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5 Best Sony Lenses for Street Photography in 2024!

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Best Sony Lenses for Street Photography

No other venue has the range of subjects that encompass street photography. Defining street photography is a challenge, what is it exactly you might ask? The answer is, well, fill in the blank, it can be just about anything from a person to a lamp post, an empty parking lot, or a lively game of pickup basketball on a summer night. If you can imagine it, then find it, it can be considered street photography.

Getting the perfect lens, in this case, a Sony lens that can capture those images doesn’t have to be a challenge, but it will be if you don’t do your homework first and determine just what type of scene you might be trying to capture.

Things to look for in the best Sony lenses for street photography

  • Aperture – higher for depth of field, lower for dim light
  • 50mm Standard focal length – for reproducing the image you see
  • 10 – 28mm focal length – shorter length for wide angle
  • 85-300mm focal length – telephoto for distance shots
  • Number of elements – the more glass the less distortion
  • Macro – extreme close-ups are part of street photography
  • Zoom – great for sequencing and video street scenes

Here are My Top Sony Lenses for Street Photography!


Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E Black


Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E


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Sony - E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens (SEL50F18/B), Black


Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens


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Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master Full Frame Standard Zoom Lens Black


Sony E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm


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Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens


Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens


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Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS White


Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM


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Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E

Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E Black

Best Sony APS-C Lens For Street Photography

Why buy the Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E

Unstaged scenes are the essence of street photography, those candid shots bring a static image to life. Capturing that essence without staging, coaching, or arranging is the art of street photography. It is the opposite of still life in that it captures life in action. A 30mm lens might seem a little short for street use, but good imagery is in the eye of the photographer, more than in the power of the lens.

The 30mm lens allows you to close in on close subjects but provides just enough wide-angle capability to capture wide street scenes. Those scenes could be a game of stickball in the stark canyons of the inner city, or a line of mule deer climbing a trail in the red canyons of the desert southwest. No matter the setting, the 1.4 aperture allows you to capture images in very dark conditions. Some of the best photographs are taken in the pre-dawn moments in an outdoor, wilderness setting, or in the darkening twilight for urban street photography. This lens can do both with ease.

What you’ll love about the Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E

Many photographers consider this the best Sony e-mount lens for street photography for a variety of reasons. First, is the aperture of 1.4. This gathers a lot of light and broadens both the contrast and depth of field for low-light images. The lack of detail, contrast, and blurred backgrounds in a limited light setting are a big drawback in lenses with larger apertures. You’ll love how this lens feels with its compact 9-ounce weight and short three-inch length. With these dimensions, you can pack it anywhere. It will fit neatly in your hand as you navigate a crowd, or perhaps a fire escape for that perfect shot, and it will also fit in any camera bag without adding a lot of weight.

The compact design, combined with a high-speed steeping ring motor and nine rounded aperture blades provides quality you don’t often find in an inexpensive lens, and the price is one of the biggest reasons you’re going to love this 30mm lens.

These aspects added together create one of the best Sony mirrorless lenses for street photography.

Related: Best lens for street photography Sony a6400

What you won’t love about the Sigma 30mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN Lens for Sony E

This is a lens without a stabilizer. What that means is you must compensate for excessive motion, vibration, etc… as the photographer. Technology won’t do that for you. This can be a problem for novices who depend on auto-focus, anti-vibration technology, and other enhancements.

If you’re into motion blur photography, this lens will deliver on that, but sometimes you’ll get a light blur when you’re trying to capture a crisp image, especially on quick shots.

Aside from the stabilization issue, there isn’t much you’re not going to love about this lens. It’s priced for an amateur on a limited budget, but it delivers incredible quality in the hands of a seasoned professional.

Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens

Sony - E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens (SEL50F18/B), Black

Best Sony Prime Lens For Street Photography

Why buy the Sony – E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens

Browsing a family photo album gets you an idea of how unstaged photography can capture a moment. Going back in time a few years, a few decades, or even longer lets you experience the power of street photography on a personal level. Who doesn’t love those old photographs, not for the quality of the image, but for the imagery itself? They capture the past, bringing back memories, sensations, and emotions from long ago.

Is a 50mm lens good for street photography? Those old family album photos were most likely taken on a 50mm fixed lens, or some other shorter prime lens on an older 35mm or even 110mm film camera.

The technology available today dwarfs those older yellowing photos, yet they still retain their charm. Imagine how the images you capture today will influence future generations as they look back.

The E50mm has a solid aperture of 1.8 and while it’s marketed as a portrait lens, that doesn’t mean street photography is out of the question. This is a great lens, that allows that unique “what you see is what you get” feel that adds reality to photographs.

What you’ll love about the Sony – E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens

You’re going to love the price, and the adaptability of a fixed 50mm lens to capture the drama of a street scene and send the image to a viewer’s eyes as if they were at the site, viewing the action in real-time.

