Camera/kit options

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by ruslan, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. If you go street photography what would you prefer and why:
    1. Big and powerful SLR with a big top class zoom (D5 + 24-70/2.8). You have many keepers but attract attention like a big pro (!) :eek:
    2. Medium size RF or mirrorless with a manual prime (Leica M10 + 35/1.4 or Sony A7ii + 35/1.4 or 50/2 (50/1.4) etc. . You use zone focus.
    3. Snappy and small AF camera with a small lens (Olympus E-M5 Mk2 + Sigma 30/1.4 Contemporary or 25/1.8 etc). :cool:
  2. lol. I like attention! Honestly, never bothers me. I meet some interesting people that way. But I don’t think I attract attention like a big pro. I just do it like me. I seem to have a decent amount of control over the attention I get no matter what kind of camera I use. I can be very unnoticeable even with an expensive dslr and can attract a whole lot of attention with my iPhone if I want.

    I’m happy using my dslr on the street as often as I can, though my iPhone is a great, and sometimes even preferred, alternative.
  3. This is detectable. Especially in my topics. Have a walk with a big DSLR alone in shanty town or favelas in the evening alone.

    You said you hate to speak of cameras and their price. BTW, what model?

    For me Iphone delivers some crappy quality level and can not regarded as serious photographer. There are some pocket size top notch cameras which are comparable or better in quality than EOS 5 Mk3. My sister takes pictures with Iphone I konw what I say.
    And you said about children with smarphones with neglect in another thread. Your conclusions contradict with each other.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2018
  4. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    I take photographs on the streets of my city, though I don't recognise what I do as 'Street Photography', as I see it on the internet.

    Your mirrorless choice is artificial. Why is it limited to manual focus or zone focus? I have just got an EOS M50, which is nice and small. I tuck it inside my coat when not actually taking. But the value of that smallness isn't being inconspicuous; I don't set out to hide that I am photographing. It's just that I'm not carrying much stuff.

    This is my only serious digital. I also have some dozens of old cameras. My little camera bag is usually packed with a Zenit 3 with a 3-lens kit (Mir-1 38/2.8, Industar-50 50/3.5 and Helios-40 85/1.5 - too big, but nice anyway). Old cameras disarm people; nobody seeing me out with my Zenit 3, Balda Jubilette, or Yashica 44 would think I was up to anything creepy or any kind of surveillance. Anyhow, it charmed me that I can carry the new camera with a EOS-M 22/2, an EF 50/1.8 and adapter, and the 15-45 kit zoom, with space to spare in the same size bag.

    What the M50 doesn't have is weight. If someone tries to steal your Zenit 3, or assault you while photographing, the proper practice is to hit them with your Zenit 3. The camera will take that; but I don't think the M50 is much of a weapon (I don't know how much I am at risk anyhow. I have only once felt any significant threat when out with a camera).
    ruslan likes this.
  5. #3 for the weight
    ruslan likes this.
  6. Nikon F2 with 35mm lens
    ruslan likes this.
  7. By the way, I’ve taken some pics in very dicey neighborhoods of big American cities. Have never had a problem. I thought it was street photos in general. Wouldn’t change my answer anyway.
    I doubt very much I said that. I most likely said I don’t much care for discussions centered around gear and price. I said “expensive” here in passing, responding to your question about big, powerful SLRs with a top class zoom. The focus of my discussion was on the attention aspect of doing street photography.
    Based on your sister’s experience you’re going to generalize? Maybe your sister just happens to take poor photos with her iPhone. Your idea of poor and mine may differ. I’ve seen some great photos taken with iPhones. They may not have the technical chops and resolution of some other photos, but they sure can have the vision, which is where so much of photography lies.

    I could, indeed, buy a “better” smaller camera. But since I always have my phone with me, I am content to rely on it in a lot of situations. It does its job. Occasionally I wish I had had a better camera with me for a particular shot, but not often. I don’t go in search of regrets in life.
    Once again, you're missing the context in which I said it. I was most likely talking about over-reliance on cell phones among today's kids, walking down the street texting bumping into people instead of being present where they are. Or I did recently talk about my annoyance at seeing the Mona Lisa with every tourist present holding up a camera to take its picture and feeling like I had to fend them off in order to just breathe it in for a minute or two. I wasn't talking about photographers using cell phones for their photography.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2018
    mikemorrell likes this.
  8. For street images, almost any camera which you are comfortable with will work. For me it's #3 for weight and that I don't really own #1 or #2 anymore. I tend to use the touch screen to set the AF point and fire the shutter (all quite quick in good light). Most smartphones are fully capable of taking very good images as long as they are not pushed beyond their capabilities.
  9. By the way, speaking of iPhones and street photos, not only can they be used to take the pics, they can make decent subjects as well ... :cool:

    mikemorrell, Allen Herbert and Jochen like this.
  10. I haven't found that to be true at all. My iPhone has been the only camera I've been using for the last few years, and I enjoy using it.

    Not sure if I'd merit being a serious photographer from your perspective. But here's a link to my website of street photos. Please feel free to make your own assessment.
  11. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Whatever instrument you choose, it is more of a question of skill and demeanour than device. just my opinion.
  12. All the usual mirrorless systems have current models that are small, affordable and more than up to the task, with good lenses in the range you’re looking at. Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Canon even - find the one with the controls that make the most sense to you and don’t worry about the rest.
  13. Why the artificial restriction? I get that there is no other choice with a crappy Leica (which wouldn't be my choice anyway) - but the Sony does have AF. In my case - with a 28/2. Or I take the Ricoh GR - doesn't get much smaller than that.
    William Michael likes this.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I agree.

    There are a few artificial restrictions (assumptions) made as statements in your opening post.

