Home · Register · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Leica & Alternative Gear | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       end
  

The Best Lens for Street Photography?

  
 
Durlacher
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Greetings again fellow forum members,

Something a little different this time, an unintentional acquisition having made a low auction bid on a Canon New FD 28mm F2.8, and winning a lens I really had no need for.

However, on initial review I was pleasantly surprised by the rendering – not the sharpest at 2.8, but more than sufficient when stopped down for documentary style and street photography.

Which begged the question – does one really need an expensive lens to take great photos?

Time as such to create another video and I am delighted to share my research and findings with you:

https://youtu.be/lzBxLWAWvgI?si=PBSPZBxdZXblPr8i


The New FD is compact, light and proved to be a great deal of fun in application.

And notably, I had a complete indifference to using it in conditions for which a Summicron would have been stashed away in a camera bag, protected from the elements and out of sight of suspicious individuals and would be thieves.

Actual test results surpassed many lenses of significantly greater value, and I was also able to capture some of my favourite images.

Hope you enjoy and extending best wishes to all.



Oct 13, 2023 at 05:04 PM
1bwana1
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Durlacher wrote:
Which begged the question – does one really need an expensive lens to take great photos?



No, a lens with aberrations which is often called character is actually great for street photography. Street is more about moments and mood than sharpness, and some kinds of aberrations add to those attributes.



Oct 13, 2023 at 10:25 PM
Durlacher
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


1bwana1 wrote:
No, a lens with aberrations which is often called character is actually great for street photography. Street is more about moments and mood than sharpness, and some kinds of aberrations add to those attributes.


Many thanks 1bwana1 for your reply, I couldn’t agree more with your comments - my sentiment exactly, sharpness is completely irrelevant if the composition isn’t engaging. As you’ve noted, moments and mood are far more important.

I do agree also that it is the lens imperfections and character that can contribute to make a great photo.



Oct 14, 2023 at 03:08 AM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Durlacher wrote:
Which begged the question – does one really need an expensive lens to take great photos?


One needs great vision to take great photos.




The tool(s) of choice are no different than a chef using a good knife or a great knife. What you do with the tool that is in under your control is up to you.

That said ... there are those attributes that enhance and attract the viewers attention. And, there are those attributes that detract the viewers attention. Your command and control of attractors / detractors as they apply to your vision is again upon you.


The reason that lenses cost what they do ... is exactly the same reason anything costs what it does. It is matter of intrinsic and extrinsic valuation, based on what the market will bear. Thus, cost is only the relative valuation to the market and while there is an aspect of "you get what you pay for" ... there's also the aspect of whether or not others want the same thing(s) (i.e. demand).

Neither of which are indicative of what level of command and control you can achieve with it ... and certainly, has no bearing on what your vision is.

If one's vision is weak, then the technical aspects of the lens can be a boon to the quality of production, but not the quality of the vision. OTOH, if a given lens is too weak, then it can detract from the vision ... that's where you really need to draw the line (imo). Yet, if the command and control of such a lens offers one a tool to create their vision ... then, it is certainly viable, no matter its $$$ cost.

The bottom line is ... great images come from great vision (and sufficient execution).

Great tools make them either easier to achieve, or keep them from being detractors from such great vision. Vision trumps tools, until tools impede the vision.

There are thousands of chefs out there using thousands of different knives ... what they cook, and how tasty it is ... comes from what's inside their mind, not the knife. Use the tool that lets you cook the way you want.




Oct 14, 2023 at 07:59 AM
ruthenium
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Fully agree with the previous post except having some doubts about the statement "The most enduring and famous “street photos” of all time were taken with either a 50 or a 35mm lens." While being factually correct, this observation can be explained by different factors. For example, a reworded statement "The most enduring and famous “street photos” of all time were taken with film rather than digital cameras" is also most likely factually true, I believe. If correct indeed, this does not mean that a digital camera is less suitable for street photography. The lens I have been recently using for street photography is the Tamron 50-400 f/4.5-6.3, and it does have its mertis despise being an unorthodox choice: one can take a position at a distance, and when one shooting from a distance it is not easy for bystanders to tell what is the subject despite the photographer being in full sight.




