« Sally Mann on Charlie Rose | Main | TOP Classic: The Nifty Fifty »

Monday, 08 June 2015

Comments

Hasselblad is my street camera of choice. Fast easy to use.
4-8-15 08-13006 cash for gold

"[As] long as it’s quick and easy to operate and does not require a tripod".
Actually, I often use a tripod for (night) street photography. It's a bit like the Virgil character on Woody Allen's 'Take The Money And Run' trying to play the cello in a parade, but it's worth it.
And I'm glad I'm not the only one using primarily 50mm lenses for street photography! Actually, Gordon and me have an illustrious predecessor in HC-B, who'd rather use a normal lens for street photography in order not to impose himself on passers-by (as it would be the case with a shorter lens). In fact I never understood why people insist on the 35mm focal length being mandatory for street photography.
Gordon hits the nail again when he points out the accuracy of contrast detection autofocus vs. phase detection systems. The former might be slower, but it's indeed more precise.
I use an Olympus OM-2 most of the time for my street shots. I can focus quickly, thanks to its excellent focusing screen, so I don´t really need zone focusing, but the latter would come on handy when I used the OM lenses on my idling E-P1.
Shooting film on the streets is the ultimate challenge for a newcomer. You're deprived of chimping, so you've got to be certain that you master exposure and focusing and that you're able to control the camera quickly. Using a film camera for street photography can teach you a lot.
Overall another very interesting text by Gordon Lewis. Keep 'em comin'!

I manage to practice street photography with medium format folding cameras.

"Olympus OM-10 with 25mm ƒ/1.8 Zuiko"

This combination is an anachronism.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 25mm ƒ/1.8 Zuiko

or,

Olympus OM-10 with 50mm ƒ/1.8 Zuiko

are combinations that would work together.

Speedgraphic for me bud,

Arthur Fellig.

My Leica M2 (purchased new in 1970 for $200.00) meets all these criteria except auto exposure.

It's gotta be this little puppy:

Ricoh GR, July 23, 2013Ricoh GR, July 23, 2013

It lives in my purse and is nigh invisible to passersby.

+1 on mirrorless focusing more accurately. And the ability to focus on anything on the whole screen, as well. In addition, it's easier to manual focus on the screen by yourself with the "right" lens, because the screen snaps in and out of focus better, like the old days. Most modern cameras with a "light-pipe" type focusing screens, to show an image bright while using slow zooms, are virtually unfocusable. Which brings us to:

+1 on manual focusing film cameras. I can focus exactly on what I want far faster and more accurately than any auto focus camera can focus on something I don't want while I try and readjust it to focus on what I do...

Gordon, when you say OM-10, are you referring to the old budget film camera, or did you mean the OM-D EM 10? I would think if you were talking film Olympus, it would be a single-digit OM model.

Patrick

I found the Olympus XA preset and the Olympus Stylus Epic Muji (with the killed default flash function) great,,, right in your pocket, ready to shoot. Digitally, I've pulled some fast ones with the iPhone (obviously) and even my old Olympus C-5060 preset in burst... Preset everything, then all you have to do is concentrate in looking through your eye's viewfinder, raising the camera at the right moment.
-Bob G.

I'm always a little bemused about "street shooting". Somehow, it's almost always about one specific technique for candid photography of people on city streets. (No, haven't seen your book as yet.)

As the Godfather of this genre, it seems to me that H C-B used the first/only equipment that was at that time usable for this. And virtually everyone following has followed in his footsteps. Moderate WA to 'normal' FL, stealth to get close, then snap camera to eye to catch the decisive moment seems to me to be only one of the options, not THE way to do it.

I sometimes wonder what a young H C-B, presented with the equipment available today, would choose.

I'm not a regular street shooter, although I take the opportunity that presents itself.

But notice the FL, 300 mm, in FF terms. Could I have got closer? Of course. Would I have got the moment/expression? Almost certainly not.

My most extended time of street shooting was in Brooklyn. Camera, big black blob Canon 5D; lens, big black blob Tamron 28-300. Most used FL, probably 300 mm.


Shooting from a distance, I get a different perspective, which I like. I also feel I generally get different, more natural, candid images. For all but the most sneaky, innocuous looking photographers with the tiniest cameras, getting close enough for the desired framing changes the subjects. Most people, most of the time, are aware of who is physically close to them, and it affects facial and body language.

I'm not saying that either approach, or the social method of approach and ask, is better, only that there are more viable alternatives than seem to be generally known and used.

About equipment/technique: Multi-point AF is a non-starter for me, as is face recognition. I find single point AF far more reliable.

"Because I focused manually and by eye, I knew the camera couldn’t try to refocus as soon as ..."

As to MF vs. AF, various cameras allow AF to be set on a separate button on the top back, with MF fine tuning available and no AF on the shutter button. Tap the AF button, wait for the cyclist. Usually, this also shortens the shutter lag time.

