35mm Camera Lense Buying Guide

Before the advent of the digital (or DSLR) camera, 35mm cameras were used by everyone from amateurs to professional photographers. Favored by many purists, the still popular 35mm lens camera offers users a more traditional photography experience and allows photographers manual control over many features that have since been automated.

Here is a buying guide for anyone in the market for a 35mm lens to equip their camera.

Types of 35mm Camera Lenses

Wide Angle Lens

A wide angle lens is great for either an expansive image like a Vista or horizon or a narrower one like an entrance or alleyway. The wide angle lens has a focal length less than 35mm. As mentioned, they will produce more or less image than the standard lens. Fisheye lenses are also wide-angle lenses because they narrow the view while also avoiding the typical rectangular shape.

Telephoto Lens

Telephoto lenses have a focal length of more than 70 mm, though many photographers consider "true" telephoto lenses to exceed a 135 mm focal length. A telephoto lens will provide a much narrower field of view than standard lenses. They are ideal for focusing on close-up, minute image details or distant objects. As one might guess, telephoto lenses are larger and heavier than other lenses.

Standard Lens

Also known as a standard kit lens, a normal lens will give the photographer nearly the same viewing distance as the human eye. In other words, what is in the viewfinder will represent what appears on film. Standard lenses are popular for beginners who are just learning the ins and outs of photography.

Zoom Lens

A zoom lens provides different degrees of focal length. The long barrel has a control ring that is rotated to move the lens back and forth zooming in and out. The ease of use and versatility for capturing images makes it another popular lens for amateurs.

Prime Lens

A prime lens provides a single focal length making it the opposite of a zoom lens. Prime lenses are available with a variety of focal length options, ranging from telephoto to wide-angle. While it may seem less attractive than a zoom or telephoto lens, the single focal length lets the camera operator learn the craft before moving on to more progressive lenses.

Macro Lens

A macro lens is for close-up photography. The macro lens focal lengths range from 60mm to 200mm and beyond.

Buyers also need to pay attention to these Features when Purchasing a 35mm Lens

Aperture

The importance of aperture (a measurement of the lens opening about its focal length) is dependent largely on the camera's usage and the photograph subjects. The aperture of a lens will open and close, allowing more or less light to enter and expose the film. The control of aperture is a basic photography technique called depth of field.

Focal Length

Typically measured in millimeters (28mm, 50mm, etc.), focal length will determine the size of the relative size of the image subject and its relation or focus to the surroundings.

Compatibility

It goes without saying that buyers want a lens that will attach to their camera. The chosen lens should ideally be individually designed to match the camera manufacturer as that will all but guarantee a good fit. However, the brand maker need not be the same, as there are a number of high-quality 3rd party camera lens options on the market. Regardless, buyers should just be sure the lens fits the camera.

Usage

How a lens is to be used will largely determine the type purchased. Planning out in advance the types and kinds of photographs can inform the lens.

Versatility

If resources are limited, then a more versatile lens might make more sense as it will have more applications. The most practical choice for a lens is the one that will get the greatest use.

Image Stabilization

If a photographer plans on taking action shots or pictures while in motion, this more particular need may determine a lens that offers some form of stabilization. Some lenses offer built-in image stabilization while other have attachments that assist with stabilizing the subject.

Cost

The cost of some lenses are prohibitive and often exceed the price of the camera body. Before buying any lens, photographers need to consider all of the above features and make a determination of

Top Brands and Product Lines

Canon

Canon is considered by many to be the leader in 35mm lens technology. Add in the large amount of compatible Canon camera bases and you can see why they have led the field for many years.

Nikon

Nikon is no newcomer to the 35mm game and is nearly as often listed atop the rankings for both cameras and lenses.

Sony

While Sony has been a more focused player in the digital camera market, the company does offer a good selection of 35mm lenses.

Olympus

Making high-quality lenses and cameras for decades, Olympus is a leader in the field.

Pentax

Pentax has lost market share over the past few decades but offers many quality 35mm camera lenses for a broad range of uses.

35mm camera lenses will often cost more and last longer than the cameras they fit. The longevity and importance of the lens to the craft is often the reason that many photographers spend more on the right lens or group of lenses.