Shooting with a 35mm Prime on APS-C

So, my poor little 35mm lens was looking a little despondent after I had finished extolling the virtues of my 50mm. The 35mm just sat on the shelf looking at me, forlorn and with a glint of sorrow in its glass. Had I forgotten how much I liked using it? Did I not have dozens of favourite images from around the world taken with it? Indeed I did, and thus I took it upon myself to ensure due credit was given to this gem. Well, that plus another request from a reader to talk about using it.

1 Fire Breather - Portugal

Most of the images I have taken with it have been on APS-C sized sensors, which give an equivalent field of view of approximately 52mm. Again, this is more about my impressions from using the lens and an encouragement to others to use it too. The 35mm and the 50mm have pretty much been the only primes I have used on my DSLRs. There are now a few 35mms available for the Nikon mount (both DX and FX), but years ago I chose the 35mm F/2 AF-D for its future compatibility with full frame sensors, and also for its very fast and close focusing abilities. All the images here were taken with the Nikkor 35mm F/2 AF-D on APS-C sensors.

2 Shark

3 Garten De Welt - Berlin

As I said in my article on the 50mm, I haven’t used my DSLR gear much in the last year, but prior to that I had enjoyed shooting with my 35mm on countless occasions. As much as I like the 50mm, the 35mm was often my go-to prime for most of my photography.

4 New York Sunset

4a Copenhagen Sunset

One of the main reasons I like the 35mm, aside from all the versatility it has in common with the 50mm, is that on APS-C sensors the field of view seems just right to me for so many scenes. I realise many people will say that this is because it offers a similar field of view to normal human vision (52mm equivalent), but photographers have preferences for a variety of focal lengths, from wide to telephoto; 35mm on APS-C worked for me.

5 Tower Bridge

6 Marylebone Church

Like the 50mm, it’s a light and compact lens. But with a shorter field of view on APS-C than the 50mm it is more effective at placing the subject in its environment. It also means I didn’t have to step so far back to capture a scene.

7 Delsjon Lake - Sweden

The 35mm AF-D is pretty sharp wide open at F/2 and has some decent bokeh when close enough to the subject.

8 Stray - Plovdiv

9 Met Museum - New York

It was a favourite of mine for shooting long exposures at night, as the narrow aperture gave me some appealing star effects from light sources (you’ll notice many of the images here are night/dusk scenes).

10 Alvsborg Bridge - Gothenburg

11 Embankment - London

12 Canary Wharf

13 Pont Neuf - Paris

When embarking on photo challenges, I would often use this prime for all my shots, especially shooting in the street. It is quite liberating not to be encumbered by a bag of different lenses nor inhibited by anxiety about choosing the right focal length. Compositional skill can only benefit in this way, and when out shooting I would often feel glad for myself witnessing other photographers with a huge backpack full of enormous lenses and a cumbersome tripod. Just a 35mm lens was enough to get me into the scene and capture its essence.

14 Seljalandfoss

15 Canary Wharf

35mm is a great choice for candid street photography, and although I haven’t used it much for that purpose, I have tried to capture scenic street views.

16 St Paul's - London

16a Prague Castle

16b Bergen - Norway

As good as the 50mm is on APS-C for portraits, the 35mm holds its own too, and I didn’t have to stand (or sit) so far back from my subject to take the shot. I could also place the subject in more of their surroundings.

17 Genka


19 Genka - Asenovgrad

Finally, the fast aperture let me capture scenes at night hand-held when using a tripod was neither allowed nor practical.

20 View From Prudential - Boston

21 Gothenburg

Well, my guilt over momentarily neglecting my dear old 35mm has been somewhat purged. Even more so if my images can demonstrate not only the merit of this focal length but also that you really don’t need much gear to return some decent images. Using just one focal length, either as a prime lens or fixed on a camera, can be both liberating and rewarding. And at the risk of reinforcing a point I have made before (but is worth repeating), it will inevitably improve your photography. Thank you.

22 City Hall - London

22a San Diego

23 Alpha Whiskey Plays Pool

(This last photo was taken by my friend Petar – alas I can’t shoot a camera and shoot pool simultaneously.) 



  1. August 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Nice photos. Some of them are a bit over saturated in my opinion.

    • 1.1) Jules
      August 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Everybody has the right to shoot as he/she likes. Too bad if his pictures are over saturated for your taste. Nobody cares about your taste!

      • Profile photo of Sandipan 1.1.1) Sandipan
        August 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        I could say the same about your comment.

        • Michael Switzer
          August 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

          You could say that, but you would be wrong.

          • Profile photo of Sandipan Sandipan
            August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            Who appointed you the judge!

            • Profile photo of Brian Gaschler Brian Gaschler
              August 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

              Sandipan, you are entitled to your opinions, of course. But I wonder: were they really warranted in this particular article? The title/topic is “Shooting with a 35mm Prime on APS-C,” /not/ “How To Process Images in Lightroom for Optimal Impact.” And in any case, the way your monitor is displaying colours is certainly a source of bias.