How well that works for any individual will vary, depending on style, reaction time, DoF, etc.

As to responsiveness, some cameras wake from sleep in the time it takes to bring them up to my eye, if I train myself to tap the shutter release as soon as a potential shot is suspected.

Otherwise, batteries are cheap, small and light; just leave it on full time and put a couple of spare batteries in a pocket.

II love the fuji x100(s) for street photography I've taken thousamds of shots with in here in nyc and Always amazing by the output. Recently I've been using a sony a7s with old manual lenses adapters which has given me great results.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/9069175@N03/

Yes, Nikon Fm3a and a 50mm or 35 lens great street setup. A Nikon 3200 with a Voightlander Voigtlander 20mm F3.5 can be fast and subtle. I've also had great fun and success with a Panasonic GX1 with the 20mm pancake, it's practically invisible.

I would add to your list: inconspicuous. In some neighborhoods a camera is not looked on with favor, and some may want to separate you from it.

Clarifying question about Olympus mentioned in the text: 'OM-10' film camera or 'OM-D E-M10' digital camera?

Oh and I forgot to mention Leica rangefinders. You can't really go wrong with them. My M6 with my trusty 35 Summilux was brilliant for street photography. Only problem for newcomers is that adjusting to a rangefinder can be a steep learning curve.
I've got a Peter Turnley quote I once read written on the back of my Fm3a:
"Go Wide...Get Low ...Get Close and watch your edges"

Although very much a personal choice, I'm sold on the Fuji X100T. I've had every version of this camera and the "T" checks almost all of the boxes for me. I've tried all of the m4/3s stuff. And while I liked it very much, there's no escaping the limitations of the sensor...no knock against it, but the APS-C sensor is superior. Here's some examples from the X100T:

https://jimtardio.exposure.co/istanbul

I also used an FM3a for a long time. But film just seems too cumbersome these days and I can find no advantage to using it...but what a great camera!

Ha, I was just going to contribute a story about shooting my old warhorse 501c in Harvard Square in the 90's... I'm under an awning shooting out into the light where some street performers are doing their thing... and the dreaded encounter starts to shape up: this old codger who looks like maybe this is the doorway he sleeps in sidles up to me. He looks at the camera and says "Can I ask you a question?" I take my eyes off the performers and look at him- "Sure.." He says "You know, I have a 501 like that, and the winder is stuck and I can't get it unstuck..." I am not making this up, I swear. Fortunately I was able to explain the common problem of the out of synch shutter and its un sticking.

But to the question- It has to be the camera that people won't notice that you are using. Probably the iPhone. Other than that I couldn't say because I just can't take the dirty looks and vitriol that come my way even when I'm shooting in a supposedly artistic and enlightened place like Harvard Square. Have not done it in a while. Looking back on that story, I should have chatted that guy up some and made a picture of him, but that day I wanted to be left alone. Guess that is not the right attitude for a successful street photographer...

I thought I had the perfect camera but threw it away last week when I learned all it would take were clichés!

Gordon,
With the whole prefocus problem on modern cameras, I use a combination of workarounds. Sometimes I use S-AF+MF, which is Olympus for "single autofocus attempt on a half press, then you can adjust manual focus to taste and you get to keep your set focus as long as your index finger can stand it and if you are really good if you return to half-press after shooting." Useful, but annoying. I also assign a 14x magnified view to a back button so I can flip between full view and magnified view to set the exact point of focus. Magnified view plus MF-only mode is really good too for "set it and forget it" focusing.

On a Panasonic camera that I have, there are a few more fun toys for verifying focus distance, including an optional sliding scale that identifies focus distance, including the hyperfocal point for the aperture you have selected. It springs up when you have it set to show you a magnified view when you have a half shutter press and are turning the focus ring. This was excellent fun the other day when I was trying to do a cliched moon seen through pine trees type shot.

I know TOPs has so moved on from Pentax DSLR’s. Nonetheless, when you consider price, size and performance of the remaindered K-5iis and K-3 they are the best deal available for street photography.

http://www.pileofprints.com/photos/i-xppqwnc/0/O/i-xppqwnc.jpg

Portland’s 3 week bike festival Pedalpalooza started this past weekend. Attached are 2 pics from yesterday’s Grilled by Bike event in which Portlander’s who have soldered BBQ’s onto their bikes tour the town cooking meat and mushrooms. The first pic of a fire pit attached bike was my best shot of the day. However, I have also connected a real street tested image shot one-handed while pedaling.

http://www.pileofprints.com/photos/i-khT3WTm/0/O/i-khT3WTm.jpg

Brian

aside to Mike: (Sorry, now I can't figure out how to insert photos directly into this post as done above. All my best Pedalpaplooza pics including ones unsuitable here (of Naked bike ride) will be on my site by the end of June)

It's not perfect for street photography, but with some knowledge and thought, it works. The Sony RX1. FF but very small. Barrel aperture control.on screen distance scale, fixed 35mm f2 lens (and what a lens great 1Q wide open. Right up there with the best IQ available from any FF dslr with any lens) outstanding low light performance. Now the Achilles heel and the work around. the af isn't fast enough for street work. Its manual focus however is Buttery smooth and with the onscreen distance scale. And it's quiet.
IMHO it lacks just one thing, a tilt screen to enable shooting from the hip.

