What is 35mm photography?

Build a basic foundation of photographic knowledge by learning about the what, where, and when of 35mm photography.

The term 35mm photography can mean a lot of different things — but most often, it will refer to either a type of focal length on a lens or format of film photography. Read on for an explanation that will help you better understand what each means and why both types matter.

What is a 35mm lens?

Typically, when the term 35mm photography comes up during a DSLR conversation, you can bet that someone is referring to a 35mm lens. These types of lenses offer large apertures (or f-stops), are versatile, and offer a perfect compromise between a wide-angle and a standard lens.

What does 35mm film photography mean?

When the term 35mm photography is used in a format setting, it usually refers to film photography — sometimes called analog photography. Film photography uses light-sensitive film in cameras to capture photos — whenever the film is exposed to light, an impression is captured.

A 35mm format — just called 35mm — describes a common type of image sensor format that’s used in film photography. The general rule is, the larger the film, the better the resolution. Smaller formats like 35mm will be noticeably grainier when printed — but that’s often a much-loved result of film photography.

Discover your 35mm photography potential.

Refine your 35mm photography (be it film or focal length) today. Explore what more you can do with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.