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compact lens for street photogrpaphy?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by wzfoto, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. wzfoto

    wzfoto Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2012
    I recently bought a gf3+14mm as a travel camera. I found the 14mm to be wide for street photos and am looking for a similar lense but perhaps in the 30-50mm range. I saw the olympus 45 f1.8 for $400 at amazon, but I am curious if there are any other options. My knowledge of m43 lense selection is close to zero so any help is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. pheaukus

    pheaukus Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    • Like Like x 2
  3. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    The venerable Panasonic 20mm, f/1.7 is an excellent alternative.
  4. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Compact and street suggest the Panasonic 20/1.7 to me.

    This web site has every m4/3 lens, current and discontinued.
    Four Thirds | Micro Four Thirds | Products(Lenses)

    A couple of street threads here. Some list the lens used some don't.

    Here's 197 pages of 20/1.7 samples. Some of the older ones are disappearing but you can really see what the lens will do for you.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  6. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For me, 45mm (90mm equiv) would be way way too long of a focal length for a standard lens used in street. On micro 4/3, my two most used lenses are the 20mm f/1.7 and the 14mm f/2.5. They are both pancakes so its no big deal to carry both....

    There really isn't anything special for street photography in terms of optics over just a general use optic. Its more about technique and composition. I like to approach it as a single decision: "Story-telling" or "Subject". When I see an opportunity for "story telling" I generally go wider, my preference is 24mm (on full frame). When I see an opportunity to focus on a subject, I generally go with a 50mm. (on full frame).

    If you study street photographer's work, some of them pretty much choose a single "standard" focal length and perfect their technique against it rarely using any other lens; a pure one lens discipline. The two most common focal lengths they use is either 35mm or 50mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    The Olympus 17mm f/2.8 is a very good lens, especially when considering the cost.
    • Like Like x 3
  8. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    "There really isn't anything special for street photography in terms of optics over just a general use optic."
    It really depends on what time of the day that you do "street" work. I like as big an aperture as I can get to capture as much ambient light. I prefer my CV25mm, f/0.95 when I do after dark work since flash lighting tends to annoy both the subjects and me.

    The 20mm, f/1.7 is plenty fast enough; however, there have several occasions when that little pancake lens was exasperated with such low ambient light that I simply reached for my backup body with the faster Voigtlander lens.
  9. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    And its small size! :smile:
  10. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That's my point. Any lens can be used as a street lens. Street photography is really nothing special in terms of equipment or optic than general just photography. In fact, the terminology didn't exist until recently...

    Portrait photography = produces images that are considered Portraits. Its essentially Subject driven
    Journalistic Photography = produce images that are a part of journalism. Its essentially Story driven.
    Wildlife photogarphy = produces images that feature the behavior of wildlife.

    What is "street" photography??? Its really just photography of People.... in all sorts of situations. Its so generalized that in essence not a speciality. Its neither focused on Subject nor Story. Heck, I can stand in the middle of downtown and take simple snapshots and call my self a "street" photographer. Even the term sucks... Street is a location not a subject nor a goal. Neither is the street itself the subject as in landscape photography.

    So again... rather than think of it as Equipment bag A is needed for Street Photography it should be thought of as what type of end result am I looking for and what is the type of equipment needed? Your photography should drive the choices in equipment not the other way around.

    So take a zoom lens, tape it to 50mm. Shoot everything with it (not just street). Does it feel like an extension of your eye? Natural? Do the same with 35mm etc.. Once you found a focal length that "feels" right... that's your preference in a general use optic. Now take that focal length to the street... presto!!! you are a street photographer.
    • Like Like x 7
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    The frequently-maligned original Oly 14-42mm is a collapsible design and by far the smallest of the 14-4xmm kit zooms. Plus it can be bought for a song. Mine cost me $65. Despite all the sneering from the pixel-peepers it is entirely adequate for taking actual photographs of actual things, as opposed to photographing lens test charts.

    It's not as compact as the pancakes, but a zoom gives you much more flexibility on the street where your subjects aren't under your control.

    If you just can't stand to spend so little money, buy the Oly plus one of the larger aperture pancakes. Then you are set for low light situations but have the flexibility of the zoom for 90% of the day.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. pheaukus

    pheaukus Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2012

    Reminds of this guy who is Sergeant of a three-man Rapid Tactical Force at one of America’s largest indoor retail shopping areas. On the other hand, the wikipedia definition "Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society" still holds up here.

    From what I gather most people use the term 'street photography' not per se to refer to subject or a technique but to a specific process, geared to generate images that isolate authentic moments of human interest out of real-life urban situations. In that it may be similar to psychogeography, even though most viewers experience the imaged moments without any context outside of the picture frame.

    Street photography is found enjoyable by many because its practice can be easily embedded in activities of daily life, to which it adds moments of surprise and revelation.
    It does not depend on gear other than the one which feels most natural to the photographer.
  13. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    What you describe is not what people widely consider as Street photography. Its no closer to being on topic as taking a photograph of dead people for forensic evidence and arguing its artistic intent. Form and composition for example always will take second to the informational content captured in those cases. I could even go further with a debate I had with my friends over beer. That even photographic journalism isn't really photography but simply capturing content to reinforce written word or implied story. (He was debating on whether or not journalism or pure photography would be a better path of study in college) I won't go that route because I haven't even made a conclusion from my own thoughts.

    Regardless, I highly DOUBT that the original poster is working under those conditions..... so your attempt is really to distract from the thread and just argue for the sake of arguing.

    Never the less, what I said still holds true even in the context you are trying apply.

    * The intent and goals (and in the case you describe) should drive choices in equipment. The equipment shouldn't drive your intent.
    * Street photography is so vague of a term even people like you can assign almost any form of imagery to it.

    Within the scope and intent of the original post, street photography really isn't no different than general photography in terms of optics and choices of equipment.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    All is good.
  15. wzfoto

    wzfoto Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2012
    Thank you for all the suggestions. I will try out the Panasonic 20mm as well as the Sigma 30mm and see which one works better for me.
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