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Home Forums Q&A Forum Lenses Reply To: Lenses

#9609 Reply
viktor pavlovic
viktor pavlovic

Hi and sorry for the late reply.

Yes I guess I know who you are, thank you for moving discussion here.

Regarding your question – I can only give some general advise, coming from my own experience.
1. I tend to shot street with lenses wider than 50mm.
When I started to shot street, I opted for tele lenses and was trying to capture people at a distance, not letting them to know that they have been captured. This approach was close to certain kind of voyeurism, and I had similar feeling as being a hunter who is targeting deer at a distance. It was fun shooting, but results were… dull. Faces, without context, people without name or reason to be captured.

2. I have many friends which are way better street photographers that I’ll ever be. Most of them practice shooting from the hip, and very few of them are using AF. They are usually using lenses of around 35mm and even wider. One of those guys I believe never used anything tighter than its Ultron 21. Instead of AF, most of them still relies on hyperfocal distance calculations or they simply estimate distance matching the scale on the lens. Huge practice and experience is the only way to be successful with guesstimation, but I am sometimes shocked how sharp they can be, using that method. However, none of them consider sharpness as the key factor of successful image. Street is very much about capturing the moment, and slight motion or subject blur, usually ads dynamics and realism in the image.
3. My favorite daily street lens is Sony FE 35/2.8. Used on Sony A7 MII, I have stabilization to help if needed and the whole setup is very light and compact. FE 35/2.8 vignettes a lot and is far from perfect lens, but it has very good contrast and nice color interpretation and it behave quite well in back-light. I use it mostly with single shot AF settings on Zone AF area.
Sony FE 35/2.8
Sony FE 35/2.8
Sony FE 35/2.8
Sony FE 35/2.8
My favorite night street lens is Voigtlander 35/1.2 II. While DOF is ridiculously thin, I usually have more time in night to compose and focus, because people tend to ignore me.
CV 35/1.2
CV 35/1.2II
4. If you are planning to use 2 lenses, I would suggest to consider using same lens line. Zeiss is keeping their colors within one line usually very consistent and that makes final result more harmonic (when you present shots from 2 or more lenses). If you go for Batis 85/1.8, maybe you want to consider Batis 25/2. I don’t have much experience with FE 35/1.4, there have been several reports complaining about QC, but if you manage to get good sample, I guess it will be stunning performer. However, it is very big and heavy and I am sure that very few street photographers will choose it because of that.

At the end, you might consider first to find, which focal length works best for you. For that purpose, it is ideal to use kit lens (or other cheap zoom) preset (and fixed by tape e.g.) at some focal setting for a day, two or a week. This should give you very good idea, which focal lengths your mind prefer, as there is quite some difference between 25,28,35 or/and 50mm.

I tried to cover street photography here, but your question was much broader. For landscape you might need something wider from time to time Loxia 21/2.8 comes to mind. (Or even longer. One of my friends, great landscape photographer is shooting exclusively with 300 + mm lenses.) For architecture, you would definitely need something wider. Architecture works very well with UWA lenses, such as 14-18mm (but you need time to learn how to use that FOV), for travel you might want most compact but powerful zoom that you can find, something like 24-200.

Reviewing lenses for some time now, I can only say, that good lens can certainly improve technical quality of the images, but none of those lenses, including Otus, ever helped me to make better image content wise. Learning about composition, lighting, talking more to people subjects, investing in workshops and traveling, were way much useful in that regard.


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