I still think a modern digital rangefinder is the best overall compromise. Manual exposure and focus make pre-focus and shooting on the street fast, accurate, and discreet.

If not, my fallback would be a Canon S series point and shoot -- it doesn't look serious, it's small, quiet, and good enough.

I'm not sure any SLR is good for the street. With autofocus, limited manual control, lights, noises and general beep-beep bling-bling click-clack -- because they just don't work for me. At least IMHO.

Pak

Lumix GF1 mated with an Olympus 15mm f/8 "body cap lens." No focus lag whatever, and the GF1 was quick to power up. I had fun with it in NYC, just letting it hang from the strap at waist level, and pretending I was steadying the camera, meanwhile pressing the shutter. Interesting perspective also from about 30-36"

While I don't do much street photography anymore, I once used a camera that fit my needs exceptionally well. It was the lowly 1970s Leica CL, created as an inexpensive intro to the Leica camera lineup.

It was significantly smaller and lighter than the Leica M cameras of the day. The front-mounted shutter speed dial is unusual, but it was very easy to adjust using just one finger when looking through the rangefinder.

Carrying the small camera with a thumb and forefinger circled around the lens barrel let you easily "palm it" so that no one noticed it.

In daytime, I used two memorized combinations of shutter speeds and apertures - one for direct sunlight, and another for open shade. The lens had a focusing tab, and with practice, you could
easily pre-focus the 40mm Summicron-C by feeling its position. For example, the tab positioned straight down focused the lens at 5 feet.

If it had a flaw, it's that it wasn't as quiet as a true M Leica because of its noisy swing-arm photosensor. Used outdoors on a busy street, that didn't matter.

Oh, yeah, it was a bear to change film because the body slid apart into two halves. You had to practice!


Three young pickpockets get a scowl after attempting to steal a wallet

Florence, Italy, 1993
Leica CL, 40mm Summicron-C

In an interesting case of believing the Internet instead of my own eyes I let go of my Nikon 1 "V" and lenses sometime back. It was an excellent street camera - both in image quality and usability.

My Perfect Camera for street photography is one that makes me look like a tourist and that people ignore. For the last three years I used an Olympus XZ1 which utterly amazed me at what it could do. Surprisingly I also used one of my 60Ds with an 8-16mm lens for night work in an Asian Night Market with very satisfying results. https://luminous-landscape.com/asian-night-market/

Both those cameras are on the block looking for a buyer at the moment. The new love of my street photography life is a Nikon V3 with the 10-100mm lens (27-270 equiv). The focus is fast, fast, fast; its a little smaller than a Lecia ... as a friend said "Its so light I could run a marathon with it" ... and its inaudible from 3' away. I've only had it a couple of weeks and it does have its foibles, but so far I'm delighted with it.

BTW - do you still have a website? Couldn't find you on Google.

Ricoh GRD V if on a budget.

Leica M if you are wealthy, or have sold most of what you own and worked a long time in order to be able to afford it.

As for modern DSLR auto-focusing... read the manual and do some practicing. I'll grant you that the manuals could be better but a mid-level CaNikon's focusing abilities are amazingly good and versatile.

G. Carvajal, that's some odd and interesting crop... ;-)

The FM3a and the Nikkor 50/18 AiS is my go to for street but I will never completely give up on my Meterless Nikon F.

I have used various cameras too and since 2012 I have been using an Olympus E-M5 and this year also started using an Olympus E-M10. Mostly very good, but there is one thing that really, really annoys me about them though.

The E-M5 is slow, much slower than a DSLR, to wake-up from sleep or start-up when you turn it on. In my street photography I sometimes miss shots because the camera is waking up very leisurely. When possible I do my best to anticipate when I might want to take a shot and start the wake-up process, but sometimes things happen very quickly and by the time the camera is finally ready the moment has passed. In most ways the E-M5 is fast and very responsive, like a DSLR, but in this area it is like a digicam. Even if a DSLR was as slow as the E-M5 it would still have an advantage because while you are waiting for the camera to be ready to shoot you could still look through the OVF, do quick framing, adjust zoom, and then shoot as soon as the camera is ready. With the E-M5 you can't even do the quick framing while you are waiting and waiting and waiting for the camera to wake-up.