Oct 14, 2023 at 09:00 AM
airfrogusmc
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Great piece by a good street shooter (current)



I tend to prefer 35 and lately 24mm.



Oct 14, 2023 at 09:31 AM
Durlacher
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


airfrogusmc wrote:
Great piece by a good street shooter (current)



I tend to prefer 35 and lately 24mm.


Many thanks you for your contribution and video link recommendation, I look forward to watching this.

With regards to focal length, in my experience I’ve found that it varies upon location. I.e for Hong Kong and much of Malaysia 35mm is ideal, but for Bangkok and the back streets of Japan, 28mm is better suited.

Where there are lots of narrow alleyways and confined spaces, 28mm helps to ensure the intended top and bottom compositional elements aren’t cropped. On recent travels to Tokyo and Osaka taking just a 35mm lens, I constantly found myself pushed hard up against the back wall and still unable to get everything in the frame.

That being said, I do prefer the rendering of 35mm. Where 28mm can appear flat (I consider it more a documentary style) the 35mm provides a more engaging connection with the subject matter - especially when people are included in the scene.

24mm for street photography? I hadn’t considered this as an option having assumed stretch and distortion on the edges would be a distraction. There is a phrase about people who assume, looks like I’ll need to put 24mm to the test. I did recently pick up a Carl Zeiss 25mm 2.8 which in some reviews I’ve read is reported to be closer to 26mm - could be the ultimate compromise!



Oct 14, 2023 at 04:43 PM
Desmolicious
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


The garbage lenses I use for street:

Lomo Minitar 32








TTA 28 5.6:












Fuji Work Project 28mm P&S




Lomo LC-W 21mm lens






Wtulens 17mm f16 (two 35mm lenses taken out of recycled Fuji Quicksnap disposable cameras)







Oct 14, 2023 at 05:47 PM
airfrogusmc
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Durlacher wrote:
Many thanks you for your contribution and video link recommendation, I look forward to watching this.

With regards to focal length, in my experience I’ve found that it varies upon location. I.e for Hong Kong and much of Malaysia 35mm is ideal, but for Bangkok and the back streets of Japan, 28mm is better suited.

Where there are lots of narrow alleyways and confined spaces, 28mm helps to ensure the intended top and bottom compositional elements aren’t cropped. On recent travels to Tokyo and Osaka taking just a 35mm lens, I constantly found myself pushed hard up against the back wall
...Show more

The beautiful thing about the 24 2.8 Elmarit is there isn't a lot of distortion you find in other 24s. Erwin Puts (Leica expert) said it was one of the Leica's finest. I really like mine. Alan Schaller shoots with a 24 Lux.

All 24 2.8 Elmarit asph
































Edited on Nov 01, 2023 at 06:15 AM · View previous versions



Oct 14, 2023 at 07:54 PM
KLaban
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


(1) Do no harm.

(2) Do not frighten the natives.

The rest pales into insignificance and is merely subjective opinion.



Oct 15, 2023 at 05:49 AM
 


Search in Used Dept. 

Durlacher
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


RustyBug wrote:
One needs great vision to take great photos.


The tool(s) of choice are no different than a chef using a good knife or a great knife. What you do with the tool that is in under your control is up to you.

That said ... there are those attributes that enhance and attract the viewers attention. And, there are those attributes that detract the viewers attention. Your command and control of attractors / detractors as they apply to your vision is again upon you.

The reason that lenses cost what they do ... is exactly the same reason anything costs what it
...Show more

Hi RustyBug, many thanks for your input - I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. In fact the primary findings of the video is effectively along the same lines, it is the vision of the photographer that matters most, the lens is merely a tool. Albeit it took 17 minutes to arrive at the conclusion, although hopefully it was informative along the way.

It’s not to say that gear doesn’t matter, but rather to put it context.

