Street Photography is a genre that is best enjoyed when walking with light gear. There is no perfect lens that I can tell you about, but there is the perfect focal length indeed.
I started in the world of photography almost 8 years ago, and I started with a little point and shoot, and I rapidly switched to a DSLR system. Working with a 50mm (that resulted in a ~80mm lens due to the crop factor of my old APSC camera) on the streets was always a problem, because everything was extremely tight for my taste. I later had the opportunity of buying a 28mm, which resulted in a ~40mm lens due to the same factor.
Wide shots work extremely well in the streets, because there is always a lot of things going on, and they allow something that I really love to do on the streets, getting extremely close.
Nowadays I have a camera that comes with a fixed 35mm lens, and this focal length is awesome. You can get extremely close, but you won’t have odd results due to deformation and many other weird results that extremely wide angle lenses produce.
Therefore, the best Lens for street photography, is whichever lens you could find with a 35mm focal length. You can even get your 18-55mm kit lens and set it to work at 35mm by setting it at ~20mm if you have an APSC camera, and you’ll start to see the magic of the holy 35mm lens.
It is really not a great groundbreaking insight the one I’m sharing with you this day, because many great Street Photographers and Social Documentary Photographers loved working with 35mm lenses.
Many companies have been manufacturing 35mm lenses since a long time ago. The great thing about these lenses is that they are usually built with extreme care and with fast apertures.
Here is a brief list of some 35mm lenses available in the market
- Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens
- Fujinon Lens XF35mm F1.4 R
- Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
- Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | ART
- Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens
I tried to show you the ones with the most decent price tags of them all.
The benefits that I find of working with a 35mm lens are the following:
- Fast Aperture
- Reliable building
- Small in size (sometimes, Sigma makes them huge)
- Just the perfect amount of space for you to frame appealing compositions
There is no perfect lens, but some are better than others. The thing is that every single niche of photography is worked best when coped with the right array of focal lengths. Don’t get your mind too hasty about lenses, if you are a street photography like myself, you won’t even be investing so much in gear after this advice.