Lots of moms seem to have the same question as this mom:
I have a Nikon; should I buy the 50mm or the 35mm f/1.8 lens? I'm new at this and still learning about my camera and lenses.
I already have the 50mm and I don't understand the difference. Any advice on that would be helpful! When I looked online to purchase, it looked like more people purchased the 35mm but I'm not sure why.
If you already have a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Lens, you'll be just fine; don't go out and buy the 35mm lens in addition to the 50mm. They fill the same need, so you don't need to get both.
That said, if you don't have either and you're trying to decide which one to get, I think the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 Lens is the better choice. Here's why:
The difference between the 35mm and the 50mm is what the world looks like when you look through the lens: the 50mm will feel slightly more "zoomed in" than the 35mm.
This is important because the lens doesn't zoom in or out... it's "fixed" at that point, and you'll have to move with your feet a lot. The 35mm lens gives you just a little bit more room to work with compared to the 50mm since the 35mm gives you a more "zoomed out" look.
When you're dealing with a small house where you can't move around too much or back up a lot to get everything in the frame, you might appreciate the slightly wide-angle nature of the 35mm, because you'll be able to fit more in the frame.
So, especially if you're hoping to shoot indoors with your family, I recommend the 35mm. If you've already got the 50 mm, it will serve you just fine in the majority of situations, and I don't really think you need to also get the 35mm lens.
NOTE FOR CANON USERS: The question doesn't apply to Canon users because the lens options are different for Canon.
Canon offers a Canon 50mm f/1.8, but doesn't have something that fills the same need at that price point (about $125). The Canon 35mm f/2 Wide-Angle Lens is great, but at $549 it isn't in the budget for most moms shooting their families.
The Canon 24mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens is much more affordable at $115, but it's definitely a wide angle instead of normal view. Many moms can transition to this lens easily, but I can't recommend it as an all-around lens, because of the distortion factor that makes for less-than-flattering portraits.
This is the beginning of my "Ask A Photographer" series! If you have a question about your camera or how to take pictures of your kids, send it to me! I've got tons of experience helping moms just like you, and I want to help. I'll email you back within a day with the answer, and some of the questions will appear on the blog too. Enjoy!