              Sharif, once again, you’ve crafted a well thought-out and prescient article, complete with compelling images with a real sense of moment and excellent compositions. Bravo!

              And I don’t feel you are belabouring the point that one’s gear should take a backstage to one’s photographic vision and execution. The peculiarity of our times is that “Everyone’s a Photographer Now,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: the range of images I have borne witness to over the last half decade, thanks almost entirely to the Internet, have been a great source of inspiration to me, and have inexorably informed my own photographic vision, style and direction. The offshoot of the powers of the Internet mean also that the messages of your articles are going to be lost on a huge swatch of people, too, because “Everyone’s a Well-Informed Critic Now” as well.

              Some people will obsess over micro-contrast and FPS… others, with the quality of bokeh. Still others will find it necessary to debate on the merits of 35mm vs. 50mm, or claim that /street/ photography cannot be done correctly with telephoto lenses. The clash of ideas and ideals bring forth the potential for healthy debate. The key word there is “healthy.” A photo-critique forum (of which Photography Life has one) is the correct place to discuss the aesthetics of your (or others’) posted images. Which is my way of saying that I grow weary of the ways the focus of an article gets lost with the irrelevant comments from others. They are irrelevant because they are off-topic. They are no different than the off-topic comments made in class in formal classrooms, and what is needed sometimes, I think, is a professor to kindly remind the students to “return to the text at hand.” It’s 35mm on APS-C, in case any of you forgot…


              • Fernando Lopez
                October 30, 2014 at 11:53 am


        • Petra de Bruin
          August 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm


      • Profile photo of Sandipan 1.1.2) Sandipan
        August 26, 2014 at 9:44 pm

        It is a public forum and I have a right to share my opinion. Why is the expectation that we will only sing praise in the comments section!
        And it seems some of you have missed the “Nice photos” part of my comment.

        • Profile photo of Brian Gaschler Brian Gaschler
          August 27, 2014 at 8:46 am

          Sandipan, please read my comment (67) above, which I should have posted in reply here, instead.


          • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
            August 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

            Hi Brian. I for one thank you for your kind words and observations, all of which I heartily agree with! :)
            Warm Regards,

    • 1.2) Eric Duminil
      August 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      The pictures appear generally a bit overprocessed.
      E.g. the portrait is kinda nice, but the skin has been too much blurred out and lacks texture.
      The pictures are far from being bad, but they have to compete with great pictures from Nasim and other contributors.

      • 1.2.1) Tuan Doan
        August 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

        Please do not judge way too strictly, Eric. I guess the portrait was probably a responsive shot to capture the moment, the expression of the lady, where Sharif might have no time to move the lady for better light. He had no reflector and maybe he had to lock exposure to keep her skin bright enough and accept blow out the sky within a limit for recovery. In almost all of such cases, it is not easy to retain the skin textures so he might have no choice to make it so glow and push saturation to keep the photo look nice in overall. I think it is a nice shot by a greatly inspired photographer.

        I think we all readers in this forum should encourage as many contributors as possible to share with us some of their thoughts, their experiments and their works in their photography life. Personally I appreciate much for PL’s efforts to enrich the contents for readers and Nasim team is doing something we highly expect to see. PL has been developing great articles about how to shoot, how to select gears, so now how to inspire people going out to shoot, and to share all the cheers and tears in the journey of pursuing photography.

        To Sharif: Glad to know you and I really enjoy your works. I use both zooms and primes, and I have opinion that the primes can not replace the zooms in some situations, but we can still keep easy mind to go out with a prime as we are not affordable to carry the zooms in the same time.

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          August 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

          Many Thanks Tuan. Greatly appreciate the kind words and I agree with all of the fine points you have made :)

    • August 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Everyone is entitled to freely express their own opinions. I’d never expect everyone to like all my images all the time. :)
      I’m comfortable with my photography and my output and I don’t set out to compete with anyone. One of the great advantages of photography is that each person can have their own unique vision and style and let it stand on its own merits, regardless of anyone’s opinion. (I’m a ‘glass is half-full’ kind of guy.)

      • 1.3.1) Tim
        August 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        As a budding enologist, one of the things I learned from a wine artisan friend of mine is never take anyone’s criticism of your wine seriously. If someone doesn’t like it and pours the glass into the waste bin after tasting, that doesn’t mean anything except that his taste doesn’t match yours. This is true of any art form and photography is no exception. If you don’t like the wine, pour it out. You shouldn’t be drinking it because it doesn’t match your tastes. If you don’t like the photograph, then you should look elsewhere for inspiration. But regardless of your tastes, one should always appreciate the artist and the talent. And this is certainly the case here. Wonderful photography!! Truly artistic!! My favorite is the golden trees reflecting on the lake. I wish I possessed your vision!!

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          August 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

          Thank you kindly Tim! And well said :)

          • santosh jaiswal
            August 25, 2014 at 11:43 pm

            I am fully agreed with Alpha…!

        • JULES
          August 26, 2014 at 9:09 am

          Right on! Alpha Whiskey HAS talent!

