best lens for street photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by hdukphotographs, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. hdukphotographs

    hdukphotographs TPF Noob!

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    Yesterday i went to the Edinburgh festival hoping to get some good portrait shots of the street entertainers but came home with nothing close to what i wanted.I went with my Tamron 17-50 and my canon 17-40.I was wondering what kind of lens i would need to get some great street shots?

    I own a canon 350d
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    What are you looking for in a street shot? What was lacking in the shots you took?
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  4. hdukphotographs

    hdukphotographs TPF Noob!

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    That thing is bigger than me.

    Im just looking for a good lens that lets me stand back and observe things from a distance, a good lens that would work well with photographng people but no so im in their face.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    OK, so you would need a longer focal length. What's your budget?
     
  6. hdukphotographs

    hdukphotographs TPF Noob!

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    Anything under and £1000
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    If your budget stretches to £1000 you can easily afford a great tele zoom... one of the following would be great...

    : Canon 70-200mm f/4 at around £450 (yes half your budget but it may do everything you need and save you some cash).

    : Same lens but with IS at £750.

    : Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 for £950 if you need the faster aperture (which may not necessarily be the case; consider as well as being expensive it is fairly large and heavy too).

    : Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 for £650 if you want to save a bit of cash there.

    Of course you could go for a zoom with a longer focal length, but then you have to pay more to get the same quality, and handheld shooting on the street gets a bit silly. A fixed focal length is another option but may not be suitable for street photography. Personally I'd be looking at the lenses above and at the Canon f/4 first.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are plenty of options...

    The Canon 75-300, it's cheap but the small aperture may be a limitation is poor light.
    You can get a 75-300 with IS, which is a better lens and the IS is a great feature.
    There is also the 75-300 DO IS, which is a high quality lens and it's a compact size (good for not drawing attention to yourself).

    The 70-200 lenses are a more 'high quality' than the 75-300 lenses. There is the F4 L, the F4 L IS, the F2.8 L and the best one, the F2.8 L IS. These lenses are the Canon 'white' lenses, which might attract attention, which may not be good for street photography. Sigma makes a 70-200 F2.8, which is black though. On the down side, the F2.8 versions are large and heavy.

    There are other options as well, but those are probably the most common.
     
  9. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    I've never used larger than 50mm for my street photography.
    In fact I use my 28mm quite often and get closer to the action. Set a hyperfocal focus shoot from waist height :D
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm with Gizmo... I rarely use any telephoto lenses for street photography.

    If anything, I shoot with the 28, 35, 50 focal lengths. I usually shoot with a small "stealthy" camera and often at hyperfocal. Any BIG lens on a good sized camera body will bring unwanted attention.. all it does is "taint" the environment. Shooting with a 70-200mm f2.8 IS or something similar on the street is pretty darn near impossible in my opinion.

    Prior to rangefinders, my favorite street shooter was a pentax ME(or LX) with the pancake 40mm lens. Those cameras were one of the most compact cameras you can buy and the 40mm pancake protruded from the body less than 1/2 inch. It made for a literally pocketable SLR. An LX with a waist viewer was also nice as it literally allowed you to shoot "at the hip".
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I've got to admit I tend to think of this kind of street photography as "surveillance" or "PI" shots. Personally I prefer a wide-angle lens on the SLR, or the 'normal' focal length on a TLR or zone-focus camera, which don't have to be raised to eye-level... but street photography with long teles seems to be becoming increasingly more popular (or is it just me?).
     
  12. Frequent Traveler

    Frequent Traveler TPF Noob!

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    I gotta concur with the shorter prime lenses...

    When i'm out doing street portraits then yes, i use my 70-210mm and get in close. Unfortunately, EVERYONE sees that big thing hanging off my already inconspicuous camera and viola - lotsa turned-away heads, hands and fingers in unique communication poses, etc.

    Maybe a super wide would do what you're wanting...maybe let us know what you really like to do.

    Usually for street, the longest lens i use is 135mm and that's on my film cameras. My favorite street length is 50mm followed by my 24mm, though recently, my 35mm is getting more attention. Though these are ALL for film.
     

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