Best Canon Lens For Street Photography
Lenses · Canon

7 Best Canon Lenses For Street Photography in 2024 [All Prices]

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Last Updated/Info Checked on January 8, 2024 by Kimberly K.

A picture is worth a thousand words and if that said picture is out of focus or has optical distortion, then it won’t be able to express itself as clearly as it is supposed to.

In a rush? Have a look at my top picks here.

BEST OVERALL
9.7
Canon EF 50mm
Canon EF 50mm
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/1.8
  • Weight: 160 g
  • Lens Construction: 6 Elements in 5 Groups
  • Filter Size: 49 mm
  • STM Stepping Motor 
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 35 cm
EDITOR'S PICK
9.5
Canon EF 85mm
Canon EF 85mm
  • Diaphragm Blades: 8
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/1.8
  • Weight: 425 g
  • Lens Construction: 9 Elements in 7 Groups
  • Filter Size: 58 cm
  • Ultrasonic Motor
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 85 cm
PREMIUM PICK
9.1
Canon RF 24-105mm
Canon RF 24-105mm
  • Diaphragm Blades: 10
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/4
  • Weight: 795 g
  • Lens Construction: 17 Elements in 12 Groups
  • Filter Size: 77 mm
  • Ultrasonic Motor
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 45 cm

Now we all know digital cameras like DSLR, Mirrorless, and Point & Shoot have come a long way in terms of advancement, and each day there is some form of increment in their technology to make them even more refined than ever.

But apparently, even with all the amelioration, cameras cannot excel to their full potential without the use of an equally worthy lens in order to get the perfect shot you always wanted. 

That being said, I have shortlisted some of the best Canon lenses for street photography that are really robust and have a formidable price-to-value ratio.

The List of Best Canon Lenses For Street Photography

Here is the list of my 7 favorite lenses.

BEST OVERALL
1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/1.8
  • Weight: 160 g
  • Lens Construction: 6 Elements in 5 Groups
  • Filter Size: 49 mm
  • STM Stepping Motor 
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 35 cm

Starting with my personal favorite pick, the “50mm Wonder” with a wide aperture size of F1.8 that produces outstanding results with incredible sharpness.

Motor Type

The motor crucial component of a lens is usually its motor type as it determines how well it would focus and how swift its speed is supposed to be.

While some budget-friendly lenses tend to showcase their other features as their strong selling point, they often fall short by utilizing poor or average-grade motor units.

On the other hand, this lens utilizes a smooth Stepping Motor (STM), which is extremely helpful for photographers who usually perform videography or record cinematic skits for their movies or YouTube channels.

In addition to that, the linear shifting mechanism also ensures there is little to no noise output which is basically like a cherry on top of the cake.

Focal Length

Since it is a prime lens, don’t expect it to have variable focal length, however, the 50mm focal range offers a natural feel with image output that looks close to real life.

Moreover, 50mm is often the go-to choice of most casual and street-based photographers as it provides amazing frame composition without the need to take a couple of steps back in order to get everything in a frame.

Aperture Size

During testing and reviewing its output quality, I have had a joyful experience with this lens since at an F1.8 the bokeh effect produced has been incredibly mesmerizing.

However, I did notice some blurring or softening especially at the corners while taking some snapshots in the streets so I have to narrow down the aperture size to F2.2 in order to attain some clarity.

On the flip side, performing photoshoots with an aperture size of F2.8 is not a bad idea either since the lens delivers impeccable results both in day and night photography.

Testing Results

Before we jump into its complex technicalities, I would like to point out that even though the lens is considerably budget-friendly and boasts a plastic body, the mount on the other hand, is made from sturdy metal, ensuring a sense of security for your investment.

On the other hand, the focusing is pretty swift and you can easily get close to your subject and attain peak clarity up to 0.35 meters with a nice rounded bokeh effect.

There is a small dedicated focusing switch, allowing users to choose the manual and autofocusing mode, which in my test runs, came quite in handy as it allowed me to manually tweak the lens focusing aspect and even test out how smooth the rubberized focusing ring was.

Reason for Recommendation

It’s very lightweight and has incredibly sharp output with a decent bokeh effect making it highly suitable for portraits and outdoor photography.