Drawing on your chef analogy, it could be said that a good photographer with vision should be able to take good photos regardless of gear used, and conversely expensive gear will not guarantee good photos for a photographer lacking in vision.



Oct 15, 2023 at 03:12 PM
airfrogusmc
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


The best lens is the one that best fits ones vision. The big take away from the piece in my opinion is keep it simple. Use the same equipment. Most of the greats Winogrand, Robert Frank, Bresson,etc all used the same equpment and the same lens (focal length) most of the time. Become one with your camera and lens.


Oct 15, 2023 at 04:43 PM
ZdevilH1
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Great photos examples. I am in the same camp that you do not need an expensive lens to take great photographs. I crave that character flaw in my images, specially when I shoot monochrome. I rather have affordable lenses and work on how to see the world differently. Now, keep in mind mind that I lot of these "affordable" lenses have their own charm, it does not mean complete garbage. Just know when to use them.

Here is my lined up
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 classic (Monochrome street work)
Voigtlander 35mm f1.5 (travel and family vacations), this lens is so underrated.
Voigtlander 50mm f1.5 ii (this lens has a hint of swirl and i love it on my M10-P)

I also have a handful of M42 legacy lenses including the 58mm Helios 44-4 and carl Zeiss Jenna Pancolar 50mm f1.8 which I use on my SL.



Oct 17, 2023 at 12:16 PM
Fred Miranda
Offline
Admin
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


It truly relies on the focal length you feel comfortable using. Wide-angle lenses get you closer to the scene, but they can be a bit overwhelming for your subjects. On the other hand, standard lenses create more distance between you and your subject. In this type of daytime photography with high shutter speeds and smaller apertures, most M-mount lenses will deliver excellent image quality.


Oct 24, 2023 at 09:58 PM
Durlacher
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Desmolicious wrote:
The garbage lenses I use for street:

Lomo Minitar 32

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53092309583_fb5a18e52e_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53092002134_6fd0e68001_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52771097637_1953975341_b.jpg

TTA 28 5.6:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53016724983_10775b79c5_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53017726605_02b11a2b47_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52452821715_7323f08a24_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52451865942_6df23eab21_b.jpg

Fuji Work Project 28mm P&S

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52303751742_328bbf4dd6_b.jpg

Lomo LC-W 21mm lens

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52547657428_bc1d1ff5df_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52466321651_a8a8ee77e8_b.jpg

Wtulens 17mm f16 (two 35mm lenses taken out of recycled Fuji Quicksnap disposable cameras)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51382069050_b3ccdc1bcf_b.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51381714855_5e8a8b3320_b.jpg


Greatly appreciate the shared images, I must confess ignorance of the Lomo Minitar 32mm - an interesting focal length and an excellent compromise when undecided on whether to use 28 or 35mm. Your results further serve to support the argument that the composition is far more important than the lens for which they were taken with.



Oct 30, 2023 at 02:46 PM
algrove
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Thorsten Overgaard has an article with a title something like "What lens are you?" Worth a look since he is mainly a street and portrait photographer.


Oct 31, 2023 at 06:36 PM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


Fred Miranda wrote:
excellent image quality.


+1 lots of options available to us for achieving this ^.

IQ is a very different thing from vision. I still dig on IQ (a lot), but I've come to realize that my vision is a precedent of a given lens IQ.

It's been said (long before me) that the BEST lens ... is the one you have with you.

I can get a vision with darn near any lens / camera in my hand. But, no lens / camera can create my vision. Capturing your vision with a given tool of choice is full of options, but it still has to be your VISION. The lens is but the TOOL (imo). Not much different from decisions about using a 1/4 chisel vs. a 1- 1/2 chisel.

Which chisels Michelangelo used to create David ... were decided upon based on his vision of creation. The dog (vision) should wag the tail (lens). Not the other way around.

Imo, when we are having a shortage of vision ... we too often turn our attention to our tools, looking for them to provide what we are lacking (temporarily) in vision.
Btw, I'm GUILTY as CHARGED. Hopefully, I've gotten past that in some regard (yet, still ... )

Great IQ is great. Great VISION is even GREATER (imo).




