Best lenses for street photographyBy Kevin Carter - Friday January 10 2014 Lens Recommendations
By the time you read this Nikon will have announced the successor to the AF Nikkor 35mm f2D but for the time being this model on the full-frame D610 performs well optically, and has fast focusing even if it lacks the built-in sonic-type AF motor of the newer models.
There are better performers in our database, the Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 and the ‘Art’ series Sigma 35mm f1.4 HSM A but these aren’t particularly small and stealthy. While the Samyang is competitively priced it’s also very large, and lacks AF though that’s not necessarily a bad thing for street photography.
Although the Nikon AF-D 35mm f/2 D was designed for film it has good sharpness overall with peak sharpness measured at 16P-Mpix. However it has poor corner sharpness at maximum aperture and although the center sharpness is excellent at f2.8, the corners still aren't much better. Corner sharpness is good by f5.6, with peak performance at f8. Vignetting while not high for this type of lens, is still very noticeable at maximum aperture but distortion and chromatic aberration are well within the expected tolerances.
Our moderate telephoto choice is the relatively new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G. With a 67mm filter thread and 3.1” diameter it’s quite large lens, though at 0.7 lb (350g) still quite light and portable. At $690 the price is on the high side but it has excellent sharpness at all apertures on the D610, low chromatic aberration and negligible distortion. Vignetting is quite noticeable at full aperture but this has gone by f4. While it would have been good if Nikon had made it smaller and less intimidating-looking, it’s an excellent all round performer.
We’re working hard on expanding the coverage of lenses, but we’re interested to know if there are certain models that you would like to see reviewed first. Please leave your recommendations in the comments section below.