EDITOR'S PICK
2. Canon EF 85mm

2. Canon EF 85mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 8
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/1.8
  • Weight: 425 g
  • Lens Construction: 9 Elements in 7 Groups
  • Filter Size: 58 cm
  • Ultrasonic Motor
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 85 cm

A perfect treat for a professional-level photographer who wants to embark on the delight of high-resolution images with super-sharp detail.

Overall Design

Let’s start with its aesthetics and build quality, it has a matt black finish with rubberized focus rings which require a little bit of torque to prevent accidental touches but not too much to make things uncomfortable or stiff during your videography.

I really love the fact that Canon also included a metal mount so I no longer have a lingering fear of cracking my lenses while changing them really fast, especially while traveling. 

However, the overall housing of the body certainly includes sturdy plastic which doesn’t feel cheap at all, and even if the inclusion of plastic isn’t your cup of tea, keep in mind that lenses made from plastic are certainly lighter than the ones that are made from metal alloys.

Aperture size

Even though this lens has got a considerably budget-friendly price tag, it boasts a generously wide aperture size of F1.8 which produces a natural-looking bokeh effect with a well-rounded effect, that isn’t too overwhelming, especially when snapping photos from a distance.

Keep in mind that you need to narrow down the aperture to at least F2.8 in order to take super crisp imagery that doesn’t suffer from corner softening.

Additionally, regardless of ambient lighting, the images and videos look very vibrant, making this lens well worth the investment both during the day and at night.

Motor Type

The lens also utilizes an UltraSonic Motor(USM) which ensures perfect focusing with high-speed accuracy through vibrations generated by piezoelectric elements. 

The best part is that you don’t need a dedicated Focusing switch in order to manually focus and fine-tune the picture clarity of your subject as you can simply rotate the focusing ring and it will do the job in split seconds.

Testing Results

The Canon EF 85 F/1.8 is an outstanding choice for those sorts of photographers who love wider aperture size and lovely bokeh. Here in the below, you can see how wide the overall aperture size is.

The USM autofocus motor does an amazing job at keeping the sound aspect as low as possible, especially during videography.

On the other hand, the manual focusing ring is exceptionally smooth and barely requires any torque to rotate it.

Using this lens with my Canon 60D, the results generated are sharp even around the corners and there is barely any form of chromatic aberration.

On the other hand, the lens is also perfect for street or outdoor photography as it maintains a marvelous bokeh effect while cranking up its aperture to F/1.8

Reason for Recommendation

The USM motor incorporated in this lens single-handedly beats any competition in the line of sight as it’s fast, accurate, and virtually silent.

PREMIUM PICK
3. Canon RF 24-105mm

3. Canon RF 24-105mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 10
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/4
  • Weight: 795 g
  • Lens Construction: 17 Elements in 12 Groups
  • Filter Size: 77 mm
  • Ultrasonic Motor
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 45 cm

Another contender in the list is Canon EF 24-105 with phenomenal optical zoom with decent aperture size that makes it suitable for outdoor photography.

Overall Design

Since this lens can be characterized as a telephoto lens as it has a moderately high focal zoom, it is no doubt a little bit bulky and weighs around 1.54 pounds, so you should be mindful of the weight limit especially if you are pairing your camera with a gimbal as heavier setups easily exceed payload limits.

In addition to that, it has three control rings, two of which are dedicated to manual focusing for videography and zooming, while the third is used for changing a variety of camera settings, like ISO, aperture, and exposure, which allows for fine-tuning each element individually during a photoshoot.

Superior Stabilization

No longer do you have to rely on external tripods in order to get a steady clear shot of your subject even if you are on the move.

The lens utilizes stabilization up to 5 stops in order to preserve all of the details of the scenery you want to capture in one frame without any optical distortion.

The optical stabilization mechanism ensures all your imagery has perfect focus with corner-to-corner high resolution and there is no compromise on clarity so that they look great especially if you want to upload them in your portfolio for professional purposes.

Variable Optical Zoom

Variable focal length is quite handy especially if you want to capture pictures outdoors or simply want to perform some casual street photography.

This lens is so versatile that you could literally use it for almost any scenario such as close-up photography on the 24mm spectrum or simply capturing some beautiful candids while using its long-range 105mm focal range.

