Which lens is better?

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by adam_mclarsson, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. Hi guys,

    I am in the market for a new lens for street and photojournalism.

    If you had to choose one, 24, 35 or 50mm lens?

    For Canon 5D3.
  2. Hi Adam,

    you are probably going to get a few thumbs up for each of those focal lengths. Personally I like using 40mm and 50mm. If you have a zoom lens that covers those focal lengths, I suggest trying an experiment. Fix your zoom at one of those focal lengths and go out shooting for a few days. Do the same for the others and see which one feels comfortable for you and gives you the results you are looking for.

  3. The sdvice that Laurie gave you is very good in my opinion. Personally on a full frame I prefer the 24 or 35, but that is just me.
  4. Thanks guys, I have always felt a little better with a 50mm - but I am happy to try those too. I presume on fixed focal lenses, the distortion is less than that of a zoom?
  5. How much environmental context do you like?

    Personally, for my urban photography, I like a lot of context. And, I prefer being closer to people rather than further away. 35mm is ideal for me, letting me capture both candids and engaged street portraits with a decent amount of context. Wider is nice sometimes, as well. 50mm is too much like a telephoto, putting me too far away from subjects.

    Shot with a 35mm:

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
    Uhooru and luistriguez like this.
  6. If you were previously using a zoom, you might want to go back through exif data for photos you've shot and liked the look of.
    Easy to do in Lightroom or other photo database programs.

    I'd say, at least for me, 35 on a full frame camera. For what it's worth, I used to use a 28mm on a 'crop frame' camera exclusively. That's about a 40 on a full frame, 5mm wider would have been great. (That lens needs a repair, so I'm using a zoom)
  7. I would pick 35mm, 40mm or 50mm. If push came to shove I'd go for a 50mm.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    FL = 35mm is my regular choice for that type of work. The rationale being that I generally like to work within the Perspective which is created by a Subject Distance of between (approximately) ten to twenty feet (3 to 6 metres).

    A 35mm Lens allows for an array of cropping options later to achieve a suitable framing for the Final Image whilst keeping that Perspective.

    On the other hand I find that a 50 is too tight and too restrictive at that Subject Distance range and a shots pulled with a 24 often require too3 much cropping.

    Additionally a small point probably not often used now: the 35's compared to the 50's (Canon Lens) have a better range of Distance information on the Lens's Focus Turret, which is easier for manual pre-focus technique (for example when Hip or Hail Mary/Doorstop shooting).


    Maybe, but an EF 24 to 70 F/2.8 L MkII USM doesn't have much distortion and has a range of Focal Lengths.

    Using a 5DMkIII, will you need the extra Lens Speed of a Prime Lens to arrest a stop and a bit of Shutter Speed and/or ISO?

    DoF differences between F/2.8 and F/1.4~F/2 would be marginal for much of typical Street Photography & Journalism work.

  9. More often than not 35.
  10. 0015a Lente-W-NIKKOR-C-35-ReflejoVentana-Micro-NikkorAIs105.jpg to stroll with my old Leicas. W-Nikkor.C 35
  11. I like the 35mm also. Which brand do you prefer on a Canon?
  12. I've used two 35mm lenses. The first was a Zeiss f/2.0 manual focus in Canon mount. I sold it after nine month's of use. The second is a Canon f/1.4. Much prefer the Canon with the larger aperture and excellent autofocus. Most of these photos were shot with the Canon.

    Today I mostly shoot with my phone. Not sure what the focal length is, but I'm guessing 30 to 35mm.
  13. i agree with brad. my main cam is an olympus tg-4 which is , i think, 25-whatever which gives me room to crop.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The 35mm lenses that I use on Canon DSLR and SLR Cameras are the EF 35 F/2 and the EF 35 F/1.4L.
  15. Fantastic! Do you find a difference between the two in terms of quality, build etc? I can imagine the build is much better. But saying that I upgraded my 24-70mm to the mark 2 model and the build quality decreased.

    The L series looks much bigger - is it a problem when trying to be invisible amongst the crowd?
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The EF 35 F/1.4 L is bigger and also heavier and the general Image Quality is better than the EF 35 F/2. I usually use a battery grip on my DSLRs, in this case the 35/1.4L is quite well balanced. <br><br>

    The EF 35/2 was bought mainly as a Standard Prime Lens for our APS-C DLSRs and is mainly used on one of those two cameras (without battery grip) as its 'fast prime'.<br><br>

    Because the Image Circle of the 35/2 Lens is larger then the Sensor Size of the APS-C Camera, the resultant Image Quality is quite acceptable even when the lens is used at F/2.<br><br>

