In this article, we have reviewed the 10 best lenses for street photography including Canon, Nikon, and Sigma lenses along with a comparison table and a detailed buyer’s guide to help you choose the best lens possible.
When it comes to street photography, the choice of lenses is actually huge. The major manufacturers of lenses and cameras like Nikon, Canon, Sony, and various others have several lenses out in the market which can help to produce brilliant quality images when you are out in the street clicking pictures.
When you are out on the streets you need to be careful about the different integral parts of a photograph. Therefore it can be quite tricky if you don’t put into use the right lens to balance all of that. The choice of lens majorly depends on the kind of shots and angles the photographer wants to capture.
However, there are some lenses that offer stellar performance in terms of street photography, and today we will be talking about them only.
In this article, have a look at the top 10 lenses available for street photography. We have included different lenses from varied price brackets – so that you can decide on the right lens depending on the budget available.
So without further delay let us have a look at the top street photography lens. Also, you will get to read a guide that will show you how to choose the best lens for street photography.
Best Lens For Street Photography:
Best Canon Lens for Street Photography:
1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
One of the best lenses to come across for street photography is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. The lenses have a durable and robust design which allows you to use them the way you want. Thanks to the f/1.8 from now you will be able to use the lens to capture more artistic and impactful images that look vivid.
The lens is very easily compatible with all EOS Cameras. This EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is the replacement for the popular EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Now it is capable of producing more sharp and more refined pictures that look impressive even in low-light scenes.
Features – the lens has a sleek and sophisticated design that can be included in the features as well. The lightweight finish allows you to use the lens without any hassles. The Super Spectra Coating is a welcome feature that prevents display tearing or ghosting by a significant amount.
The light leaks are almost unnoticeable as well.
The 50mm f/1.8 STM lens provides sharp and clear images without any hassles, the pictures have a nice touch of colors and brightness which looks beautiful. From now, get used to shooting quick and versatile images with the help of near-silent STM technology.
Creating videos is now much easier and more stable than previous technology.
Performance – even though the optics of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens are the same as that of its predecessors, the new EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens comes with the Optimized Lens Placement which helps to improve the overall performance of the lens.
The lens has decent sharpness which can be clearly seen in the pictures where the edges are sharp and the colors are solid. The subtle brightness and absence of any color leaks provide the images with a vivid and balanced look. In low light conditions, the performance is decent but we can see distortions and noise in the pictures.
The motor-driven AF system helps in better focusing and supports quick shutter speed and efficiency in the overall performance.
2. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
One of the most expensive, versatile, and powerful lenses for street photography is the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. The lens will help you to get exciting and incredibly sharp and vivid images that support wide-angle focal lengths and the Telephoto lens as well.
The low-light performance of this lens is one of the best we have seen so far. The pictures come without too much noise or ghosting in both low light or over-exposed environments.
The lens is undoubtedly one of the best lenses for street photography.
Features – the lens comes with a 7-blade aperture barrel that works to provide top-notch background blur and portrays every object accurately. The focal length of the lens is pretty good and has an f/2.8 aperture with 3-stop image stabilization.
The Ultra-Low Dispersion feature works very efficiently to prevent any kind of light flare or ghosting that makes way for smooth and many clear images. The lens has been integrated with an Ultra-sonic focus motor that offers faster and more silent focusing without any issues.
The Super Spectra coating has been also included in this lens that acts as an anti-reflective filter. The AF system is fast and accurate enough to capture every image with clarity.
Performance – The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, in terms of performance is one of the best in the business. The lens is able to provide smooth and sharp pictures in different lighting conditions which is ideal for street photography.
There is a uniform sharpness in the picture which is not only focused on the center but also on the ages.
Photos are realistically sharp at f/1.4 and the resolution is of the highest quality as well. The Image Stabilization feature provides much better stability and speed to the AF system and especially when you don’t have a tripod. The pictures have a clear balance in the color levels and the contrast is also decent.
But the images tend to be slightly inclined toward the warmer side. From wide to medium range zoom, this is the best lens that you can own for street photography in 2019.
3. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Wide Angle
This super lightweight lens is a must for those who are into street photography. The Canon 24mm f2.8 offers some of the best features that Canon has innovated and as a result, what you are is purely dramatic. The lens comes with an excellent AF system and has superior-quality optics that ensure that you get impressive street photographs.
