35mm or 50mm For Car Photography? The Best Lens for Cars

35mm or 50mm for car photography best lens

If you have a camera, you need a proper lens, we all know that. Now, there are countless lenses available, but the most popular ones are the 35mm or 50mm for car photography.

I have experience with both of them, in fact, both lenses take a spot in my camera bag. I will give you the answer right away, I pick the 35mm a lot more than my 50mm. Both have different purposes, so don’t click away yet.

In this article, I will tell you exactly if the 35mm or 50mm is better for car photography so you can grab one yourself and start taking beautiful images.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. You can support me without any additional fees. I used some of the products mentioned, not all.

Which is better: 35mm or 50mm for car photography?

I just told you that I grab my 35mm a lot more than my 50mm, and while that is true, my 50mm lens isn’t bad for car photos.

Both lenses have their own purpose, I will explain what lens is better for each type of photography in a moment. There are also lots of available variations for each lens, like a different aperture or brand. I will explain everything in great detail.

Let’s start with the first option of all, the 35mm lens!

35mm lens for car photography

So this is the lens I grab the most often when I am having a photo shoot, the 35mm is a lot wider than the 50mm and you can see that in the sample photos. While it is a common fact that you shouldn’t have too wide lenses when photographing cars, a 35mm seems perfect for me.

Most often the quality of the lens is great, both optically and mechanically. I have the Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART myself, for a Canon camera. Now, this isn’t the cheapest lens you can find, but it is definitely worth the money for me.

I most often use the 35mm when I’m on a photo shoot, so when I photograph cars for dealerships, I use my other lenses. This is because the 35mm doesn’t look too natural, I will explain this when discussing the 50mm lens.

Which 35mm should you get?

If you want to buy a 35mm, I won’t hold you back, but the prices vary a lot between brands and different versions.

I own a Sigma 35mm F1.4, which isn’t an A-brand, but the quality is excellent. Even when I’m shooting at F1.4 (wide open), the center is super sharp and I don’t have a lot of chromatic aberration.

There are many other options out there, like a 35mm F1.8 or 35mm F1.2. I haven’t used those lenses myself, but the difference may be just a little. A cheaper lens will of course have less good quality, and both build and image quality will be worse.

If you’re looking for one, I would recommend the Sigma ART version, which is the best bang for the buck if you ask me.

View the 35mm lenses on Amazon, B&H Photo, or Adorama.

50mm Lens for car photography

Now, this lens is also a very popular option for car photographers. I have the 50mm F1.8 in my camera bag, but I don’t pick it up often. The 50mm provides a natural look, which means that your eyes are the equivalent of a 50mm lens (full-frame).

There is little distortion, so whenever I’m photographing cars for dealerships, I will put the 50mm on my camera. Having the F1.8 aperture, this lens provides a nice bokeh (out-of-focus background)

If you don’t have any lens now, I would get the 50mm. It was my first lens a few years ago and it served me well. You can grab the F1.8 version up for $100 dollars most of the time.

Which 50mm should you get?

Just like the 35mm, there are a lot of different 50mm lenses. There are a lot of third-party lenses available, but the A-brand lenses are not too expensive.

There are a few different versions, the 50mm F1.2 is the most expensive one, and the F1.8 is the cheapest. So, what is the difference? The 50mm F1.2 is the best quality lens when shooting wide open, the bokeh is nice and the images are very sharp.

If you have the F1.8 version, the images won’t be as sharp when shooting wide open (F1.8), but when stopped down to F4, the images are a lot sharper.

I’ve had the Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART, which is just as high quality as my 35mm ART. I don’t have it anymore, because I have the 24-70mm which makes the 50mm unnecessary.

If you buy any lens, I will recommend Sigma, the quality is just as good, if not better, than the other brands and the prices are not too high.

View the 50mm lenses on Amazon, B&H Photo, or Adorama.

Conclusion: 35mm or 50mm?

So all in all, both lenses serve different needs. If you’re photographing a lot of cars for dealerships, I would get the 50mm. It has a great field of view which seems natural to the eyes. The distortion is also minimal, making it perfect for this kind of photography.

I prefer my 35mm almost all of the time, I don’t shoot cars for dealerships that often, and I prefer the wider field of view. It captures a lot more background, which is essentially a big part of the image. Make sure you have the right location, though.

Don’t forget to share this article with fellow photographers, we all need a good lens for car photography and I hope I have answered your question with my article.

Who is behind Bysebas?

Who is Sebastiaan?

Hi! I am Sebastiaan, the writer of this blog. With years of experience as a professional photographer, I want to share my expertise with you. From recommending cameras and lenses to giving tips that make a world of difference, that’s what I enjoy doing most.


Photographing a moving car is very difficult. You have to deal with many different conditions, such as high speeds, bad asphalt and other traffic. Still, it's worth it during a car photo shoot...

Leave your thoughts here!

Leave your thoughts here!