    I don't necessarily reckon there is always a necessity to be 'invisible amoungst the crowd'; referring to my fist comment, I did mentioned that I like to generally work at a Subject Distance of ten to twenty feet for Street Portraiture and at that Subject Distance, it is not as though one is shoving a brick in front of the Subject's face and in any case if I am not absolutely sure of the Composition or if I am shooting for (possibly) different Aspect Ratios in the Final Image, I do generally subscribe to the technique of shooting a bit wide and allowing the crop to required AR in Post-Production. That stated, I do understand your question and I do recognize the value of smaller equipment over larger equipment for Street Portraiture and the like and this reason was one of the two main purposes why I bought a Fuji x100s. (I note Brad mentioned that he now uses a camera in a phone - I think that there is some parallel in those two comments.)<br><br>

    My 35/1.4L was used extensively for Weddings and Social Functions often paired with an EF 85 F/1.8, both Lens mounted on separate 5D Series Cameras: I also used the 35/1.4L when traveling (on holiday) - paired with the 24 to 105 F/4 L IS and I carried one 5D Series DSLR, but now I have the Fuji, my 35/1.4L gets less use and I do not carry it on holiday with me any more. I do some Events Work (usually corporate type gigs) and the 35/1.4L often gets used then - usually with the 85/1.8 on a second Camera - so I am loathe to sell the my 35L. <br><br>

    You mention that you have the EF 24 to 70 F/2.8 L MkII - that is an incredible lens and produces excellent image quality at FL = 35mm: if your photography is generalist with a smattering of Street Work, then, apropos value for money, I would question the necessity to buy a 35/1.4L, but if you do then I think that the MkII version does have improvements. If you are thinking of buying a 35/2 for Street Work, then, as an alternative, I think that you should seriously consider the EF 40 F/2.8 (Pancake Lens) - I think you'll find the Image Quality better than the EF 35/2 and certainly it is neither obnoxious in size nor weight.<br><br>

  17. I gravitate to a 35 mm lens (FF) for urban photography. It is just enough wider than a 50 mm lens to get groups or buildings with a natural sort of perspective. 24 mm is too wide, ultra-wide in fact, better suited to interiors, or times you just can't back up enough outdoors. With a 35, you shoot scenes as you see them. A 24 is best used to exaggerate perspective or disperse groups of people. 50 is just right for most landscapes, but too tight for even groups of two or three people. I occasionally make it my "one lens" project, but usually wish I brought the 35.

    A 24-70 zoom lens gives you flexibility, but it is a honking large lens, even if only f/4. It's going to attract unwanted attention when you would rather be an innocuous observer. A 24-70 zoom is the lens i use most often, but for places, things and events.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  18. SCL


    I'd personally take as much of your available money and get the best 35 available by any manufacturer. If Zeiss has one, I think that is where I'd start.
  19. ................................To me you are dealing with two different subjects. Street photography is one lens but photo journalism is another. With street photography I want to be as close to the scene as possible. I want to be a part of the scene or be close enough that the viewer feels a part of it. For this I generally use a 24mm on a crop body or 35mm on a full frame sensor. For journalism, I would prefer a 30 on a crop body or 50 on a full frame body. Of late with all of these protest and marches going on, I have started to use zooms. A 17-50 on a crop body or 24-70 on a full frame body. Sometimes looking at pictures is the best way to go. If want to take a look at the many different lenses and focal lengths I use, check out my flickr. I leave all the EXIF on the photos unless they are film. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jgredline/
    By the way. Consider the new ART series lenses. They are great. I have the 24F/1.4, 30F/1.4, 35F/1.4 and looking forward to the 24-70 coming soon.
  20. My one and only lens would be a 50mm if it has to be primes. Probably an f1.8. I assume my 1st lens on a 5D would have a wide end of 85 or 70mm. - For that reason a 35mm makes a great 2nd lens. IMHO 24mm needs to be paired with something else.
    IDK if a 5D is an all time greatest choice for shooting street with a 35mm. To cover the field of view I'd rather grab something tinier like the usual Leica Ms or maybe even a Fuji or anything coming with a tilty rear display that permits shooting from the hip and half decent AF or a chance to zone focus paired with that.

    Harvests from just a fixed 35mm on a film camera vacation used to vex me. - I missed narrower FOVs mixed in. 100 prints from a fixed 50mm were nicer to look at.
    Upon distortion of zooms: Does it really matter? - If you are quick you can maybe still download DxO OpticsPro 9 for free. - It caters the 5D Mk III. Street and journalism can cope with quite a bit of distortion IMHO, no reason to rush to buy a bag full of primes and miss a ton of shots while changing lenses.
    If distortion is your enemy and you have a chance to buy something like Tamron's 24-70mm, maybe look around for a 24mm prime for special occasions. I am not overly familiar with the offerings for Canon. - I own an old Sigma 24mm f1.8 in k-mount. - It is huge! Image quality is not outstanding on my crop sensors. Better think twice before you go for so much bulk, if low light isn't forcing you to pack such a monster. A journalist might be happier with an IS zoom than with fast primes? Just my 2ct after shooting a 35mm f2 wide open for a while.
    Current walk around bag: 21mm f2.8, 35mm f2, 90mm f4 (or f2 for low light) + maybe 50mm f2 with an APS-H body.

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