13 Great Lenses for Capturing Candid Photos

Capturing candid images is easy, but only those of us with the acquired skill are able to really show off some of the most frank moments in time. At this point in technology, it’s very tough for mostly any lens to have a hard time capturing great photos. But some, because of inherent qualities do a better one. Whether it’s firmware updates, an aperture that let’s you separate the subject from the background, etc it’s all possible.

We scoured our reviews index to find lenses with good focusing abilities and an aperture that lets you make your subject stand out when capturing candids. Check them out after the jump.

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

Fujifilm 35mm f:1.4 XF R Lens

In our review, we state:

“The lenses from Fujfilm are extremely easy to use and one can tell that they were designed to primarily be used in autofocus mode. This is evident in the lack of a depth of field or distance scale and also in the fact that they are manual focus by wire. For most users, this is alright. For the ones that are nit-picky (like myself, and Fujifilm knows this) you may have to do a bit more work.”

Buy now: Amazon

Olympus 25mm f1.8

Olympus 25mm f1.8

In our review, we state:

“Trust us when we say this: wow.

No really, of any Olympus lens that we tested, this one’s hit rate was amongst the highest. To be clear, we usually test our lenses by manually selecting a focusing point after framing a scene, then focusing and releasing the shutter.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8 FE

Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f:2.8 ZA Lens

In our review, we state:

“The Sony 35mm f2.8 has some surprisingly great build quality to it. The manual focusing ring feels great and the overall size will be very comfortable in the hands of many. But where we were really surprised was where Sony said to us in our original press meeting that the lens and body seal is so tight that the contact doesn’t need rubber gaskets to complete the weather sealing.”

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Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Sigma 24-35mm f2

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh quality from the lens is also really quite creamy. Again, something about it almost reminds me of Mamiya or Bronica lenses that have some beautiful bokeh to them. Because of the fact that there is no micro-contrast in this lens, you won’t see your subject popping out from the bokeh as much as you would on a Zeiss or Leica lens.”

Buy now: Amazon

Tokina 24-70mm f2.8 ATX Pro

Tokina 24-70

In our review, we state:

“First off, this is the loudest autofocus motor I’ve heard in years. If you think that the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 is loud, then you haven’t heard this. Is it unbearable? No. Will it distract someone when you’re at a wedding and trying to photograph the ceremony? Maybe; that’s situational. You see, if the lens focuses directly onto the subject, then the sound is quick and over with. If the lens needs to scan a scene back and forth to acquire focusing, that’s when it starts to sound like a small mechanical pulley system with a motor that’s working way too hard.”

Buy now: Amazon

Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis

Zeiss Batis 25mm f:2 Lens for Sony E Mount

In our review, we state:

“As some of the company’s first autofocusing lenses (the only other ones are the Touit) the Zeiss 25mm f2 focuses quickly and accurately with both Sony cameras that we performed the tests on. No matter whether the focusing point was selected or set to full auto point selection, the performance was always speedy.”

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Fujifilm 16mm f1.4

Fujifilm 16mm

In our review, we state:

“The focusing speed isn’t as fast as the company’s 35mm f1.4 X lens that received many autofocus updates via firmware upgrades but that’s because of the larger elements inside that the camera needs to move. Fujifilm’s autofocus system still trails behind the Micro Four Thirds system, Sony, and Samsung–but in real life use you won’t have a major problem when it comes to focusing on things like landscapes or architecture. Where you’ll have a problem is with street photography and for that we recommend putting the lens into the manual focusing mode and using the zone focusing system.

With both the X-T1 and X Pro 1, the focusing performance is the same no matter what lighting condition you’re in.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art

Sigma 50mm f1.4 art

In our review, we state:

“Most users of the Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens we see using the autofocus functionality. And if you’re going to opt for that option then simply slap it onto your camera, point, click and have fun. But if you want to manually focus, then you’ll have a heck of a time using the zone focusing method due to a depth of field scale that is pretty much useless. We tried to do it and it was incredibly tough with this lens–and that’s a big damper on shooting street photography. The same goes for video shooters; though we recommend that you try not to change focusing while using this lens.”

Buy now: Amazon

Tamron 35mm f1.8 DI VC USD

Tamron_35_sidejpg_1441180900

In our review, we state:

“This lens has weather sealing at the base and within the lens around the focusing ring. During our tests, we took it out during a rainfall in NYC attached to the Canon 6D. The lens wasn’t phased at all by the rain, which is nice to know.

At such an affordable price point, you’re getting a lens with weather sealing. This is still amazing to us.”

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Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95

Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95

In our review, we state:

“The color rendition is terrific and one obviously gets what they pay for when they purchase this lens. It tends to change over the apertures though. Wide open, everything will be super saturated and wonderfully creamy and warm. Stop down to f4 and narrower, and things start to become much cooler.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art

2013_12_18_sigma_004

In our review, we state:

“Absolutely nothing about this lens feels cheap. It all feels very solid to the touch and even when in use. Though the lens isn’t weather sealed, we took it out during the rain–but I carried an umbrella. Even my messenger bag was soaked. The lens, however, continued to function and perform flawlessly.

With that said though, we wouldn’t encourage that you go capture the next great hurricane with this lens.”

Buy now: Amazon

Canon 35mm f2 IS USM

Canon 35mm f2 USM IS

In our review, we state:

“Though it doesn’t sport the metal exterior of Zeiss or Sigma, this lens is built pretty darn solidly. The exterior’s textured feel reminds me a bit of Rokinon’s lenses. Additionally, it feels very solid when held–almost like a plump Granny Smith Apple with a tough as nails coating that some field worker put on it because they didn’t want you to eat the fruit.”

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Nikon 24mm f1.8

nikon 24mm

In our review, we state:

“I didn’t expect this lens to be this ridiculously sharp. However, it is perhaps one of the sharpest wide angle lenses I’ve ever tested. For the landscape, architecture and real estate photographers that will consider going for this lens, know that there is a lot going for this lens.”

Buy now: Amazon