As for me, I like to record videos and capture some stills of wildlife that are usually strolling in the streets. I even took some pictures of pigeons from a distance. The results were truly mind-boggling.

Testing Results

The Canon EF 24-105 is a reasonably priced lens designed to operate phenomenally during street photography and even produces wonderful results during landscape shots. However, it’s a bit bulky and takes up a significant amount of space, so make sure you carry a bigger bag to accommodate it.

The lens is no doubt versatile, however cranking, during my outdoor testing, I found out that around 68mm, it produces mind-boggling results.

Even at 80mm, the lens maintains outstanding clarity without compromising the quality of the subject.

As you can see in the picture below, it even has its own dedicated Stabilization and Autofocus switching, in case your camera doesn’t have any, you can easily toggle it and enjoy crisp and clear photos regardless of the focal length you are using.

Reason for recommendation

Has Built-in stabilization and produces outstanding results, especially during daylight street photography.

You might also be interested in reading my guide for Nikon Lenses List For Street Photography

MID RANGE PICK
4. Canon EF-S 17-55mm

4. Canon EF-S 17-55mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/ 2.8
  • Weight: 645 g
  • Lens Construction: 19 Elements in 12 Groups
  • Filter Size: 77 mm
  • Ultrasonic Motor AF System 
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 35 cm

Are you fond of landscape street photography? If yes, that’s great because you would definitely cherish this Canon EF 17-55mm.

Variable Focal length

The lens boasts an optical zoom from 17mm up to 55mm which means it hits the sweet spot of being a lens oriented towards portraiture as well as wide-angle cinematography.

Personally, I love taking some quick snapshots of beautiful nature around me while often going on a stroll or walking in the park as the results produced by the 17mm focal length of this camera are truly mesmerizing and sharp.

Furthermore, the 55mm spectrum also does a splendid job, especially when it comes to capturing portraits or candid shots of individuals, so I would say that it is more of an all-arounder lens that can fulfill all your needs.

Image Stabilization

The Canon EF-S 17-55mm also supports image stabilization up to 3 stops so in terms of stability it isn’t a slouch and matter of fact will undoubtedly assist you quite well in your videography.

It’s quite nice to have optical image stabilization in your lens since not every camera has a body stabilization mechanism and without having an optical stabilization module, the room for optical distortion no doubt is tenfold.

Aperture Size

Apart from its other amazing features, the lens also offers a constant aperture size of F2.8 which produces eye-catching results that will no doubt captivate anyone since the level of immersion it offers in the imagery by delivering a lovely background-defocusing effect is undoubtedly mesmerizing.

Fringing and chromatic aberration is often an issue with wide-aperture lenses, however, in this lens, I barely witnessed any such issues. In addition to that, there wasn’t any noticeable corner softening as the results produced had immense clarity even in low light situations.

BUDGET PICK
5. Canon EF 75-300mm

5. Canon EF 75-300mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Minimum Aperture: F/45
  • Maximum Aperture: F/4
  • Weight: 480 g
  • Lens Construction: 13 Elements in 9 Groups
  • Filter Size: 58 mm
  • DC Micro Motor
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 1.5m

Not the sharpest tool in the shed but gets the job done at a fairly decent price tag, for freelancers that are on a budget this is by far the best deal you could find right now.

Build Quality

Starting the review from its exterior, it certainly isn’t made from one of the finest materials nor there is any metal in sight to hold up its housing, matter of fact it’s made from standard plastic material which has average quality.

However, since it only weighs 480g and can be easily classified as one of the lightweight telephoto lenses out there in the market, and can make your traversal experience a tad bit easier and wouldn’t push the limits of your gimbal payload capacity.

In other words, it’s a straightforward telephoto lens with great optical magnification that is made for individuals who are on a budget and cannot afford to shell out lofty wads of cash.

Focal Length

This might be a great addition to your lens collection with a considerably higher focal length under a budget. The lens offers 4x magnification and allows you to capture some beautiful and charismatic stills at 75mm.

Its highest focal range of 300mm preserves detail and lets you click some spectacular imagery from a distance.