The lens has a 35mm focal length which is almost equivalent to 38mm. The lens has a much improved optimized lens element that also includes the brilliant aspheric element for undisputed image quality.
If you want a reliable lens that will be able to capture images in almost every zoom length, then this is a good option.
Features – 7-blade circular aperture has been integrated to provide incredible detailing and dynamic range. The aspheric element offers amazing balance in the contrast and saturation levels and at the same time, the images are sharp and refined. The corners of the images are not soft but have a decent sharpness along with less vignetting.
The STM motor works efficiently to ensure silent and seamless focus tracking and the micro-stepping drive works to keep the aperture quiet as well. Both the Manual and Auto Focus systems work with efficiency and ensure that your pictures are mesmerizing in their true sense.
The Super Spectra Coating enables the lens to reflect the direct sun rays back and allows you to enjoy flare-free images.
Performance – when it comes to the overall performance of the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM you will be amazed to see the amount of quality that these lenses demonstrate. This Wide Angle lens performs at its maximum in both good and low light conditions.
We did not see much noise and distortion in the images, whatever little was there could be easily smoothened in the post-processing.
The STM motor brings faster and more efficient autofocus tracking ability to the lens. Images are tracked accurately with excellent sharpness. Pictures look dramatic with brilliant dynamic depth and subtle balance in all the other aspects. The circular aperture (7 blades) does not fail to deliver smooth and beautiful backgrounds in the images.
You can easily pair this lens with all Canon EOS SLRs.
4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Prime Lens
Another Canon product on this list, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a brilliant Standard and Telephoto lens. The lens features excellent image quality and portability which are the two most important things to consider when you are into street photography.
The lens comes with two high-refraction lens elements that contribute to the high-quality performance of the lens and also has Gaussian optics that eliminate the astigmatism differences in the images. Users are bound to crisp and subtly clear images even in a low-light environment.
The filter size is 58 mm, and the minimum closing distance is 1.5 feet.
Features – Hypersonic Motor (HSM) enables the users to get opportunity to capture mind-blowing images very quickly and with the best sharpness levels. The lens comes with superior peripheral brightness even at this device’s maximum aperture.
The lens has been integrated with Super Multi-layer Coating which allows the lens to eliminate light leaks and ghosting in bright sunlight or artificial lighting conditions.
The device’s molded glass aspherical lens helps to reduce chromatic aberration and other negative factors to make way for clean and sharp images. The f/1.4 helps to provide shallow depth of field and excellent quality images to the users.
Performance – you can understand by now that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM brings you an excellent quality performance in terms of street photography. And that is absolutely true as well. Images are nicely balanced with a good amount of brightness, rich color tones, and saturation levels.
The camera comes with a host of different features which have been mentioned above, and all of them together make sure that the lens performs to its maximum. It has been constructed into 7 Extra-small Micro USM focus adjustment that helps to capture even the little detail in the frame.
Best Nikon Lens For Street Photography:
1. Nikon AF-S ED Nikkor 14-24mm F/2.8 G
You will be taken aback as we reveal the price of the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G. But you have to also understand that when a product has been priced this high, it is surely going to produce phenomenal results. The same goes for this lens which makes it one of the most expensive lenses in the world and certainly on this list.
At the same time, it is the best lens for street photography in several aspects. It has 12 elements in 10 groups and 9 diaphragm blades which contribute to the world-class photography abilities of the users. The Autofocus system and the lens quality are possibly the best we have tested on this list without any near contenders.
Features – the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G comes with an excellent build quality that is robust and sturdy. The exterior body has a magnesium barrel and weather-sealed mounting plate that promises to keep the body safe from any hit or fall and also allows you to use it in different weather conditions.
The Aspherical and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements are also present in the lens which makes way for smooth, seamless, and noise-free images with almost no light leaks. The Nano Crystal Coating is one of the best camera lens coatings available in the industry and this lens has been integrated with it. You get an amazing cover-up from ghosting and flares.
The Ultra-Sonic Autofocus system helps to deliver neat and clean tracking and accuracy of the subjects. The Natural wide angle of view gathers more light from the surroundings and manages to produce a naturally balanced image.
Performance – we were particularly impressed with the Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) that powers the lens. It enables very fast, accurate, and absolutely clear images whenever you focus on a subject. Even when the subject is in motion, the camera tends to capture the subject quickly and with high levels of accuracy.
