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 domain of photography 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 into their close competitive level.

40mm Lens vs 50mm Lens

The 40mm lens comes in 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’’. Due to its size and lightweight, it is convenient for capturing in the streets and also while moving.

The 50mm lenses are fabulous for low-light photography as they allow sufficient light to enter into the camera’s sensor. It works the 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 the ability of easy portability. It effectively represents very sharp image quality with a fast f/2.8, which is 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 then 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 for being the best in unobtrusive street photography. In addition, while shooting movies on compatible cameras, we experience a plain and quiet STM focusing.

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, generally known as the ‘Nifty-Fifty’, is one of the most opted and appreciated portrait shooting lenses to date today. Here, ‘Nifty’ denotes a very wide aperture of f/1.8, and ‘Fifty’ denotes its focal length. Moreover, it offers a very low amount of distortion.

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

Honored 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 and hence its ‘Nifty-Fifty’ title also denotes its high performance and most favorable 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 better-built structure than the 50mm Lens because it has a body built of good plastic in addition to metal mounting. The 50mm Lens has a completely plastic structure which is considered to be 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 us a very 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 both the 40mm and the 50mm lens that they both are capable of cutting–throat competition to each other.  Right from the built structure, material, quality, size, and design, both lenses are distinguishable in many ways which prove to be a prime factor in determining their domain expertise in the field of photography.

The 40mm provides the ease required to capture the hustle and bustle of daily life. While one has easy-to-carry features in terms of traveling 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.