      • 1.3.2) Jorge Balarin
        August 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

        I like very much your photos, but I would like them more if they were not so much saturated. I’m one of those guys that favor a natural look. Best wishes.

      • 1.3.3) Jules
        August 26, 2014 at 8:08 am

        So true!

  2. 2) Jules
    August 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    GORGEOUS photographs! Congratulations and thank you!

    • August 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you! :)

      • 2.1.1) Global
        August 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

        1.) Alpha — the website appears to be not working in CHROME browser (everything is messed up), which is unusual. Usually works fine. Just letting you guys know.

        2.) Great photos!! Lovely to look at!

        • Arctic
          August 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

          Hey Global, I’m viewing it in Chrome as well and had the same issue. By re-loading the page, it fixed the layout issue. Hope this helped!

          • Profile photo of Brian Gaschler Brian Gaschler
            August 27, 2014 at 8:19 am

            Photography Life seems to have recently given itself a “facelift” and changed its aesthetics entirely. I am presently viewing in Firefox, and things are displaying fine, but I tried in Chrome after reading your comments, and indeed encountered the same problem. Interesting…

            Something for Nasim and his creative team to know about?


  3. 3) Cornell
    August 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Sony Nex 6 and 7 and Leica Summicron 35 and 50. For me it’s the perfect combination.

  4. 4) joe
    August 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I like the photos. They clearly show the benefits of a fixed, fast prime in the 50mm full frame equivalent range. While I too own a mirrorless system (Nikon1 J3) I prefer the heft of the DSLR for most of my work. I am a larger person with over–sized hands and find the J3 gets lost in my hands and can be awkward to change settings. This is a personal issue rather than a fault of the camera.

    I do like my f/1.8 50mm on the Nikon D600 body (never had dust/oil issues on mine).

    As for the over saturation comment. I too tend to oversaturate my photos. It seems I have weak, less than normal color vision and I like the more saturated look. This point has come up in critiques of my work but it is my “style” and not really more saturated than choosing the Vivd setting on some P&S jpeg. I take each person’s photos as their own signature. I can like it or not, but it is their style. I tend to be more drawn to the composition and feeling delivered than by the specific techniques used to present the work.

    Keep up the good work and nice postings Alpha Whiskey. They make me think about my own approach to photography and how I approach the fun of pphotography.

  5. 5) Keith R. Starkey
    August 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I LOVE my 35mm 1.8. DX. I use it with my D3200 and it works wonderfully. What’s nice about using that lens is that it pushes me to work more with the environment; integrating the subject into the whole scene, whereas a zoom doesn’t push one into that technique, though one most certainly can do so with a zoom.

  6. 6) Wolfgang Pichler
    August 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Great report. Especially like the portraits.

  7. 7) Travis
    August 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    The 28 mm FL on on APS-C is even much better and versatile than the 35mm…..42mm FOV like the human eye….a little wider is better, you could easily crop later if needed but not the other way around ;) ….for me the 28 mm even on FF is lovely and i like it more than 35mm…but the majority of users sell their 28 mm used on aps-c for a 35 mm it seems so at least for me….

  8. Profile photo of Daniel Michael 8) Daniel Michael
    August 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Sharif, another inspiring article!

    My main prime on APS-C was my 35mm, it really was good for nearly anything, and is ideal if you only wanted just one lens with you. On full frame, my 2 lenses are the 35mm and the 50mm – they cover most things. Maybe one day I’ll get an ultra wide to go with them!

    Thanks for great photos.

    p.s Aren’t most landscape /scenery shots over saturated anyway? That’s the basis of most “landscape settings”!

    • August 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks Daniel.

      I like colour so I shoot colourful things. Like many people I sometimes also prefer more muted or pastel shades, but I like bold primary colours too. London at dusk is a soup of primary colours :)

  9. 9) Chas
    August 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    The fujifilm X100 has a 23mm lens, i.e. a 35 mm FF equivalent. As does the Ricoh GR I think. I’m not aware of any fixed lens cameras with a 50mm equivalent.

    • August 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      You’re right. That sentence was misleading and I have now altered it. Thanks.

    • 9.2) Neil
      August 26, 2014 at 6:27 am

      The closest may be the Sigma DP2 at a 42mm equiv.

  10. 10) Jaka
    August 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Really great photos. Thank you for a “relaxed article”. :)

    I spotted one Paris photo which reminded me of this one:

  11. 11) Jaka
    August 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

  12. 12) Bela
    August 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m not happy with this article…
    ….because it just confirmed that I really need a 35mm lens, which is on my shopping list (and no money for that one yet) ;-)

    I already have a 50mmf1.8G which I love ( I also use an APS-C cameara), but that focal length really limits what I can photograph. I use that 50mm shooting portraits mainly
    I plan to buy the 35mmf1.8G – if it delivers the same quality like the 50mm, then with it’s focal length I can also start using it for more generic shots, like street shots, even some landsacapes…

  13. 13) Tom Crossan
    August 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    A great relaxed read and images.

    Must drag out my “old” 35 again.

    As an aside I really cannot understand why some contributors must take it upon themselves to knock other photographers images, just because they do not meet their “ideal” image.

