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Which lens for street photography and candids, general walkaround?

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by FotoPhocus, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    I'm looking at the VR models of both the 55-200 and 70-300 lenses, but can't decide which to get. Or if I should be looking at something else. Price range is up to $400. All I currently have is the 18-55 kit lens

    I'd like a lens that has a decent reach on it, so I don't have to get too close to folks for street photography, but something that's not too cumbersome to carry. Crowd shots at a parade, people at an art fair, etc.

    Would an 18-135 be the right choice? Or should I be looking at a 55-200, or 70-300?
  2. LDB415


    Apr 26, 2008
    The 55-200VR is less than half the weight and little more than half the length of the 70-300VR so from a comfort standpoint it's going to be more pleasing, especially if you are going to be walkabout the entire day. At about 83mm equivalent you'll have to back up to get a lot in but it will reach far enough to let you get shots with a huge buffer zone to your subject.

    The 18-135 isn't going to reach as far of course but will give you true wide angle plus pretty decent reach. It's only 2 ounces heavier and a half inch longer than the 55-200VR so still much less burdensome than the 70-300. You also might want to consider saving up a little longer for the 18-200VR. You keep the wide angle, recover the reach and get the VR of the 55-200.

    Good luck deciding.
  3. Whatever you decide, go wide. In the end, you will find that wider is better for street photography.
  4. on my most recent trip, I have discovered that telephotos are awesome for street candids. I was using 180 and 300 a lot for people pictures.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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    both at 180, haven't put up any 300 shots yet.
  5. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    Wow, those turned out nice. I was almost convinced to go with the 18-135, but now I'm wondering. It would definitely be more convenient to have that focal range covered with one lens (weight is not a factor for me), but the 200mm extra reach would be awfully nice.
  6. I do quite a bit of street photography and I finally got tired of lugging around a big DSLR with wide angle zooms or primes. I have recently started going small.

    I recently dove into the 4/3 system by purchasing a Lumix L1 and an Olympus E-1, primarily to be used for street shooting. And just the other day I got a Ricoh GRD II which has a fixed 28mm lens (35mm equivlent). That camera is so small that it will fit in my shirt pocket.

    For shooting candids, the longer lenses will work well, but for overall street shooting, I think wide lenses are definately much better.

    Those are some really nice shots, Joe.
  7. Taylor


    May 21, 2007
    Toronto, ON

    And I second the Ricoh GRDII, it's got great image quality for its size, silent with snap focus, shoots RAW, and I can even use it to shoot TTV with my Rollei.

    I used to shoot with tele's for street stuff, but after getting more comfortable with shooting people, I've gone to wider lenses and actually engaging my subjects.
  8. Yep, Taylor, the Ricoh arrived just the other day. I got a package deal with the external viewfinder and the tele adapter. Today will be the first day that I will actually get a chance to play around with it. So far, I am very pleased with the build quality of the camera- and it is so small! After using these big DSLR's for the last few years, it is really weird to be using such a small camera. I have not had such a small camera since I sold all my rangefinders a few years back to finance the switch to digital. And even then, they were not as small as the Ricoh.
  9. I think you need to decide if you prefer to shoot portraits, or something that shows more environment. That should guide your decision on focal length. While I find the portraits interesting, I personally feel that a wider shot, showing more environment, tells more story.
  10. My lens of choice for street photography (within my lineup) is the 18-70. Good range and light. Your 18-135 choice is good enough. An 18-200 might be even better.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  11. Alex and Gretchen, when I was using my D2H and my D1x for street shooting, I used the 18-70 zoom most of the time. It is a great, lightweight, and sharp lens for street shooting. It has an almost perfect range for that type of photography.
  12. mood


    Jun 27, 2007
    So Fla
    I love mine walking around the city
    in decent light, very hard to beat
  13. Lightweight is overrated. get the right camera for the image and deal with it!
  14. For street photos, my best shots were between 70-150mm, with apatures between f5.6-11. I probably shoot more at the wider end of this range.

  15. You say that now, Joe. :smile:

    Wait until you reach my age. :eek: 

    The lighter I can go, the better off I am.....:wink:
  16. I think if Joe had the 18-135 he would have gotten the same shots...might just have had to move a little closer or crop a bit. And the shots would be just as sharp or sharper.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  17. yea, i just spent a month in china with one camera, a D3, and with it came 2 2.8 zooms and 2 telephotos, a fisheye, 2 strobes, pocket wizards, and tripods/stands/ all that junk.

    i'm browsing for a pocket camera as well, but the problem is that they all stink of pixel stuffed marketing sales-breath. can't find a single option that just works, so until then, its me and the D3.
  18. Wow, a month in China. I bet that was awesome. However, if I took all the gear you did, I would have to bring someone along just to carry it all for me. :smile:

    You know, I looked at getting a Canon G9- it is a really nice P&S. Well built and the images are great, but I had issues with shutter lag. Then I looked at the Sigma DP-1, but in the end, I went with the Ricoh. I don't know if just having a fixed focal length will suit me or not, but I am used to shooting with primes, so I am hoping it will be alright.
  19. those are the usual suspects along with the panisonic LX-2.
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