The situations on a street are among the things that inspire people to photograph. Exuberant scenarios, moving vehicles, tall buildings, and intimate pathways can be used for documentaries after being captured.
You can say street photography is artistic; something that yields a good feeling. If you are one of those that find the streets amusing to capture, then you’d have to invest in a top-grade lens as it can be tough to take a good shot without one.
Fortunately, the market is filled with lenses made by a variety of brands, but Sony is well-known and most preferred a bit expensive though. The Sony brand also has a lot of lenses to be sold, so it can be quite overwhelming to know which is best for street photography.
However, the best Sony lens to be obtained must be inconspicuous, portable, weightless, and quiet. In this article, we’d explore how you can obtain the best lens for street photography. Plus, the best seven Sony lenses for street photography would be reviewed for you to easily purchase.
For you to take a good photo of a street, the lens you intend to purchase must have some specific criteria. Preferably, it is often the portable and weightless the better, but you’d want to ensure that the lens operates abruptly, quietly, and accurately.
The following are the criteria to look out for when obtaining a lens for street photography:
- Weight and size.
- Focal length.
- The mount.
The most vital facet that you must consider when choosing the best lens for your street photography is the Aperture. As important as it is, it is broadly distinguished into two different forms – aperture range and aperture blade.
- Aperture range
The aperture range is simply defined as the size by which the lens opens. It can be correlated with the functionality of an eye. How? In the case of an eye, the pupil regulates its size as the iris shrinks in a bright environment, and broadens in a dark environment for proper viewing.
But for a lens, the pupil is the aperture. It can be controlled (widened or decreased) for the needed light to pass through. Ideally, the wider the aperture, the more satisfactory result you’d get.
Moving forward, a higher aperture will give you a wider depth of field, which is great for capturing multiple subjects in a single image. While a lower aperture will give you a shallow depth of field, which is perfect for isolating your subjects and creating a beautiful bokeh effect. Hence, the minimum aperture range for a lens is f/2.8.
- Aperture blade
The other type of aperture that a lens must have is the aperture blade – also known as the diaphragm blade. This blade is made with small pieces of material and sits in the innermost part of the lens.
The aperture blade evolves to decrease the size of the opening that permits light to go into the camera film. If you are interested in beautiful bokeh effects for your street photography, then the aperture blade is a feature that you must be conscious of.
As a matter of fact, the more blades present in the lens you choose for the street photograph, the more satisfactory the bokeh.
As aforementioned, the best Sony lens must be inconspicuous, portable, and weightless. Likewise, whichever brand’s lens you prefer to buy. Technology has made it effortless to capture the beautiful parts of a street with the use of smartphones to be shared on social platforms.
Still, many people are interested in using a camera because of the quality of pictures it will produce. So, if you decide to use a camera for your street photography, (of course, a lens is required) you need to make sure it is small and lightweight. In this case, you’d want to consider acquiring a pancake lens.
You’re probably wondering what I mean by pancake lens. It means the lens is flat like that of a pancake. Although the pros of utilizing this pancake lens are a small size and lightweight, the cons are; that it can’t give you a full wide shot, and the image quality isn’t as sharp as you might want.
Another important thing you must consider when choosing the best lens for street photography is the focal length. The focal length is described as the distance from your camera sensor and lens. It is often denoted with a number, measured in millimeters (mm).
Typically, it is every photographer’s wish to picture the complete scene without distorting during street photography. Due to this, we recommend obtaining the lens with either of the focal lengths – 24 mm or 35 mm, depending on the type of camera you have.
24 mm lens – crop sensor camera, 35 mm – full frame. Nb: The two focal lengths would equate to a similar type of shot. However, there are times when you’d need a narrow view of the street, so you’d need a lens with a focal length of 50 mm.
Moving forward, you should be aware that there are 2 different kinds of lenses which are; the prime lens and the zoom lens. Each of these lenses has different focal lengths, pros, and cons.
- Prime lens
A prime lens is a type of lens that is produced with a static focal length – could be 35 mm or 50 mm. This type of lens is known to be weightless, portable, and capable of yielding to a much wider aperture system.
For these advantages, prime lenses are considered to be the best choice of lens for street photography.
- Zoom lens
Unlike the prime lens with a fixed focal length, the zoom lens has a variety of focal lengths – like 24 mm to 80 mm. The pros of having this type of lens are the ability to regulate the focal range and the capability of creating depth of field.
While the cons are that they are heavy, longer, bigger, and expensive. Hence, this might not be a good type of lens to be used for street photography.
