Many people use to say the best focal length for street photography is the 35mm. other people say the best is the 50mm because HBC always used the 50mm (and so what??).

Many people say zooms aren’t for street photography. Long focal lengths aren’t for street and so on.

I never liked rules. I never liked to be inside boxes which someone else made. I believe street photography can be performed with any focal length. The focal that makes us comfortable that is the best one. For us, of course! What is perfect for me can be unusable for someone else!

That said I want you to know I have been performing street with any focal length between 15mm and 300mm. Anyway everybody has his/her favorite lens and focal. I enjoy performing street with many different lenses and focal but my favorite one is the 28mm. Nothing makes me feel ok, down on the street, like a good 28mm!!!

Today I’ll talk about the Sony FE 28mm f2.
Sony FE 28mm f2

‘According to my point of view it is a very underrated lens. It is small, light, cheap. Its images are soft at the borders and it vignettes quite a lot at f2. It’s perfect!!
Seriously, I think for street there is no need of sharp borders. The center of the frame is THE PHOTO. Vignetting gives additional value to the photo (personal point) and anyway it’s so easy to remove it if we don’t need!

I won’t bother you with technical details/informations (others do it) so I’m not going to tell you how many elements the FE 28mm f2 has. I can say I love it! It is small and light (I have already said it) and it is extremely affordable. It’s af system works fine even on A7 bodies from the first generation. Using it (the FE 28mm f2) with 12/24 mega pixels sensors it gives nice and sharp images (in the center) even at f2.

Shooting at f2 and less than one meter from the subject it gives a nice bokeh and the feeling is of a medium format combo (camera/lens).

As I said, I love the 28mm length because it gives the right (to me) view for street photography. I like its field of view and its angle of view is what really makes me feel comfortable shooting street.

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Very often I read people saying short focal lengths aren’t good to shoot portraits. I totally disagree with that sentence. For me it is just the opposite. I really don’t like half body portraits taken with 85 or 100 or 135mm lenses. They make everything flat. The subject seems to have the nose and ears on the same level!!!! That’s not the way our eyes see! Of course taking portraits with 28/24mm lenses needs some skill just to avoid extreme distortions.

But, if the photographer knows what he is doing then the result comes out very interesting. If we want to make funny portraits we can use the wide angle lens in the “wrong” way to underline the defects of our subjects.

But if we want to produce real portraits with such a short lens then it’s enough to keep the lines straight and the results will be very nice!

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So, to cut the story short, I want to say that ACCORDING TO MY TASTE AND TO MY WAY TO TAKE PHOTOS the Sony FE 28mm f2 is a small gem! I own it already 4 years and the more I use it  the more I like it. Of course nothing is perfect and this small 28mm has its down sides as well. Thing which can be important to someone and irrelevant to someone else. I can say the build quality isn’t the top one. It couldn’t be better for 350$!!!

Distortions are severe but this is something that concerns only those who use to shoot in RAW (I don’t) but anyway the problem is easily solvable in pp with a “click”!

It shows its limits when used on highly dense sensors (42-61mpx) but it works very well on 24-12mpx sensors. If you’re about to use  cameras like the A7rII/A7rIII/A7rIV then you better consider to buy something different which will be for sure much bigger, much heavier and much more expensive!

I would add one more thing. If you are in for landscapes and architecture photography then this FE 28mm f2 isn’t the right choice for you because of distortion and because the corners never get really sharp even closing down a lot.

But if your “field’ is street photography, reportage, travel photography and unconventional portraits then I’m sure you will enjoy this small “friend”!

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All photos have been taken with Sony A7s and Sony FE 28mm f2