8 Best Lenses for Street Photography in 2020

By Tati Taylor 19 days ago Cameras & Lenses

Is a 50mm, 24-70mm or 18-55mm lens good for street photography?

lenses for street photography

There are a lot of aspects to consider before picking the best lens for street photography. Whether you are going to buy a Canon or Nikon camera lens, you should carefully study all the specifications since each model is unique and offers different features.

Top 8 Lenses for Street Photography

  1. Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 - Our choice
  2. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM - High-quality street lens
  3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S - Best lens for street photography
  4. Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM - For wide angle street photography
  5. Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR - Affordable lens for urban photos
  6. KIPON IBERIT 35mm f2.4 - The best 35mm lens
  7. Samyang SYIO45AF-E - Good prime lens for street photography
  8. Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 - Cheap

If you have just started out, it may be challenging for you to choose the best lens for street photography since there is an array of different options available on the market. With this in mind, I’ve collected the most popular models for you to arrive at the right decision.

Regardless of which camera brand you use, shopping for the most optimal model isn’t that easy. You may be frustrated by specific terms, such as chromatic aberration, crop factor, distortion, depth of field, focal length, wide angle, white balance, minimal focus, etc. So, read on to have a deeper look into the matter.

1. Sony - FE 50mm F1.8

Our choice
lens for street photography sony-fe 50mm f1.8

Mount: FE | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 0.39 m | Max magnification: 0.14x | Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 79 mm | Weight: 0.65 lbsg

⊕ First-class image quality
⊕ Affordable
⊖ Slow in focusing

This Sony lens has a compact body that is perfect for full-frame E-mount cameras. You can use it for taking either portraits or any other type of photos. Thanks to its bright f/1.8 max aperture, a circular aperture with seven blades and aspheric surface, this street lens produces awesome image quality with blurred bokeh background. All these features are packed in a lightweight and compact body. Due to the minimum focus distance of 0.45m (1.48ft) and a maximum aperture of f/1.8, you will enjoy stunning defocused backgrounds.

Its circular aperture with seven blades makes it easy to create a beautiful bokeh effect in images. Since the lens uses the aspheric optics, you don’t need to worry about spherical and coma aberrations. A double-gauss optical configuration minimizes field curvature and distortion.

2. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM

High quality street lens
lens for street photography canon rf 35mm f/1.8 is macro stm

Mount: RF | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 0.56 ft.| Max magnification: 0.50x | Filter thread: 35 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 1.8 mm | Weight: 10.8 ounces

⊕ Easy to carry around
⊕ 12 connection pins
⊕ Control ring for precise adjustments
⊖ None

The RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro is one of the prime lenses for street photography that combines the flexibility of wide-angle lens and power of 1:2 macro optics. A Super Spectra coating allows for minimizing flare and ghosting when shooting in bright or backlit conditions. If you want to improve your close-ups, you can combine this Canon lens with Speedlite camera flashguns, such as Macro Twin Lites and Macro Ring Lites. Thus, you can achieve professional-quality shots regardless of the lighting conditions.

The RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM will be a perfect addition to your camera gear since it delivers fantastic and catchy results in any situation. This compact lens is easy to carry around, so you can capture important moments no matter where your photography venture takes you. Apart from the 12 pin communication system, this model has a control ring for precise adjustments. You can make the most of 5 stops of image stabilization to get beautiful and sharp images.

3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Best lens for street photography
lens for street photography nikon nikkor z 35mm f/1.8 s

Mount: Z| Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 0.25 m | Max magnification: 0.19× | Filter thread: 62 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 86.0 mm | Weight: 13.1 ounces

⊕ Sharp results
⊕ Bright f/1.8 maximum aperture
⊕ Ability to focus on close subjects
⊖ A control ring is too sensitive

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S is specifically designed for Z-format mirrorless cameras. With f/1.8 maximum aperture, you can get sharp and breathtaking images all the way to the edges of the frame. The distinctive feature of this lens for street photography is its exceptional performance in poor light conditions and the ability to produce beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds. Due to the silent focusing system, a new stepping motor and a fast 35mm prime, the NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S is a universal option for both taking photos and recording videos.

Aside from street photography, this model is suitable for landscapes, portraits, wedding photos and videography. In combination with the Z-series camera, the NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S gives amazing results even if you are shooting in a dark environment. Moreover, it can capture sparkling points of light, such as streetlights, without noticeable spherical aberration. Those who value portability and remarkable low-light performance should definitely pay attention to this lens. Due to the human eye-perspective, you can achieve the most natural-looking results when you shoot commercials, tutorial videos or interviews.

4. Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

Best lens for wide angle street photography
lens for street photography sigma 35mm f1.4 art dg hsm

Mount: F | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 30cm | Max magnification: 5.2x | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 94.0mm | Weight: 1.47 lbs

⊕ Produces a sharp image
⊕ Large aperture
⊕ Robust construction
⊖ Strong vignette effect

Although the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is mainly designed for full-frame sensors, you can use it with APS-C cameras. Being a part of the Art line of Sigma’s Global Vision series, this model delivers unique features and modern design. 35mm is an excellent focal length for street photography, and in combination with well-elaborated Sigma’s technologies, the F1.4 Art DG HSM will definitely help you ramp up your street photography game. This lens boasts numerous strong features, including SLD and FLD optics, a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and a floating internal focusing mechanism. Hyper Sonic Motor provides fast, silent and precise AF while floating elements allow you to achieve first-class optical performance while shooting at short focusing distances.

5. Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR

Best lens for urban photography
lens for street photography fujinon xf35mmf2 r wr

Mount: XF | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: ‎0.39 m | Max magnification: 0.135x | Filter thread: 43mm.| Dimensions (WxL): 45.9 mm | Weight: 0.90 lbs

⊕ Excellent optical system
⊕ Weather-resistant
⊕ Comes with an aperture ring
⊖ Lacks optical stabilization

The XF35mmF2 R WR is a 35mm camera lens that offers a focal length equivalent to 53mm. It’s an excellent prime lens that produces crisp images with appealing bokeh. This model has weather and dust-resistant design and can function down to 14 degrees. Apart from being compact and portable, the Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR boasts outstanding image quality, 43 mm filter diameter and 0.08 seconds autofocus speed. If your photography venture requires silence, you will certainly appreciate a quiet and precise inner focusing system. The lens has a metal covering, meaning it is robust enough to handle severe shooting situations. Since the metal parts of the lens have a fine texture, you can easily operate the device and set up the necessary parameters even if your hands get wet or you are wearing gloves.

6. KIPON IBERIT 35mm f2.4

Best 35mm street photography lens
lens for street photography kipon iberit 35mm f2.4

Mount: E | Diaphragm blades: 6 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 35 cm | Max magnification: 0.5x | Filter thread: 35mm | Dimensions (WxL): 45 mm | Weight: 280 g

⊕ Portable
⊕ Decent image quality
⊕ Great contrast and color reproduction
⊖ Stiff focus ring

Being adapted to Sony E-mount, IBERIT lenses usually come in black design, have 2.4 lens speed and 35mm focal length. The manufacturers focused their attention on portability and compatibility with mirrorless cameras. You can use IBERIT lenses with both full-frame and APS-C cameras.

Although the Kipon Iberit 35mm f2.4 has a classic construction, it is designed to produce images of the highest quality. This 35mm street photography lens doesn’t offer an autofocus system and electronic aperture control. However, you can manually select the desired focus point, thus expressing your photography talent and creativity.

7. Samyang SYIO45AF-E

Best prime lens for street photography
lens for street photography samyang syio45af-e

Mount: E | Diaphragm blades: 8 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 1.48 ft | Max magnification: 0.12x| Filter thread: 49 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 56.1 mm | Weight: 11.9 ounces

⊕ Crisp images
⊕ Suitable for full-frame cameras
⊕ Fast, noiseless autofocus
⊖ Plastic body

The Samyang SYIO45AF-E will be an excellent addition to your street photography gear due to its mobility, 45mm max focal length, full-frame sensors compatibility and a powerful AF system. It has an ergonomic-friendly design, and its metal barrel ensures durability. The Samyang SYIO45AF-E provides fast and accurate auto-focusing. While weighing only 5.71oz and being 2.43 inches in length, this model will perfectly match your Sony camera.

The 45mm focal lengths produce images that appear natural to human vision. It provides a more realistic vision and field of view compared to a 50mm focal length. The Samyang SYIO45AF-E supports Sony E-mount and can work with both full-frame and APS-C cameras. With an aperture range of f/1.8 to f/22 and a 48 mm filter size, you will definitely find this model useful. Also, the SYIO45AF-E boasts an ultra-multi-layered optical system with a minimum focus distance of 1.48ft. The lens construction features 7 elements in 6 groups with 9 diaphragm blades.

8. Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8

Cheap street lens
lens for street photography tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

Mount: F | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance:19 cm | Max magnification: 0.34x | Filter thread: 75mm | Dimensions (WxL): 117.8mm | Weight:1.21 lbs

⊕ Portable
⊕ Accurate results
⊕ Sony focus features
⊖ No optical stabilization

Accomplish all your creative goals with this f/2.8 high-speed zoom lens, which is compatible with a range of Sony mirrorless cameras. This model combines a high level of portability and advanced technologies. Besides featuring Sony E-Mount, this lens for urban photography is designed to produce high image quality and appealing bokeh.

