50mm vs 35mm vs 28mm: Finding the Best Lens for Street Photography

The 50mm lens has been the ‘standard’ for street photographers for ages, but is it the best option available? Maybe not. Kai wanted to find out, so he pit the 50mm against a 35mm and 28mm, and went out shooting to find out which he liked best and why.

If you want to romp around Hong Kong with Kai and his buddies while they shoot a variety of different subjects, definitely click play above. If you’re looking for conclusions, read on.


The final verdict—if there even is such a thing when you’re comparing something so subjective—has everything to do with what you’re trying to achieve. Each focal length offers something slightly different: the 50mm is a subject-centric lens, the 35mm puts you subjects into context by revealing their environment, and the 28mm forces you to either get really close to your subject or really environmental about your shots.

Put another way: the most usable lens will be the 35mm, the cheapest and “cleanest” will probably be the 50mm, and the most out there—the one that will give you the most unique shots while being just on the “edge of usable,” as Kai put it—is the 28mm. Check out the video up top to see all three lenses in action and decide which “look” you prefer.

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