50mm focal length for street?

Discussion in 'Street' started by pollux, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    is a 100mm lens on 6x9 ie 44mm, or a 50mm on a 35mm an ideal street lens? Longer than 50mm and the shoots look bland, not showing enough of the environment, and any wider than 50mm and you will have to get near in their face, then people tend to pose or object to the camera.
     
  2. Don Parsons

    Don Parsons Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Winogrand used a 28mm and got close. I like a 35mm on 35mm. 50 is too much of a telephoto.

    ymmv
     
  3. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    673
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    50mm is perfect. But so is 35, 28 and 24, to my mind.
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A 50mm lens is fine for street most of them are f2 and faster I use mine as a telephoto to get a bit closer than my favourite street lens a 35mm F2
     
  5. trent_

    trent_ Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    greece
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I started shooting street with a 50mm f1.8, but some rolls later I bought a 28mm because I find it easier to include 100% of the subject in my photos with it.
     
  6. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,922
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When did a 50 become a telephoto?
     
  7. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,277
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ditto. I personally like the 50 and the field of view
     
  8. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    South Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For me it happened when I got my first 35mm lens. I soon decided that the ideal focal length (for my mind anyway) is same as the horizontal image frame.



    For example I prefer a 35mm lens on my 35mm bodies, and I prefer a 127mm lens on 4x5.



    Can\'t always get what you want however. Kinda hard to change the lens on old folders.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2010
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I meant as a telephoto as compared to my 35mm lens to get a little closer and give a narrower angle of view, I'm perfectly aware that a 50mm lens Isn't a telephoto.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    But 50 would give the viewer that perspective of seeing it as it is. Can be limiting for field of view in some instances. How small is you average 28? Carry one anyway.
     
  11. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might consider a 35 - 70 zoom.

    Jeff
     
  12. chrismoret

    chrismoret Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Go with a 35mm. It's the perfect all-rounder in my opinion. But keep a 28mm nearby, sometimes that gives more compelling perspective in images, of witch I think can work great.
     
  13. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

    Messages:
    603
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Shooter:
    35mm
    17mm. You'll not only get the street, but the alleys too :wink:

    Seriously though ... wait that was serious.

    No I mean ... I started doing street photos with a 50mm cause its all I had. Now I use my 28mm most days. But I also own a 35mm. When I can afford it, I'm going to get a 21mm.

    From the OP about "having to get too close to the person" with a wider angle lens, well then you are just limiting your view of what street photography is. Its not always about a single person or a couple ... whatever. Oftentimes it encompasses the energy of "the street" as the subject, not people. Many of Friedlanders photos are nearly devoid of people, or they are small objects relative to the frame.

    Now if you're interested in a kind of street portratiture, then sure a 50mm might be ideal .. but then I would argue engagement with the subject isn't always a bad thing.

    Pre-focusing with a wider angle lens is easier too, and with the right camera you can stand right in front of someone and snap some shots and they'll never know, unless you are limiting yourself to looking through the viewfinder.

    Have fun ... experiment!
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,672
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Depends on the area.....50 and 35 are the two I turn to. Mostly I prefer 50 just because it can isolate a subject better. Cartier-Bresson preferred a 50 so it can't be all that bad.
     
  16. mablo

    mablo Member

    Messages:
    389
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    50mm is the one for me at the moment. Previously I preferred 35mm to the extent that I had to force myself to use 50mm for 3 months (one camera, one lens, one film project). Since then I haven't looked back.
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The little Nikon 45/2.8 Ai-P is really nice on the FM/FE variants or an N90s for street shooting--just wider than a 50 to be interesting.
     
  18. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

    Messages:
    603
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I will say though that in my Intro to B&W classes I make all my students use a 50mm for the first 1/3 of the semester. I'm still a believer its the best lens on which to learn composition with a 35mm camera.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,199
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For 6x9 try a 65mm or 75mm lens.
    Perspective, of course, has nothing to do with the lens one uses. It is only related to subject distance. The different focal length lenses only change the field of view.
     
  20. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Location:
    Hong Kong/Pa
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Started off with a 50, loved it. Henri Cartier-Bresson was the person who "assured" me that it was possible (before that, I'd been using mid-teles).
    Got a 35, loved it more. Put the 50 aside for a month or so.
    35mm VF broke in Europe (cheap plastic one). Went back to 50mm.
    Still on 50mm until I get a new finder.

    Both focal lengths work for me. Not sure I'd go much wider or longer than that, but I'd rather go wider (25?) than longer.

    I'll have far more choice with my lenses when my Zorkis come in the mail — right now I'm using a Kiev.
    A few more weeks…
     
  21. onepuff

    onepuff Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Scotland
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I love using a 24mm for both field of view and distortion. When you don't want distortion, a 35mm or 50mm is good in my opinion. I never use anything longer.
     
  22. 6x9

    6x9 Member

    Messages:
    57
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Location:
    Japan/Americ
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sure.

    Incorrect.
     
  23. spencewine

    spencewine Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Alot of it is personal preference. 50mm allows you to isolate your subject a little more, but you don't have a wide-berth on the scale focus. A 35mm and 28mm allow you to show your subject in their environment and allow for a greater DOF when scale focusing. Anything Wider than a 28mm forces you to get really close which can make for some really interesting shots,. I like a 21mm in crowds where I'm close by default. So currently, I use a 21mm, 28mm, and 35mm, and a 50mm. I use them for different applications in the street.
     
  24. bblhed

    bblhed Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    North Americ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's like buying a pair of shoes, it has to fit you and what you want to do with it.
     
  25. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    yes but wider glass usually has a closer MFD so you can get closer to objects/subjects to use perspective to your advantage...


    or
    disadvantage depending
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You should use the lens you think works best for whatever situation you happen to be in. There is no reason to decide what lens to use based on predetermined absolutes. All focal lengths from 17mm to 300mm have provided me with what I would call successful street photos. The lenses I use most for street photography are the same lenses I use most for any photography: 28, 35, 50, 135, and 24 and 200 every now and then. Occasionally 17 or 300 in the past, though I have now sold or traded both of these lenses. I would say that I use the 28, 35, and 50 equally most. I usually use the 35 instead of the 28 and 50. I use the 135 about half as much as either of these shorter lengths. I will use the 200 mostly only if I also have a 28 or 50 on another camera ready to shoot. I generally will have 35/135 or 28/50 on two cameras.

    100mm on 6x9 has a wider angle of view than a 50mm lens on 24x36mm format. It is almost identical to the AOV of a 40mm lens on the smaller format, so is actually closer to a 35mm-focal-length-like AOV than to a 50mm-focal-length-like AOV. A 127mm lens on 6x9 will be closest to a 50mm lens on small format. A 65 on 6x9 is a little wider than a 28 on small format.