We Tested The Best 35mm Lenses for Natural Light Portraits Under $1000

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The 35mm lens has a certain unique look to it. For many of us, it renders what we see in real life. Combine that with the simplicity that natural light offers, and you’ve got a concoction for fun! Lots of photographers adore the natural light portraiture process. And we’ve used tons of 35mm lenses for just that. In this roundup, we’re taking a look at the best ones we’ve found. For sure, these are the best 35mm lenses for natural light portraits. Even better, we’re keeping them under a budget of $1,000!

Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG Art

In our review, we said:

“Wedding photographers, photojournalists, and event photographers are the ones that would do best with this lens besides the obvious street photographer legion out there. 35mm is such a classic focal length and I personally believe it to mimic my field of view much more than 50mm.

Editor’s Note: You’re probably wondering why we didn’t choose the newer 35mm f1.2 from Sigma. The f1.4 is a bit softer, and that’s better for skin texture.

Sample Images

Buy Now: Usually $899

7Artisans 35mm f2

In our review, we said:

“The bokeh from the 7Artisans 35mm f2 is very nice to my eyes. It’s not what the f1.4 lenses that I’ve tested have, but it’s still very beautiful in its own way. This is partially due to the design and how subjects tend to bloom with light if they’re backlit. If you love bokeh, then you’re not going to really complain. Instead, you’re going to be more thrilled that you’ve got an affordable lens that can give you solid quality.”

Sample Images

Buy Now: $289

Pro Tip: Sometimes, the best thing to do with natural light portraiture is to use cover from shadows, leaves, etc. This way, you have the most control over the light. It also means you don’t need to wait until the Golden Hour. But don’t take our word for it! There are tons of others on the web saying the same thing!

Nikon 35mm f1.8 S

In our review, we said:

“35mm is a versatile focal length popular among many photographers, suitable for street, landscapes, portraits, and many other genres of photography, so it made a lot of sense for Nikon to introduce the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S as one of the first lenses for the Z Mount system. Overall, we found the image quality of the lens to be damn good. It’s sharp, has creamy bokeh, and doesn’t really give you an sort of issues when it comes to the image quality. Couple this with the lens being very compact and you’ve got a great product.”

Sample Images

Buy Now: Usually around $849

Sony 35mm f1.8 FE

In our review, we said:

“I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE lens as far as image quality went because their 50mm f1.8 FE is just wrong in my opinion. But their 55mm f1.8 FE is fantastic. And thankfully, the image quality from the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE lens leans more towards the latter. Photographers both professional and hobbyist will thoroughly enjoy the image quality the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE lens produces.”

Sample Images

Buy Now: Usually around $748

Lensbaby 35mm f2.8 Edge

In our review, we said:

“The bokeh is really the best thing about the design of the Lensbaby 35mm f3.5 Edge. With eight aperture blades, it isn’t like the 11 the Sony G Master lenses offer but it’s still nice and creamy. Portrait photographers will make the most of this as will anyone who really likes focusing up close and personal on stuff. Tilting the focusing just makes things more and more bokehlicious if you’re into a specific look. Some of the work involved with the Lensbaby 35mm f3.5 Edge is just about messing around and experimenting to see what works. Most photographers can think in terms of straight and linear focusing planes: thinking in terms of shifted planes is rough.”

Sample Images

Buy Now: Around $359