Whats your favorite (Digital) camera for street photography

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Ghosthunter, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. As title, Whats your favorite camera / camera, lens combo for street photography?

    I think I want a camera/camera and lens just for street. I have the LX100 which I'm in 2 minds about, I have the E-M1 with 12-35 f2.8 or 20mm f1.7. Thinking of getting a E-M10 and using the 20mm or poss get the 15mm PanLeica or 17mm Oly lens. Or poss X100T, Ricoh GR....... Ahhhh Dunno!! :D

    What's your fave?
  2. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Don't have any of these but a Ricoh GR (I or II) is on my wish list.
  3. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Veteran

    Jan 20, 2014
    Launceston & Sydney
    Nick Clark
    The GR has been it for me for a while now, although 28mm takes some getting used to.

    To be honest though, if you can't do it with the kit you have, the stuff you're talking about buying isn't going to help... Don't feed the beast! Take the money and go somewhere interesting (I can recommend Istanbul ;) )

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  4. The E-M1 is a bit big for me for street. And as said I'm not sure about the LX100. The purchase will cost me nothing as I'm lucky enough to work in a camera store and get commission from manufacturers which adds up to buying stuff for nothing.

    I'm experimenting with the LX100 at the moment and it gives good and bad results, it's weird! Quality is all over the place and I need to find out if it's me or the camera. The chap at work I bought it from found the same 'problem'. Looking at images on the net I find some really nice sharp images with pop and others are flat and dull. I guess it's down to processing.
  5. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    All things being equal I'd say GR. It's compact and capable plus you have the benefit of the digital "crops" to 35 and 47mm. Mine defaults to 47, since I am at heart a 50mm man. I would love to see such a digital crop introduced to the X100T, since a 50mm fov crop on a 35mm lens would render larger files.

    For street there is no substitute for Sunny-16 metering and zone focussing, both of which require a good degree of manual control. I'd also advocate getting used to one fixed focal length - zooms are convenient but one more thing to faff with and get in the way of capturing your personal "decisive moment".
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  6. taqtaq

    taqtaq Regular

    May 31, 2015
    Espoo, Finland
    6 months ago when I joined the forum the GR had been my only camera for almost a year. I got a Canon G7X for some reach and found out I didn't use the GR anymore and sold it. The canon was good enough for my street purposes yadda yadda...

    Last week I walked in to a camera store and grabbed another GR (the older model, can't justify II). It's just the nicest camera I have ever used, especially for street.
  7. rayvonn

    rayvonn Top Veteran

    Jan 19, 2015
    This is my (limited) experience. If using m43 then during the day, the Olympus 17mm f1.8 and Panasonic 14mm f2.5 are good, you'll get good results, no doubt about it. But I found the Olympus 12 f2 to be the best, as it's sharper, produces better images than the other two, to the point where you can cheat and do cheeky crops on the images it produces and still come out with a great image. EP5/EPL5 or similar sized camera for stealthiness should be fine with these lenses which are still nevertheless blown out of the water by the Ricoh GR. My favourite quote about the GR is about its sensor "which has some special kind of sauce". It's true. The snap shot mode is reputed to be really good. I can confirm that it is.

    During the night (with m43), then in order of priority, the Olympus 75mm produces fantastic observational images, then the Panasonic Leica 25mm for when your getting in a bit closer.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  8. MoonMind

    MoonMind All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Apart from the GR which is an amazing camera for street, I also love to use the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lenses. The 20mm works best on the Panasonic GF1, but I also liked it very much on the E-PM1. On the E-PL7 I currently own, the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is great to work with - a far superior experience than using the 20mm, even though that lens is visibly better optically. Even so, the 17mm focuses fast and accurately on the E-PL7 and renders very pleasingly.

