40mm lens vs 50mm lens: Difference and Comparison

The 40mm and 50mm Lens have been very popular competitors among photography enthusiasts over their course in the market. While the 40mm Lens is best suited for street photography, the 50mm Lens is perfect for portrait shooting.

While they appear to be similar in several features, they boast an array of varied qualities when looking deeper.

Key Takeaways

  1. A 40mm lens offers a wider field of view and is better suited for street photography and environmental portraits than a 50mm lens.
  2. The 50mm lens, commonly known as the “nifty fifty,” is a popular choice for portrait photography due to its natural perspective and shallow depth of field.
  3. Both lenses are lightweight and compact, making them ideal for everyday use and travel photography.

40mm Lens vs 50mm Lens

“A 50mm lens is considered a “standard” lens and is referred to as a”nifty fifty” A 40mm lens, on the other hand, is considered a “wide-normal” lens. 40mm has a slightly wider field of view than a 50mm lens but still maintains a natural perspective that is similar to the human eye.”A 50mm lens is considered a “standard” lens and is called a “nifty fifty.” A 40mm lens, on the other hand, is regarded as a “wide-normal” lens. 40mm has a slightly wider field of view than a 50mm lens but still maintains a natural perspective similar to the human eye.

40mm Lens vs 50mm Lens

The 40mm Lens has been deemed the Best Lens for Street Photography and Everyday Use. This distinction comes from many of its outstanding features, including a Portable Pancake Design and a Fast and Quiet AutoFocus, which results in Pin-Sharp results.

‘The 50mm Lens (popularly known as the’‘Nifty-Fifty’) has been deemed to be the Best Lens for Portraits and Full Frame Cameras, particularly because it has an 80mm effective focal length on Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) cameras. Being one of the cheapest lenses in the market, it offers a very wide maximum f/1.8 aperture.’The 50mm Lens (popularly known as the ‘Nifty-Fifty’) has been deemed the Best Lens for Portraits and Full Frame Cameras, mainly because it has an 80mm effective focal length on Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) cameras. Being one of the cheapest lenses in the market, it offers a vast maximum f/1.8 aperture.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison40mm Lens50mm Lens
AffordabilityThe 40mm lens is PricierThe 50mm lens is Cheaper
ApertureThe aperture is f/2.8The aperture is f/1.8
Focal LengthThe focal length is 28mmThe focal length is 35mm
ApplicabilityMainly in Unobtrusive Street PhotographyMainly in Portrait Photography
Build QualityBetter plastic quality; metal mountingComplete plastic build

What is the 40mm Lens?

The 40mm Lens has a portable pancake design, which grants it the ability of easy portability. It effectively captures sharp images with a fast f/2.8 Maximum Aperture for low-light shooting and a Closes Focusing Distance of 11.8 inches (0.3m). its quick and quiet AutoFocus provides us excellent image quality across the frame.

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When using a crop sensor (APS-C) camera, the 40mm Lens is an excellent choice because the apparent focal length will become 64mm. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 will offer a shallow depth of field while remaining razor-sharp throughout.

Being small and shorter, it mainly performs well in the tight spaces of street photography. Street photographers, photojournalists, documentarians, and photo walkers swear by the 40mm lens for being the best in unobtrusive street photography.

Additionally, we experience smooth and quiet STM focusing when shooting movies on compatible cameras.

This quieter motor design and smooth focus system enable us to achieve near-silent focusing when shooting videos.

Finally, with all of the qualities above and a fast and quiet AutoFocus that provides pin-sharp pictures, it is safe to say that the 40mm Lens is the most preferred choice for street photography, thanks to its subtle sharpness, fast autofocus, and discreet, easy-to-carry size. 

40mm lens

What is the 50mm Lens?

‘The 50mm Lens, popularly known as the’‘Nifty-Fift’’, is one of the most popular portrait shooting lenses to date. A very wide aperture of under f/1.8 explains the’‘Nift’’ part, whereas the’‘Fifty’ refers to its Focal Length. ‘The 50mm Lens, popularly known as the ‘Nifty-Fifty’, is one of the most famous portrait shooting lenses. A vast aperture of under f/1.8 explains the ‘Nifty’ part, whereas the ‘Fifty’ refers to its Focal Length.

When the closest you can get to the human eye is indeed a fast 50mm Lens, you’re sure to achieve a similar field of view and a low amount of distortion.

‘Deemed to be the best lens to capture portraits, it is one of the cheapest lenses but still houses a vast array of features. It is known to offer value for money quite exceptionally, hence its’‘Nifty-Fifty’ title also refers to its high performance and optimum affordability. ‘Deemed to be the best lens to capture portraits, it is one of the cheapest lenses but still houses many features. It is known to offer value for money quite exceptionally. Hence its ‘Nifty-Fifty’ title also refers to its high performance and optimum affordability.

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It offers a minimum focus distance of 1.15 feet (0.35m) and a vast maximum aperture of f/1.8. It is best suited for Full Frame Cameras because it grants an 80mm effective focal length on APS-C cameras.

Unlike street photography, it is more suited for portrait photography because of its low-light capabilities and depth of field. However, for amateur photographers on a strict budget, it proves to be a good buy in most situations.

50mm lens

Main Differences Between 40mm Lens and 50mm Lens

  1. The 40mm Lens is best suited for Unobtrusive Street Photography, whereas the 50mm is widely used for Portrait Shooting.
  2. The 40mm Lens boasts a better build than the 50mm Lens, as it has a body built of better plastic along with a metal mounting, but the 50mm Lens has a completely plastic body which has somewhat been deemed to be inferior in quality.
  3. ‘The 40mm Lens is pricier than the 50mm Lens, probably because the 50mm Lens’ build quality suggests that it is cheaper to produce.’The 40mm Lens is pricier than the 50mm Lens, probably because the 50mm Lens’ build quality suggests that it is cheaper to produce.
  4. The 40mm Lens offers a fast f/2.8 Maximum Aperture, whereas the 50mm Lens provides a very wide aperture of f/1.8.
  5. The 40mm Lens has a pancake design which grants it easy portability, whereas the 50mm Lens being longer, loses out to the 40mm being handy.
Difference Between 40mm lens and 50mm lens
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924424713004135
  2. https://lia.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.2351/1.4938279

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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10 thoughts on “40mm lens vs 50mm lens: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comprehensive details provided about the 40mm and 50mm lenses are highly beneficial for photographers. It highlights the distinct features and best applications of both lenses, contributing to an enriching learning experience.

    Reply
  2. The comparison table is quite outstanding. It clearly outlines the differences in affordability, aperture, and build quality between the 40mm and 50mm Lenses. The detailed descriptions of the lenses’ characteristics are enlightening.

    Reply
  3. While the article delivers detailed comparisons, there seems to be an evident bias towards the 40mm Lens. A more balanced perspective on the advantages of the 50mm Lens in certain scenarios would make the comparison more objective.

    Reply
  4. The detailed comparisons between the 40mm and 50mm lenses are highly informative, and it really helps in making a decision before purchasing either of the lenses. I appreciate that the article emphasizes specific features and applications of both lenses.

    Reply
  5. The article offers a comprehensive comparison of the 40mm and 50mm lenses. The information about the applications, focal lengths, and build quality is presented effectively, making it an insightful read.

    Reply
  6. It’s intriguing to learn about the distinctions and the best applications of both the 40mm and 50mm lenses. However, I’d like to see more in-depth analysis regarding the image quality and performance under varying conditions.

    Reply

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