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11-27-2010, 12:46 PM   #1
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Lens for street shooting in the City

In a couple of weeks I'll be visiting NYC and was wondering if I should get a fast prime for when I'm walking around in Manhattan. I have a DA40 right now and a Sigma 24-70 that is usually on my K-x. I was considering the new DA 35 2.4 but with the DA40, I feel like it might be redundant. I was also think of either a DA 15 or DA 21 since it would help me with completing the 21/40/70 prime set. If anybody has any experiences with shooting in Manhattan and what lens they used, please let me know.

11-27-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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The great thing about new york is that you are constantly, ceaselessly flooded with an unlimited number of interesting objects, textures and human interactions. You can walk anywhere you want and find something to shoot, no matter what your shooting style. I had a lot of fun just walking around with a fast 50 one day, but here are a couple of observations: you're going to want something wider if you want to take in big scenes -- it's surprising how cramped those streets and sidewalks will look through your viewfinder. On the other hand, I found myself wanting a short range telephoto when I was there last, because as I mentioned, there are SOOO many interesting human subjects.... everywhere.

Bottom line is.... I don't think you need to buy a new lens to have fun out and about in new york, but as with anything, the lens you choose to bring will limit your subject matter and presentation somewhat.

Last edited by v5planet; 11-27-2010 at 12:52 PM. Reason: spelling
11-27-2010, 01:29 PM   #3
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I agree with the above:

Your current lenses should do you just fine.
11-27-2010, 01:41 PM   #4
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If you were to buy anything, I would suggest the 15... but you would also do fine with what you already have. Last time I was in New York, my widest focal length was 28mm, which was limiting, but also useful. However, there are things you simply need 15mm to capture there because everything is so BIG.

Have fun .

11-27-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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I agree with the other posts. You already have plenty of lenses to choose from.

Personally, I woud consider the DA40mm with the K-5 as the neatest, smallest package that I would use, if I was to choose one lens only.

Food for thoughts....
11-27-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice guys. I got the sigma for my walk around lens but it is extremely bulky and heavy so that's why I was considering bringing a prime around. I wasn't sure if I wanted such a heavy lens around my neck for a whole day.
11-27-2010, 06:32 PM   #7
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If you feel like you absolutely must get a new lens, you can't beat the DA21 for this role. Its tiny, wide, inconspicuous, and has wide enough DOF (even wide-open) to make shooting from the hip totally viable. Its my go-to lens for street shooting in NYC.
11-27-2010, 06:46 PM   #8
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I envy your 24mm on your fast telephoto, nicer than my 28mm on Tamron 28-75.

I was going to suggest the DA21mm. I'm using it more and more. It works really well in people crowded sidewalks. After a little practice, i can put it on AF and TAV and shoot one handed from the chest or waist without looking thru the viewfinder. even looking thru the viewfinder, its wide enough that one can shoot a person on the sidewalk without pointing your camera at them. I also have used it on a tripod for nearby HDR subjects with very good images that are way sharper than i expect.

If the distances are a little longer that you are shooting, then you can always switch it out with your telephoto for a change.

11-27-2010, 10:48 PM   #9
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F 35-70 - small compact, light, cheap, good range for street shooting
11-27-2010, 11:33 PM   #10
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Dang it. I just splurged on an impulse buy m 50mm f2 for 40 bucks before you mentioned the F35-70. I'll think about it...
11-30-2010, 10:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
F 35-70 - small compact, light, cheap, good range for street shooting
I recently got an F35-70 (230g, US$11) and a Promaster-Tamron 28-70 (320g, US$10) and they are quickly becoming my go-to street lenses -- the Promaster in daylight, stopped down a bit, and the Pentax for less light and more action. At an indoor gathering recently (yeah, T'day dinner) the F35-70 AF'd better and faster than my FA50/1.4. Outside in any light, it is the most agile AF zoom I have.

But it ain't very wide, and it ain't very long, and it ain't very fast. It's been a few years since I walked NYC, but when I'm in San Francisco my kit now minimally contains:

* Zenitar 16/2.8, for when I really need the stretch
* Vivitar 24/2, for both interiors and 'scapes
* F35-70, for many streets and activities
* FA50/1.4, because it's always a must
* Nikkor 85/2, for Chinatown in the evening
* DA18-250, for when I don't want to miss shots
* Raynox DCR-250, for pretending to shoot macros

If you don't like defishing in PP, a rectilinear 14-15 would be great. I find 21 to be not quite wide enough for many city shots, but then, I like extremes. I sometimes use a manual Tokina 21/3.8 stopped down to f/11 and prefocused to 2m, for DOF of 1m to infinity, and that works on some streets but not others -- the misjudged DA18-55 fits that niche better, but a DA16-45 or *16-50 may suit you more.

On the longer end, a fast 85-90-100-105 or 135 is great. Or even longer. I sometimes sit beside and above downtown streets with my Lil'Bigma 175-500 to snipe passersby and surrounding windows. (Of course, a little 500mm mirror is less obtrusive.) A vertical city calls for a wide range of focal lengths. All those shapes and faces and textures, near and far...
11-30-2010, 11:00 AM   #12
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I think the only thing you need to add is a wide prime. The 15mm would be very nice since you do not have that focal length yet. The 40mm is perfect for people shooting, the 24-70 gives you the versatility and a 15mm would be perfect for architecture or mass people shooting.
11-30-2010, 01:18 PM   #13
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I think what makes answering these questions tough is that different photogs seem to "see" things differently re: focal length.

Having said that*, I think the DA 21 is an ideal street lens (obviously, for the way I see things). It's wide enough to get most street scenes (was almost permanently on my lens in Florence, Venice and Rome last year), but not so wide you have to stick it in someone's face to get an environmental street portrait. I have the DA 15 and think it's awesome, but feels, to me, a bit less versatile than the 21.

*Any "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fans out there? I chuckle every time I hear or use this phrase now.
11-30-2010, 01:29 PM   #14
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If you are after tourist snaps of the major landmarks, the 21 ain't wide enough. Go with the 15.
11-30-2010, 02:06 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by gnaztee Quote
Having said that*

"No I do respect wood. This is a low grade wood! Your heart bleeds for the wood, but not for actual life!"
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