However, there is some corner softening which is pretty much inevitable in entry-level lenses like these and you have to stop down a little bit in order to regain some fidelity.

Motor Type

The lenses utilize a Micro UltraSonic motor unit which is a watered-down version of the Standard Ultrasonic motor, however, packs a punch especially while zooming or focusing on a subject as it is considerably silent and performs its job smoothly and efficiently.

However, in long-range photography especially while capturing landscape photos in the streets, it isn’t fast enough to pick crisp stills on moving subjects and usually misses out on crucial details which often makes the image look a bit blurred or hazy.

BEST VALUE
6. Canon Rf 15-35mm

6. Canon Rf 15-35mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/2.8
  • Weight: 840 g
  • Lens Construction: 16 Elements in 12 Groups
  • Filter Size: 82 mm
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 28cm

This lens is for prosumers and hobbyists who want to unleash their inner wild creative beast and want to capture the world through wide-angle lenses.

Wide Angle Focal Length

Get that wide-angle landscape shot you always wanted with this lovely Canon RF 15-35mm lens since it creates a lovely fish eye effect that will no doubt exceed your expectations since it has tremendously sharp image output.

It’s a perfect pick for street photographers and paparazzi as not only will you be able to attain some crisp photographs but also have a significantly bigger perspective of the focal view that isn’t possible otherwise.

Build Quality

The overall build quality of this lens is pretty good and to be honest, it has by far the best gripping I ever have seen on such a nifty lens, not only does the finish feel very smooth but it also has three rubberized rings with independently assigned tasks such as focus, zoom, and control ring.

Each ring has a super smooth feel which requires substantial torque in order to tweak the above-mentioned controls and is incredibly accurate and snappy.

The lens is made from polycarbonate material which is far better than cheap standard plastic used in other lenses and the best part is that it even has weather shielding and prevents dust and debris from entering and ruining the inner mechanism.

Aperture Size

The aperture size of this lens is simply amazing because considering how broad the F2.8 is you wouldn’t be having any issues while performing photoshoots in both day and night time and even in the most dim-lit scenarios with higher ISO settings the results produced are simply impeccable.

On the flip side, there is some corner softening and fringing effect which can be eliminated by shrinking the aperture size to at least F3.5 in order to attain maximum corner-to-corner high resolution with jaw-dropping vibrancy.

EXPENSIVE PICK
7. Canon EF 24-70mm

7. Canon EF 24-70mm

  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22
  • Maximum Aperture: F/2.8 
  • Weight: 805 g
  • Lens Construction: 18 Elements in 13 Groups
  • Filter Size: 82 mm
  • Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 38cm

A flagship-grade Canon Lens for serious filmmakers or outdoor content creators, the lens produces output that puts the competition in the mud. But watch out for the price tag, it stings.

Variable Focal Length

The lens offers a superior focal range from 24mm-70mm which makes it an ideal pick and an allrounder since it is a beast that excels effortlessly in almost all scenarios without breaking a sweat.

The zoom capabilities are incredibly smooth and there is no doubt that my mind is blown when reviewing its results while capturing some landscape shots as it has minimal distortion no matter the focal length.

This is by far the best lens out there in the market as the level of clarity produced while recording videos is truly spectacular. 

I think this lens is overkill for casual or street photographers because you can easily capture some cinematic shots at public events or record beautiful videos during wedding photo shoots and earn a lot of money by freelancing or pursuing a professional photography career.

Motor Type

Since it is a premium-level lens, there is no doubt that the level of technology used would be cutting-edge.

In terms of a motor unit, the lens uses an advanced USM (Ultrasonic motor) which makes focusing on the subject a breeze while keeping the noise ratio a bare minimum.

Moreover, it is fast enough to capture moving objects during a sudden burst of click without any distortion or blur. 

Bottom Line

Street photography is no doubt a unique form of skill, that not everyone can be good at because it requires precision, creativity, and immense levels of imagination to produce art out of ordinary circumstances or scenarios.

While there are many cameras and lenses that claim to perform well outdoors with perfect contrast output, not all of them live up to their promise and often fall short in some way or another.

That is why I have curated this list of best Canon lenses for street photography so my beloved readers won’t waste their time looking elsewhere or commit to a product that won’t be up to the task.

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