    I am a photographer that takes and processes images the way I like. I do not care if other people and photographers do not like them. That is their problem not mine.

    Think of all the painters that were pilloried in their day for being different, only to be recognised years later for their work.

  14. 14) sueDL
    August 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for demonstrating the capabilities of the 35mm lens. I bought a 50mm and whilst it is great for low light photography and is a fast lens, I find that I tend to have to step back when composing my shots. The 35mm seems like a handy little lens. Your images are impressive, no matter what some may say.

    As for people posting critical comments, if they’re constructive that’s great so everyone can learn, otherwise it’s a waste of time reading them.

    • August 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks sueDL. I appreciate that :) And yes, the 35mm is a very handy little gem.

      Constructive critique is always welcome as I’m comfortable and happy with my own photography.
      Vitriol and scorn don’t get my attention – only my pity :)

  15. 15) Petra de Bruin
    August 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I find the photos to be both beautiful, as well as some are oversaturated and overprocessed. A friend of mine is color blind, as many men are, and oversaturated his photos a lot too. I don’t consider it a ‘style’ if you are just not able to see things properly. Personally I find both over and undersaturation to take away from the natural beauty of things and just add a distracting artificiality. But that’s my opinion, and judging by the rather agressive responses I’m probably not allowed to voice it:-)

    The enthousiasm for that focal lenght I share. I have taken some of my best photos with it, without realizing this at first.

    • August 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Voice whatever you like Petra. You’re entitled to your view as much as anyone else :)

      • 15.1.1) Petra de Bruin
        August 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

        That’s awfully kind of you:-) Keep enjoying your travels!

    • August 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Hmmm… I’m getting hung up on Petra’s “I don’t consider it a ‘style’ if you are just not able to see things properly” statement, and sorry, Sharif, but I think it needs to be called out, if for no other reason than the spark some healthy educational debate.

      Of course, Petra, you are entitled to your own view. But what exactly is “seeing things properly” in your mind, I wonder? Was Ansel Adams seeing or photographing things “properly,” with the use of red filters to darken the skies; with the medium of black and white even after colour film was invented; with burning in every edge; with long exposures; etc.? Maybe you can help me understand your view a bit better? I didn’t think photography was about documenting or depicting reality in the real sense because, well, that would be impossible — totally impossible. Photography is a means to articulate one’s interpretation of reality, which both in and out of photography is a totally subjective interpretation. There exists no medium capable of depicting reality as reality-unbiased, because no reality exists that is unbiased in some fashion.

      I think the real problem I am having with your thought process is in relation to your use of being colour-bling (as a lot of men are, you point out…) the colour-blind vs. not colour-blind binary is in reality non-existent: it’s a spectrum, not a this/that manifestation, which is to say we all have different proportions of cones and rods in our eyes; we all have different neural pathways built off the ways we have come to experience our lives. This exposes aesthetics, colour and the whole of language for what they are—culturally constructed. Read more on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or any anthropological ethnography (of even any books by Malcolm Gladwell for more on the ways language informs “reality.” And if you’re keen to know more about the very limited reality we perceive via colour interpretation through our eyes and minds, consider the mantis shrimp—whereas we have only 3 colour-receptive cones in our eyes (Red, Green, and Blue), and whereas dogs have only 2 (Green and Blue), the mantis shrimp has 16. They are “seeing” colours that you and I will never see, nor can we articulate those colours, because we cannot have a language for what does not exist for us. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist “in reality.”

      More on the mantis shrimp here:


      • 15.2.1) David Meyers
        August 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm

        I have a couple of comments on this:

        1) Regardless of the degree of color vision you have, if you attempt to post-process things to look *to you* the way the original scene looked *to you*, you should end up with a “reasonable” depiction. After all, you are using the same eyes to judge your post-processed results as you used to view the original scene. Having said that, I certainly agree with the notion of artistic license and have no problem with people deciding to produce images that are more (or less) intense than the original scene was. Of course, if you have no color vision at all, well, maybe b&w is for you!

        2) I’m not sure the mantis shrimp thing entirely makes sense, though I must admit to be hearing of them for the first time. If one of the MS’s cones is sensitive to yellow wavelengths, for example, does that mean it sees more colors than we do as a result? We see yellow after all, as a result of stimulation of our red-sensitive and green-sensitive cones. Color is a strange thing. As kids, most of us have wondered if what I call “blue” is the same thing that you call “blue”. There is no answer that means anything, I guess. In reality, the conceptualization of color really takes place in the visual cortex of the brain. All that comes out of the retina is an indication of how stimulated particular groups of cones were. Assigning “color” as a meaning to that combination takes place in the brain. And, again, having said all that, if the “extra” cones available to the mantis shrimp are sensitive to wavelengths outside the human visual spectrum, then the MS’s brain has access to more “colors” than we humans do. Of course, what those colors “look like” to a MS is beyond our interpretation. For all we know they could map to what we interpret as all the way from blue to green, for example! No way of knowing, not being a MS. (A little reading on wikipedia informs me that “only” 12 of the 16 cones in some species of MS are for color perception, with the others being sensitive to the polarization – both linear and circular – of the light. What polarization detection does to mental constructions of vision is even more confounding.)

