What Is the Best Focal Length? 5 Important Focal Lengths to test

What Is the Best Focal Duration? 5 Important Focal Lengths to Try

what is the best focal length? 5 important focal lengths to try

What is the best focal length in picture taking? What are the uses of different key lengths? And – most important of all – what key length should you use within your own photos?

In this article, I aim to address all of those questions and much more. I’ll share several key focal lengths, and I’ll make sure to explain why they are great, what you can do with them, and who should consider using them. I’ll also include plenty of examples, so you can see the different focal measures in action.

Note that whether you shoot along with zooms or even primes will be unimportant. All the focal lengths in this article are achievable by means of either lens type, so no need to fret if you choose zooms over primes or even vice versa. Instead, just focus on the focal measures I mention – and how they can improve your images.

Let’s get started.

camera lens 50mm

1 . 24mm

The very best genres for 24mm lenses : landscapes , astrophotography , team portraits , and event photography

24mm is really a beautiful focal length, one that offers a wide-angle field of view without taking a person into ultra-wide territory. It is easy to experiment with, not only since there are many affordable 24mm prime options available, but also because you will find this focal duration at the wide end of several zoom lenses, such as a 24-70mm f/4 or f/2. 6. Also, many kit lenses feature a 24mm wide finish once you account for the APS-C crop factor.

A 24mm prime lens will be sufficiently wide plus remarkably sharp, making it an ideal candidate for landscape pictures. Zooms are wonderful for landscape photography, too, but the locked-in field of view (on a 24mm prime lens) will force you to be cautious about your compositions.

landscape at 24mm

The 24mm focal length also excels in low-light situations. That includes astrophotography, where 24mm lens with wide maximum apertures (i. e., f/2. 8) will facilitate shots of the Milky Way, as well as occasion photography, where you’ll have a good ample field of see for environmental, contextual shots, plus the wider maximum aperture will facilitate sharp shots indoors and at night.

Additionally , the 24mm focal length is broad enough to capture team portraits with minimal perspective distortion. Just don’t obtain too close and be certain to watch the edges of the frame.

street at night 24mm

2 . 35mm

The best genres just for 35mm lenses : street photography , event photography, environmental portraits , plus casual family portrait photography

35mm is a classic key length for many photojournalists plus street photographers. Why? For one, the field of view demands you to get close to the actions for a more immersive viewpoint, plus it provides plenty of helpful context. On the other hand, 35mm isn’t too wide; you can use this to photograph natural-looking individuals, close-up details, and more.

This exact same philosophy applies to wedding or event photography, which is why these photographers enjoy the 35mm focal length, especially when coupled with a wide maximum aperture like f/1. 8 or even f/1. 4. Note that 35mm perfect lenses, like 24mm lenses, tend to be impressively cheap – so if you’re on a budget, 35mm is a great place to start.

Another nice thing about 35mm: it’s great for environment portraits, especially those informal, spur-of-the-moment portrait opportunities that can come up at family events and dinner with close friends. For instance, I often make use of 35mm to shoot pictures across the dinner table:

man laughing at a table

Any wider, and my subject’s face might suffer from feature-exaggerating perspective contortion; any narrower, and I’d have had to get out of the seat to back up for the shot.

woman with wine at a table

3. 50mm

The best genres intended for 50mm lenses : road photography, full-body portrait pictures, walk-around shooting

50mm primes are the lens for the photography beginner for a whole host of reasons. In fact , if you don’t own a 50mm lens, I recommend purchasing one right now – they are really that useful.

So what makes 50mm primes so special? For one, they are insanely cheap. You can purchase the brand-new 50mm lens for most camera systems for a small over $100. I’m not talking about shoddy, low-quality optical technologies, either; the 50mm f/1. 8 lenses that price in the $100 USD in order to $200 USD range tend to offer surprisingly good performances, especially for the price.

Also, 50mm lenses create an image that is normal (i. e., most like the image that people produce with our own eyes). Therefore , it’s often easy to “see” in 50mm.

man playing the saxophone as Santa

boat at sunset

The 50mm lens really is a classic, and a big part of it really is that the area in the frame is often just right. It’s filter enough to create balanced compositions with ease, but still wide sufficient to create interest beyond your subject matter. That is why you will find a 50mm lens in the bags on most street photographers (and indeed, most portrait and event photographers, as well).

4. 85mm

The best styles for 85mm lenses : portrait photography, event digital photography, and sports photography

You’ll find 85mm lenses in the bags of many wedding ceremony and portrait photographers, as well as for good reason: they create wonderful portraits that flatten one’s features (this is generally embellishing! ), plus they offer gorgeous subject-background separation.

The field of view isn’t so tight that you’ll need to be outdoors to shoot with an 85mm lens, yet you’ll still get a fine working distance that allows you to sneakily capture candids at weddings and family events.

wedding couple coming out of a barn

That working distance is great for full-body shots when you’re on the sidelines of a sporting occasion, too. And 85mm lenses also offer a nice distance for the purpose of photographing your kids and pets .

couple in the forest at 85mm

Of course , every single focal length has the drawbacks, and 85mm is not any exception. Such lenses are costly to get ahold of, as well as the tighter field of watch isn’t ideal for street pictures or contextual portraits.

However , for serious portrait and event photographers, 85mm is a must-have.

5. 135mm

The best styles for 135mm lenses : Headshots , portrait photography, and wedding photography

If you want to get in close or perhaps you just love bokeh , a 135mm lens is a great pick – especially a 135mm primary with a wide maximum aperture.

You may use a 135mm lens for the purpose of details and headshots that bring your subject to living. Plus, the background separation is fantastic due to the increased telephoto compression. The flattering flattening effect (say that five times! ) makes this lens great for head-and-shoulder shots, senior portraits, candids, and more. You will have fun shooting wide open to create magical separation between your subject matter and the surroundings.

couple on the grass

group with glitter

Is there a drawback to the 135mm focal length? Of course.

You do need a wide range of working room, and you also require a lot of light. Remember the 1/focal length rule intended for shutter acceleration (also known as the reciprocal rule )? Well, you wouldn’t want to shoot a 135mm zoom lens any slower than 1/135s (without a very steady hand or a tripod). So when lighting or space becomes an issue, it’s nice to have an 85mm lens to fall back on.

man with dog in the forest

The best focal length: final words

Then you will love some of these focal measures and dislike others, yet you’ll never know until you provide them with all a shot!

So think about your preferred options from this list. And see if you can get your hands on each of the focal lengths – by hiring, buying, or borrowing lens (from a friend).

Now over to a person:

Which focal lengths do you like greatest? Are there any focal lengths you would like to test? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Jason Checkla

Jason Checkla

is a family, engagement, and wedding photographer from Glens Falls, NY, a small city in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. He is also expert hockey’s greatest unicyclist. You can view more of his work plus connect with him through his Instagram or his blog .

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