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80 400 VR as Street/Candid Photography Lens?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by LG100, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. LG100


    Dec 28, 2007
    Texas, USA
    Was wondering if anyone had used this lens much for Street/Candid photos and if that's a good enough application for it to justify the extra money up and above that for, say, the 55 200 VR. I've got a 50 1.8 I can use sometimes for this but, where I'm from, the best photo ops seem to be in the roughest parts of town and I'd like some real distance from subject but not $5000 worth....
  2. I think the 55-200 VR would make a good lens for candids. I use a 28-105 for the street and 400 would be a lot of overkill. Also most people are wary of a long telephoto lens.


  3. Ah, but if they are wary you can be far enough away that they can't tell you to stop or catch you when you don't:) 
  4. I would recommend the 80-400 more for wildlife than for street photography. When I do street photography I usually use a moderate wide angle zoom like the 18-70 or my 24mm f2.8 if shooting in low light.
    Your 55-200 should do well whenever you need to shoot at a certain distance from your subject.
    I am sure you know that most street photography is usually done with moderate wide angles around 35mm.
    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  5. IMHO, the 80x400 is a bit large and it scared people off (I owned that lens previously). So does the 70x200 and even the 80x200 got me that "OH MY" look when people saw me aim the camera (rather than a cute smile). That's not to say that some people smile no matter what, just that I saw a decline in "honest smiles" when using a large sized lens on the street.

    I've used and still do use the 55x200 and the 18x200 (but the 18x200 is not really 200mm at shorter ranges). They are small and attract less attention. I ended up buying a 180mm F2.8D just for this type of fun. It's about the size of the 70x300, about as sharp as a 70x200, and gives you the 2.8 advantage. Don't rule out smaller lenses as well. The 85mm (1.8 or 1.4) and 105mm (F1.8, F2, F2.8) are also very nice for this purpose.

    I also like Ed's suggestion with the 70x300 as an option. Without the hood, that's about the same size as the 180mm and gives you 300mm plus a zoom option.

    In summary, I think your better using the smallest lens possible for the street you are trying to shoot....
  6. dan1son


    Sep 24, 2007
    I use my 55-200VR for candids a lot. It's small enough that it doesn't frighten people and it's long enough to stay far enough back that they don't notice most of the time. The 70-300VR would be even better... not sure I'd go all the way to the 80-400, that's a pretty big lens. Could be heavy after a little while, and people might notice a huge piece of glass aiming at them from afar.
  7. my vote goes to the 55-200, small and great optics...:smile:
  8. To answer the question

    Yes it is a good street photography lens - but in a bad part of town, you'd be better off with a smaller lens like a 85mm or a 35-70/2.8 ... What you need for street is a fast lens, even a 105/2.5 which is super small will give you more reach and a faster shutter speed - what you don't want is a big fast lens or a small slow lens... One is obvious the other takes too long to focus and then you become obvious... Two big "No"

    You want to lift point and shoot and put down, you don't want to lift, focus - then shoot then put down... Just my 2 cents... This said I get away with it using older AI-S lenses cause then it no longer looks like digital and I am getting faster at it.

    On a DX sensor the 85mm is perfect on an FX sensor I find the 50mm to be great.

    My two cents - you'd be better off with a 50/1.8 than a 55-200 ...
  9. tomtodeath


    Jan 11, 2007
    new jersey
    agreed. Anything longer than a 50 is too long. Get close!
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