50mm vs 85mm : A Complete Guide 2023


When choosing a lens, size and focal length play a major role in the final outcome of the photo. The 50mm and 85mm lenses are two popular choices amongst both professional and amateur photographers, due to their unique strengths. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide to the 50mm and 85mm lenses, outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each, as well as comparing the two lenses and their features.

We will take a close look at the various applications for these two lenses and consider the ideal uses for each. This guide will be useful for any photographer who is looking to purchase or upgrade to either of these lenses, or for anyone wanting to learn more about the differences between the two. Read on to learn more about the 50mm and 85mm lenses and the optimal uses for each.

1. Angle of View

One of the most important differences between a 50mm and 85mm lens is the angle of view. The 50mm lens has a wider angle of view, while the 85mm lens will have a narrower angle of view. This means that with a 50mm lens, you can fit more of your scene in the frame, while with the 85mm lens, you can zoom in and capture more details. The narrower angle of view also makes it easier to isolate your subject from the background, helping you to create a more dramatic portrait.

2. Depth of Field

The second major difference between 50mm and 85mm lenses is the depth of field. Depth of field refers to the area of a photograph that is in focus. With a 50mm lens, the depth of field is wide, so more of the image is in focus. This makes it ideal for landscape photography, where you want to have a large area in focus. On the other hand, an 85mm lens has a shallow depth of field, meaning only portions of the image will be in focus. This makes it great for portrait photography, where you want the subject to be the focus of the image.

3. Background Blur

Background blur, also known as bokeh, is an important factor to consider when choosing between a 50mm and 85mm lens. The 50mm lens offers a narrower field of view and, consequently, shallower depth of field.

This results in a greater level of background blur, which is ideal for portrait shots. Meanwhile, the 85mm lens has a wider field of view but produces a more even blur across the background which is more suitable for landscapes and large group shots.

50mm vs 85mm

4. Image Quality

When comparing the image quality of the 50mm and 85mm lenses, it is important to note that the image quality largely depends on the camera being used. While both lenses produce very sharp images, the 85mm lens has an advantage when it comes to bokeh and depth of field.

The 85mm lens is better suited for portrait photography, where the photographer wants to isolate the subject from the background. The 50mm lens is better for landscapes, where you want to capture the entire scene. Both lenses also produce excellent low light performance, although the 85mm lens is better at blurring out some of the noise that can occur in low light photography.

5. Versatility

The 50mm lens is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of situations. It can be used for landscapes, portraits, product photography, street photography and more. The fixed focal length of 50mm means that you can’t zoom in or out, but you can use the lens in a variety of lighting conditions and distances from the subject. The wide angle of the lens also allows you to capture a wide variety of subjects in the frame. The 50mm lens is also great for low light photography, thanks to its wide aperture.


All in all, the 50mm and 85mm lenses are two of the most popular lenses and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. The 50mm is great for general use, while the 85mm is better for portrait photography and capturing the finer details. Ultimately, the choice of which lens to use depends on the type of photography you’re doing and your own personal preferences.

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