Since the E-M5 does not have an OVF it uses battery power pretty fast. If you set it to never sleep then the camera is ready all the time, but the battery will run down fast. Also, the sensor and EVF will be on all the time even during the long periods when you are walking around watching for a potential shot. The sensor will be heating up and getting noisier.

For example, in my first big trip with the E-M5 I spent a month in Nepal and there were a few times when I almost threw my E-M5 against a brick wall when I missed a sudden photo opportunity while the camera took its sweet time waking up. The wakeup I estimate is about 1.5 seconds which for non-street shooters will seem fast or at least fast enough, but sometimes you need to react much more quickly and 1.5 seconds is enough to totally miss a shot.

My E-M10 seems to be slightly faster to wake-up, but still too slow.

I see that dpreview says that the new Fuji X-T10 starts up in 0.5 seconds. They didn't mention yet about the wake-up time. I hope Olympus will start paying more attention to wake-up and start-up time.

"Today, few lenses that still have a usable focusing scale, index, and depth-of-field markings that the only other available option is prayer." It seems to me that some words are missing here for the sentence to make sense. Also, I do not know of any Olympus OM-mount 25mm f/1.8 lens, in fact of any 25mm OM Zuiko lens.

After having done it with several SLRs and DLSRs, I find rangefinders are considerably superior. I find it impossible to use either zooms (too slow and fiddly) or auto focus (too slow) lenses. For the fast action that I need on the street, I must use the hyperfocal setting. I have however used autofocus and zoom lenses in the past by turning off the auto-focus and taping the zoom ring to keep it at the widest. Under such conditions, these lenses perform fine. Ultimately however it is how I see the world through the viewfinder: the view through the slr viewfinder is often misleading in the wrong direction. The finder often tells me it is more beautiful than what is actually registered on the photo. With a rangefinder, I sometimes have good surprises, because the shallow dof of a particular shot makes it more pleasing than what I saw through its featureless viewfinder.

Nikon V1 with the 1.8/18.5. This combination is cheap and light.
The autofocus is fast and reliable, so is the metering. The batterie is the same as in the big Nikon DSLRs. The electronic shutter is silent. I use it on ISO 800 and P-mode. Never missed a shot. At least technically.

I admit that a Hassy SWC with Delta 3200 is my favorite New Orleans camera - fast enough to let me use small apertures so that I can scale focus easily. Otherwise, the Fuji X100s and Leica M6 still win as my favorite street cameras.

I want to believe that something like a Coolpix A or Ricoh GR could do what I want, but both are so cut down that I find them slow to use deliberately. The Fuji lets me flop from deliberate to stupid super quick, and I just bring 400 batteries:)

But, when I was actively shooting every day, any camera was a street camera - and given some warm up time, that's still mostly the case. Like most everything else, better equipment helps to compensate for out of practice reflexes.

I'm also a FM3A (or an older FE2 when I'm feeling nostalgic) fan for street. But I go either for the 105/2.5 Nikkor or the 50/1.2 (yes: 1.2!).
With digital it's the Oly EM5 without a shadow of a doubt. With a Sigma 60/2.8 DN, it's just purrfect!

Hmmm Gordon - I looked at http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/zuiko/index.htm but I couldn't find a 25mm/1.8 Zuiko lens. So I guess you mean the Micro Zuiko on an E-M10 instead?

I'm using that very camera for a street portrait b&w series at the moment, and I can confirm that it's awesome. Couldn't think of a better one.

My current favorites are Olympus E-M5 II, or Oly Pen PL-7. They both have very fast focusing, and touch-to-shoot. You just touch on the tiltable screen where to focus and (if you have set it so), it focuses and shoots so fast it seems instant (which according to usability guru Jakob NIelsen means 1/10th/sec or less). Especially the E-M5 II us spookily instant, even in poor light.
It means, normally, waist-level shooting, which is nicely discreet.
This way of working means a bit different grip, but that is doable.

For street work, flexibility is big for me, which means a zoom lens. Panasonic's 14-140mm 3.5 lens is great. Very compact indeed, very good image quality, and fast to operate the 10x range. (I've before had superzooms 10x from Nikon and Pentax, and they both had major weaknesses in IQ somewhere in the range.) When shooting with a superzoom, I tend to get the best hauls of pleasing images. And they now have the quality required for exhibition images too.

I guess that "best" for street photography is a very personal thing. While I'm hardly the last of the great street photographers, I've taken some time with the genre and find that I like both rangefinder and SLR cameras for the task - but tend to compose differently with the two types of camera. With rangefinder cameras (or any sort of window finder camera) I tend to see wider, and compose more with background or environmental elements as well as the putative subject. With SLRs I tend to have more tunnel-vision and see longer rather than wider. I do not like autofocus with window finders and can't abide EVFs at all (the latter is a personal failing of mine which I don't expect anyone else to share).