        • Profile photo of Brian Gaschler Brian Gaschler
          August 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

          Hi David,

          You might get a chuckle knowing that the “is my blue your blue” thought is the first thing I thought of before mounting my reply. In my case, though, it was red ;-)


      • 15.2.2) Petra de Bruin
        August 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm

        I just knew someone would come back with a responds about ‘not seeing things properly ‘, I had even considered formulating it differently, but the lenght of the answer still took me by surprise:-)

        It’s true that photography is an interpretation, I just like it to be a bit natural looking instead of artificial. I wouldn’t like to pick up a National geographic magazine and see Disney pictures.

        The use of filters etc is a concious choice, not being able to see things and then interpret them is something else. I don’t think the pink dogs, that are supposed to be white, I’m seeing in my friends photos is an artistic choice:-) Or his red flowers that are so saturated they hurt my eyes.

        Btw, I have been tested and in the human world I have flawless colour vision. I’m glad at least one thing is perfect about me:-)

        • Profile photo of Brian Gaschler Brian Gaschler
          August 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm


          Apologies for the length of my former (and present) reply. Those who know my replies here (and elsewhere) know all too well that my replies are usually looooooooooong.

          I’m glad we agree that photography is indeed an ‘interpretation,’ but I’m still getting hung up on what is and is not considered “natural” as a result of a given photographer’s finished image.

          You bring up National Geographic photographs… however, NatGeo photographers used to shoot film, they would choose different film stocks depending on the assignment, in part to ‘impart’ a specific feel/mood/temper to accompany the narrative they wished to present.

          Landscape photographers routinely colour-grade skies and shadows, as do portrait and fashion photographers.

          HDR photography is an attempt (a rather poor one, in my mind) at trying to capture more closely the huge dynamic range our eyes are at least capable of seeing, to make a scene seem more “natural” in terms of light EV to dark EV (interesting, then, how the HDR attempt can result in far less “natural” looking images as a result).

          And as for digital… the sensors of digital cameras are biased one way or another in their pixels to begin with, in terms of red, green and blue (RGB) values. I remember being a little shocked when I learned that a 16MP sensor doesn’t have 16 million red, green and blue pixels. As far as my knowledge goes on the subject, all digital cameras have only a third of their claimed pixels per se, in that a pixel is generally defined as a completed colour data point along the image sensor. So instead of having separate R, G and B sensors for each pixel location, there is a painted R, G or B filter across the sensor itself, which follows the Bayer pattern. The Bayer interpolation algorithm, in its interpretation of colour data, will influence the result. In other words, there is an R or G or B recorded prior to the algorithm. The resulting image translation, however, after Bayer has been applied, now reflects the computational assigning of proportions of R and G and B to the pixel site.

          Why is this even important to the discussion? –in my mind, it relates back to my earlier point about photographs being biased and subjective — even at the time of capture — from a purely technical standpoint (to say nothing about composition, aperture, the range of decisions a photographer makes before the shutter is depressed.

          You state that “The use of filters etc is a conscious choice, not being able to see things and then interpret them is something else.” I think Sharif “saw” and “interpreted” things just fine, and also “developed” his photographs in accordance with his “vision,” which is not the sort of vision that is open to testing or capable of being ascribed labels such as “perfect.” There can be no doubt that Sharif possess the ability to “develop” his photographs through post in a way that he is satisfied with. There is also no doubting that his “development” style in some of his photographs is not to your (or a few others’) liking. Nevertheless, his development style and resulting images are no less “natural” to me than any other photographer’s.

          Maybe this is merely semiotics, and the use of words is throwing me off. Maybe I’m being too literal. I am not trying to pull out an argument or debate just for the sake of arguing/debating. Rather, I am just trying to understand what it is you are explaining to me, and I am problematising those assertions I find problematic for me (again, maybe it’s just me). I do not think it’s harmless, however; otherwise, I wouldn’t bother replying.

          I interpret claims like “Nope–too saturated,” and “Blech ! –Too processed” to not be beneficial to anyone, especially not the artist putting his or her stuff out there for critique (and back to my earlier comment, I never thought this was the space for a critique on the processing of images herein, but rather, on 35mm focal lengths on APS-C sensors). Even if Sharif wanted the critique, “Blech–too processed” doesn’t really help.

          As for your “flawless colour vision,” I might ask you to read the following article on colours and how subjective, culturally informed and “imperfect” they truly are, and then tell me after what “flawless colour vision” actually means to you:

          I do hope I haven’t offended you, Petra. I’ve tried to keep a light tone in my (loooooooooooong) reply so that you know I’m just prodding a bit.

          If you or others read nothing else in my long reply, please just read this: I’m trying to better understand what you and others mean by “too processed,” as if there were a universally accepted line to such things, and that Sharif most certainly crossed it with some of his images. I didn’t think they were supposed to “compete” with Nasim’s (or others’), as one other commenter stated. I thought this was an article about the versatility of 35mm primes on APS-C sensor cameras.



