24mm or 28mm for street shooting?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by ecaggiani, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Since I'll be travelling to Peru in September, I wanted to take some street shots in Lima during the Mistura Food Festival. I'm just trying to figure out whether to get a 24mm or 28mm Minolta MD lens.

    Is the 24mm too wide for typical street shooting? That converts to a 36mm with the crop factor, which seems like it might be a bit wide (based on 50mm being "normal"). The 28mm converts to 42mm, which seems much closer to normal, but I don't want something that's too close either.

    I don't want to do a lot of "sniper" shooting by using a long lens. I'd rather try to get in close to the action, mingle with the people, etc. But I also want to be able to capture some scenery around the people for context as well.

    Sure, I have the 16-50mm kit lens I could use, but where's the fun in that? :)

    Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Traditional 50s and 60s street shooters used 35mm on film, so 24 on the NEX sounds about right.

    But I don't shoot street so maybe Freddy or Colin will chime in on this one. ;)
     
  3. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Thanks Bimjo. Maybe you're right. I was thinking 50mm was what traditional street shooters used, but I guess that would be too close.
     
  4. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    I use either the SEL35 or my Nokton 40 for street shooting. However, there's a gap in my primes from 35-16 and I live in an ugly concrete jungle, so I focus more on the people rather than the environment.

    If I were to choose between your two options based solely on focal length, I would choose the 24 especially on a holiday where the environment becomes more important and picturesque.

    I have been thinking about this focal length recently but in hesitant to buy the Zeiss 24 purely out of cost.

    But honestly I think either would serve you well so in this case I would go with the best deal.
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Well, it really is a question of what you prefer. There always (well, at least much longer than I can remember) were 35mm and 50mm guys. It's not a coincidence Leica offers so many different lenses at these two focal lengths and hardly anything else. For street shooting, both can work out beautifully. Some want to go closer to their subjects and / or show more of the environment and what's going on around them, some prefer focusing on some details rather than showing too much potentially distracting things in the frame. Both styles can work out beautifully - you just have to find the right one for you.
     
  6. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Thanks for all the feedback, guys! I feel that either would probably serve my purpose well. I have a Minolta MD 50mm f/2.0 if I really want to get close, so either 24 or 28 will be significantly wider than that. Time to look for deals :)

    Man, I did not expect to get sucked into this legacy lens movement, but it's hard not to with some of the great glass you can find out there for way less than a brand new lens. It's a little addicting. At least I know that I'm spending hundreds less and still getting quality. I have no problem using manual lenses since that's what I was used to when I messed around with photography when I was a teenager. And focus peaking makes it all possible :)
     
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I barely resisted getting sucked in too a few days back. There was this awesome Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 lens on ebay for just a 100 bucks and I almost hit the trigger. Luckily (or not?) I've been able to tell myself I'll get the 50mm Touit this fall and won't need another 50mm lens. Let's see if I can make it until then without one. ;)
     
  8. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Hahaha, good luck!
     
  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    There's your personal pref's but you also might want to consider the setting. Closer the quarters and/or more spectacular vistas might prompt me to go wider.
     
  10. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Well I couldn't find a 24mm that was reasonable, and the best deal I could find on a 28mm was still a bit more than I was expecting, but I pulled the trigger anyway and picked up the Minolta 28mm f2.8 MD W.Rokkor-X for $56 total, shipped. I found many off-brand 28's for half the price, but in researching them, most people said they just weren't as good as the Minoltas. Thanks, everyone, for all your help!
     
  11. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    You don't say...

    Take care that you build up some experience with it before you go. This is one of those lenses that exhibit focus shift, i.e. the optimum focus point shifts from wide-open to e.g. f/5.6. When using this lens at f/5.6 or smaller apertures I make it a point to focus at f/5.6 with this lens and stop down if so desired. When using f/2.8 or f/4 I just focus at the same aperture.
     