    I have also used the E-M10 for street photography and liked it very much - but I tend to use the 12-40mm f/2.8 with it, and capable though this combination may be, it's no longer unobstrusive. The 17mm works very well on the E-M10, of course - if you would like to have a viewfinder, I think that combination is hard to beat (though of course, a GX7 would be as good). So, while the E-M1 strikes me as a bit on the bulky side for the job, it's a fantastic camera nonetheless, so why not try it with one of the primes (I'd recommend the 17mm f/1.8 or Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 - the 12mm f/2 being too wide for my taste)?

    I also own an LX100, yet while really like it for what it is (a very competent compact camera), in my opinion and experience, it's too slow to deploy for street photography. Once it's switched on, it works great, however. But the GR appears much snappier in every regard, as does the E-PL7 - though it doesn't feel quite as quick as the GR. The E-PM1 was comparatively slow to switch on, but it had a distinctive sound-and-rumble signature, so I knew exactly when it would be ready without looking, which was a real bonus for from-the-hip shots. The GR is similar, but you don't even have to listen - just switch on, aim/frame, shoot (though still without real haste - it's no film camera in that regard; those can be deployed at the speed of drawing a gun).

    But what really amazes me is that the GF1 is an unexpected joy to use for street photography - its switch-on time is very short, autofocus is straightforward and accurate, even with the said-to-be slow 20mm. So, for street on the cheap, I'd vote for a used GF1 and the 20mm - a great match.

  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Coolpix A. Sort of a twin of the GR, but with a better auto-ISO setup traded off against a lack of "snap focus". You can still zone focus with it really well, but it doesn't have the snap feature. For me, the auto ISO setup is an absolute godsend and snap focus merely a convenience. But if you don't care about how auto ISO is set up with a minimum shutter speed, the Ricoh is just as good and feels a little better in the hand. Of course, with either of them you have to like working with a 28mm FOV. I personally prefer 24, but 28 works well enough... And others prefer 35 or 50...

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  10. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Top Veteran

    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    I've used a Nikon Df, and Olympus EM5 Mk II and they both work for me and the way I shoot.

    Lenses - Depends on my mood as I've used just about everything in my arsenal. I tend to favor zooms a little more nowadays. On the nikon I use the 28-85/3.5-4.5 and on the Oly I use the 12-40/2.8 PRO. I've also been known on occasion to pull out the Tamron 70-300 or the Oly 75-300. I'm not scared! :D

    Wanted the Fuji X100T to be that camera, but it is just not responsive enough.
  11. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    The Coolpix A, for all the GR/A reasons stated above.
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  12. rayvonn

    rayvonn Top Veteran

    Jan 19, 2015
    Regarding Ray's comments, I would say that the GR's implementation of auto iso is such that the iso dial is the one that's probably used the most by me when using the camera. ISO really has to be manually done to get the best results.
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  13. PJacobs

    PJacobs Veteran

    Apr 7, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I recently used my Fuji X-E1 and 27mm pancake lens for a little bit of street photography and liked it,
    The focal length feels very natural.
    I did set the camera on f8 and hyperfocal distcance to make it fast and easy.
    But I dont't get very close to people.
  14. rbelyell

    rbelyell All-Pro

    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i'm like the daughter of rosie o'grady: a regular old fashioned girl. for fast paced and discreet street shooting i like zone focusing with a manual lens utilizing a high DOF. so my two favorites are my rd1 with my elmarit 21 set to f8 which gives me a zone of focus from four feet to almost infinity. the other is the x100 set to f8 and manual focus with focus zone set to just below infinity. i dont have to worry about autofocus not working properly if i shoot from the hip, or any kind focus lag. point and shoot.
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  15. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I rarely (REALLY rarely) do street. But I find that using my old X100 makes ME disappear (people ALWAYS think it's an old film camera....especially with the tan, half-case) and I feel more comfortable shooting anyone doing anything.

    If you're comfortable already shooting strangers, than you need to decide what focal length suits you best. I like the feel of the GR, and the focal length is "classic" for street. But it was always too wide for me and I see the shots better (and get more keepers) with something around 40mm. I'm awaiting an arrival of a gf1 with 20mm as we speak.

