The best focal lengths for street photography tend to range from the low 20s to around 50, and given the ever-increasing popularity of mirrorless cameras, we thought we’d put together a roundup of our ten favorite lenses across systems. Some of these dip below the 20mm mark, but with the crop factor, they’re well within the ideal range. So, if you’re thinking of going mirrorless or have already and want to get into street photography, these are the lenses to consider.
With the release of the Olympus EM5 Mk II, many folks were thrilled for the 40MP image feature that pretty much does a special stitching effect. But when we asked Olympus what lenses would work best at delivering the highest image quality, they stated “The Pro and Premium lenses.” Indeed, Olympus has specific designations for these lenses, but those are for just their own glass.
The other big player in the Micro Four Thirds world, Panasonic, also offers some beautiful lenses–as does Voigtlander and other brands.
Here are some lenses that we’ve found that will do the feature justice. There indeed may be more and some of them we haven’t tested, but we have faith in our choices.
SLR Magic has just officially announced its Anamorphot-50 anamorphic adapter, which has been developed in close co-operation with the videography community. Thanks to its 1.33x squeeze factor, the Anamorphot-50 can be used to record footage in the cinematic 2.35:1 ratio within a 16:9 container format. Just as with all anamorphic video, the results will have to be stretched to the intended format in post-production.
The Anamorphot-50 will be available in two editions, a standard edition and a special edition. The standard edition is the more affordable one, setting you back $899, but it may contain slight imperfections such as small specs of dust. This is a compromise between price and quality that SLR Magic decided to make. The special edition will be free of such imperfections, but will set you back a whole grand more. Also, it will only be sold in Hong Kong.
In addition to the Anamorphot, SLR Magic will also be selling achromatic diopters for close focusing. These come in set for $299 and comprise a +0.33 and a +1.33 diopter adapter. You can pre-order both the Anamorphot-50 and the diopter adapters right now by following @anamorphot on Twitter and emailing a screenshot to [email protected] by Feb 14th (GMT +8). After that, you’ll have to wait until March until the adapters hit official SLR Magic retailers.
After the break, you can find a sample video by Seb Farges, who spent a week with the new SLR Magic Anamorphot-50 adapter, using it on both an Olympus E-M5 as well as a Sony A7. In that video, you will get to see not only the wide 2.35:1 cinematic look, but also loads of beautiful anamorphic flare that’ll make you want to place an order for one of the new adapters right away.
SLRMagic has been producing T stop lenses for a couple of years now, but only as of recent have they been fully branding them more for the cinema crowd. The lens has been in testing for some time now and we’ve had a test unit for a couple of weeks. Offering a 34mm T3.4 equivalent field of view of depth of field (when wide open) on a full frame camera, the lens takes design cues from both the photo and cinema world. And though it is being branded as a cinema lens, it has a couple of quirks despite having some wonderful strengths.
Correction: We were just informed that this lens is NOT a HyperPrime lens, as previously stated.
Today, SLR Magic officially announces their latest lens for Micro Four Thirds, the 17mm T1.6. Once again, the lens is T-rated and comes with gears for videographers, but of course it can also be used for still photography. (We like the gears quite a lot in our review of their 35mm T1.4 lens, as they provide great grip.) We reported about this lens back in September, when it was still in its testing phase.
The 17mm T1.6, which renders a field-of-view equivalent to that of a 34mm lens on 35mm full frame, and is a direct competitor to the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8–albeit without the autofocus. It sports 12 lens elements in 10 groups, and like all SLR Magic lenses is made from solid, black anodized metal. With a length of 3.1 in (79 mm) and a weight of 12 oz (340 g), it’s also relatively large and heavy, as far as Micro Four Thirds lenses go. It will be available by the end of this year and will retail for US-$ 499.
Fujifilm’s 23mm f1.4 will render an equivalent of 35mm on Fujifilm’s APS-C X series cameras. As one of the classic focal lengths, this has been a lens that photographers have been asking for for a while. The lens features a minimum focusing distance of around 11 inches, 11 lens elements in 8 groups, an all metal build, a snap-back style focusing ring that lets you toggle between autofocus and manual focus, and overall just some seriously beautiful image quality. And there is very little to complain about with this lens.
Justifying the purchase of $899 to yourself though, will be one of the toughest things to do.
Now this is something that we didn’t see coming. While roaming the floors of the Photo Plus Expo 2013, we came across the Sakar/Vivitar/Polaroid booth–those are the people that bought the rights to put the Kodak brand on new photographic items. Perusing through the neatly lined-up items at their stand, three tiny lenses hidden in a corner caught our glimpse. Upon closer inspection, not only did we notice a Kodak branding, but also some intriguing specifications. We were looking at a 25mm f0.95 lens, a 50mm f1.1 lens as well as an 8mm f3 fisheye lens, all three for the Micro Four Thirds mount. We were quite surprised, to say the least.
Upon popular request, SLR Magic has decided to redesign the exterior of their HyperPrime CINE 12mm T1.6 lens for Micro Four Thirds, adding fixed gears around the focus and aperture rings (the previous CINE version of the lens had optional gears.) This way, the lens can be easily used with a follow-focus system in videography applications. For still photography, the added gears provide extra grip when operating the focus and aperture rings. Existing users of the HyperPrime 12mm f1.6 (non-CINE version) can have their lens upgraded to the current version with gears for US-$ 250.
Our review of the original SLR Magic HyperPrime 12mm f1.6 for Micro Four Thirds can be found here.