    I've used a DSLR with Battery Grip and an L Series Zoom for Street Photography: I think that I do not necessarily attracted attention, nor looked like a big pro carrying that gear.

    On the other hand, I have a mirror-less M5 and a very fast 35mm/0.95 Prime Manual Focus Lens, and I do not usually use Zone Focus - anyway pulling shots F/0.95 Zone Focus seems almost an oxymoron.

    Rarely have I commented directly on another Photographer's work, incidental to the main topic of the conversation; in this instance I shall: Brad Evans' Street Photography is inspirational for those who would like to develop their skills and seek alternative flavours and nuances in Street Photography. If one has followed his work, there has been a definitive creative nuance, transition and development since he has put down his DSLR + 35/1.4 and moved to using an iPhone. I refer to Post #10.

    Citing one person's work using an iPhone - (in this particular case your Sister's work), is tantamount to citing an ignorant / incompetent artist using paper and a 2B pencil and then concluding that great art cannot be created with a simple pencil and paper.

    Spearhead likes this.
  15. Í suspect Sony to provide AF primes on the same level as Olympus'. Even if you get a manual lens, you could adapt it with all AF functionalities to an a7 III with very latest firmware. - So how on earth did a zone focused(!) a7 II make it on your list of choices? <- Honest confusion! - If I wanted to shoot street zone focused, I wouldn't bother about getting a 35/2 or faster.

    Your list doesn't cut the cake for me, sorry. With a lot of respect towards MFT, there can be either that or Leica M in my eyes (or shelves); owning both makes little sense. To my understanding OMD E-M 1 II or M based systems are a wash weight & size wise (at least when built to achieve the same look, by picking the M glass 2 stops slower).

    Talking about such: I am more the 5D than the D5 guy...

    What would be my choice? - I think the camera itself doesn't matter. What counts is how comfortable you(!) are(n't?) with it; so look around, listen into yourself and ponder whom or what you could pull off, as a sustainable role model in the street and pick a matching kit for that character. (That you'll elevator pitch, when asked.)
    • If you believe in being everything and nothing and want to suddenly switch into "photographer", you might benefit from @The Shadow 's ability to cope with iPhones...
    • If you had Nachtwey's personality you 'd most likely wouldn't sense any issue about taking a street photo, you consider worth taking, with a big SLR.
    • If you want to play something else; let's say "the tourist from a rural village" you might do well bringing your middle aged mid sized Pentax with a kit zoom or compact primes.
    What is "big"? - I mounted some battery grip on my K10 D; "big" enough now?
    What is the issue about walking that beater? - Anybody buying a used iPhone (2nd not 3rd hand) spent more on their "camera"... I dare to guess that an iPhone is more attractive than the Pentax? - Or do they come with nasty theft protection features; rendering them almost unusable, even for a tech savvy thief?

    The point I want to stress: You must be 125% able to radiate "I belong here". - That includes sustainability i.e.: "If I'll lose this camera; I'll be back with another" because any worries about your camera will interfere, either with your ability to shoot or with your impact on people you'll encounter.
    I guess it is way more convenient to lose a sub-$200 camera, than to go through a law suit for pepper spraying, knife stabbing & monopod slapping a hysteric woman, in self defense, who dared to reach for your annual wage priced gem, while attempting to enforce her imagined privacy rights. <- A worst nightmare I don't want to face but might be able to perform, unlike more glorious self defense cases against a pair of off the mill robbers.

    Back to choices:
    How am I going out? - I suppose street photography is usually planned as "an option", unlike shooting(!) a news event, where you are out to bring something home by hook or by crook? For that reason I would go for a camera I can carry conveniently (if I am not killing time before or after a shooting demanding more).
    Type / style of camera?
    is IMHO not only an SLR issue. As soon as you have to start making lunges, or crouching, to aim your camera from below your regular eye level, you'll look shooting like that "big pro". And all your camera's stealth will be gone until the surrounding crowd did exchange itself.

    For stealth & convenience reasons I am keen to try out some flippy screen camera. If I had to buy one today, it would be an APS EOS. - I am too broke for a decent Fuji but saving up for something bigger though; tempted by the EOS R 24-105/4 IS.

    Having to break something I already own out, I am down to Pentax (anywhere) or Leica M (where I feel comfy enough). Considering latest European data processing legislation, I should drop back on film. - "Quirky fool doing his harmless thing the quaint way" feels like a safe role to pick and could get enhanced by bringing the huge TLR or some elderly RFs like Retina II or FED / Zorki. Playing safe with good lens on plastic SLR body is another film option.

    If you asked for shopping advice: Pick whatever seems suitable for you.
    Snappy AF and a matching amount of keepers must be great. - If it works silently: Fine!
    You appear being the "lens gourmet"- type in other threads, so look around what takes your dreams and works how well...
    I hit walls without OIS / IBIS too frequently and for that reason I don't recommend unstabilized combos to available light shooters.

    Leica? - Not "better" than anything else, if you are starting from zero.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Have a walk with a big DSLR alone in shanty town or favelas in the evening alone.

    I used a medium format camera for years for street photography in Morocco, urban and rural Mexico, Vietnam, Italy, Spain, and France. Not once did I have a problem.

    For me Iphone delivers some crappy quality level

    Then you need to learn how to use it better.

    and can not regarded as serious photographer.

    Plenty of people have no problem being serious photographers with a phone camera. See the references to Brad Evans' work above. Serious photographers are not made by their equipment, that's a naive and very limited view of photography. Equipment is a very small piece of the equation for "serious" photography.
  17. A camera is a tool.

    The eye of creativity is the photographer.
  18. Iphone post2.jpg
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