5 Low Profile, Compact Lenses for Street Photography

Sure, you can use any lens you like for street photography if it fits your look. But going compact is a popular choice.

Street photography is a favorite past time for many photographers looking to unwind after a long day of dealing with life. People watching is a fun way to pass time for many people, and if you think about it, street photography is basically just people watching with a camera. There are many ways to do street photography and many perspectives to take, but one popular method is to use as small and compact kit as possible to avoid drawing attention to yourself.

So, for those of you out there looking to pick up a good compact lens to use on your street photography outings, this is the list for you. We are going to be going over our top pics for some ideal compact lens options for street photographers.

Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8

This lens is a small and compact lens for the Fujifilm X-Series which is an ideal choice for street photographers looking to keep compact. It’s also fast to focus so missing a shot from manually focusing or a slow focusing lens is not a worry here. In our Fujifilm 27mm review we said:

“We’ve got mixed feelings about the Fujifilm 27mm f2.8 lens. For starters, we believe that it isn’t a lens for everyone but many might appreciate the pancake size. It is fast to focus, sharp, and built very well.”

You can pick one up over on Amazon, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00DCM0DUU’ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’92c44be4-06c2-11e8-8def-63130e42db8f’].

Sony E 20mm F2.8

Another incredibly small and compact lens, the 20mm F2.8 from Sony is an excellent street photography choice for those who are taking advantage of the APS-C cameras in the Sony lineup. In our review of the Sony 20mm we said:

“The 20mm f2.8 lens is a beautiful lens in that it will beg to stay on your camera with its small size and excellent color rendition. But if you’re looking for pure sharpness, you should look elsewhere. We have to say though that the 20mm f2.8 makes shooting fun again and almost like using a point and shoot with lots of power.”

You can pick one up on Amazon, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00B20OYUO’ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9cbb9038-06c2-11e8-8f2f-e5b771b20272′].

Rokinon FE 35mm F2.8

For those of you rocking a full frame Sony e-mount camera a great affordable compact lens option is the Rokinon FE 35mm F2.8. It also happens to be one of the cheaper lens options available for the Full Frame Sony mirrorless ecosystem, so that is a plus as well. In our review of the Rokinon 35mm F2.8 we said:

“The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 is a pretty awesome lens. For $399, you’re getting an arguably sharper lens than the Sony Zeiss version. But you’re not getting the faster autofocus or the weather sealing. Additionally, you may like the Sony Zeiss colors more. For that price point though, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about with the Rokinon offering.”

You can pick one up on Amazon, [amazon_textlink asin=’B072R49R5N’ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a8f46183-06c2-11e8-a9bc-8b7bc2d85f23′].

Nikon 50mm F1.8G

Sure, DSLRs aren’t the most compact options out there these days. But they are still the dominant ILC systems, so if you are rocking a Nikon DSLR a good and fairly compact lens option for you could be the 50mm F1.8G. In our review of the Nikon 50mm we said:

“Easy to use, overall ,this lens is very nice. Feature wise the Nikon 50mm 1.8G does not need much. Thankfully, the changes in this lens were also  not just cosmetic. This lens has been given more utility for DSLRs than its predecessor. It can be used on all FX and DX Nikon cameras.  While its slightly more expensive than its predecessor, it is worth the cost. It’s such a nice lens. It’s a lens that will never let you down.”

You can pick one up on Amazon, [amazon_textlink asin=’B004Y1AYAC’ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b4bbf9ac-06c2-11e8-ab4e-ad32ed6b7fad’].

Canon 40mm F2.8 STM

If you are looking for an incredibly compact and easy to tote around lens for street photography then something like the Canon 40mm F2.8 STM could be just the thing for you. Fans of manual focus will want to stay away, due to the comically small focusing ring, but otherwise this lens is a solid performer. In our Canon 40mm review we said:

“To sum things up, I was extremely surprised with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens, the image quality delivered was beyond what I expected from a lens at this price point. I do wish the manual focus feel was a bit more responsive, and the AF speed just a touch faster, but I can certainly live with it as-is and have no issues.”

You can pick one up on Amazon, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00894YP00′ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c56b84ae-06c2-11e8-92bb-696a356b0e20′].

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.