Which Canon Prime Lens Should I Buy First - 35mm or 50mm?

28/05/2021 5:40 am

The 35mm and 50mm focal lengths are both classics, which were once considered standard and were used for everyday photography as well as more professional purposes - this was before zoom lenses took over. While zoom lenses are more versatile, we all eventually add a prime lens to our bag for their sharpness and low light abilities. Let's decide which prime lens you should add to your Canon kit today.

35mm - Just Wide Enough


35mm is a wide focal length, but it is not ultra wide. This means you will fit plenty of detail in your shots, with plenty of space around your subjects for context, but you won’t be continuously scrambling forward to get a closer view. Wide angle lenses also provide a greater depth of field, meaning more of your image will be in focus.


35mm lenses are great for travel, as they can help you to frame beautiful landscapes, while they are also good for situational portraits, and photojournalism.

There are a few popular Canon 35mm lenses. For DSLR cameras, there is the EF 35mm f2 IS USM, and the faster, pro-quality 35mm f1.4L II USM lens. For EOS R users, take a look at the compact Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM lens.


35mm vs 50mm - which Canon prime lens should I purchase first?

Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM Sample Image

50mm - The "Nifty Fifty"

35mm vs 50mm - which Canon prime lens should I purchase first?

Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM Sample Image


The field of view provided by a 50mm lens is closer to what’s considered normal, meaning it is relatively close to what your eye can see; some beginners find this makes composition easier. As well as a tighter crop of your subject, the longer field of view makes it easier to produce shallow depths of field - that means more bokeh!

50mm lenses help you to produce more traditional portraits and as they often feature very bright maximum apertures, they are good for low light and night time photography. Street photographers also enjoy this closer view as they can keep some distance from their subjects, for a more candid approach.

Canon produces a range of 50mm options for their interchangeable lens cameras. For DSLRs there is the budget-friendly EF 50mm f1.8 STM. For the EOS R range you can choose between the ultra-compact RF 50mm f1.8 STM and the premium quality RF 50mm f1.2 L USM lens.

Add a Canon Prime Lens to Your Kit Today

The 35mm and 50mm focal lengths are classics for a reason and no one does them better than Canon. You will probably get both eventually, but hopefully this has made your first Canon prime lens purchase a little easier.


Keep an eye out on our blog for more lens recommendations, expert advice and product roundups - it’s your first step towards mastering the artform of photography.


Comments are closed for this post