Which is better for street photography ?


Father Ted

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 12:24
fritzthedog wrote:
I can not help thinking that many of the comments about the size of the lens are somewhat redundant given that it will potentially be attached to a DSLR body which is hardly discreet!

If being noticed is a concern, there is of course another approach that can be taken and that is to stay out of sight by being far enough away to be unobtrusive. I have had some good results doing this with my Sigma 120-400

Carl

My thoughts on this may not be too valid as I'm not comfortable with people photography of any flavour, but:
The couple of times I've tried street photography have generated some interesting observations.
Shorter lenses mean people can see you and they respond to the camera. Either by smiling at it, or moving away etc etc.
Using a longer lens you can remain out of their line of sight and they carry on aout their business, so you get a more natural shot.

But, as I say, this is by no means something I do regularly.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

George Lazarette

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 13:05
You are right, Father Ted, but interestingly, using very wide lenses has the same effect. People don't realise that they are in the picture, so you can in fact include people when you are very close to them.

Like you, it's not a genre that appeals greatly to me, especially when, as often happens, a photographer thinks he is making some important point by photographing the homeless. The reality is that he is using the plight of others for his own ends.

Which is not to suggest that this is the OP's plan.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

fritzthedog

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 14:10
JAK wrote:
A K-5 is pretty discreet size wise compared to most Canikon DSLRs. It is more on a par with quality 'compacts' that have an APS-C sensor and 35mm film cameras. But a spy camera it isn't! Put almost any zoom on it though and it does stick out (sort of literally) like a sore thumb while the 21 & 35's are like body caps by comparison!

John

No argument - but the point I was trying to make was - are you less likely to see somebody a few feet away from you pointing a K5+ prime at you than a K5 + short zoom? IMHO - probably not - it will be fairly evident you are pointing a camera at me if I look in your direction
No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 14:36
I do a lot of street shooting, though like Frogfish I should enter the caveat that it has been done mostly in countries where people are probably much less bothered by some idiot taking photos than in the UK.

I've used lenses from 15 to 300 (55-300), and they've all done a job. As I've got less self-conscious I've gone shorter, though if I still had the 55-300 there would probably be the odd occasion when I might want its reach. The 50-135 is now my telephoto lens of choice - and despite its relative bulk I find it an excellent street lens with a handy range and relatively fast speed. This lens is also much used by another accomplished PUFer, David Trout, who gets superb results from it in a street context (and in the UK). I imagine it's David's most used street lens, and I also use it a lot - which goes to show you should not discount larger and/or longer lenses for street shooting.

At the wider end, the 21mm Ltd is best in the street context thanks to its size and a useful FL which is particularly good for shooting from the hip. The 15 is a bit long, though can sometimes come in handy. I have the FA35 f2 too, but although it's a great lens it doesn't seem to be a FL that is particularly suited to my eye.

Re. the Tamron 17-50 - I have this and occasionally use it for street shooting too. It's perfectly fine as a street lens, if not as discreet as a Ltd. This was the lens that former PUFer Thoughton used for a prolific series of waist high candids that people may recall (again in the UK). Optically it's excellent, of course - much sharper than the 21 though not as characterful.
Mhuni

500px

SamHornabrook

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 16:15
do any of you have any experience with the sigma 20mm or 28mm f1.8, because if its good that could be an option due to the wider angle and whilst maintaining the wide apeture ? the only thing is I believe its not very compact.

LennyBloke

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 16:27
You're right about the Sigma 28 - it is not compact, but the f1.8 aperture and the close focus abilities make it a very useful "street shooter". It can be a little soft at maximum aperture, but stopped down just a little it is a very capable performer. I don't use mine since I now have the 15 & 35 Ltd's that I take out together.
LennyBloke

SamHornabrook

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 16:34
does the 35mm macro have slow focus, or hunts for focus ?

fritzthedog

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 17:08
SamHornabrook wrote:
do any of you have any experience with the sigma 20mm or 28mm f1.8, because if its good that could be an option due to the wider angle and whilst maintaining the wide apeture ? the only thing is I believe its not very compact.

I had the 28 - great IQ but too big and heavy IMHO for a 28 prime - so sold it
No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more

Frogfish

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 21:24
DaveHolmes wrote:
Frogfish wrote:


The 17-50 is about the perfect range for street and I disagree that it's a massive lens

While I agree with the first part of your statement I think the second borders on lunacy!
In comparison to the primes the OP listed with their 49mm filter threads the Tamron 17-50 is a HUGE piece of glass!!!