I tend to like lower magnification finders for RF cameras (I'm especially fond of the Hexar RF). With SLRs I like older-style focusing screens rather than newer, brighter, styles (especially the ones in DSLRs), where I can focus anywhere in my field of view without further focus aid. Even the standard screen in the otherwise wonderful FM3a doesn't quite suit me (although I have enjoyed using the FM3a with the CV Ultron 40mm/f2). In fact my favourite SLR for this kind of thing is a beat-up old Nikon F2 with prism finder and pre-AI Nikkor-S 50mm/f1.4, for whatever that's worth (oh, I also like the Canon New F-1).

...Mike

G.carvajal's comment about the Hasselblad is interesting, as it's not an obvious choice for many: medium format cameras in general are big and highly visible. What I've found, though, is that people react quite differently to a photographer who isn't holding a camera to his eye, or even looking directly at the subject. I vaguely remember first reading about this idea on TOP a few years ago, and it confirmed my experience. I've had good luck with TLRs: they have quiet shutters, very few controls to fuss over, zone focussing tends to work fine when stopped down so shooting can be very fast, and people are more often curious about the equipment than adverse to it.

Not that I do much street photography these days, but I have a 24mm Tamron manual focus lens (36mm equivalent) which is just the job.

I also have a Katzeye focusing screen fitted, which has a rangefinder spot and a micrprism collar, just like SLRs used to have. I bought it because although I could guess distance closely enough with the 24mm, the longer manual focus lenses I have need more accuracy than a screen for an AF camera can give. It is also useful for checking focus in AF mode, or for a quick manual override.

My camera is also set up to focus via the AF button on the back of the camera rather than a half press on the shutter release, so I do not have to refocus every time I take a shot. I don't know if this is possible on all cameras.

Bruce Davidson's classic East 100th Street series was largely shot on 5x4 with a tripod, which just goes to show anything is possible if you're someone like Bruce Davidson:

http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2K7O3R1W4D2W

Omd em5 for me with the 25mm now. I would use the pana 40, but the af is not as snappy when needed. I have tried Fuji (XE), but found the cameras less responsive in both af and shutter lag. Shame as the images were lovely.
I think the best for street though is the GM5 panasonic for its speed, size and silent shutter.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 with M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens.

I've a Leica m6 that's a delight to use, but bang for buck my rather surprising digital selection would be a canon 6D. Solid simple AF particularly if set to centre point only. When used properly (my version of properly) and without a silly strap, fitted with the 50 1.8, it is extremely portable and light while maintaining best ISO performance and full frame sensor.

DSLRs aren't big if you use a small lens and take off all the guff like straps, bags etc and literally just carry the camera with one hand. I think it's lighter than my M6? Haven't checked but it'd be marginal.
Don't get wrong though, I rather shoot the m6 for the fun / challenge of it but wouldn't hesitate to use the 6D when I want digital and couldn't think of a better tool for the job in terms of function

I'd like to sing the praises of the "Worst Lens In The World", the Olympus 15mm f/8 "body cap".

It's f/8 on a micro 4/3 sensor, so the depth of field is huge. You can simply set it to its hyperfocal detent and more or less everything from a few feet to infinity is in focus. There's no fiddling with aperture. There's no AF lag because there's no AF. You press the shutter and it fires, period. It weighs less than an ounce. It costs less than $50. What else do you want?

Image quality? Well, you're not gonna be making 30" landscape prints with perfect corners, let's just put it that way. But for street/documentary type shooting I find that the tradeoff is worth it for the small size and, most importantly, the ability to just shoot without anything getting in the way.

Have you tried the Samsung NX1? I hear it's crazy fast and if you shoot 4K you can get a usable image from any frame.

For street photography I require a high quality camera that is fast, flexible, and small. In the analog past, for me that meant the Leica CL and the Contax T and TVS. Now, a decade into the digital age, I've settled on Fujifilm's smallest X cameras, the X10 and X20 (and sometime soon the X30).

I know there are any number of cameras with better specs than my little Fuji: better sensor, better lenses, and so on. But there's no other camera that I've gotten better results with than the Fuji X10 and X20. I love the way they fit my hand and my eye, and how I can reach out through them to bring back interesting pieces of the world.

There's no feature in a camera more important to me than how well it becomes an extension of myself.

Often I use my 5D Mk1 with 35 or 50mm little prime lens.

But also my Kodak Retina IIIc

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152967320461062&l=88f57f5ce5

I have to admit, that first illustration stopped me reading the article for a day. I had to read the caption three times before I believed it really was saying the photographer did that deliberately.

Transparent camera... 5D3, 35mm/1.4 lens.
Minimal shutter lag, any light.
Quiet shutter setting is wonderful.

Size isn't that important compared to how you act.
Shoot, smile, move on.