The pictures you capture from this lens are some of the sharpest and decently balanced images you will ever see. There is a wonderful valence in the brightness and saturation levels without any inclination towards a particular color tone.
Color correction and chromatic aberration are also managed very efficiently by the SWM motor, even at the widest angles.
2. Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR AF-S DX
Nikon seems to have some of the best lenses for street photography alongside Canon. If you want to capture some mesmerizing street photographs and also not comprise on the zoom levels, then the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G is the best option you can choose in 2019.
The lens promises to deliver some excellent shots when you are out-clicking pictures on the street. The device is one of the best lenses for street photography. It comes with a compact body and in spite of the elongated looks, the camera does not have too much weight.
The lens is comprised of 16 elements in 12 groups that contribute to the overall performance of the lens.
Features – the AF-S Technology has a brilliant reason why professional photographers use this lens and it is because of the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) that allows the waves to travel in rotational energy to put the focus in the optics. The high-speed autofocusing is accurate and also very super quiet.
The Nikon’s in-house Vibration Reduction System allows you to capture amazing photographs even when you stretch the lens to its maximum zoom. Nikon has integrated the new VR technology that enables users to shoot pictures at ultra-low shutter speeds without blur. VR has also other important roles to play. You get a brilliant angle view of 76° to 520°.
Performance – the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G performs amazingly well in all aspects. The new VR Technology allows you to stabilize the viewfinder and provide accurate autofocus quality even when the object is in motion.
The framing and vignetting are good and crisp. You get blur-free and extraordinarily sharp images even in low-light conditions and all the credit goes to this amazing VR Technology. The autofocusing system is fast and accurate which allows you to track your subject conveniently.
Even in the hand-held condition, you can get an amazing Telephoto range. The images are crisp and subtly balanced in all aspects of color and brightness without much inclination towards warmer or cooler tones.
3. Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR
The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR offers you one of the best performances in terms of street photography. This prime lens offers much better detailing and dynamic range to the user which makes it more efficient while shopping for pictures in the street.
The lens comes with a large aperture and has an f/1.8 that will help you capture some amazing shots with the right balance of highlights and brightness all around.
The AF system is fast and accurate with improved features.
Features – the lens comes with 9 optical elements instead of 6 which were found in the previous generations and hence, the overall performance and clarity improve. Even though the new lens comes with more glass covering, the predecessor was still heavier than the new one.
The lens can perform well in both DX and FX cameras manufactured by Nikon. The new Silent Wave Motor allows the lens to function more efficiently and that too without much noise. The lens also has the AF-S System will surely help you to focus on more efficiency and speed. Super Integrated Coating offers brilliant elimination of light leaks.
The AF system also has the Manual Focus Overriding feature which allows you to capture pictures manually with more efficiency and improved performance.
Performance – the overall performance of the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR is good and mention must be made of the efficient focus rate and excellent accuracy that the improved AF system brings to the users. The pictures are produced with great sharpness and clarity which allows you to get high-resolution images in different lighting conditions.
This is one of the sharpest lenses available on the market and is manufactured by Nikon. Focusing on this lens is not the quickest we have seen so far, because it takes some time to accurately track the object and focus on it. If you ask us, then we would say that the previous generation lens was much better in terms of focusing.
There is a perfect balance between the contrast, brightness, and saturation levels in the pictures which provides a soothing visual experience to the viewers.
4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G Prime Lens
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G Prime Lens is one of the most efficient and popular lenses for street photography in the market. It has 7 elements and 6 lens groups.
The lens has been made to support FX-format DSLR cameras. The device has a really fast maximum aperture which makes it ideal for street photography and also perfect for low-light conditions. The lens is one of the sharpest that we have seen.
Features – the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G Prime Lens comes with some good hardware features. The lens is powered by the Silent Wave Motor Technology which is pretty fast and provides very accurate autofocus. The Focus Mode Switch allows the users to change the focus between manual and auto very quickly.
The inclusion of the Aspherical lens element eliminates the presence of light leaks and ghosts by a significant amount. The Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances the balance in light and colors and provides the picture with a subtle tone which nor too bright or vibrant and also not very dark, along with high levels of sharpness.
The saturation levels are of very good quality which is soothing to the eye. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and the minimum is at f/1.6.