The F-1.8 maximum aperture has an excellent light-gathering ability. Yes, you can buy other 50mm lenses with aperture settings of 1.4 or 1.2, but you’re going to pay three or four times as much as you will with this lens. Once you break the F-2 barrier, the additional steps to increase the aperture become quite expensive and unless you’re an amateur depending on auto settings for your images, there are ways to adjust a 1.8 aperture with ISO, shutter speed, and light balance settings manually that create much better photos than ones captured by someone who only points and clicks.

This E50mm lens allows you to reach out as a photographer and use your skills in manual mode to create incredible images.

Related: Best lens for street photography Sony a6000

What you won’t love about the Sony – E 50mm F1.8 OSS Portrait Lens

It’s a fixed lens, that’s a drawback to many photographers who need a zoom to compensate for a poor choice of position and angle. The F-1.8 setting is inadequate for less experienced photographers as well.

A few users have noted that in auto-mode this lens almost always sets the aperture at F-4, no matter how much or how little light is available. That’s another drawback for those who are dependent on the camera and lens to compensate for their lack of experience.

In manual mode, this lens is a champion. In automatic mode, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Sony E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm

Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master Full Frame Standard Zoom Lens Black

Best Sony Zoom Lens For Street Photography

Why buy the Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm

If creating those styles of images appeals to you, the process begins with the right lens. There is no “one size fits all” lens that will capture every setting, street photography is just too wide open for that. You’ll need a zoom for some shots, a standard 50mm for others, and wide angle, or even fisheye lenses for still other scenes.

The good news with the Sony FE 24-70mm lens is that it comes as close as you’ll be able to find in a universal lens that fits every situation. No, it’s not as good at wide-angle shots as a fixed 16mm, or as adept at telephoto shots as a 70-300mm zoom, but it fits right in the middle of most applications. Used as a 50mm it can’t pull in as much light as a fixed 50mm with an aperture of 1.8, but the 2.8 aperture is good enough for most indoor shots and is excellent in outdoor settings.

This is a great lens, that fits the bill for a nearly universal street venue range of settings.

What you’ll love about the Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm

In a word, you’ll love the versatility. This lens can zoom in to just 12 inches from a target, making it an average macro. Its full-frame format and instant auto/manual focus change adds to that versatility. Not sure if you’re eyes are manually focusing correctly on an image, just flip to auto, hold the button for an instant, and the image is focused. Then switch back to manual with your lens set and your manual settings remain in place.

You’ll enjoy the lifelike imager the ED and Super ED glass elements offer. The detail and texture obtainable with his lens is truly remarkable.

The pair of aspherical elements reduces aberration to almost non-existent, and the nine-blade, circular aperture is top of the line.

Sony offers a Nano AR Coating that lets light through the lens more effectively to improve contrast and enhance clarity.

The aperture range of 2.8 to 22 covers just about any indoor setting you might find and will offer excellent images in the pink glow of morning, through the bright blue of full sun, and the long shadows that enhance a perfect, long light, high contrast afternoon.

What you won’t love about the Sony SEL2470GM E-Mount Camera Lens: FE 24-70 mm

Let’s start with price. You’re not going to like the price of this lens. You could purchase three prime lenses with focal lengths of 24, 50, and 70mm and wider apertures than the 2.8 this lens comes with for a lower price.

The caveat to that is that you’d have to constantly switch lenses to match the capabilities of this Sony FE 24-70mm zoom.

You won’t like the 2.8 aperture if you’re into night scenes, it just won’t gather enough light to create those grainy, high-contrast images that are so compelling in street photography, especially if you enjoy converting your color images to high-contrast black-and-white.

Is this the best Sony FE lens for street photography? If it’s not, it is in the conversation. This is an excellent lens, it’s just a little light (pun intended) when it comes to low-light imaging opportunities.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

Best Sony Lens For Night Street Photography

Why buy the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

Is an 85mm lens good for street photography? That’s a question you’ll often hear from proponents of zoom telephoto users and those that prefer the ease of use of a 50mm, “nifty fifty” lens.
If you’re unfamiliar with the short telephoto that an 85mm lens can offer, you should become familiar with it. The slight increase over the image you see with your eye can be all the difference in generating a mundane image, or a miraculous one. The approximately 1.6 magnification this lens produces over the naked eye creates close-up opportunities that can’t be reproduced with a zoom telephoto unless you’re willing to pay a substantial sum of money for it.

This lens is fast, a maximum aperture of 1.4 on an 85mm lens creates a night imaging machine of a lens with capabilities you won’t find in similar-sized lenses or those that are slightly longer or shorter in focal length.