Depending on conditions, I use either the Olympus OM-D EM-5 with the Panny/ Leica 25 f1.4, Panny 14mm f 2.8 and Oly 45 f1.8 as one kit
Or
The Fuji X-E1 / X-T1 with the XF14 f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 27mm f 2.8, and 35 f1.4
Both have their strengths and weaknesses but can deliver great results.
Much easier to walk around with either kit over my prior Canon kit.

Ricoh GR. Turns on very quickly, excellent autofocus, designed for photograhers and looks like a charity shop camera.

The Gordon Lewis' book arrived Sunday, but I haven't had a chance to look through it yet.
Monday I started street/candid photography for the first time in years with the perfect film camera for it.
My "new" 1939 Leica Standard, with uncoated 50mm Elmar.
No Autofocus? Just use the explicitly calibrated DOF markings on the lens.
No Auto exposure? Use Sunny 16 and the exposure data on the film box.
No Auto film advance? I only take one shot at a time so the winding knob is just fine.
What do I miss? Strangely enough, I miss not having a zoom lens; 35-85 would be perfect. I expect that I'll soon get over it.

>>My E-M10 seems to be slightly faster to wake-up, but still too slow.

You are absolutely right, Henry. My work-around for this is that, rather than let the camera go to sleep, I turn it off. I turn it back on when I'm ready to shoot. This is actually faster than waking up from sleep. It's still not a fast as I'd like though, which is one of the reasons I haven't bought an OM-D.

70mm combat graphic
6x7cm auto wind rangefinder camera, 50 shots per roll, built to be usable with one hand wearing mittens in battle in Korea.
Has as good of lenses as anything Zeiss made for Hasselblad.

Used to be able to get amazing film for it, but now no one makes film for it any more.

Hasselblad 500c was a little less conspicuous.

I've been going through my old files and the best digital street images are all taken with my old Sony DSC-R1, perhaps because it is so much like the Hasselblad 500c

For "Street Photography":
Digital: Fuji X100T--They finally made it responsive enough, great files, great viewfinder, small and insconspicuous

Film: Minolta CLE (Small, lovely, affordable, Leica M mount AE camera) plus the wondrous 40mm/f2 Minolta M-Rokkor lens. Perfect street combo.

My favorite one in digital age is by far the Ricoh GR. No lag at all with the incredibly useful snap focus

Street photography=sneak photography=taking pictures
of people while they aren't looking. But if one must, I've
found that my iPhone 5s with a right angle attachment
is the best.

With respect to the Olympus E-M5 and E-M5.2; yes, their startup times are a killer for typical street use. However, the E-M1 is considerably faster and makes this camera quite suitable with various fixed fl lenses. Technical quality of m43 is certainly adequate for most purposes, especially if you use Tri-X as the yardstick, and you gain a lot of dof which can be extremely useful for this kind of shooting.

For full frame, one of the best cameras, or now one to the best 2 cameras is a current Leica digital M, either the colour or the B&W version. 'Laughably expensive' indeed, but it now has good battery life, quick responses and when up to your eye you can see what's coming into the frame. If you can afford it and can deal with a rangefinder, it's the one.

Panasonic GX7 with 14-45 w/Mega OIS (28-90 equiv.) The lens is slowish, at 3.5-5.6, but I'm mostly out on nice days anyway. The slide-down screen is excellent -- if you run into a nervous-making possibility, you can slide the screen down, grip the camera barrel in your left hand, and shoot sideways from waist level. Holding the barrel of the lens with your left hand and triggering the shutter button with your right thumb, while cradling the body with your right hand, gives you a very steady hold, and makes the camera virtually invisible. I don't have the tools to say how fast the camera wakes up, but I think it will go from "off" to first photo in less than a second. Another nice feature is a button right next to the viewfinder that turns the viewscreen and the viewfinder off. You can turn it back on as quickly as you can push a button, and this all means that you can leave the camera on full time, and still get a lot of mileage out of one battery. (Though I'm with Moose on this -- the batteries are small enough just to stick one in your pocket.) I shoot mostly ~ 70mm.

Even more people still, even now, use Leicas (with film).

"Tell It Like It Is": A solo exhibition with photographer Andre D. Wagner at http://www.papillionart.com/current-exhibition/

LA Times review of the exhibition at http://lat.ms/1KntJLa

Andre D. Wagner: http://www.abstractelements.com/#1

How hard would it be for cameras to be able to reveal the hyperlocal distance so that you could set your street camera up and be reliably be in focus?
The data is there already. It just has to be repackaged. I really miss the hash marks on my lenses.

>>My E-M10 seems to be slightly faster to wake-up, but still too slow.

My work-around for this is that, rather than let the camera go to sleep, I turn it off. I turn it back on when I'm ready to shoot. A cold start is actually faster than waking up from sleep. It's still not as fast as I'd like, but as you've probably discerned from the article, the perfect street camera is hard to find.