    Your shots are always good, Andy. Don't overthink it.
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Agree with this - your street work has gotten really good, so you probably don't NEED to think too hard about your gear. OTOH, if you're already thinking about it, maybe it's for a reason related to your current gear and how your shooting style is evolving...

    A lot of us are getting into the weeds of why WE each prefer a given camera, but a TON of it is down to how each of us shoots. Street photography is a tough thing to do well and everyone i know who does it well has developed their own best practices - a way of shooting that works for them but might not for anyone else. I personally like shooting with a wide angle and shooting up quite close, often from the chest or belly rather than with my camera at my eye. It took me a while to get to that point, having tried a LOT of different approaches and different gear before settling in on what works for me. But this style has a LOT to do with my choice of gear. The way I shoot, a wide angle, a good zone focus setup, and a good auto-ISO setup make my life overwhelmingly easier. The Coolpix A suits me perfectly. The DF does too, but it's bigger and louder and is generally overkill for street work except in really low light.

    I've lost the need to do a lot of street photography anymore - it used to be an addiction - now I very rarely do it anymore. Let's just say I used to go looking for it, a LOT, but now I only do it when it comes to me, which is a lot less frequently. But having a technique I know works for me and the gear to match, makes that "occasional" approach still work pretty well. It took a lot of time and a lot of shooting to develop how I shoot on the street and find the right gear for it. I feel like I sort of have the "craft" of it down really well at this point, to where I can just do it every now and then and still get good results. The "art" of it is a completely different question - I don't make ANY claims for myself in that regard - but having the craft down to the level of your DNA at least makes it easier to focus on the art part...

    You've been at this a while, as is clear from the quality of the work you've been posting in the street photography thread lately. And maybe your current gear isn't the best for how your technique is evolving? Only you know what it's doing and NOT doing for you. Maybe we can help, maybe not.

    So, how do you shoot? What focal length do you find yourself most comfortable with? Do you shoot from the eye, from the waist with a flip up screen, or frame on instinct without looking through the camera for each shot? Do you use auto-focus or do you prefer to use zone focus? Do you find a scene, set up your composition, and wait for something interesting to happen in that scene? Or do you walk through crowds of people looking for that immediate human moment and try to capture that? Your answers to these questions may not lead to a specific camera, but knowing your approach may help us narrow down a suggestion of cameras that might work best for YOU, rather than what's worked for us so far...

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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  17. ajramirez

    ajramirez Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    It's easy to overthink this, I believe. I am of the opinion that you can do street photography with pretty much any fairly responsive camera. I use the Leica M-P, Nikon Df, and on rare occasions, a Canon 7D, and while the Leica is the most inconspicuous of the three, they all work. It's just a matter of being familiar with your gear and how it works, and a little bit of feeling comfortable in your shoes.
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  18. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Veteran

    Jan 20, 2014
    Launceston & Sydney
    Nick Clark
    Really? I pretty much only ever shift off auto-ISO if I'm using a tripod...
  19. rayvonn

    rayvonn Top Veteran

    Jan 19, 2015
    Maybe it's just my copy, but on a cloudy but yet still daylight scenario, the Iso pumped up to 19,000(!)
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I think it depends on whether you're using TaV mode with auto ISO, or Aperture priority with auto-hi. With TaV and auto-ISO, it can really get out of hand just moving between sunlight and shadows. If you have the shutter speed set for sunlight and base ISO and suddenly move into a deep shadow, you either have to adjust the shutter or beware of what the ISO may do. With Aperture priority and manual ISO, your shutter speed might come down more than you'd like in some situations, but just moving from sun (where it might be maxed out at 1/2000 or something) to shade, where it might come down to 1/500 or 1/250, but you can still probably get a useable shot. For me, auto-Hi was the best option on the GR except that the fastest you could set the minimum shutter speed was 1/250 and I generally try to keep the shutter speed 1/400 - 1/500 for street work. With the Coolpix A, you can use the equivalent of auto-hi but you can set the minimum shutter speed as fast as 1/1000 if you want.

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