Specifically designed glass elements allow for minimizing aberrations and provide high resolution within a zoom range. The body of the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 is covered by broad-band anti-reflection coating, which considerably decreases ghosting and lens flare, with excellent image quality preserved. The lens has a high-speed and accurate autofocus system that features an RXD motor unit that doesn’t produce noise.

Image Name Features  
lens for street photography sony-fe 50mm f1.8
Sony - FE 50mm F1.8
Our choice
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Min focus distance: 0.39 m
  • Max magnification: 0.14x
  • Weight: 0.65 lbsg
CHECK PRICE
lens for street photography canon rf 35mm f/1.8 is macro stm
Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM
High quality
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Min focus distance: 0.56 ft.
  • Max magnification: 0.50x
  • Weight: 10.8 ounces
CHECK PRICE
lens for street photography nikon nikkor z 35mm f/1.8 s
Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S
Universal
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Min focus distance: 0.25 m
  • Max magnification: 0.19×
  • Weight: 13.1 ounces
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose Lenses for Street Photography?

best lens for street photography

50mm lens is a great choice for those who are engaged in street photography. Nowadays, manufacturers produce such lenses in a rich array of variations. You may also opt for more expensive options with larger apertures. So, what makes a 50mm street photography lens stand out from the crowd?

Normal field of view – This lens offers a field of view similar to the human eye, a feature that is necessary for taking realistic street shots. This means that a 50mm lens is a perfect option for those photographers who want to avoid distortion in the images. It is recommended to use this lens with full-frame sensors. If you mount your 50mm lens on a crop sensor camera, you will multiply the focal length, and your 50mm lens will be functioning more like a 75mm lens.

The Depth of Field – Although it is a fixed focal length lens, it features a relatively large aperture of at least f/1.8. Thus, you can get a small depth of field while blurring the background. If you properly set the depth of field, you can achieve really amazing results.

Comfortable distance – While shooting with a 50mm lens, you can get close to your subject while having enough space in the frame for setting up a composition.

Fast lens – This type of lenses has outstanding low-light capabilities. The large aperture and mid-range focal length make it a high-speed lens and a great option for night photoshoots.

Wide-angle to Telephoto: What Is Focal Length?

1. A wide-angle lens provides a large field of vision. 2. A telephoto lens has a narrower angle of view.

Lens focal length determines the angle of view. The focal length of a wide-angle lens is 18mm or 24mm, while the focal length of a telephoto lens ranges between 100mm and 400mm and even more.

A 50mm focal length occupies the middle ground between wide-angle and telephoto lenses while using a full-frame camera (with a 50mm lens being a normal focal length for this format). Camera lenses fall into various categories depending on the full-frame equivalent focal length.

Fisheye lenses are often (though not always) offer a focal length of 14mm. Focal lengths between 14mm and 35mm refer to wide-angle lenses. 50mm is considered to be a standard camera lens. Telephoto lenses cover everything from 70mm to 200mm. Over 300mm focal length refers to super-telephoto lenses. Macro lenses are available in a wide variety of focal lengths, but allow you to get closer to your subject and capture the greatest details.

You can use wide-angle lenses for shooting landscapes or if you are working in tight quarters. Telephoto lenses are suitable for those who photograph wildlife and sporting events. The perfect focal length for portraits ranges from 50mm to 105mm. However, you can choose a longer focal length. If you take portraits with a wide-angle lens, your images might appear distorted. Your nose often looks bigger when you take selfies because modern smartphone’s cameras feature wide-angle lenses. Nevertheless, this distortion highlights distance. That is why wide-angle lenses are sought-after among photographers who shoot skateboarding.

Zoom Lens

A zoom lens allows a user to adjust focal lengths to the necessary parameter. The majority of DSLR cameras allow you to set the focal length from 18mm to 200mm. Compared to the fixed lenses, zoom lenses are bulkier, heavier and more expensive. Nevertheless, they are still convenient to carry around since one zoom lens can replace several lenses.

FAQ

  • • Is it possible to use a 50mm lens for street photography?

50mm lenses are pretty useful for street photographers since they give you a relatively comfortable distance between you and your subject. You don’t need to come close to capture the important details.

  • • How to take good street photos?

A good street photo should have a social purpose and send a sort of message. For example, a photographer should capture the emotions of the subject rather than just the face. It would be best if you captured a special moment to tell viewers a unique story.

  • • How far can a 50mm lens reach?

If you shoot from the distance of 4 feet and set f/1.8 at your 50mm lens, you will get approximately 1.5-inch deep depth of field. In case you shoot the same subject from the distance of 10 feet, your DOF will be around 10 inches deep.

  • • Which is the best lens for street photography?

The most popular lenses for street photography are those with a 50mm focal length. They offer a perfect lens full stop. Photographers often call a 50mm lens as the Nifty Fifty due to its versatility.

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