Many photographers seem to favour zoom lenses, such as the 24mm – 70mm f2.8 or 70mm – 200mm f2.8 lenses, for street photography and I can never work out why. Okay, both of these types of lenses are very good and great portrait photography lenses but they are so big. If you want to capture candid street photography portraits you are going to struggle with these lenses because people are going to notice them and react accordingly before you get the chance for a candid shot. Okay, you’re going to bag a few shots but you are going to miss a whole lot more.
If you want to bag candid street portraits you need a small and discreet lens that the subjects won’t bat an eye lid at. The lens doesn’t need to be particularly fast – you don’t want to blur the background out of all recognition, so the very wide maximum aperture lenses (the f1.2 – f1.8 lenses) aren’t necessary. This isn’t such a bad thing because the very wide maximum apertures are also big, heavy and not discreet.
A small and discreet f2.8 lens is perfect for candid street photography portraits, and one you should consider is the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM lens. This lens is a pancake lens which makes it small (very small), lightweight and very discreet. This is not a “look at me lens” and if you stick this lens on a camera no-one will pay any attention at all. The 40mm focal length may seem a strange one but it is a great focal length and more than capable of capturing some interesting portraits.
So let’s look at the specs of the Canon 40mm f2.8 SM lens:-
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 40mm/ 64mm/ Aperture:- 2.8 - 22/ Min focus:- 11.8"/ Dimensions:- 2.69" x 0.9"/ Weight:- 4.6 oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $180.00/£145.00
Below is a short video review of the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM lens which demonstrates just how good it is:-
The Canon 40mm f2.8 STM lens has an effective focal length of 64mm on a crop sensor camera. If you shoot a crop sensor camera the best lens is the Canon EF-S 24mm f2.8 STM lens. This lens is exactly like the 40mm version but it is solely for crop sensor cameras, where it gives the same field of view as the 40mm focal length lens. The build quality and image quality of the 24mm and 40mm lenses is identical. I can personally vouch for this as I own both, and the reason for this was because I was so impressed with the 40mm on my full frame 6D I wanted the same lens for my crop sensor 7D.
Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- N/A/ 88.4mm/ Aperture:- 2.8 - 22/ Min focus:- 6.3"/ Dimensions:- 2.69" x 0.9"/ Weight:- 4.4oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $150.00/£125.00
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.