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Old May 1, 2013, 04:09 PM   #26
ratboy90
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It depends. I use an X100 and sometimes I just feel like it's too wide for some things, especially if you're more the street portraits kind of person. For general scene shots its definitely better to go with a 35mm.
On top of that the OP is a beginner and the 50mm is, I think, a more versatile lens for beginners who are just using a prime for the first time.
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Old May 1, 2013, 05:26 PM   #27
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You are certainly getting all kinds of answers here.

Maybe you need to do an exercise where you use the various focal lengths and stick to them. Find which length works for you.

In the past people used the "standard" lens because it had two advantages - it was slightly narrower than how are eyes see and gave a more pleasing perspective and allowed the photographer to be at a reasonable distance. In those days, photographers were more adept at using their cameras, framing shots and a bit more.

Wider lenses had two advantages - depth of field and room to crop (when printing). The depth of field allowed photographers to shoot more quickly as focusing often were problematic with getting the shot. Instead one could approximate focus by leveraging depth of field and know that most subjects within the depth of field would be "reasonably" sharp. In simpler terms you could simply point to subjects (as example) 7-11 feet away and hit the shutter. Again, those photographers knew their equipment well and often by trial and error. The other item as mentioned is that if you are not close enough to frame subjects well, you had room to crop out distractions.

Longer lenses are more intimate, able to drop out distracting backgrounds when shot wide open but that "compressed" look often was not satisfying for street photography and also one risks moving objects getting between the photographer and the subject at hand due to the literal space between the two.

I have in years past, taken a 90mm lens exclusively on the streets, a 24mm, 35 mm and rarely used a 50mm. In my case, the 35 and 90 worked out best. For ease and speed, the 24mm topped them all as I did crop later and took advantage of the depth of field aspect. The 50 gave me a few great shots when I absolutely had the time to consider framing, subject matter, film, aperture preference etc.

In your case I am betting that a 24 would be a good fit but again, do a few exercises at different focal lengths. That is the only way you will learn and find out what works for you. I would imagine in NY city on the streets, lenses to the wide side would be an advantage on busy streets as you have to get close enough to get the shot yet avoid people and such getting in your path and when there is a difficult subject (action) you can elect to crop out later distractions and stay slightly further back.

Just more peanuts from the gallery.
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Old May 1, 2013, 09:28 PM   #28
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Well I did a random shoot this afternoon while I waited for my fiancee to get off the train in Brooklyn. These were taken between 18mm-28mm kit, so x1.6.

Thoughts? Just quick examples here.
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Old May 2, 2013, 08:26 AM   #29
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Well I did a random shoot this afternoon while I waited for my fiancee to get off the train in Brooklyn. These were taken between 18mm-28mm kit, so x1.6.

Thoughts? Just quick examples here.
I think you'll do fine with something that gives you an effective 35mm focal length.
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Old May 2, 2013, 08:55 AM   #30
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I think the question you need to ask is rhetorical, how did you feel with 18mm and 28mm?

You are just starting the experimentation, so choose one, stick with it for a few weeks than move to the next. Give yourself a chance to understand how to work with the focal length. Keep looking at other's work to give you ideas, inspiration and motivation, and to also understand what can be achieved within the boundaries of your chosen focal length.

One exercise you can do is get a friend, or if you don't have any a dressmakers mannequin or shop window dummy, you could even use a full length mirror; set your focal length and then use the dummy/friend/mirror to measure the distance you need to be for a full length body shot, a waist up shot, a head and shoulders shot. Try to get comfortable with these working distances so you can judge them easily, this will help with your shooting when on the street.
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Old May 2, 2013, 09:54 AM   #31
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Whenever I think about style, I always gravitate towards a sort of "altnerate perspective" style, in which I would like to take shots that show scenes, ideas, people, etc. as we've seen them a million times in street photography, but from a perspective or angle that forces one to really see what's going on.

I didn't do that with any of my example shots, and I haven't done it in my photography yet, but it's where my mind always gravitates.