I prefer to think of myself as an urban wildlife photographer. Shooting mostly around L.A., M 6 or M-E w/ 35mm or 50mm Nokton. I typically shoot after 5PM - these lenses have given me a new lease on life because as magic hour fades, I start shooting wide open at as high a shutter speed as possble. The first 50to 75 or so exposures with the Noktons had a lot of out of focus rejects but as I gained confidence, It has improved. Other times: zone focussed f5.6/8. during day time. I tend to find areas where 'things happen' so I can prefocus.

When I'm in a hurry (my primary reason for being outside is not photography), in a bad neighborhood or in crowds:
X100t or Contax G1 w35mm Planar/ (Velvia 50/100 FP4, HP5 or TX).

Sometimes - I use my Digilux 3 because I like having the zoom but it has moods - won't shoot, won't focus etc. until IT is ready...

Shooting at the beach - Yashicamat 124G/X100T/Contax

I couldn't agree more. The user experience of a decent manual film SLR is unparalleled. And it's not nostalgia--they have everything you need, and nothing you don't. I desperately wanted the Fuji X-T1 to be a digital equivalent of the Nikon FE2, but it's too fiddly for me. I use a Sony a6000 instead, because it seems to embrace its digital-ness, which seems somehow more authentic. And, it does much better video, which I appreciate.

But I'm still amazed at how fast I am with a manual SLR--I can focus on anything I want, track focus, hold focus, make a split-second adjustment (or not) when something enters the frame, all without Fn Menus, Custom Buttons, pressing and holding various combinations, etc.

With mirrorless maturing, I wonder how long before someone solves this seemingly impossible design problem: all the options of modern digital, but with the simplicity of 80's film. Maybe it's not possible.

I also own the Olympus OM-D E-M1 that Gordon uses. But, frankly, for street photography I prefer the Sony Alpha 7 II with the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 lens. That's a purely manual focus lens. I'm very comfortable with that because I used a Leica IIIg for 25+ years and learned to pre-focus or estimate focus.

There is no warm up lag because the camera is on all the time. (I carry spare batteries.) No autofocus lag because there is no autofocus. I just push the shutter button and the photo is taken.

Sometimes I carry the camera in one hand about breast high. It is less noticed that way. My pointing is not perfect, but there are so many pixels that I can crop and get what I need. That breaks all sorts of "rules" about careful composition but I would rather break the rules than have my subjects nervous because I am photographing them.

Even if my subjects notice that I am carrying a camera, they are not usually concerned unless I put it up to my eye.

Whatever camera you use a lot and are comfortable with will work.

The one time I actually worked at getting candid portrait street-type pictures I did it with my old Nikon N8008s (F800s for Europe). This camera has none of the attributes of the "classic" street camera. But I had shot with it for a few years and was good at using it.

These days I usually use my iPhone for this kind of thing.

I’ve been happily street shooting “from the hip” with Lumix LX cameras for years (LX2, LX3, LX5, and now LX7). Manual focus pre-set for 1 metre to infinity, usually f4, but sometimes f3.5, depending on the light.

Apparently, we all have our favorite cameras, God bless diversity. The tool you use is personal. May your tool of choice give you the results you wish for. I'll always search for the Holy Grail, but it will never be the camera that defines my pictures. It will be the scene I captured at the moment of the shutter release. It's not the camera, it is the instant you see a moment of time that demands the capture. It revolves around the impulse that made you press the shutter release in the first place. May all your pictures be above average.

William Schneider, thats a really nice photograph.

How about a camera that fits in the palm of your hand, has a 24-70mm full-frame equivalent Zeiss lens (f/1.8-2.8), provides you with both a high definition live viewfinder (with diopter correction) and a waist-level finder, takes 21MP (or smaller) files, can be set to take RAW and BW jpegs at the same time, has excellent image stabilization, etc, etc,?

The Sony RX100iii is too small for its own good - it's easy to not take it seriously since it looks like a tiny fancy point-and-shoot. But if you think of it as a Zeiss 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens attached to a high-quality, highly customizable camera with an amazing sensor, and then look at its size, you'd think - "Whoa! The Holy Grail!" Does any other camera maker offer such an innocuous-looking camera/lens of this quality and versatility for only $798?

Of course, you could get both the RX100iii plus an Olympus OMD EM1 with the small-but-dense 75mm Zuiko (150mm equivalent) f/1.8 lens for making amazing shallow DOF shots, and you'd have the ultimate kit for discrete image-making...it'll just cost you more.

I've done a year-long street photography project with a Panasonic G3 body and Pentacon Prakticar 28mm manual focus lens. Now I use almost exclusively an Olympus E-M1 with M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens.

I took my best street shots with a Sony RX100, mostly because it was during the time that I had that camera that I was shooting on the street a lot.

The Nikon 1 V3 has a lot of potential. It's the fastest focusing small camera I've used. I never used it much, though, because the time to wake up from sleep was around five seconds, and there were no fast lenses in .the focal lengths I wanted to shoot with.

