Trying to decide if i should invest in a 50mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.8 lens for taking before and after shots of my brides. Any advice would be super helpful!

I have a Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Auto Focus-S DX VR NIKKOR Zoom Lens

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Nikkor f/1.8G 35mm or 50mm?
    – dpollitt
    Dec 6 '15 at 20:04
  • 7
    For before and after shots the 18-55mm kit lens you already have should work very well. Instead of buying a lens, you might be better off buying some off camera lighting...
    – Michael C
    Dec 6 '15 at 21:15

There are both good 35mm and 50mm lenses. Given your intended use though, there are 3 reasons to favor the 50mm:

  • A longer lens means you do not have to be so close to your subjects to take close-ups.
  • The 50mm will give a more flattering perspective.
  • Given the same maximum aperture, you will have lower depth-of-field with the 50mm.
  • I would entirely agree, but just a personal note that the 50mm lens is incredibly flattering, such a lovely softly gained image from that lens.
    – Adrian_H
    Dec 8 '15 at 12:15

I'd definitely get the 50mm 1.8. Thoughts:

  • You'll get better compression of the image with a 50mm compared to a 35mm. This'll give a tighter feel to the image since you're more "zoomed" in as compared to the 35mm. You also won't get the distortion of wide angles.
  • You'll also get blurrier backgrounds than your 35mm. This helps bring your bride into focus.
  • You'll be standing slightly further away from the subject, making them a bit more comfortable too. Taking this into consideration, you'll have tighter shooting conditions (AKA small spaces might not be ideal).
  • Also consider that you're shooting with a crop sensor so you're effectively getting 88mm (50*1.6) zoom.

Try shooting at 1.8, and then 1-2 stops to test for maximum sharpness. You may already know this; just a friendly reminder.


You need no additional lenses for the task at hand. Your current lens at near maximum zoom is more than adequate.


Neither, get a 85mm f/1.8

short ranges make people look terrible, and longer range has more background blur for subject isolation, and for this purpose, easier to get close-up shots

  • 1
    As the Nikon D3200 has a crop factor of 1.5, 50mm is already a 75mm equivalent. A 85mm will become about 128mm, which is probably quite different from what Ashley has in mind.
    – Olivier
    Dec 8 '15 at 19:50

It depends if you are using a camera with a FX or DX sensor. 35 f1.8 for DX and 50 f1.8 for FX would be the best options, especially for what you are doing.


From my experience, if you want to shoot mainly head / shoulder portraits, you should get the 50mm lens. A 35mm is a bit too wide, the perspective features don't play nice with faces at close distances.

Also your working distance with the model will be around 2 to 3 meters when using a 50mm on a DX camera, which is more comfortable for the model than 1 to 1.5m for a 35mm.

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