I'll have to try it and see if I can bring mind's eye to lens.

This makes me wonder, why don't we have a thread on street photography. Maybe I can get one going? I think there'd be plenty interested.
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Old May 2, 2013, 12:10 PM   #32
MCH-1138
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Originally Posted by soco View Post
Well I did a random shoot this afternoon while I waited for my fiancee to get off the train in Brooklyn....Thoughts? Just quick examples here.
Quote:
Whenever I think about style, I always gravitate towards a sort of "altnerate perspective" style, in which I would like to take shots that show scenes, ideas, people, etc. as we've seen them a million times in street photography, but from a perspective or angle that forces one to really see what's going on.

I didn't do that with any of my example shots, and I haven't done it in my photography yet, but it's where my mind always gravitates.
I'll offer a few observations from a non-street photographer. I like your idea of trying to show a unique perspective or angle, but agree that the examples don't achieve that. The sample shots seem rather documentary to me -- they show the scene as you saw it, but they don't seem unusual or any different from what I would expect to see if I were standing in the same location. Even if they were shot at a "wider-than-normal" angle, the perspective is not that different from the "normal" view that I would expect. You might consider shooting from a very low (or a very high) angle, which typically offers a much different perspective than a standing shot. You might also consider an even wider-angle lens in order to exaggerate the perspective.

The other observation that I have is that it is unclear (at least to me) what the focus or subject of each image is, so I'm not sure what story they are trying to tell, and I don't really feel drawn in to the scene. For example, in the "Cleaners" photo, should I be focusing on the boy in the foreground, the storefront, the graffiti, or something else? In my view, a more interesting photo would be one that juxtaposes the "Cleaners" sign with the reality of the setting (trash, empty boxes, graffiti, etc.).

Again, my $0.02.
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Old May 2, 2013, 02:09 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by MCH-1138 View Post
I'll offer a few observations from a non-street photographer. I like your idea of trying to show a unique perspective or angle, but agree that the examples don't achieve that. The sample shots seem rather documentary to me -- they show the scene as you saw it, but they don't seem unusual or any different from what I would expect to see if I were standing in the same location. Even if they were shot at a "wider-than-normal" angle, the perspective is not that different from the "normal" view that I would expect. You might consider shooting from a very low (or a very high) angle, which typically offers a much different perspective than a standing shot. You might also consider an even wider-angle lens in order to exaggerate the perspective.

The other observation that I have is that it is unclear (at least to me) what the focus or subject of each image is, so I'm not sure what story they are trying to tell, and I don't really feel drawn in to the scene. For example, in the "Cleaners" photo, should I be focusing on the boy in the foreground, the storefront, the graffiti, or something else? In my view, a more interesting photo would be one that juxtaposes the "Cleaners" sign with the reality of the setting (trash, empty boxes, graffiti, etc.).

Again, my $0.02.
Excellent! Thank you.

And yes, I didn't go out of my way to try for any interesting perspectives here. I was just trying to get my first shoot out of the way and see how comfortable, if at all, I would be shooting people/in public in general.

I'm not sure about subject yet. From my short shoot, I never really felt like I had a subject throughout the whole thing. Just little observational shots that were pretty uninspired.

Still, got it out of the way and learned a few things!
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Old May 8, 2013, 09:21 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by ratboy90 View Post
It depends. I use an X100 and sometimes I just feel like it's too wide for some things, especially if you're more the street portraits kind of person. For general scene shots its definitely better to go with a 35mm.
On top of that the OP is a beginner and the 50mm is, I think, a more versatile lens for beginners who are just using a prime for the first time.
Keeping in mind that he's on a crop body, so a 50mm lens is actually an 80mm equivalent. The X100 is a 23mm or a 35mm equivalent. I find 80mm too tight to be versatile but of course that's just me.

The 50mm is often recommended because it's the cheapest fast and sharp lesn you can get for most systems. I've owned a couple and never really cared for the focal length on crop bodies.
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