Hardly. I doubt anyone used to using nothing, an iPhone, or a P&S, for their photographic needs (which covers 99% of the population) would even notice the difference between the T 17-50 and say a 77 as seen next to it. I also use the 50-150 for street (far right) and haven't noticed any difference whatsoever in attitudes or the frequency of being noticed ... even if you had the 40 XS on there it's still a honking big DSLR to most people !



http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

mecrox

Link Posted 11/04/2012 - 23:36
Frogfish wrote:
Hardly. I doubt anyone used to using nothing, an iPhone, or a P&S, for their photographic needs (which covers 99% of the population) would even notice the difference between the T 17-50 and say a 77 as seen next to it. I also use the 50-150 for street (far right) and haven't noticed any difference whatsoever in attitudes or the frequency of being noticed ... even if you had the 40 XS on there it's still a honking big DSLR to most people !

Maybe it's a cultural thing? My experience in the UK is definitely that a big lens on the front means folks really do notice. Press, pap, council, snooper, trouble, who knows? With a short prime lens I find that folks may well notice but they don't pay much attention to you. With a long lens, they do. It also depends where you are, of course. In a touristy area, folks don't pay nearly as much attention to a camera as they do down meaner streets.

K10D

Link Posted 12/04/2012 - 00:19
Fritz had it right when he said "the comments about the size of the lens are somewhat redundant" as Sam did not ask about being discrete or how a Pentax measures up against a Canikon size wise.

It may well be that Sam was seeking input on the lenses he mentions with regard to FOV.

The Tamron obviously has the flexibility in this area.

Best regards
Last Edited by K10D on 12/04/2012 - 00:23

DaveHolmes

Link Posted 12/04/2012 - 00:37
K10D wrote:


The Tamron obviously has the flexibility in this area.


Oh undoubtedly... It's a lens I own and adore... One of my best ever purchases in fact... I just find the front element come accross as quite intimidating; so if im going into town with the express purpose of shooting street (which I do... Often with disasterous results...)it's not the lens I'd choose from my current stable...
But that could be my own lack of confidence in shooting street... I don't know...
........................................................................
Digital:
Pentax K5- Vivitar 19mm 3.8; FA35mm f2; D-Xenon 100mm macro f2.8; DA50-200mm WR...
Flash:
Yongnuo YN-560; Vivitar 285HV; Cactus V4 triggers...
Film:
Pentax-MX & M50mm f1.4; Spottie & 55mm f1.8; MG & M40mm 2.8...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveholmesphotos/

jeztastic

Link Posted 12/04/2012 - 09:19
I think the culture plays a big part, and how crowded a street is. Walking in and out of Canterbury - smallish, quiet English city - I no longer even bother attempting taking photos. It would be tantamount to mugging, just you and the subject on a long, quiet, empty street. People's personal space area is huge. Once on the crowded high street though, anything goes, and I prefer 24mm or 50mm full frame equivalent.

I do agree with conventional wisdom that over 50mm equiv and you are getting away from street photography and into candid portraiture/voyeurism. I don't have a problem with that, but I think it's a different thing.

In my experience using small film cameras is by far the best option because it is a lot cooler looking, and people get that if you are pointing a small, retro camera at them you are being arty not weird. They respond totally differently. Also it stops me chimping and worrying about the exposure, (meter one setting for shade, one for sun). You can get loads of small old fixed lens rangefinder cameras for under 20 that are in the 40-50mm range, zone focus, hold them in one hand.

My favourite street camera is my Super-A with a 50mm f1.7 and 24mm f2.8, but having said that in busy cosmopolitan places like Brighton where lots of people have cameras the flexibility of the 18-55 has been great - its actually pretty small. I would never go as large as the 17-50 though.

Sorry this post turned into a bit of a guide to street photography there...
Last Edited by jeztastic on 12/04/2012 - 09:20

Frogfish

Link Posted 12/04/2012 - 09:57
I would also say that a lot of street photography comes down to confidence and a smile no matter what lens you are using, obvious or not.

If anyone indicates they don't want their photo taken .. smile and don't. If they query you then smile and make eye contact, state it's for a project you are working on and if they want a copy you'd be happy to send one to their email address .. and then I give them a name card. I have never had anyone get aggressive or ask me to delete their photo.
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

SamHornabrook

Link Posted 23/04/2012 - 18:06
I'm not worried about them being aggressive its just if they notice you, then its spoiled the moment you were trying to capture.and the fifty gives a really dreamy look that i really desire but doesn't haven't the sharpness of the 40 and the 21 and the 35. Also just want the feeling of buying and having a limited lens, and the 40mm and 21mm are just so tiny. Is the fifty enough on sharpness andf not should i go with the 21mm at all or 35mm and 50 or two limited 21 and 40
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