designed primarily for DSLRs but the new 35mm f/1.4 BG DN Art has been redesigned optically with mirrorless cameras in mind.

Measuring 109.5/111.5mm in length (depending upon the mount) and 75.5mm in diameter, and weighing 645g, the 35mm F1.4 is slimmer and lighter than the original 35mm f/1.4 Art lens. Nevertheless, it has an impressive level of sharpness right across the frame at all apertures and the bokeh is attractive.

The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN also features a de-clickable and lockable aperture ring, which is great news for videographers, plus there’s a customisable AFL button.

Inside the weather-sealed barrel, the new lens is constructed from 15 elements in 11 groups, including two Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements, an Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) element, an ‘F’ Low Dispersion (FLD) element and two aspherical elements.

In addition, the 11-blade rounded iris ensures smooth, round bokeh, making the 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art an attractive choice for portraits. Sigma’s anti-ghosting and anti-flare technology is also utilised to deliver excellent performance with backlit subjects while water and oil repellant coatings on the front element help to keep the image quality at its highest.

The 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art also keeps aberrations such as axial chromatic aberration, which cannot be corrected in-camera, at bay.

Sigma has used a stepping motor for the focusing system which uses a single, lightweight element, helping to make the autofocusing fast and quiet.

You can find the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art for Sony E-mount at Amazon USA

Price when reviewed
£750
$899
Check current price

For

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Declickable aperture ring
  • Weather-sealed

Against

  • Only available in Sony E-mount and the L-mount
  • No depth of field or distance scale
  • Unstabilised

Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm F1.8 S review

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups (including 2 ED elements, 3 aspherical elements, and elements with Nano Crystal Coat)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat
  • Focusing system: Rear focusing system
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.25 m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 62mm
  • Weight: 370g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 73 x 86mm

Nikon’s compact prime lens is ideal for street photography, owing to both its fast f/1.8 aperture and its weather sealing. A rounded, nine-blade aperture produces wonderful background blur, while its multi-focusing system lets you render your subject sharp even at a close distance.

A customisable control ring lets you assign exposure compensation in AF mode, and when you’re focusing manually this becomes your focus ring.

If you shoot video, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 has a near-silent stepping motor, and focus breathing is practically non-existent.

Nikon’s Z 35mm f/1.8 is a fantastic prime lens that you can use across a number of different disciplines.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£729
$846
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For

  • Compact design
  • Superb image quality
  • Near silent operation in video

Against

  • Expensive, but quality doesn't come cheap
  • Needs the correct embedded profiles to remove vignetting at wide apertures

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD

Tamron launches SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD for full-frame Canon, Nikon DSLRs

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Nikon F, Canon EF
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x
  • Minimum focus distance: 30cm
  • Coatings: Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Weight: 815 g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 80.9mm x 104.8mm

Dubbed by Tamron at its launch as ‘the finest lens in its history’, the SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD (Model F045) offers a robust build and plenty of spec at a fairly modest price tag.

Designed for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs, the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD features an optical construction of 14 elements in 10 groups, with four Low Dispersion and three Glass Molded Aspherical lens elements. Tamron says this combination of elements ‘eliminates’ chromatic aberrations and other optical distortions.

Even at its maximum aperture of f/1.4, Tamron says the SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD achieves high resolution from the centre of the frame to the edges.

A new BBAR-G2 coating helps minimise ghosting and flare, while a Fluorine coating on the lens’s front element repels water and oil, while also promising to be easier to wipe clean.

What’s more, Tamron has designed the SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD body to be moisture-resistant.

The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD AF drive uses Tamron’s Ultrasonic Silent Drive, and it also features a developed Dynamic Rolling-cam mechanism for stable AF performance in harsh conditions.

The SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD also offers a Full-Time Manual Focus override option, even when using the AF mode.

Price when reviewed
£759
$899
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For

  • A lot of functionality for the price
  • Excellent image quality
  • Beautiful bokeh

Against

  • A bit heavy

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Canon RF
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 11 Elements in 9 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.5x
  • Minimum focus distance: 17cm
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 52mm
  • Weight: 305g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 74.4mm x 62.8mm

Canon’s RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is compact and lightweight that is quite a unique wide-angle prime in that it offers the versatility you get from this focal length and adding in the capability of a 1:2 macro optic.

A Super Spectra coating helps keep ghosting and flare at bay, which also helps for more accurate colours. Also, an STM motor helps it achieve quiet, smooth AF performance, making it one of the best 35mm lenses on this list for video.

What’s more, it boasts a five-stop image stabilisation and a customisable Control Ring where you can adjust exposure settings. All of this for a very affordable price tag.

Price when reviewed
£529
$499
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For

  • 1:2 macro capability
  • 5 stops image stabilisation
  • Excellent image quality

Against

  • None

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM

Sony unveils FE 35mm F1.4 GM lens

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.26x
  • Minimum focus distance: 27cm
  • Coatings: Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 11
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 524g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 76mm x 96mm

Weighing just 524g and measuring 76mm x 96mm, the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM is a lightweight, portable, all-purpose lens aimed at all genres of photography.

The FE 35mm F1.4 GM boasts an 11-blade aperture and promises rich bokeh. Sony has also include dual XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors which it says provides more precise AF racking and better resolution at any distance.

Other features include a focus hold button, focus mode switch and an aperture ring with switchable click stops. The focus hold button can also be assigned to several other functions via a camera body menu.

The lens body also boasts a dust and moisture resistant design and a fluorine front element coating that repels water, oil and other contaminants.

Price when reviewed
£1200
$1398
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For

  • Very lightweight
  • Fast aperture
  • Excellent bokeh

Against

  • Expensive

Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2

Tamron launches 20mm, 24mm, 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 E-mount lenses

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 9 Elements in 8 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.5x
  • Minimum focus distance: 15cm
  • Coatings: Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 7
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 210g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 73mm x 63.5mm

Launched as part of a trio of fast, wide-angle lenses for Sony E mount cameras, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 supports key Sony features such as Fast Hybrid AF, Direct Manual Focus (DMF) and Sony Eye AF. It’s also compatible with in-camera lens corrections and firmware upgrades. 

Constructed of 9 elements in 8 groups, the lens also incorporates Tamron’s Moisture-Resistant construction to protect it against inclement conditions. It also features Fluorine-coated front elements to help protect against dust, oil and water. 

And all of that build quality you get for a very modest price tag.

Price when reviewed
£399
$249
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For

  • Very lightweight
  • Fast aperture
  • Very budget price tag

Against

  • AF a little on the slow side

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE joins 'Tiny Series' lens range

Specification

  • Product type: Full-frame wideangle prime
  • Mount: Sony E
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 10 Elements in 8 Groups
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 0.26x
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
  • Coatings: No
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 210g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 65mm x 63.5mm

The compact, lightweight lens boasts a very modest price tag and is ideal for everyday photography. The Samyang (known as Rokinon in the USA) AF 35mm F1.8 FE weighs just 210g and is 65 x 63.5mm. Its optical construction consists of dual aspherical elements to help correct aberrations, and its nine-blade aperture helps produce bokeh and shallow depth of field effects.

The Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE also boasts a Custom Switch, which allows users to select various functions, such as different shooting modes. What’s more, Samyang has pledged to add more functions via firmware updates.

A Linear Stepping Motor promises quiet AF performance, and the Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE is also weather-sealed from dust, rain and snow.

Price when reviewed
£359
$399
Check current price

For

  • Great for everyday photography
  • Budget price tag
  • Incredibly small

Against

  • AF not as fast as more expensive models
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