My favorite street camera though has to be my bright pink Holga. It's impossible to be stealthy with a large pink plastic camera, but my subjects are more entertained than annoyed, and the results certainly stand out in my portfolio.

The worst camera for street photography is without a shadow of a doubt a Fuji GX680.....it's weight is humongous, it's batterylife is redicules, it's size makes you the riducule du jour whereever you go. I'm glad I sold the Beast (in parts) and freed up some cash for a GTX980 (add some T and rotate the 6), the best photographic device on the planet.....and yeps is a high-end superfast rendering videocard. But since 75% of the 2015 Ikea catalog is CGI, that is the way to take photography in the 21th century.


But for the camera wielding folk.....something funny to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_7tzo-B0kU

Greets, Ed.

For digital I mostly use a Nikon 1 V1 with either the 18.5mm f1.8 (50mm equivalent with 2.7x crop factor) or the 10-30mm zoom. It's small, silent, and has very fast and accurate AF. I'd be tempted by the new Fuji X100T.

For film, the Olympus XA, pre-focused, is even faster - and more discreet. For 50mm shooting I prefer an OM1 for its unbeatable handling.

Today's announced Leica Q full frame with fixed 28mm f 1.7 lens would seem to answer all needs except for super small. It has a locking manual focus but also super fast auto-focus.
35% of the cost of a M plus 28mm lens, and autofocus if you want it.

re: the problem of AF systems wasting your time by focusing on the wrong thing

Echoing others on this thread, I'll get back on the "back-button autofocus" hobby horse for the umpteenth time. It's a simple idea (invented by Canon more than 20 years ago) that makes autofocus work for you, instead of agin' you.

When implemented well -- only Canon and Nikon, on selected cameras, do it exactly right -- it's a ludicrously happy marriage of the strengths of autofocus and manual focus. It will make you sing with the joy of living, maybe.

Even when implemented with dumb limitations -- everyone else's cameras, including my Sony NEX-7 -- it's still a big boon, IMHO. It takes a little practice to get used to it, but I wouldn't think of using autofocus any other way.

The interesting article more or less acknowledges this, but it is less of a question of "The Best (and Worst) Cameras for Street Photography" and more a question of "The Best (and Worst) Cameras for MY Street Photography"

There is a range of variation to what constitutes street. In one corner we have the "traditional" quick response, shoot from the hip, grab an ephemeral slice of time school — for who speed is the thing. In another corner we have something that focuses more on otherwise unseen details of the urban environment — not always people — and which might benefit from a bit less speed and a bit more technical precision. In yet another corner is what might be termed "urban landscape," where the street is simply treated as another form of landscape. And there are many other corners to this interesting a flexible shape.

Depending on which corner you like to stand it, an old film rangefinder could be just your thing... or an iPhone... or a mirrorless camera... or a DSLR... or?

Oooops, everyone spoke too soon...

http://petapixel.com/2015/06/10/leica-q-is-a-24mp-full-frame-compact-camera-with-a-28mm-f1-7-lens/

, I have been using my little Fuji F600 EXR for years now, a camera with a very short start up time, hardly any shutter lag, a battery which lasts for ever, reliable autofocus and RAW capability. Just the ticket!

A few shots here:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsk7rGruV

Regards John

My fave street shooters, cameras that meet all the criteria you outlined which I agree are essential for street photography, are the Olympus Pen EE, and Pen EED.

Tiny, touristy, zone focus, lightning fast to use (zero lag time, ZERO, the feel of which would be a revelation to any photographer who has only ever used digital cameras), great dynamic range, etc. The EE has a sharp 40mm-e f/3.5 lens and the EED a razor sharp 45mm-e f/1.7 lens.

The only downsides of these cams are the low ISO's of film compared to digital sensors, and the back-end labour of processing/scanning film. However, if you're shooting RAW you might be spending almost as much time processing your files.

The cost of film is neither here nor there because most photographers these days (especially hobbyists) spend the same amount of money as a generous film budget buying a new camera every few years. Also these two cameras are economical on film being half-frame format. It's pushing it, but I've made splendid 12x18" B&W prints from my negatives. Of course, I try to crop in camera.


shot with an Olympus Pen EE

complete photo essay at http://photos.everybookinchina.com/PNE/

Several people have mentioned their frustrations with the Oly OMD-EM cameras. The problem I have with my EM5 is that despite turning off all the AF/AE/IS/etc and even mounting a fully manual lens, I still can't mash my finger on the button and get it to take a picture without a noticeable delay. From a half-press I can fire instantly, but unless I walk around with my finger in that tiring half-press position, there is an annoying lag. Am I missing some magic setting in the menus? Do others have this problem?

Your book just arrived on my doorstep. What a delight! This will be an adventure, as I've had little experience in street photography, but I plan to use both film and digital media.

The comments to this entry are closed.