          • Petra de Bruin
            August 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm

            Seriously, expecting people to read an answer like that each time is a bit much…. ;-)
            I know about color, I know about setting a mood, I know about how light affects color.
            If you start to question all standards used in this society, things are getting really complicated. According to the scientific tests used for it, I have perfect color vision. Are dogs supposed to be pink? No they are not.

            Overprocessed to me is when you notice the processing and it distracts from the photo. I like HDR fine as long as it is indeed used to make a photo as the human eye would be able to see it in true life. But it usually isn’t. The result of the use of HDR is often more than the human eye could have seen. Like the night time photos in which everything is brightly colored. The same goes for smoothing out skin too much, or the way B&W photos nowadays often look more like drawings than photos.

            And now I’m moving on from here, I hope Alpha Wiskey can keep on enjoying his travels and his lens:-)

            • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
              August 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm

              Thank you. I enjoy my life and my travels immensely regardless of the opinions of anyone else :)
              But I do enjoy witnessing a spirited debate ;)


            • Petra de Bruin
              August 28, 2014 at 4:48 am

              I can imagine, so do I. By which I mostly refer to the travelling:-)

              As well as photography:-) And since the constant rain we’ve had here for weeks in the Netherlands has now stopped (for a day it seems), it’s time to go out:-)

            • Petra de Bruin
              August 28, 2014 at 4:51 am

              And… just now I notice Schotland on your photos…. My brother in law lives there, so I’ve been there and travelled around with him a couple of times. Wonderful unique place!

  16. 16) Peter`
    August 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Alpha Whiskey sounds like a military call signal. Is that really your name?

    • August 25, 2014 at 5:43 pm
      • 16.1.1) David Meyers
        August 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm


        So we know that your name isn’t Alpha Whiskey! No surprise there, but why do you call your site
        Alpha Whiskey Photography? I suspect that was the real intent of Peter’s question. Is there some significance to Alpha, Whiskey, or the letters “AW”? Inquiring minds want to know.

        This reminds me of a friend who used to think that (Dennis) “Oil Can” Boyd (a former Boston Red Sox pitcher) was really named “Oil Can” which would raise questions about his mother’s mental stability.

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          August 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

          I can assure you of my mother’s perfect mental stability :) Although she gave me the name ‘Sharif’, which apparently means ‘noble’, so she should probably ask for her money back. :)

  17. 17) Michael W.
    August 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Very nice article, AW. I too love the 35mm with my APS-C sensor camera, and as I get older I have less and less desire to tote around lots of lenses. A question about the portrait of the very attractive young blond lady with the coke: for many long years ago I printed some gorgeous portraits in my BW darkroom by using diffusion of the projecting light. The shadows blended into the highlights, if I recall. Anyway, you’ve reproduced this effect using, I presume, Photoshop or some other program. It’s the first time I’ve seen it done digitally. Can you tell me how you did it? I’d be much obliged. Keep up the good work. PS, my work seems to have been drifting more in the saturated direction of late, so I sympathize with your chosen style. Thanks.

    • August 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Michael. Thank you for the kind words.
      The shot of my friend Genka was taken in natural light in an outdoor cafe. She was a little darker than in the final pic as the camera had to deal with the oncoming sunlight and exposed accordingly. But I cranked up the exposure in post so that the highlights would frame her head (blown highlights have their uses!). I lightened her face a little too with the dodge tool, which probably lost the shadows in her face. Daylight white balance to warm the pic up a little (thank goodness for RAW). And that’s about it, really. She loved the final result, so it obviously worked! :)
      Hope this helps :)

  18. 18) Aleksi Lausti
    August 26, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Very nice set. Almost makes me want to re-try a 50mm or equivalent with which I have never struck a very loving relationship like so many others have. I really enjoy the classic sense of balance and a kind of sanity in these photographs which makes for very pleasant and harmonic viewing.

  19. 19) Fred
    August 26, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Sharif, you have put together a concise article on the values of the 35mm focal length on an apsc format camera. Well done indeed. I enjoy using the same combination and feel it offers a very good perspective especially when combined with a fast aperture lens.
    I took the time to read all the comments before I felt inclined to write anything here and quite frankly some of them astound me. I found it hard to identify the so called faults that were being brought up and can only put it down to the possibility that those who have been negative in their assessments of your images are so totally stymied in their perceptions of what an image should be that perhaps they should take up lawn bowls as a hobby and give up photography entirely —-

    • August 26, 2014 at 2:34 am

      Fred, thank you very much.

      I do believe people should be freely allowed to express their views. But the nature of the internet is that some people are only going to say negative things with nothing of their own to show for it. But that’s ok. I have a great life and I enjoy my photography and images so it doesn’t bother me :)
      I like colour so I may enhance it in some of my images. That’s a personal choice. It’s fair enough if some people find it overdone. But many of the shots here are more muted in colour or in B+W. Guess those were missed :)
      Anyway, thanks again. Appreciate the kind words.

