3 Excellent 35mm Lenses Under $500 Every Photographer Will Love

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The tried and true 35mm lens is a favorite for many photographers. You can find it affixed to the cameras of portrait photographers, photojournalists, street photographers, landscape photographers, and more. The convenience that it comes with is invaluable. No matter the situation, it’s hard to not justify shooting with a 35mm lens. At least, it’s hard to justify not having one in your camera bag just in case. We dove into our Reviews Index and found some of the best. Take a look with us at some of the best under $500!

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips on Getting the Most from 35mm Lenses

Here are some pro tips on using a 35mm lens:

  • For photojournalism: Remember that you don’t always need to get super close to a subject. You just need to tell the story. Luckily, the best 35mm lenses mimics what the human eye sees.
  • For landscape photography: Stop the lens down to f8 and manually focus out to half way between the closest focusing distance and infinity. You’ll most likely get more than enoughof the scene in focus a majority of the time.
  • For portrait photography: Keep your subject in the center. Positioning the subject along the edges will make the subject bulge out.
  • For food photography: This is all about lighting. Place the food near a window and try to make it look like someone’s about to have the meal.

Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS USM: An Incredibly Versatile Lens

In our review, we state:

Arguably one of my favorite things about the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 USM IS is the bokeh. It’s smooth and creamy–this is all assisted by the fact that it can focus so darned close. Want that little bit of Korean BBQ or your Dumpling to really shine? Get close and let the background be blown out into a Monet painting.

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Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR: One of the Best 35mm Equivalent on Fuji

In our review, we state:

It’s by far the absolute best lens in Fujifilm’s lineup for street photography and candid shooting due to its autofocus speed. When the focusing point is at its smallest, it will be a bit slower. But increase it and what it become a complete speed demon. With that said, let the camera choose its own focusing point and it will seriously surprise you with how fast it focuses.

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Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD: Incredibly Durable

In our review, we state:

Tamron has been introducing affordably priced Sony Full Frame Mirrorless lenses that are robustly built and deliver excellent image quality, and the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) is no exception. It can easily hold its own against pricier competing offerings. At press time, it’s cheaper than any of Sony’s native Full Frame E Mount lenses, other than the native 50mm f1.8. By comparison, it’s also less than half the price of Sony’s own 35mm f2.8 Zeiss. Although the Tamron 35 f2.8 may feel plasticky in hand, it’s weather-sealed just like the Zeiss. We put the Tamron’s weather sealing to the test, and it passed with flying colors.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.