How to Choose the Best Lens for Travel and Street Photography

Best Lens for Travel and Street Photography

One thing you should know about travel and street photography is that you are not required to use a specific camera. It is possible to shoot on any camera with the right specifications. Often time, I get most people asking what is the best camera lens for travel and street photography, in this article, I'm going to take a look at the type of camera you can use to capture awesome images on streets and during your travels.

One trick to producing awesome street photography is to get as close as possible to your subject without allowing the subject to notice or change his behaviour. You should choose your lenses carefully; they can make or mar your photography.

Before getting your lenses, there are a number of factors that you will need to put into consideration. Some of these factors include:

Best Lens for Travel and Street Photography


Since you are thinking about traveling, you should consider the weight of lenses you plan to travel with. Carrying bulky ones can get uncomfortable and you may even have to pay for extra luggage. Choose only the lenses that you think you absolutely need on your travel.


You are going to be needing lenses that can help you get a lot of job done. Since you are going to be on the road, you won't have the time to start picking up other lenses. Choose lenses with versatile functions.

Lens Speed

Low light situations are common when traveling. It is recommended that you choose a lens with good lens speed. This will enable you get the light you need into your camera when shooting images in low light situations.


Of course, you should pay special attention to your budget, the higher the quality of the lenses you choose, the more you are going to pay for them. Choose only what you can afford and find a way to make them work for you.

What is the Best Lens for Street Photography?

In most cases, the best camera lens to get the job done is the one with a focal length that replicate the human view field. The ideal camera lenses in this category are the one that falls within 35mm and 50mm.

Lenses Below 35mm

Lenses below 35mm don't work for street photography. They are very difficult to use in this situation. The problem with them is that they are too wide and won't allow you make the people you are shooting the main focal point in your photo. If you really want to use any lens below 35mm in street photography, you will have to get very close to your subject.

35mm Lenses

Camera with 35mm and 50mm lenses are considered to be best for street photography. You can shoot really beautiful street photos with 35mm but you have to get creative and a little aggressive in your street photography.

The great thing with 35mm lenses is that they provide a great field of view for street photography and also allows you to have your subject large in the frame. However, it will still include some of the subject's surrounding in the context.

35mm has large aperture that will work well in low light situation and has a shallow depth of field which can help you to isolate subjects from distracting backgrounds. Like I noted above, they have some of the good qualities you want to see in a travel lenses. Some of these qualities include lightweight, compact, and affordable.

I recommend you have 35mm lenses on your list anytime you are looking for the best lenses for street photography. Some options you can consider include

  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G full frame
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM full frame
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A full frame
  • Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM full frame

50mm Lens

Most professional photographers consider 50mm as the best lens for street photography. This lens has the most application of any focal, they are versatile and barely has distortion problem as reported in case of 35mm and lower lenses.

The great thing with these lenses is that they provide a large aperture in small build. They are also lightweight and affordable. 50mm has shallow depth of field which makes them very useful for portraits especially in a low light situation. They are also extremely sharp and versatile.

I will recommend using 50mm lenses for street and travel photography any time any day. If you are serious about street photography, ensure you have one of these bad boys in your list.

Some of the recommended 50mm options include:

  • Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II full frame
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G full frame
  • Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM APS-C

Now that you have known which type of lenses work best for street and travel photography, my recommendation will be to keep both 35mm and 50mm as both of them are interesting to use. Without a doubt, every serious street photographer is supposed to have two of them anyway.

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