These 35mm Primes Will Quickly Become a Multi-Tool in Your Lens Library

Canon RF Mount Lenses 35mm

35mm primes are in the Goldilocks Zone when it comes to versatile lenses.

We absolutely love 35mm primes at The Phoblographer, and it’s for good reason. This focal length may just be the most versatile lens you can get your hands on, and we think all photographers should have one in their lens library. Why? Well, 35mm primes are great for so many genres. Shoot street? 35mm primes will have your back. Shoot portraits, landscapes, events, weddings, documentary, astrophotography, food photography? You guessed it, 35mm primes are fantastic for all of those genres too. In this roundup, we will take a look at some of our favorite 35mm primes.

35mm primes are great for so many reasons. Not only can the lenses listed below be used easily in multiple genres, but they also offer incredible sharpness, render colors beautifully, and their fast apertures make them great for low light shooting. You can create some gorgeous bokeh with them too. Throw in great AF performance and solid builds, and you have 35mm primes that find themselves in the Goldilocks Zone. Check out some of our favorites below.

Sigma 35mm F1.2 Art

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful image quality
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • We adore the aperture ring
  • Weather sealing
  • Sharp image quality
  • Gorgeous colors on the Panasonic S1R
  • While Face detection on Panasonic isn’t that great, AF tracking isn’t terrible with the Sigma 35mm f1.2 Art DG DN.

Cons

  • On the L mount system, the autofocus is lousy and doesn’t allow full advantage of the Sigma 35mm f1.2 Art DG DN.
  • It’s cumbersome and even heavier on Panasonic’s L mount options
  • It’s a massive lens that goes against the whole point of Mirrorless
  • A few fringing issues, but they’re rare. There should be none with a lens like this though.
  • On the untextured areas, the Sigma 35mm f1.2 Art DG DN is slippery to hold.

Buy now L Mount: $1,499

Buy now Sony E: $1,499

Sony 35mm F1.8 FE

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small
  • Cost-effective and under $800
  • Weather sealing
  • Sharp: very sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • The best colors we’ve seen from a Sony lens
  • Can focus very closely
  • Fast aperture
  • With AF-C on the Sony a7r III, it is fast enough for street photography

Cons

  • Though this is minor, we wish Sony gave us a working distance and zone focus scale for street shooting

Buy now: $748

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 USM IS

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Fairly fast to focus
  • It’s a lens designed to always be on your camera
  • Image stabilization (very much needed in the system)
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Sharp enough for most users, but not as sharp as most L glass we’ve seen and used. Still, it’s a shocker
  • Pretty affordable

Cons

  • We would have gladly paid more money for weather sealing

Buy now: $499

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Robust weather sealing
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • More expensive than competing Full Frame 35mm f1.8 lenses, though it can be argued that it is the most feature-packed and the best

Buy now: $846.95

Pro Tip: All of the 35mm primes listed here are fantastic, but not all of them are weather sealed. If you plan on taking this lens into less than pleasant weather, we highly recommend some weatherproof camera and lens covers. These covers will protect against rain, snow, and dust, and the best part is that they don’t cost a fortune.

Tamron 35mm F2.8 Di III OSD

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Compact (although the Sony 35mm f2.8 Zeiss is still smaller)
  • Lightweight
  • Class-leading weather sealing
  • Excellent image quality overall
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Plasticky build quality
  • Low light autofocus can be a tad slow

Buy now: $349

Olympus 17mm F1.8 M.ZUIKO

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very good image quality
  • Focus ring with full-time manual focus override and distance scale
  • Super fast autofocus

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • No lens hood included
  • Chromatic aberrations are visible in most high contrast situations

Buy now: $399

Tamron SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • Truly lovely colors
  • Weather sealing
  • Price tag isn’t all that awful
  • Good autofocus
  • Great for photographing people and events

Cons

  • Why didn’t they give this lens image stabilization?

Buy now Canon EF: $899

Buy now Nikon F: $898.98

Fujifilm 23mm F1.4

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Superb image quality
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Lots of great sharpness with even a bit of what seems like micro-contrast
  • Well built
  • Snapback focusing ring

Cons

  • Expensive

Buy now: $899

Pro Tip: One thing we cannot stress enough is just how important it is to keep your lenses clean. Dust, water, grease, and just about anything else can get onto the front element, the rear element, or onto the contacts, and when this happens, your lens simply will not work (nor will it last) as it should. You don’t need an expensive cleaning kit to take care of your 35mm primes: in fact, this one will do nicely. Keep it in your bag and clean as you go.

Leica 35mm F2 ASPH Summicron

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Pretty affordable for a Leica lens
  • Fast aperture
  • Small size
  • Well built
  • When attached to your camera, it keeps the size of entire package down overall

Cons

  • We think it’s time Leica starts weather sealing their lenses in the same way that they’re doing so with their cameras

Buy now: $3,695

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM

35mm Primes

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Extremely sharp
  • Fast-focusing
  • Stellar build quality

Cons

  • May need some micro-adjustment out of the box
  • No weather sealing

Buy now Canon EF: $648.38

Buy now Nikon F: $647.64

Buy now Pentax K: $639

Buy now Sony E: $649

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.