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Author Topic: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography  (Read 5776 times)

killswitch

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Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« on: March 05, 2013, 10:14:09 PM »
If you were to use a telephoto lens (zoom/prime) that's not white in color for both day/night street photography which one would you go for and why?

I usually use the 24-70 for street photography now, but looking for a longer glass. These lenses come to mind, and I would love to hear your thought/opinion/suggestion.

1) 100mm f2.8L IS
2) 135mm f2L
3) 200mm f2.8L II

Edit: Will be used on the 5D3. And mainly for street/outdoor portrait, candid shots of people, street activities like parades, festivals, etc. I like to shoot wide open in most cases to get the background to melt away. Also, like to shoot at night as well.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 11:31:33 PM by killswitch »

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Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« on: March 05, 2013, 10:14:09 PM »

drmikeinpdx

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 11:21:18 PM »
What body are you using it on?  And can you tell us what kind of street photography you like to do?  Give as much detail as you can please. :)
Current bodies:  5D3, 7D, 550D, S100
Favorite lenses: 135 f/2.0 L, 85 f/1.8 200 f/2.8 L, 50 f1.4 Sigma, 40mm pancake, 24-105 L.
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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 11:29:34 PM »
I've been full circle almost using almost every option for extensive periods of time, zooms to primes, fisheyes to 400mm f/2.8 II. Right now at the moment I am starting to fall in love again with the 200mm f/2.8L II lens for just the purpose you mention. Nothing is as comfortable, as stealthy, or as effective.

I have the 70-200mm II, and I practically hate that lens as a working tool. Carry one around 14 hours and you'll hate your life. Carry the 200mm f/2.8L II lens around for the same length of time, and you'll be smiling at the end of the day and probably have way better pictures as well.

If you're doing night street photography, the 135mm would make sense as well, but the 200mm focal length just has that perfect framing for candid photos and continues to have nice backgrounds wide open at longer distances than the 135mm.
 
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killswitch

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 11:32:54 PM »
What body are you using it on?  And can you tell us what kind of street photography you like to do?  Give as much detail as you can please. :)

Thanks. =) I have put in the details as suggested.

gjones5252

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 11:33:23 PM »
I cannot speak for the other lenses but i can say the 100mm 2.8l should not be use for night time street shots unless  you plan on manually focusing. The lens is amazing but i have to switch to something faster for focusing. In my experience with street photography you have a split second to capture a look if your lens is spinning back and forth it can get real old real quick.

killswitch

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 11:36:17 PM »
I've been full circle almost using almost every option for extensive periods of time, zooms to primes, fisheyes to 400mm f/2.8 II. Right now at the moment I am starting to fall in love again with the 200mm f/2.8L II lens for just the purpose you mention. Nothing is as comfortable, as stealthy, or as effective.

I have the 70-200mm II, and I practically hate that lens as a working tool. Carry one around 14 hours and you'll hate your life. Carry the 200mm f/2.8L II lens around for the same length of time, and you'll be smiling at the end of the day and probably have way better pictures as well.

If you're doing night street photography, the 135mm would make sense as well, but the 200mm focal length just has that perfect framing for candid photos and continues to have nice backgrounds wide open at longer distances than the 135mm.

I know right? To think the 200mm f2.8L II costs only $550-600 used. Which is a steal I think.

robbymack

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 11:59:05 PM »
I'd go either 135L or 200 2.8 I'd probably debate back and forth the merits of both but I guess realistically since neither has IS I'd probably lean towards the 135 not only is it faster but presumably I can handhold it at 2/3 stop slower shutter speed letting in more light. Plus the 135 is one of those ubiquitous canon lenses you'll use for everything. Total side note, checked out your Flickr, apparently we're Flickr contacts.

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 11:59:05 PM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 12:05:55 AM »
A bit off from your topic, but consider a 24- 105.  Small and light to carry, won't draw attention, great images.  Flexible.  Short for the tele, but very versatile especially when you get into crowded street scenes.  I am thinking about last Halloween when I was glad to have this lens on Bourbon street. 
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
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Etienne

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 12:39:30 AM »
16-35 2.8L II is perfect for street work, night and day.
Wide lets you get close and talk to people, gives you a sense of place, and let's you capture discrete photos because people do not suspect that they are in the frame of the ultra-wide.

mb66energy

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 12:48:04 AM »
Ever considered to choose a 2.0/100 ?

It's an almost boring lens in terms of pure specs: No IS, no red ring but: it is short, a little bit longer than the 1.4 50mm and hence very unobtrusive. IQ is very good from f/2 on: high contrast, very good texture rendering. Just sharpness increases if you stop down a little. AF/USM is very fast.

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 01:02:43 AM »
Ever considered to choose a 2.0/100 ?

It's an almost boring lens in terms of pure specs: No IS, no red ring but: it is short, a little bit longer than the 1.4 50mm and hence very unobtrusive. IQ is very good from f/2 on: high contrast, very good texture rendering. Just sharpness increases if you stop down a little. AF/USM is very fast.

Just my 2ct - Best, Michael

That's great advice, too. Many times I'm somewhere at a big basketball game with my big lenses in my box and using my 100mm f/2, surrounded by people with their big lenses. And I'm the one getting all the shots with the 100mm's lightning fast focus, high light transmission, and almost perfect focal length for that job. As Louis L'Amour stated, only the very best gunfighters never need to prove it to anyone, and all the rest do. The 100mm doesn't need to prove itself with huge size or a white case, because it is one of the very best.
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RS2021

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 01:14:25 AM »
As you specify telephoto range and inconspicuosness and possibility of use at night, 135L is a no brainer.
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EvilTed

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 02:09:21 AM »
Anything over 50mm is not street photography, it is voyeurism ;)

ET

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 02:09:21 AM »

RS2021

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 12:04:40 PM »
Anything over 50mm is not street photography, it is voyeurism ;)

How true!  ;)

And from a practical standpoint,  street photography is a tad dicey past ~70mm at least in real street situations... you have too many obstructions, people get in the way, closer walkers blur a lot faster, while some of this can be viewed as "creative"...in real life, a litle "creativity" goes a long way.

Also with telephoto lenses you lose the intimacy that is a vital component of most memorable "street" shots.

In street photography my personal creed is:

-Pixel peeping is counter productive.
-The moment matters, fast autofocus helps.
-Be wide enough to include some context to the scene.

For all these reasons my preferred lenses remain the 35L or 50 f/1.4. However, depending on the context,  even the 85 f/1.8 or 135L can work, but I would call those instances rare.

Edit: I left out in the list "do not use over-obvious equipment and big bulky zooms...it is off-putting; smaller the footprint, the better". But in someways even the 35L, 85 1.8 and 135L with hoods break this rule as they are rather noticeable.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 12:27:32 PM by Ray2021 »
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killswitch

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 12:12:43 PM »
I'd go either 135L or 200 2.8 I'd probably debate back and forth the merits of both but I guess realistically since neither has IS I'd probably lean towards the 135 not only is it faster but presumably I can handhold it at 2/3 stop slower shutter speed letting in more light. Plus the 135 is one of those ubiquitous canon lenses you'll use for everything. Total side note, checked out your Flickr, apparently we're Flickr contacts.

Hey, yeah, haha...did not know we are contacts till now! ^_^

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Re: Advice on a telephoto lens for street photography
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 12:12:43 PM »