Group Test: Street photo primes

Matthew Richards checks out eight lenses de­signed for the de­mands of street pho­tog­ra­phy

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Eight of the finest primes fight it out to be crowned king of the streets

Street pho­tog­ra­phy means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. We never like to shoe­horn pho­to­graphic styles and gen­res into small boxes with con­strain­ing la­bels. Even so, cer­tain rules tend to ap­ply, even if those rules are there to be bro­ken. For ex­am­ple, street pho­tog­ra­phy doesn’t have to be set in a street, al­though it’ll typ­i­cally be within ur­ban sur­round­ings. It also tends to fea­ture peo­ple, usu­ally shot can­didly as they go about their lives, rather than be­ing posed.

It might sound like street pho­tog­ra­phy is a bit like tak­ing snapshots as you wan­der around town, but it’s a highly de­mand­ing style of shoot­ing that de­mands skill and prac­tice. You need a keen eye for com­po­si­tion, im­mac­u­late tim­ing, and an al­most clair­voy­ant abil­ity to see things un­fold­ing be­fore they ac­tu­ally hap­pen.

So what makes an ideal street lens? It helps if the lens has a fixed fo­cal length, tak­ing zoom­ing out of the equa­tion. A mod­er­ately wide-an­gle lens of around 35mm for full-frame cam­eras en­ables a nat­u­ral field of view, and a de­cent depth of field. That equates to about 24mm for APS-C cam­eras and 17mm for Mi­cro Four Thirds. With prac­tice, you can em­ploy man­ual or ‘zone’ fo­cus­ing to en­able you to re­act as a mo­ment un­folds, with­out need­ing to fo­cus be­fore shoot­ing.

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