Oct 31, 2023 at 08:16 PM
j.liam
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


airfrogusmc wrote:
The best lens is the one that best fits ones vision. The big take away from the piece in my opinion is keep it simple. Use the same equipment. Most of the greats Winogrand, Robert Frank, Bresson,etc all used the same equpment and the same lens (focal length) most of the time. Become one with your camera and lens.


This is such a profound and simple bit of wisdom that I'll never be able to live up to. The seduction of variety, the options that become dizzying and distracting...this is the reality for me and likely many others.



Oct 31, 2023 at 09:18 PM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


j.liam wrote:
This is such a profound and simple bit of wisdom that I'll never be able to live up to. The seduction of variety, the options that become dizzying and distracting...this is the reality for me and likely many others.
. Dig the honesty.

Buy something $$$ out of your comfort zone ... you can only afford ONE (for a while at least) or two. That'll whittle down that whole options / dizzy / distraction pretty quickly. It's a "side benefit" to getting great glass.



I've gotten to a place where I mostly use only two lenses 35 (or vintage 40) and 75. I've got my 28 and my 135, but those are mostly "in case I need them" lenses. So, to Allen's point, I mostly think in terms of short wide or shot tele, as those are the two lenses that I consider my BEST lenses. Coming from a range of 16mm - 560mm and a cross section of overlaps along the way, that diversity thing used to be what I'd now call a "comfort crutch", in that I felt I was prepared for anything (Be Prepared, e.g. Scout Motto).

Going from a vast variety of options, to "mostly two" ... is something I had a hard time even conceiving a couple years back. There was always this "FOMO" if I didn't have all the bases covered.

Now, I find mounting that being down to basically TWO lenses for my daily use is much easier. My 135 was purchased as a dedicated landscape lens for when my feet just CAN'T get me there. Otherwise, I move my feet to get me in range of either my 35 / 40 or 75 depending on what I've mounted for a given camera (color or mono).

I just grab the camera out of the bag and shoot whichever one is mounted (75 atm). Maybe a mental check of "is there some COMPELLING reason I NEED to switch this lens to the other one". If there's no COMPELLING need, I leave it on. A lens might stay on for a day, a couple days, a week or even a couple weeks. I just LEAVE IT there, until I have a COMPELLING REASON to change it. Then, I stick there until the next compelling reason comes along. FUNNY THING ... all those concerns about being prepared for whatever might come along ... ummm, well ... they don't come along near as often as I was concerned about.

If you can't "pick one" ... then PICK TWO, and roll with it.

So, even it if is more than ONE ... even whittling down to TWO for primary use (specialty use might be something else at three / four) ... has a way of shifting your focus on aligning your vision to what you're carrying, rather than having a multitude number of options for different focal lengths.

Yeah, I didn't think I could get there ... but, I'm much closer to it today, than I was just a couple years ago. So, yeah ... I hear ya that "wisdom I'll never be able to live up to" makes it look like an impossibility. But, you CAN do it. I didn't think I could, and yet ...

HTH







Kent Southers 2023

"not selected" ... I tend to mount the (50 year old) 40 Cron on the mono. 35 / 75 on the M10R

  LEICA M MONOCHROM (Typ 246)    not selected lens    f/4.8    1/250s    320 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Oct 31, 2023 at 10:38 PM
Jepser
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · The Best Lens for Street Photography?


I realy like 24-25mm around people. The Nikkor 24mm was my most used lens in my photography-formative years and I have easier to relaxe and "do my thing" around strangers with something wider than 28. I can put myself in the center of whats happening and still feel distanced.

My second choise would be a 40mm, dont know if it's that the focal lenght per se or just that the Voigtländer Ultron 40mm SLii is so much to my taste. And my Rollei 35.



Nov 01, 2023 at 05:26 AM
1
       2       end






FM Forums | Leica & Alternative Gear | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username       Or Reset password



This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.