Performance – the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G tends to perform really well and has nearly perfect hardware components that make it so good an option. Vignetting in this device is more or less heavy when you keep the settings at maximum aperture however it reduces after f/2.0. Post-processing is thus, not very difficult.
The color and contrast are good and well-balanced. The lightweight and small size of the lens makes it very much compatible with almost every Nikon body
You can easily carry it whenever you go out to shoot in the streets. The low light performance also deserves a mention because we did not notice much noise when used in dark environments. It is surely one of the best lenses for street photography.
Best Sigma Lenses for Street Photography:
1. Sigma 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is the newest addition to the company’s lineup of street photography lenses. It has been designed and manufactured for providing excellent image quality and unparalleled clarity.
The lens comes with a brand-new optical design and features which allow it to show better performance in terms of picture quality and video reproduction.
Features – the lens comes with 2 FLD (performance equal to fluorite) glass elements and 1 element of partial dispersion that provides a high refraction rate along with an amazing level of performance. This makes it ideal for street and portrait photography.
It has been powered by the Hyper Sonic Motor and provides 1.3x times the torque when compared to previous-generation models.
The 9-bladed rounded diaphragm offers beautiful and gorgeous bokeh and beautiful background to the subjects. Super Multi-layer Coating minimizes the penetration of light and ghosting to produce clear and vibrant images.
Performance – the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is truly made for capturing those beautiful frames and subjects that you observe in the streets. The brand-new Hyper Sonic Motor offers brilliant stability and fast torque power that tracks and clicks an object accurately.
The newly updated motor and sensors make way for clear and vibrant images and bring amazing stability to the users. Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture works efficiently to produce amazing low-light photographs without significant distortion or noise.
2. Sigma 35mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
The last product on our list of the top 10 best lenses for street photography, the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens offers good value-for-money performance in its segment. It has some amazing features and improved optics in its system which makes it one of the most efficient and budget-friendly lenses for street photography.
Features – the lens has been equipped with the Hyper Sonic Motor that offers an amazing internal focusing system and also has the SLD and FLD Glass elements. The HSM makes sure that you can click pictures in a high-speed and quiet autofocus process.
The SLD glass elements and the FLD glass elements are almost equal to that of fluorite and offer amazing correction abilities. The large 1.4 aperture makes way for ideal low-light shooting and the lens is also compatible with the Sigma USB dock and Optimization Pro software.
Performance – the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens raises the bar high in terms of clarity and sharpness of the overall frame you capture. Every little detail is highlighted in such a way that looks absolutely natural. The color tones and contrasts are aesthetic without too much saturation or brightness which would seem artificial.
The Autofocus system is quick and ensures that all the objects are tracked in the most efficient manner without any issues.
So these were the top 10 best lenses for street photography that you can purchase in 2019. All these lenses have been tested and ensured they offer the best quality performance in this particular genre.
Thus, you can read them thoroughly and decide which one seems to be the best for your needs.
Buying Guide For Best Lens for Street Photography:
There are innumerable lenses available in the market and therefore it can get quite tricky to choose the best one. Here are some amazing tips that will help you to get hands-on with the best lens for street photography.
Aperture advantage is a huge deal when it comes to street photography. The quality of your lens should be good in order to capture an image with h good aperture. For that, a prime lens is recommended. Aperture tends to add depth and a subtle look to the images you click.
Low light is one of the biggest factors to consider in street photography. Your lens should be able to deal with low-lighting conditions very effectively and should provide you with good low-light performance.
Any lens which is unable to capture good low-light photographs, will not be able to provide you with your full potential.
Bokeh or larger aperture adds beauty and more depth to the street photographs. So try to purchase a lens that can subtly produce natural bokeh without straining the picture too much.
The motor integrated into the lenses should be of good quality and capable enough to provide a faster work rate and shooting accuracy. Always go for the recently launched lenses which are not more than 2 years old to get hands-on with the lenses with the right motor integrated into it.
Make sure that the lens you are purchasing is able to produce natural and sharp colors. Color balance is a major issue to consider in street photography.
The right balance in the colors and noise provides dramatic results. Compare the images clicked on different lenses and choose an image that soothes your eye the most.
So these were some of the most important things to consider before you purchase the best lens for street photography. You can check the products which we have mentioned in the above review section because they are some of the best contenders in the street photography genre.