Group Test: Street photo primes
Matthew Richards checks out eight lenses designed for the demands of street photography
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.