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01-08-2009, 11:57 PM   #1
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Suggestions for street photography

Hey all,

I am particularly interested in street photography and candid shots. I was wondering, for this particular style of shooting, would you recommend prime lenses or zoom lenses?

I only have 2 lenses. 18-55mm kit lens and the 50mm prime. Just wanted to see which direction I should go in when buying lenses and any input on "must have" lenses.

Any sort of advice would be great!!

Thanks

01-09-2009, 01:17 AM   #2
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Can't call this a suggestion, because I have been a Pentaxman only little over a week... But, I have similar thoughts and needs as you, street & candid. For that purpose, I have puchased the pancake set, i.e 21/3.2, 40/2.8 and 70/2.4. I suppose your 50/1.4 can do anything that 40/2.8 does, I wanted it because of the design. For general street photography you might like something wider than 50 mm in a crop body, so 21 could be nice. I have shot only a few test shots but tomorrow I'll take it to downtown for some serious action. For candids, 70 may be a little short but I chose it again for the design and because I am quite used to 100 mm focal lenght in a FF body - rarely needed longer lens. I have concidered adding one longer lens, which might be macro - Pentax 100 mm is slow because it lacks a focus limiter (or so I'm told) but Tamron 90 mm should be nice.

Hope that more experienced member will answer your question, I am also very interested about their answers...

BW,

Jari
01-09-2009, 01:37 AM   #3
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traditionally it would be a 28mm or a 35mm, most commonly 28mm. but the rules change with crop factor sensors because the field of view isn't the same. whether you use a wider lens or a normal lens is really up to you and how comfortable you are at getting in close. I normally use a 55mm, but what it really comes down to is how YOU photograph. I would suggest using the kit lens in a few preset focal lengths to get an idea of what you would like to use (of course the kit lens isn't the best option for being discreet, but neither is a bulky DSLR) try 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 55mm. these are the more commonly used lengths and I don't think you need any longer than that. if you do you need to get closer! once you find out what you like best then pursue a prime lens in that focal length. if it has a 'hyperfocal' setting on the lens (I believe 28 & 35's do) it can be really useful, allowing you to use your camera almost like a P&S, never really having to worry about focusing. once you have decided on a certain focal length you can use the lens review database to help you decide on which model to get: Pentax Lens Review Database - Main Index 28's are normally the most expensive and the 'faster' (larger aperture) the lens the higher the cost. A series are generally more expensive than M if you are looking to go manual focus. I cant really comment on AF series, but if you want AF, discretion (small size) and a focal length that falls right into this category, you cant really beat the smc-DA 40mm 2.8 limited. a bit pricey being a limited (though the cheapest overall in the series) but if you can justify the price and need what it offers as a AF DA series lens, it is the best choice IMO. and very tiny!

hope that helps a bit. if you have any other questions please feel free to PM me.

Hyperfocal Distance
01-09-2009, 02:06 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot for your input jesalonen and seamuis! Much appreciated!

I will take your suggestions into effect and shoot around with my kit lens to figure out which focal length I'll be most comfortable with. I wish I owned all those lenses...unfortunately my bank account won't allow me to haha!

jesalonen, i hope you will post your pictures from your downtown shoot out and i look forward to seeing them!

01-09-2009, 04:15 AM   #5
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The most fun I have had with my K10d to date was a stroll around Manhattan with my "new" A24 2/8. For general street shots it is wide enough to scale focus using f8 or smaller and in general lighting situations the AE exposes well.

Street photography is more about seeing and taking the shot than "must have" or the "best" gear. The A24 works for me, the DA 21 would be fine as would any lens at a focal length you are comfortable with.
01-09-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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The 18-55 Mkll lens is a very capable performer. I would use this lens as my primary street lens. If you need a faster aperture, you might consider the DA*16-50 f2.8 lens when you can afford it.

Ben
01-09-2009, 08:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
smc-DA 40mm 2.8 limited. a bit pricey being a limited (though the cheapest overall in the series)
Hm. Of lenses that can be purchased new, isn't this the cheapest after the two kit lenses and the FA50?

I got curious about hyperfocal, but I'm pretty certain the markings are for 35mm format, and are very misleading on crop sensor. Is there a quick way to convert that makes this usable without doing mental gymnastics?

Oh, and to get back on topic, I carry around a K-m with a DA40 everywhere. It's hard to get discreet candids, as you pretty much have to be in their face. But otherwise, it's awesome.
01-09-2009, 09:34 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
I got curious about hyperfocal, but I'm pretty certain the markings are for 35mm format, and are very misleading on crop sensor. Is there a quick way to convert that makes this usable without doing mental gymnastics?
Subtract one stop (if you're using an aperture of f/8, use the marks for f/5.6).

01-09-2009, 09:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
Hm. Of lenses that can be purchased new, isn't this the cheapest after the two kit lenses and the FA50?
probably, and very likely which makes it an excellent deal. but I don't know for sure.

QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
I got curious about hyperfocal, but I'm pretty certain the markings are for 35mm format, and are very misleading on crop sensor. Is there a quick way to convert that makes this usable without doing mental gymnastics?
this might be of help or just make you more confused.

