(Canon) 85mm VS 35mm for street photography

taylr365

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I'm torn between the two and I can't decide which one I should get next. I've been using the 50mm for now but I'm looking to get better quality and a sharper result. I live in New York so I also want to capture some of the background as well so I don't want to completely blur out my background. Please help thanks!!
 

waday

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85mm seems a bit limiting for street photography, no? I've walked Manhattan and Brooklyn streets many times, and only having 85mm seems very limiting.

What about street photography do you like?

Could you post one or two or the images that you think need to be sharper?

Generally speaking, blurring the background has to do with the aperture selected... if you're getting lots of bokeh, try closing down your aperture a little?
 
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taylr365

taylr365

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So I like the fact that I can get the subject but also the background
IMG_0523.JPG IMG_0522.JPG
 

Derrel

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Well, the 35mm will show more background behind the subject that the 50mm or the 85mm; the 85mm will be much more of a selective-angle type lens, whoich will tend to throw the backdrop more out of focus than the 50, and much more OOF than the 35mm. On a crop-frame Canon, I think you might actualkly like the 85mm for shooting things that are 50 to 100 feet away from you, or which are happening shall we say, on the oppoisite side of the street.

The Canon 85/1.8 EF is a solid lens. Had one, liked it, thougt it was a very good lens for the money. Not too big: far, far smaller than a zoom of comparable length.

For really tight, telephorto work, Canon's little 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens is VERY sharp when set to SF OFF...and will focus pretty well on any camera. I had one for a number of eyars, and thought it was a good lens, and much smaller and more-discret than the 135/2 L.
 

goodguy

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If you want to get better image quality from a 35mm or 85mm compared to the 50mm then I might want to worn you I doubt you will see any, even if on paper they are sharper the difference will be minimal, the Canon 50mm prime lens is very good and very sharp.
As for which lens would I recommend for street photography ?
I own these 3 lenses 35mm, 50mm , and 85mm (in Nikon but that makes no difference in this question) I just took my 35mm for a street walk last weekend and I took only the 85mm and 35mm, I ended up using only the 35mm, the 85mm in my view is not good for street photography, its a specialised lens for portrait and that's what it does well, so I would recommend the 35mm for the wider view for this type of photography.
 
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waday

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If you're doing portraits, I can see the 85 mm, but that's not exactly "street", at least IMO. It's portrait.

That said, you might benefit from adding off-camera flash/lighting/reflector to your arsenal?
 

waday

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Oh, and I'm looking at these on my phone, but the image quality looks pretty good! Try adding some fill lighting to your next portrait?

Also, listen to @Derrel , cause he knows his stuff :smile:
 

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