Autofocus is one feature you shouldn’t overlook when purchasing a lens for street photography. This is because it is an indispensable part of photography workflows due to its pace, accuracy, and reliability.
The algorithms of autofocus can trace subjects with comfort with pinpoint precision. However, there are two variable types of autofocus which are; contrast-detection autofocus and phase-detection autofocus.
Since there are different types of brands that manufacture lenses for street photography, they are all allocated with each of the types of autofocus. But Sony lenses have both contrast-detection autofocus and phase-detection autofocus which makes them unique from other brands’ lenses.
Finally, the mount of the lens you are buying is crucial. You have to ensure that it matches the type of camera you have. There are different types of cameras – mirrorless, crop sensor, DSLR, and full frame, and all have diverse lens requirements.
Although some cameras like mirrorless and crop sensor cameras can make use of other camera lenses, they don’t work the other way around. For instance, mirrorless can use DSLR lenses and crop sensors can utilize full-frame lenses. But make sure you check properly before buying.
You can be assured that you’d be able to purchase the best lens for street photography with the factors explained above. But to make your purchase easier, I’d recommend the best lens I am familiar with below.
Here are my top 7 best sony lenses for street photography;
1. Sony E-mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM
No doubt, Sony is well-recognized for producing effective cameras and lenses, and one of their recently produced lenses is this Sony E-mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM.
It is super perfect, as it is just the type of lens that is proposed as the best choice for street photography. This lens has an aperture of F1.4 that is tested to be very fast and produces excellent photo quality.
In fact, the image quality of this Sony FE 24 mm lens rivals other types of Sony lenses. The technology used in producing this lens makes it fantastic for both portraits and street photography.
This Sony FE 24 mm F1.4 G Master lens can be used on both mirrorless and DSLR to capture any situations you find amusing on the street. It goes ahead to offer you an extraordinary wide-angle point to boost your photography creativity.
Because it is a prime lens, it is lightweight and portable enough to be carried with you while hiking or touring. It includes two extreme aspherical elements that can be used to decrease the aberration across the frame width.
In this lens box, useful gears were added that include the hood, case, rear cap, and front cap. So, if you need a sony to top up your street photography adventure, this is the best choice.
- Perfect for shooting low-light images.
- It has weather, fluorine, and dirt repellent.
- Abrupt and sharp F1.4 GM aperture.
- Portable and weightless.
- Fringe colors a little, but it can be easily alleviated.
2. Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens
Is the street your muse? Wouldn’t you love to make use of a lens that would offer you clear images whilst capturing the happenings on the street?
This Sony FE 50 mm F1.8 is just perfect for the clear and stunning street images you desire. And if you are the type that prefers to take pictures with plenty of light, then this Sony lens is exactly the best choice for you.
With this lens, you can take portraits of scenes on the street and you’d get top-notch quality photographs. I can assure you that it is one of the best lenses that was designed for street photography, though it can be confirmed when you look closely at its features.
Unlike other lenses that require the use of a flash or tripod, this lens has a maximum aperture of F1.8 which makes it capable of capturing any subject on the street without using any of those tools.
With an F1.8 aperture, you don’t have to target the perfect hour of the day before you can take a picture of a street. This is because it can easily gather the needed light on its accord to offer you amazing images.
The fluorine coating, five-stop image stabilization, and autofocus motor present on this lens will allow you to take shots in any condition. Not to forget, the weight of this lens is a great benefit on your path, as you can take this lens with you when touring or doing your normal daily activities.
Also, you don’t have to worry much when you have this lens because it captures any subject or object very fast due to its aperture range.
- It is worth the price.
- Maximum and abrupt aperture.
- Super clear with satisfactory bokeh effect.
- Provides you with the best photo quality.
- Portable and lightweight.
- It is versatile.
- The focus element is loud and external.
- No controls.
- Absence of weather protection.
3. Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS Super-Telephoto APS-C Lens
Have you been in search of a lens that you can utilize for your daily documentaries? Then, you should totally go for this Sony alpha lens.
This is a zoom lens that has variable focal lengths and aperture. The maximum focal length for this zoom lens is 350 mm, and the aperture ranges from F4.5 to F6.3. For this reason, this lens can capture any scenario you find fascinating in high quality.
The high focal length and aperture make it fast and precise. It has an in-built image stabilization that adds stability and a quiet extreme dynamic motor to quickly bring the subject into focus.
With the XD motor tech, you can capture fast-moving subjects on the street and they will come out beautiful. This technology is coupled with the upgraded AF of the newest portable APS-C bodies; with this, you can be assured of high performance and the ability to shoot nature and the street easily.