  12. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Thanks for the tip. I do plan to practice before our trip to get a good feel for working with this lens. I have to admit that using manual lenses somehow feels more satisfying for some reason. I do miss having the correct exif data saved to the file but that's a small price to pay for what I feel seems like a less sterile quality to the images than when using my kit lens. Maybe it's just psychological... But the money I'm saving is certainly real :)
     
  13. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    I am curious about this, Ad. I've read other comments about focusing at one aperture setting then changing the aperture. I never do that . . . I just pick the aperture I want and focus there. Is there an advantage the other way?

    Tony
     
  14. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    On a (D)SLR the lens is always wide open and the aperture is closed to the shooting value only after you press the shutter button, just before taking the shot. An optical viewfinder of a (D)SLR supplies a brighter image when the lens is wide-open and focussing is easier because wide-open the lens has less depth-of-field. With our mirrorless cameras the electronic viewfinder's image has the same brightness irrespective of the aperture set (unless it's really dark) and the magnification and peaking options enable you to focus very accurately at shooting aperture. So focussing at shooting aperture is eminently possible and accurate with a mirrorless camera and eliminates the consequences of focus shift, so that's what I usually do as well. Focussing accuracy is always high enough in my experience and the convenience of not having to adjust the aperture speeds up picture taking as well. I have seriously considered of glueing the aperture ring of some lenses to a certain value but decided against it, my collector's heart couldn't bear it in the end :).

    The amount of focus shift varies a lot across lenses. Some of mine exhibit serious focus shift, e.g. the Minolta 17/4, this lens is best focussed and used at f/8 in my experience. Some lenses have negligible focus shift, like my Minolta MD Macro 100/4. That one I focus at f/4 because sharpness differences are more discriminating wide-open and then I stop down to usually f/11 for more depth of field. If you want to play it safe, just focus and shoot at the same aperture and you'll be fine, as said before.
     
  15. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Understood. I have never owned a DSLR. Thanks for the explanation.

    Tony
     
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Also watch out for field curvature. My old Minolta Rokkor 28mm seems to have this. It can be employed to one's advantage but it can also cause frustration.
     
  17. ecaggiani

    ecaggiani TalkEmount Regular

    155
    Jun 19, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    Ed Caggiani
    Can you explain field curvature for us newbies please? :)

    Sent from my Nexus 10 using TalkNEX mobile app
     
  18. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Most lenses have the focus extending out from the camera in a relatively flat plane - when you have field curvature, it extends out more like a sphere. This can actually be of benefit for certain scenes where there are details you want in corners which are closer in addition to the center which is farther out. A few lenses curve the other way - Minolta actually made a lens with a ring that let you select a convex or concave field. (How trippy is that!!)

    The biggest thing to watch out for IME is doing the popular focus-then-recompose technique. If the focus in the middle is at 10' but curves in to 7' toward the sides, the subject can easily be shifted off the focus plane.
     
  19. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    Just to add, the peaking effect is much more obvious when the lens aperture is wide open. So sometimes it's still useful to focus wide open, and stop down before shooting. Especially when critical focus is important.

    Before camera bodies had the "Auto" feature of stopping down aperture right before shutter release, lenses have two rings, one for setting aperture, one for stopping down to the preset. These preset lenses have a new life on the mirror-less now. Some adapters (like FD) also have a switch can serve the same purpose. This is also why, preset lenses are typically older than "auto" lenses, "auto" lenses typically older than lenses not marked as "auto" (when the "auto aperture" feature is common place, manufacturers no longer mark "auto" as a feature).

    In terms of 24mm vs 28mm, a few considerations:

    * If you want to include more context/surrounding, go wider;
    * If you want to emphasize certain subject, either go very close, or go longer;
    * If you have one camera body, and don't want to change lens, 28mm (42mm FF equivalent) is very flexible;
    * If you also have >= 35mm lens, I'd use 24mm or even 19mm 20mm;
    * 24mm usually is more expensive than 28mm;
     
  20. tombran

    tombran TalkEmount Regular

    28
    Jul 23, 2013
    Assuming your shooting an NEX, don't overlook the Sigma 19mm. It's a great street lens and is sharp enough that I can crop to get "closer" with very good results. If you look on the NEX community site, there is a photo of mine, "Riley in San Diego", shot with the 19mm and cropped about 40%.