Four of the Best Value 35mm Lenses You Can Get

Four of the Best Value 35mm Lenses You Can Get

35mm lenses are great because they're so versatile, and are suitable for so many different scenarios and genres of photography. And the great thing is you can pick up some fabulous prime 35mm lenses for very affordable prices. Here are four of the best value ones on the market today. 

If you're anything like me, you love to explore all types of photography and hate to categorize yourself within any kind of constrictive boundaries. If that's the case, then you're always on the lookout for lenses that can be used in a wide variety of situations such as street photography, portraiture, landscape photography, architecture as well as many more. That's where 35mm lenses come to the fore in my opinion. They're not so wide that you start to get some wide angle distortion, but they're wide enough that they really do give you a lot of flexibility in the photographic and compositional choices you make when you're out shooting. However, perhaps because of their adaptability you tend to get a huge variation in prices between different lenses and different makers. So what are some of the best "bang for buck" 35mm lenses out there today?

Over on The Phoblographer, they've put a nice list together of four of the best your money can buy in terms of value, image quality, build, and weight. This is what they came up with:

  1. Fujifilm 23mm f/2 R WR. Note that although it's a 23mm lens, it becomes the equivalent of a 35mm when used on any Fujifilm X mount because of the 1.5x crop factor.
  2. Rokinon 35mm f/2.8 FE. Made for Sony mirrorless cameras, its price of barely $300 is its biggest attraction
  3. Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM. Great bokeh, IS and under $550.
  4. Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC. Very fast, available for Canon, Nikon, Sony; around $600

Please click the link provided for more specific information. It's interesting to note how far third-party lenses have come in recent times and a lot of people are really starting to jump on board with makers like Tamron, Sigma and Rokinon.

If you're looking for a good, versatile lens that delivers consistently high quality and doesn't break the bank, you could do far worse than investing in a 35mm prime lens. These four here offer great starting points. Do you have any others you think should have made the list? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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49 Comments

Previous comments
user-156929's picture

As subjective as photography gear is, due to the subjectivity of photography, I wouldn't attempt such a list. But if I did, you wouldn't see anything by Sigma or Sony, anywhere on it!!! :-D

michaeljin's picture

Personally, my list would either all be vintage lenses or, if I had to pick lenses currently available on the shelves new, there wouldn't be a single major manufacturer on the list.

You can't seriously make a "value" list and put up products that carry the Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony, etc. premium on them.

Almost by definition, value is going to lie in third party manufacturers.

user-156929's picture

I'm old and my vision sucks. The only manual focusing I can do is macro so, yeah...

Jeff McCollough's picture

I want to view my photos at 100% and see the cancer forming on people's faces haha.

user-156929's picture

:-) Maybe you can make extra money doing cancer screenings!

Iain Stanley's picture

Interesting point. Price will likely always be the primary factor when you talk "value", followed by other criterion. In regards to the Sigma Art question, it's an interesting quandary. Admittedly, I haven't used the Art 35mm but I do own the Art 50mm. Right now, I am extremely happy with it but holistically, do I think it's good value? At this point I'd have to say no.

Out of the box I had massive AF problems and missed focus issues (a very common issue for Art owners it seems). Thus I lobbed out $60 for the USB calibration dock and went through the 3 hour process of calibrating my lens at different distances.. Now it's absolutely perfect and I love it, but it's still $60 and hours of labour I'd rather not have expended.

Then you factor in the size and weight - I just went home from Japan to Australia for 3 weeks over Xmas/New Year. Unfortunately, I had to leave the Art 50mm at home coz it was too big, heavy and bulky for my travel needs and baggage allowance.

Make no mistake, the image quality is outstanding and when I'm home here in Japan it's always in my bag. But it's not a lens to travel with extensively and it had major AF issues to begin with so I'm not sold on its inherent value just yet. As I said at the beginning though, I can't comment on the 35mm which is a bit smaller and lighter than the 50mm.

Jeff McCollough's picture

I just bought the Tamron. Looking forward to working with it.

Iain Stanley's picture

Please let me/us know how it works out for you. I'm a happy owner of multiple Tamron lenses

Jeff McCollough's picture

I get it next week. I'll try to remember to reply here or DM you!

The Leica Summarit 35 mm f/2.4 is a relative budget in the Leica stable and produces stunning images for a fraction of the other lenses.

Chris Silvis's picture

Cropped sensored cameras subtract from the image. We should all know that. So heres a quick table on what a lense really sees with cropped sensors and the average price per mentioned lense.
35mm = 56mm, roughly $175usd
24mm = 38mm, +$550usd
20mm = 32mm, roughly $700usd

*all lenses are nikkor (new) and found on ebay*

Here in lies the problem, Im an amatuer photog and like to keep my expenses low(ish) but dont wanna substitute quality. So, bc I use a cropped sensor camera I have to pay more for the image Im trying to get. Oh the humanity😒

Iain Stanley's picture

Is there any particular reason you don’t move to FF?

Chris Silvis's picture

Well, To tell the truth Im actually looking for a good used ff camera. But raising 6 kids kinda puts a delay on any purchase like that.

since when is $600 a best value for a 35mm lens? you can get a used sigma 35mm 1.4 for about that price (just checked BH) and it kills over these, now there is some value!

Iain Stanley's picture

I think “new lens” is part of the criteria. But yeah, if you’re going “used”, there are fantastic deals out there

HEYYYYY , I was going to mention my nik351/8,for 5300WOW....recently 8mm slr magic $129( damn paid $139jan19///on g1 pany ($79/12mpx/shoot w out lens//second hand/////8mm= 16 mm with clear fltr/52mm almost no distortion ( use 1 b4 infinity+f8=lock focus/////wider than 11-16 2/8 tokina/can by a bit....!!!!! WEIGHS NOTHING////looks good w polarizer Tooooooo…..………..mike//frm//can

DID I SAY no curve//distortion on 8mm slr for m4/3rdsWOWWWWWWWWWWWWmike/frm/can

strange. I had the fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 and it was nothing special. size was not as good as the XF 35/2 and the quality of the copy I had (and sold again) was not better than my X100F lens...
yes, it's small, it's fast to focus and silent, but the IQ is mediocre...