6 Reasons Why You Should Use a Standard Lens for Street Photography

Henri-Cartier Bresson is well-known for his use of a 50mm lens, a standard lens on a 35mm film camera. If it’s good enough for Henri, then I guess it’s good enough for most modern street and travel photographers. When I worked at EOS magazine (Canon) we published an article about a photographer who traveled to India with nothing but a standard 50mm f/1.2 lens. His photos were beautiful.

But what is it about the standard lens that’s so appealing to street and travel photographers? I’m glad you asked! Let’s take a look.

Why You Should Use a Standard Lens for Street Photography

What is a standard lens?

A standard lens is a prime lens with a focal length roughly equivalent to the length of the diagonal measurement of the sensor (or film). A standard lens on a full-frame camera would have a focal length of 42mm. It is a lens that produces a field of view that is similar to the human eye or appears natural. 

In practice, the 50mm lens is considered the standard for full-frame cameras (although Pentax makes a 42mm lens). A 35mm or 28mm lens is standard for an APS-C camera, and a 25mm lens is standard for a Micro Four-Thirds camera.

I made all the photos in this article with a Fujinon 35mm f1.4 lens, a standard lens on my Fujifilm X-T1 camera. Standard lenses have lots of benefits. Here are some of them:

My Fuji 35mm f/1.4 standard lens.