I want to get this article written and uploaded as fast as I can, because the new Yongnuo 35mm lens is officially for sale (Check it on Amazon), and it looks really, really interesting, but there’s one very time-sensitive thing that I think people need to know. I’ll try to keep this short, I don’t want to end up writing a book on this, because I have a whole long essay I’ve been working on that’s related to the topic of 35mm lenses. I’m going to try writing this in points to lay out my case:
The front and back of the Yongnuo 35mm shows it to look quite solid, as well as quite Canon-like (thanks to the fonts)
Everyone loves the inexpensive 50mm f1.8 “nifty fifty” lenses, and the Canon version is the best-selling lens out there. Everyone on earth loves to tell people “OH YOU GOTTA GET A NIFTY FIFTY”, and it’s true that they are great lenses, because they’re fast and cheap.
When it comes to the nifty fifty, everyone is kind of wrong about one thing: People love to say “you get the same view as you see with your eyes”. Well, that is NOT true if you’re using an APS-C camera like the Canon T6i, 70D, etc. These cameras are by far the most popular DSLRs, and a lot of newer photographers don’t realize that a 50mm lens will capture far less of a scene on these than on a full frame camera like the Canon 5D Mark III or things like that. The nifty fifty is still a cheap, fast, sharp lens on crop-sensor cameras like the T6i, but the photos are much more zoomed-in than what your eyes see.
Canon sells a nice little 40mm f2.8 pancake lens, that would probably suit people better, but it’s more expensive than the 50mm, and slower, so most people will naturally buy the nifty-fifty first, and then be fairly reluctant to ever buy the 40mm, since it’s fairly close to what they own.
The Yongnuo 35mm is almost as fast as the Canon 50mm (Amazon) (f2 vs f1.8), and also the number 35 looks far enough away from 50 that I think people will psychologically be a lot more apt to buy it, especially when you consider that it’s about $30 cheaper than the 40mm. A lot, and I mean a LOT, of people buy a cheap 50mm and immediately want to buy another cheap prime lens, and are disappointed to learn that there’s really nothing out there that’s as great a value as the nifty-fifty.
Yongnuo are a solid company with a track record of very good, high quality products (mostly flashes, but their own nifty-fifty is also VERY well regarded), and people love them. I think their reputation, paired with a fast, cheap prime lens that isn’t super-similar to the nifty fifty is going to make their 35mm lens a HUGE success, it is going to sell like CRAZY.
Going back to point 2, I think once people actually start using a 35mm focal length lens on crop-sensor APS-C cameras like the T5i, T6i, 70D, etc., they are going to love it, and word is going to spread like wildfire at what a better choice this is than even the nifty-fifty.
So here’s the thing: When Yongnuo put out their 50mm nifty-fifty clone, they sold it for about $40 initially, but it became extremely popular, and they realized they could basically double the price. If you believe, as I strongly do, that the 35mm will be a huge hit, it is very, very likely that they will raise the price on it, maybe even double it. This is my main point: If you don’t already have a 35mm or 40mm focal length lens, you need to buy this one right now before the price goes way up.
Getting this thing for about $120 right now is such a steal. Here’s the thing: I am constantly keeping my eye on old, manual focus used lenses, and you can’t even get an OLD f2 35mm lens for $120. Check out this link to KEH and look for the f2 Canon lenses they have (I wasn’t able to narrow the link down to only f2 lenses) – their stock will change over time, but as I’m writing this, their cheapest 35mm f2 is $109, but that’s for one in their Ugly condition, which means the glass has “marks, fungus and/or haze”, and is not even close to being a good lens. To get a 35mm in excellent condition there right now is $199, but remember, that’s an old, and not necessarily sharp, lens that is completely manual – you can’t use autofocus or auto-exposure with it (incidentally you can’t use it on a modern Canon anyway, just on a mirrorless like a Micro Four Thirds, Sony, etc., so don’t buy one of these for a Canon!)
So that’s my argument in a nutshell: I think this Yongnuo is going to be a huge hit, but I think the price is going to go way up, and you need to buy it now to save yourself money. My advice: Buy it, try it, and if you don’t love it, keep it a few months and then sell it on, maybe you’ll even make a little profit, who knows!
Links: Yongnuo 35mm lens for Canon on Amazon
Since the time I started writing this article and publishing it, the Yongnuo has already gone out of stock on Amazon, which basically proves my point: This thing is likely to be a huge success. If you think you’re going to want this sometime, do yourself a favor and get it sooner than later!Looks like there are still some available on Ebay, but prices look like about $140, and if I recall it was $121 or so on Amazon, so use your best judgement and do what suits your needs best.