Online Depth of Field Calculator

QuoteQuote:
Oh, and to get back on topic, I carry around a K-m with a DA40 everywhere. It's hard to get discreet candids, as you pretty much have to be in their face. But otherwise, it's awesome.
great combo, and just what Pentax had in mind when designing it (regarding lenses) getting up close and personal is part of the fun! get out and get to know people up close and personal. (pun intended) you would not even believe how many people I intend to photograph that I end up stopping and conversating with (most of the time not about photography) of course it helps to live in a smaller, slower town. (not that mine is 'sleepy' or anything) but downtown is very different from big cities.

Last edited by séamuis; 01-09-2009 at 09:54 AM.
01-09-2009, 11:46 AM   #10
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I think it depends on what type of street shooting you plan to do. If you're going to focus on general street scenes and architecture, I think something like the kit lens, 16-50, or DA21 would work well. If you like to focus more on people (street portraits and candids) I think something longer would work better. In those instances, you want to have some distance between yourself and your subject. I find the DA*50-135 to be a perfect lens for this. It's a killer lens for shooting people at a distance.
01-09-2009, 11:47 AM   #11
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you dont always haves to shoot wide however look at some of the posts put up by Mike Cash who shots alot with the Takumar 105 for his street shots and some from Fragla where he uses a 200mm lens for long distance candids both have been shooting some really good stuff. These are manuals focus lens but you can pick them up relatively cheap as well
01-09-2009, 11:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
It's a killer lens for shooting people at a distance.
Thinks maybe you step away from the camera we dont need to be shooting people now.
01-09-2009, 12:44 PM   #13
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I find 35mm is pretty comfy when shooting film, so for a pentax digital it'd be 24mm. Any shorter and your working distance has to be closer, and in an uncrowded city like mine it's not too viable.


As we know, smaller sensors require shorter focal lengths to maintain an equivalent field of view, and shorter focal lengths inherently have a larger depth of field. Ergo; as an example: you would get more in focus elements in your picture using the SMC A 24mm /f2.8 on a K10D than you would using a K 35mm f/2 on film, even if they were both set to f/11. Both would provide roughly the same field of view, but the 24mm on the crop sensor would give you more DOF at the same aperture. A quick glance at the focus markings on each lens barrel would seem to support this. If I'm wrong, correct me.

I found the DA 70 a bit long for street shooting, the 40mm to 50mm range seems to work better on crop sensors if you need that extra bit of reach.
01-09-2009, 02:26 PM   #14
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For me there are three ways.
Either a wide angle that allow you to cover whole groups of people, one or a few persons in their environment (without having to step out on the street and get killed by a car) or to shoot someone close without the person realising that they are in focus. With such a lens you can often even shoot from the hip or with the camera haning on the chest and get it quite right with some exercise. Of course, the ideal combination is the LX with the waist level finder. People just believe that you are fibling with your camera, not that you are taking a picture. In film the focal length would be a prime between ~20 to 30mm. In APS-C more like 14 to 20mm. Usually I would have prefered a prime for the speed, but with good high iso performance this is not so valid any longer. On film the old Pentax 20 and 24mm primes are hard to get hold of, but try the Tamron adaptall 2 24mm. On digital try the DA10-17 set at 17mm where the fish eye effect is minimal. The DA14 or 21ltd should be good or the comming DA15ltd. But since you have the kit zoom (might be the best kit zoom on the market), do as Ben suggest and start with what you have.

The other is to use a short tele lens. Then you shoot at some distance which allowe you to catch people au naturelle them going about their business unaware of you. On film ~85 to 200mm, or on digital ~50 to 135mm. Film lenses could be any of the 77, 85, 100, 105, 120, 135, 150, 200mm lenses Pentax has made. In good light the old M85/2 and M135/3.5 are very discrete alternatives, almost pancakes considering their focal length, in low light nothing beats the A*135/1.8. On digital several of the film lenses would work well, including the FA50's or 77ltd, or the 70ltd pancake. As maxwell says, the DA*50-135 is a killer for this, covering the whole usefull length and the speed is good also (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/37339-street-shooting-da-50-135-a.html). It's not directly descrete (which the DA50-200 is), but I'm trying to find a less provocating shade. Again, the kit zoom can be used in the 55mm end for a start.

When I choose not to try to catch people as they are, undetected, but first talk with them introduce me and ask if I can take a picture a normal lens is a good alternative, again, the kit zoom works until you want something faster.

I bet there are a fourth, fifth,... way to do street photography also, but these are my ways.
01-09-2009, 06:09 PM   #15
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It really depends on what you think constitutes "street photography" and how you shoot. There are a lot of different ways that people approach it, and how you do it will determine what lens you use. Some are on the outside looking in, and tend to use a longer lens. I usually avoid this as I'm sensitive about being viewed as a voyeur. I also find that I need to be a little closer to what is going on to really understand what I'm seeing. That said, I don't want to disrupt things either, and sometimes I am obvious about shooting, other times less so. In the past I have done more of my street with a p&s, generally on the wider end of things (24 or 28mm effective fov). The p&s also gives you greater dof which can help as well.

With dSLR I find that I usually want to be a little more intimate, so the 43ltd is my lens of choice. I prefer a small prime as it makes the camera less obtrusive in the environment. I'm going to get a 21ltd as well for when I want something wider. I've also used a 77ltd if I really want something with a closer feel, but that often is too long for what I'm doing and where I am.

No right answer...just experiment with your zoom and see what you get.
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