      • 19.1.1) Petra de Bruin
        August 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        No they were not missed by me, I really like the one with the red car and the gun was also very originally done.

  20. 20) Chandra
    August 26, 2014 at 3:33 am

    I really appreciate the POV in our images. Your images really show the capabilities of a 35mm on a cropped sensor in different locations (indoor & outdoor) as well as different light conditions (day, twilight and night).

    I generally like your images. The a vivid, sharp and very much capture the subject well.

    Keep up the good work.

    An avid follower.

  21. 21) Ding
    August 26, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Great article. Gives people the new hope of renewal of using APS-C sensor camera. But I hope there will be still good continuation of APS-C sensor DSLR though the trend here looks like going in FX. Nevertheless, I am surprised to see so much interest of APS-C sensor on mirrorless body now.

    • August 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Thanks Ding. I guess APS-C is still cheaper sensor to produce and place in many formats, although full frame is following suit (e.g. Sony A7 series). But ultimately everything is driven by the market place and demand, and the need to fill every possible price point :)

  22. 22) Simon
    August 26, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Hi Sharif,

    I fully aggree with your article. The Nikon 35mm f/1.8g was my introduction to primes, as well as introduction to bokeh. After a few years I acquired a 50mm f/1.8D but never really used it as much. I remember I was purposly leaving the house with only the 50mm to force me getting use to it, but never really felt at home for me. The 35mm on an APS-C sensor has something special. Yes it has the FoV of a 50mm on a FF, but it also “distord“ the pictures like a 35mm which gives more caracter to the pictures in my opinion. I have a set on Flickr if people want to see other real example with that combinaison:

    And since we are talking about opinions, I really like your pictures and do not think are oversaturated. Photography is a universal communication language just like music, and I knew before you mentioned it that you like colors. I have been following your article since you joined the site and one thing I really like is you can shoot a lot of different things and you have your own style. Keep posting as you have a follower in Canada :)

    • August 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Many thanks, Simon. I really appreciate that. :)

      Your Flickr set with the F/1.8 is very impressive. Especially the Christmas tree and also ‘Brioche’. Keep up the good work too :)


  23. Profile photo of Luc 23) Luc
    August 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Hi Alpha Whiskey
    Great work, as for the over-saturation it reminds me of the kodachrome 25 and technicolor pictures that I still love greatly. . Photography is like painting, many painters used pastel colors while others used very bright saturated colors, and as far as I know nobody claims one type is better than the other .. Your pics are not required to show the accurate colors and intensity of the real capture. it reflects your vision of the reality. I am not sure if it was Scott Kelby on one of its training video who said who cares what the reality was regarding WB in a sunset pic, its more the way you would like it to look that matters , Looking also at Moose work when he is using Nikk plugins to modify greatly the reality of the capture to improve its pics to bring more feelings out of its pics, who can blame him for doing this.

    Have a nice day to all

  24. 24) Patrick O'Connor
    August 26, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’m a little confused by the point of these kinds of articles.

    If you’re trying to demonstrate the usefulness of a particular AOV (in this case, 44 degrees +/-), you’ve done so very well.

    If you’re attempting to demonstrate the usefulness of a particular lens (35mm) on a particular sensor size (APS-C), only a few of your photos accomplish that and your text doesn’t call attention to the unique qualities of that combination. Certainly, you’ve included a variety of uses for the combination but they’re no more or less possible with any other lens that covers that AOV.

    Maybe I’m expecting something other than your intent. I figured you were either demonstrating why to include this lens, or any lens with a similar AOV, in your kit or why to use it primarily.

    All that aside, you clearly have an excellent eye for composition and make good use of an obvious, excellent knowledge of your cameras capabilities. I’m just not sure your choice of photos to include always supports your articles. But I usually enjoy your articles (especially your wonderful photos) and this one was no exception.

  25. 25) Rafael
    August 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Nice article and points on the 35mm prime.

    I shoot DX and it is one of the few primes I own (35mm 1.8G), it is my favorite fixed lens as you pointed on the article, it can fit a myriad of purposes/subjects, except, IMHO, astrophotography (too narrow FoV).

    My learning curve steeped higher after I started forcing myself using it more often, even though I own a good all-around DX zoom (16-85). Whenever I feel the need to break through some creativity blocking, I go out using this prime. It has not failed yet. :)

    As for the criticism, it is a matter of taste. I personally like less saturated, but that does not diminishes the author, quite the opposite; I feel glad that there are people whom see and think different than I do, so my own work can have its own characteristic, the “unique” feel we sometimes get. :)

    I like constructive criticism on my works, and even though I accept these from my heart, it doesn’t mean that I will actually follow the “advices” blindly. I adhere mostly to my feeling and thoughts.

    Nice compositions, Sharif!


  26. Profile photo of Muhammad Omer 26) Muhammad Omer
    August 27, 2014 at 2:37 am

    You can take a photo of yourself shooting pool sharif. By using timed release. Using a remote trigger can also be tried but that would be more difficult.