The dust and fluid repellent make this lens appropriate for outdoor uses. And it has a quick automatic or manual focus system that makes the lens operation very easy.
- Easy to operate.
- Variable focal lengths and aperture.
- Automatic and manual focus system.
- Super fast and precise – availability of image stabilization.
- Operates quietly.
- It is not 100% dust and fluid-resistant.
- Quite heavy.
4. Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM Full-Frame Large-Aperture G Master Lens
Sony is the best in producing devices with upgraded and latest features, not excluding the lenses made by them. What exactly is the type of street photography you want? Is it close-up shots of people on the street doing their normal routines, or is the wide shot of street capes? This Sony FE 50 mm would offer you exactly what you want.
It has the newest upgraded technology that can deliver photographs that will leave you in awe, even with the maximum aperture of F1.2 G Master available in it.
The aperture makes it function abruptly, with a highly authentic autofocus system and low-vibration AF when capturing the street. I’m pretty sure you need a lens that is weightless and discreet, this is just the appropriate lens for you.
- The design is light and compact.
- It has enough blades – 11 aperture blades, to contribute to the bokeh effect.
- Excellence in optical performance.
- Fast and reliable.
- Operates silently.
- Worth the money.
- No image stabilization.
5. SONY 55mm F1.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Lens
A quick reminder – street photography is one type of photography that focuses on the environment, scenes, folks, and the whole settings of a particular street.
This means that you’d have to invest in a lens and camera that would allow you to be creative while capturing your surroundings. And that lens you need to invest in is this Sony 55 mm F1.8 lens.
It is a super fanatic lens that functions quickly and clearly enough to photograph the scenes on the street that are exciting. Due to its aperture, you can consider this lens a beast for daylight and nighttime photographs.
This lens is a fixed type of lens for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and it is a device you’d be extremely satisfied with. No lie, this beautiful, lightweight, and fast lens is appropriate for whatever type of street photography you’d be doing.
- The lens is very clear.
- Offers amazing images.
- Top-notch quality.
- Very good for low light.
- Its optical vision is not properly stabilized.
6. Sony – FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Sony FE 12 to 24 mm is a wonderful lens that can be purchased for street photography. This is because it can capture buildings, vehicles, people, and the public setting fast and better than other types of lenses.
It is a zoom lens which means it has a variable focal range from a minimum of 12 mm to a maximum of 24 mm. As aforementioned, 24 mm is best for wide-angle shots, so you can obtain this lens with the comfort that it will offer you the type of image you want.
This is the best lens you can take with you on an adventure and it won’t give your blurry or distorted results.
- Quick aperture.
- Full dust and fluorine protection.
- Worth your penny.
- Autofocus – beautiful bokeh result.
- There is no aperture ring.
7. Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens
Finally, on my list is the Sony 16 mm -35 mm lens. This lens is a zoom lens that has a maximum length of 35 mm that is ideal for street portraits and landscapes.
This lens has the ZEISS T coating that decreases ghosting and flare. There is an availability of three ED glass elements to reduce any chromatic distortion. It has a fixed maximum F4 aperture during the zoom regulation.
With this lens, any street picture you take would look stunning with the bokeh effect induced by the aperture blades. Not to forget, it is fast and reliable; you won’t have to worry about anything when using this lens.
- Amazing bokeh effect.
- Accurate autofocus.
- Quick to capture.
- Best choice for street photography.
- It is quite heavy.
The 35 mm lens is the best lens to be used for street photography, regardless of the brand you are purchasing. This is because it has many pros which include the ability to capture fast-moving subjects.
A lot of street photographers are aware of the advantages of the 35 mm lens which is why they purchase it. This lens is wide enough to capture the whole situation of a street without being blurry or distorted.
Another type of lens that is best for street photography is the 50 mm lens. This type of lens is best for those who prefer a more narrow view of the street.
F /8 is the best aperture that is recommended to be used for street photography. It opens enough to receive the needed light for the capturing.
This aperture also permits you to utilize the fast shutter speed and offers a narrow depth of field of the scene.
Additionally, Aside from f/8, the f-stop is another best aperture for street photography; nothing else other than these should be utilized for street photography.
Obtaining the best sony lens for street photography can be difficult, so with the features explained in detail in this blog post, you’d be able to purchase one.
However, I have recommended the 7 best lenses that you can acquire. Each has pros and cons, but all are worth the price attached to them. Kindly click on the links provided to purchase any of the lenses that suit your need.
Lara is the writer and editor at Waterproof Camera Reviews. She specializes in lenses which are one of the essential parts of a camera and a tool in photography. Lara’s knowledge about lenses cannot be overemphasized, as she’s good at what she does.