Difference Between 40mm Lens and 50mm Lens (With Table)

Difference Between 40mm Lens and 50mm Lens (With Table)

The 40mm lens and 50mm lens are widely renowned and in close competition with each other in the photography domain among photo fanatics. While they may appear to carry identical features, they vary hugely when observed closely. On one hand, a 40mm lens is best suited for street photography, while on the other hand, a 50mm lens wins the race in portrait photography.

40mm Lens vs 50mm Lens

The main difference between a 40mm lens and a 50mm lens is that 40mm works well for street photography in tight spaces. It is neither too wide (35mm) nor too long (55mm), which makes it apt for capturing compact open spaces with lots of objects in the background. The 50mm Lens is widely used to capture some of the best portraits. Both lenses have homogeneous pricing, which culminates in their close competitive level.

40mm Lens vs 50mm Lens

The 40mm lens is handy for daily street photoshoots due to its small, unobstructed size, quiet and quick autofocus. It produces very sharp images. Moreover, 40mm is closer to the range that we can see with our eyes and, therefore, is considered to be more “standard’’. Its lightweight size makes it convenient for capturing in the streets and while moving.

The 50mm lenses are fabulous for low-light photography as they allow sufficient light to enter the camera’s sensor. It works best for closer pictures as they give more depth of field without distorting the subject on focus. It is basically for portrait captures and has much better aperture control features.

Comparison Table Between 40mm Lens and 50mm Lens

Parameters of Comparison40mm Lens50mm Lens
AffordabilityThe 40mm is costlier in comparison to the 50mm lens.The 50mm is comparatively cheaper.
ApertureThe aperture of 40mm is f/2.8.The aperture of 50mm is f/1.8.
Focal lengthThe focal length is 28mm.The focal length is 35mm.
ApplicabilityWorks great in unobtrusive street captures.Dominates in portrait photography.
Build qualityPlastic quality, metal mounting.Complete plastic build.
SizeShort and lightweight.Standard length.

What is a 40mm Lens?

 The 40mm Lens has a movable pancake design, which benefits it with easy portability. It effectively represents very sharp image quality with a fast f/2.8, the maximum aperture for low-light shooting and a Close Focusing Distance of 11.8 inches (0.3m). It is quick and quiet. Its autofocus quality brings out the best quality picture.

 Furthermore, when using a crop sensor (APS-C) camera, the 40mm Lens is a stupendous choice because the presumed focal length will become 64mm. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 offers a shallow depth of field while the rest remains crystal clear throughout. Its compact, small size makes it fit for tight space street photography. Street photographers, photojournalists, documentarians, and photo walkers unanimously approve the 40mm lens as the best in unobtrusive street photography. In addition, while shooting movies on compatible cameras, we experience a plain and quiet STM focus.

This quieter motor design and plain focus system benefit us with near-silent focusing while shooting videos. As a result, with all of the aforementioned qualities and quick, quiet autofocus that provides needle-sharp pictures, it is easy and rational to say that the 40mm Lens is the most recommended choice for street photographers,  all thanks to its quiet sharpness, quick autofocus, and unobtrusive, easy-to-travel size. 

What is a 50mm Lens?

The 50mm Lens, known as the ‘Nifty-Fifty’, is one of the most popular portrait shooting lenses today. Here, ‘Nifty’ denotes a wide aperture of f/1.8, and ‘Fifty’ denotes its focal length. Moreover, it offers a very low amount of distortion.

Unlike street photography, it is more appropriate for portrait photography because it produces sharper pictures even in low light and depth of field. However, for unskilled photographers on some fixed expense, it is a good purchasing option in some situations. This lens is best suited for full-frame cameras because it offers an 80mm focal length.

Honoured to be the best lens to capture portraits, it is one of the inexpensive lenses but still accommodates a large array of traits. It provides value for money; hence, its ‘Nifty-Fifty’ title also denotes its high performance and most favourable affordability. It put forward a minimum focus distance of 1.15 feet (0.35m) and a very wide maximum aperture of f/1.8.

Main Differences Between 40mm Lens and 50mm Lens

  1. The 40mm Lens is appropriate for taking Unobtrusive Street pictures, whereas the 50mm Lens is widely used for Portrait photography.
  2. The 40mm Lens is advanced in a better-built structure than the 50mm Lens because it has a body built of good plastic and metal mounting. The 50mm Lens has a completely plastic structure and is considered somewhat inferior in quality.
  3. The 40mm Lens is more expensive than the 50mm Lens, most probably because the 50mm Lens’ built quality hints that it is cheaper to produce.
  4. The 40mm Lens provides a quick f/2.8 Maximum Aperture, whereas the 50mm Lens offers a wide aperture of f/1.8.
  5. The 40mm Lens presents a pancake design, which makes it easy to carry, whereas the 50mm Lens, being longer, fails in front of  40mm in the aspect of being handy.


It is quite loud and clear from the above in-depth assessment of the varied features of the 40mm and the 50mm lenses that they can cut–throat competition with each other.  Right from the built structure, material, quality, size, and design, both lenses are distinguishable in many ways, proving to be a prime factor in determining their domain expertise in photography.

The 40mm provides the ease required to capture the hustle and bustle of daily life. In contrast, one has easy-to-carry features in travelling and shooting; the other, though longer, wins the battle in low-light portrait photography. The 40mm provides the ease required to capture the hustle and bustle of daily life.   

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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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