    Nice opponent by the way

    • August 27, 2014 at 3:16 am

      Yes, you’re right Muhammad. Thank you :)

      But I was genuinely playing pool and not specifically posing for the shot! I had my camera with the 35mm with me so I just gave it to my friend to play with and he took that shot. Yes, my opponent was very hot! :)


  27. August 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Excelent Article! I really enjoy your work :)

    I also like to shoot with a 35mm in APS-C (in my case…the wonderful 35mm f/1.8 AF-S).

    Thank you for sharing this :)

  28. 28) Luc
    August 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

    HI Alpha Whiskey

    May I ask you what is your feeling in image quality between the following lenses installed on a D7100, I would think the sigma art lenses are better than the low- cost Nikon 35 mm f1.8G DX but is the difference in quality justify the différences in prices ?

    1- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM AF “A” art FX 900$
    2- Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM “A” art APS-C 500$
    3- Nikon 35mm ƒ/1.8G DX 200$
    4- Nikkor 35mm F/2 AF-D on APS-C
    I own the Nikon 35mm F1.8G DX and the 50mm F1.8D , and I carry mostly the sigma 17-50 F2.8 EX OS HSM as highly recommanded by DXOMARK for a short zoom on this camera. I would like to add that I print to size up to 24″X36”thanks for


    • August 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Hi Luc.

      I haven’t used a D7100 so I couldn’t honestly speak to how good it is with any lens. I imagine it’s a perfectly good camera and sensor. I know the 35mm F/1.8 DX is a great little lens, but I bought the older 35mm F/2 because it was compatible with any future FX purchase (which I eventually made). My experience of the 35mm F/2 is that it’s very sharp and fast focusing, and also focuses very closely too. It’s also better built, being an older lens – more metal in it :)
      I’ve never tried the Sigma lenses so I couldn’t advise you on those. I’ve heard the Sigma F/1.4 is very good. I suppose you could consider whether you want to buy something that will be compatible with a future FX camera should you eventually decide to buy one (although you can just as easily sell any lens now and use the sale to fund a new lens).

      I think you have a great pair of primes with the 35mm F/1.8 and 50mm F/1.8D, and I’m sure the Sigma 17-50 F/2.8 is a great lens too (I used to have the older Sigma 18-50, which was really sharp, but no OS). All of these should enable you to print up to that size. Other factors such as noise, technique (e.g. use of tripod) and printer quality matter too. I’ve printed images up to A1 size from my 12MP Nokia phone (albeit in B+W) and my old 6MP DSLR with a 18-200mm zoom, and they looked fine, so I’m certain your lenses will be up to the job! A print that size is probably intended to be seen from a distance of a few feet anyway, so the pixel-level detail is only something that will bother purists who are too busy looking at pixels to be out making photos. Most people won’t press their face up against the print to examine it :)
      I think you’ll be just fine, Luc. You’ve made good choices in your gear, and as a famous actor once told me, success is in the choices that we make. :)

      Hope this has been some help. Wish you the best.
      Warm Regards,

      • 28.1.1) Luc
        August 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

        Hi Sharif
        Thanks a lot for all of your comments, they are greatly appreciated
        . My printer is an Epson Pro 3880 (17X22) on Epson worthy signature luster paper. and above that size I get them printed on an Epson 7900 matte paper (250).

        Have a nice day

  29. 29) Alis
    August 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Sharif

    I also like the 35mm on crop sensor. I shot all the pictures of my own wedding with it ;-)
    Contrarely to some readers I love saturated colors!
    Thanks for sharing your work with us!


  30. 30) Vasudeep Shetty
    August 28, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I love all the images and your perspective. I own a 50mm/1.8D and D51OO and was planning on purchasing a 35mm. Your article might just have ignited the urgency to go for it.

    Great Images Alpha Whiskey!!!

  31. 31) Adrian
    August 28, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I’m a simple guy who loves to see wonderful photograpbs (in addition to hopefully taking them too). Alpha Whisky / Sharif your photos are awesome!!!! I like the articles you’ve written too. Please keep on sharing your works here.

    Cheers, A

  32. 32) jdizzl
    December 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Good post, and explains why a crop sensor still saves a ton. You can get the 35mm 1.8g dx and 50mm 1.8g both for around 200. Same range on FX, you are spending more for the 85mm. I shoot street and portrait, so 50mm and 85mm are my preferred lengths on both. When if I move to FX, I’ll have to ditch the 35mm dx and also buy the 85mm 1.8g. Not sure it’s worth it. Going to FX IMO is only worth it if you are shooting wide… Architecture/Landscape.

  33. 33) Sinisa Popovic
    December 19, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Hi Sharif,
    Thank you for your great article and pictures.
    I’m using a DX camera with 2 kit lenses (18-55 and 55-200) but your article inspired me to go and get the 35 mm prime lens. I was always afraid that a fixed focal length will limit my abilities and that I will miss some photo opportunities if I don’t have my zooms with me.
    I don’t know if this prime lens will really work for me but I want to see if that f/1.8 will really make any difference in practice. Currently my biggest aperture is f/3.5.
    Of course I know I will not be able to get such a good pictures as you but I will try my best.
    Thanks again and happy shooting in 2015!

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