What you’ll love about the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

Many professional photographers consider the E85, F1.4 the Sony best street photography lens on the market. It takes a bit of experience, and a lot of work to master the angles, and positioning required with a fixed focal length lens, but an 85mm takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

Replace a little footwork with the zoom telephoto feature of rival lenses and you’ll get much better quality.

This is a lens for night street scenes. If you were to head into the inner city in the wee hours of the morning and take photographs of a pick-up basketball game, illuminated by a single overhead light, or better yet, played in the glow of a streetlight you’d generate images that few could match.

This lens is that good.

It’s a full-frame lens with a little heft at 2.9 pounds, and the 8.3-inch length provides something to hold onto when shooting with two hands and no tripod.

Perhaps best of all, Sony engineers designed the lens to work with the ever-expanding mega-pixel offerings that come with their camera bodies.

Related: Best street photography lens: Sony a7iii

What you won’t love about the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

It’s not prohibitively priced, but it is expensive. The price may lead novices and those on a limited budget to shy away. The fixed nature of the lens is a problem for some. You’ll have to think through the process before you simply walk up and begin zooming in and out as you can with some lenses.

Some users have complained it is a slow-focusing lens, but the metrics provided by Sony don’t support that conjecture.

Overall, this is an excellent lens and should be included in the list of the best Sony E-mount lenses for street photography.

Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM

Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS White

Best Zoom Telephoto For Street Photography

Why buy the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM

The adage that if you want to run with the big dogs you’ll have to get on the porch is true when it comes to extreme telephoto lenses. Street photography is most often a simple magnification or extension of what you see with the naked eye, and wide-angle street shots can be extraordinary, but there are times when only a telephoto lens can get the job done.

When that time arrives, you can do much worse than the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM.

There are multitudes of telephoto lenses on the market, and many if not most, are now of the zoom variety.

The ability to close in, to get “up close and personal” with a subject is great if you can approach them, and get within close proximity, but that is not always an option.

A few years ago, a video of a New York City subway rat when viral with the large rodent carrying a slice of pizza down a subterranean flight of stairs. A shot like that requires a little distancing from photographer and subject. There are many instances where this is the best way to capture an image.

The best street photography is done when people, (or in this example rodents) aren’t aware of your presence. They can act naturally and not freeze up when the camera is on them. You might call it photographic sniping since the subjects often never realize they’re being photographed and as such are completely natural. This makes the best imagery.

What you’ll love about the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM

This is a lens with a solid ability to magnify subjects from twice to eight times the power of the naked eye. The 4.5 to 5.6 aperture makes it a great lens for daylight work and in dimmer light, such as early morning or late evening it has just enough power to bring in light and create useable images in darker settings.

This isn’t a studio lens, or a lens for indoor shooting unless the indoor could be a stadium with a brightly lit concert stage or field of play. Some of the best athletic venue shots are more of a street variety image of support crews, and crowds rather than the athletes in competition.

The 100-400mm zoom is heavy, but manageable with an extended foot for balancing on a tripod. You wouldn’t want to hold it for a lot of freehand shots, but you could since it only weighs three pounds. The problem comes in the 12-inch length which can present stability problems, resulting in aberration if you don’t lock it in place with a tripod.

What you won’t love about the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM

This is an expensive lens. It costs more than most amateurs are willing to set aside for a single lens, and it’s primarily a daylight lens with a handful of indoor applications.

Asking if a 400mm telephoto lens is a good choice is the opposite of asking is a 35mm lens good for street photography. The answer is yes, they both can be, but it takes a special setting for each.

That’s what this lens is, a long-range, expensive piece of photographic equipment that isn’t for everyone.


I’ll admit, street photography is one of my favorite venues to shoot. Living in rural Wyoming, my version of street photography is different than friends who live in San Francisco and Pittsburgh. We don’t have many “gritty” street scenes, but we do have a unique Western character that street photography captures well.

One of my favorite published photographs is of a mule deer doe and fawn walking down the street of a ghost town in the eastern part of the state. The uranium boom of the 1960s and 70s had Medicine Bow about the explode with population growth, but overnight it went bust. There was an entire sub-division created with asphalt streets, concrete sidewalks, fire hydrants, and complete infrastructure that never was developed. That doe and fawn epitomized what happens when plans go awry. Taken as a thunderstorm approached from the nearby Snowy Range Mountains it was a photograph that supported the ensuing story without any need for captioning.

I used a 70-300mm zoom telephoto for the shot in manual mode. I set the ISO at 400, the F-stop at 8, and the zoom at 200, the result was a high-contrast shot with deep shadows highlighting the deer in the flickering light of the afternoon soon breaking through the thunderheads.

That’s what a good lens in the hands of a skilled photographer can do in street photography.


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Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been photographing for the past 20 years and my mission is to simplify this misunderstood art of taking and processing photographs I love. I invite you to say “hey” on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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