The Best Camera for Street Photography

    I’m sure when we all began venturing into the genre of street photography, we would at one point have searched the web for ‘what’s the best camera for street photography?’….I know I did. Apart from finding lots of helpful advice and reviews through blogs and YouTube videos for what certain cameras and lenses are good for certain styles of street photography, be it portraits, cityscapes….etc, I also came across the saying that the best camera for street photography is the one you have with you. How true this was on the last day of 2016 while visiting one of my favourite towns for shooting street, Celle, Germany.

    I sat at home wondering if the weekend market was on due to it being new years eve, so I tuned into the Celle webcam and seen the stalls were being set up…great! I also check the availability of some fast memory cards at the huge electrical store, that I have always been meaning to buy, and they had them in….great again! I grabbed my camera bag, emptied everything out of it and then thought about what camera and lenses I would need for the trip.

    I hadn’t used my Nikon D5300 for a while so I decided that would be the one to take, all I had to do was pick a lens. I pondered over the 35mm, 50mm or 85mm and in the end I went for the 50mm. I also popped the 35mm in the bag too, just in case it was really crowded at the market and I need a bit more width, and off I went.

    After the 40 min or so drive, I parked up and headed for the store to buy my memory cards. After my visit to the store I headed towards the town center where the market is held every Wednesday and Saturday. It felt weird walking about with my DSLR ‘house brick’ in my hand as many of you may know that I’ve mostly been shooting with my trusty little Ricoh GR since I bought it on eBay a while ago. Such a change in size and I was feeling as if I was sticking out like a sore thumb with the larger camera on display.

    As I walked through the market to the other side where the Castle is, I spotted what seemed to be a homeless man walking around barefooted in flip flops…..it was close to freezing point that day and even I was feeling the cold…..and I’m Scottish :0)

    Anyway as I was watching this guy walk around picking up what seemed to be litter and small pieces of leaves, I spotted a pair of feet behind the huge glass framed map of Celle. I loved the way the guy was standing directly in the middle and the information ‘i’ sign directly above him. The lining up was perfect and I knew within a split second that I wanted this shot.

    I raised my camera, looked through the view finder and…..arrrgh!

    The 50mm wasn’t wide enough to get the whole scene in and I couldn’t back up any further because there was a fence between the pavement and the castle moat. There was only one option left open for me…..my top left hand jacket pocket.

    I quickly release the stud on the pocket, reached in and grabbed my trusted friend ‘Ricoh’ :0)

    With my Nikon now hanging by the strap on my right wrist, I turned the GR on which was already set at ‘My Setting 1’ (f/5.0 – ISO 800 – Snap Focus – which gives me a focusing range from around 1.5 meters to 5 meters) perfect for quick close street photography……and yes!…I got the shot.

     

     

    I also got a shot of the Flip Flop man walking behind the map a few moments later but my initial shot, the one that I seen, the one that I wanted and the one that I captured, was my triumph of the day.

    So, is the best camera for street photography actually the one you have with you?….well in principle, yes it is, but it doesn’t hurt to go prepared. The main aim is to get the shot.

    I’m glad I had the GR in my pocket for ‘just in case’ moments like that, because if I only had the Nikon and the 50mm with me, I wouldn’t have made my shot and that moment would be gone without a trace…a bit like the memory cards that were sold out by the time I got to the store that day…..Amazon here I come :0)

     

     

     

     

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    2 Comments

    1. Esther | | Reply

      I had the same issue when I just bought my Olympus E-M5 two years ago. I already had my big DLSR, I loved it, but it was huge compared with the Oly and I didn’t know which one to choose each time I had to go shooting. I finally decided to leave my DLRS at home.
      I should sell it now, as I don’t use it anymore. I am definitly convinced that the mirrorless camera is the best for street photography, smaller, lighter, quicker, with a tiltable screen, quiet… the best for street photography but also for travel photography.

      Though, I like your first shot with the Nikon, for the blurry background and separation. It is the only thing that I miss with the mirrorless, less bokeh… but it is not so important for street photography. It just requires a better composition.
      Thank you for this article !

    2. Mister G.C. | | Reply

      Thanks for your reply Esther.
      You can’t beat the quality of a DSLR and a good lens for fine looking images with creamy backgrounds. However I do have the Sigma 60mm for my A6000 which I have only tried out once in the streets since I bought it ages ago.

      Maybe I’ll do a comparison shoot soon between the DSLR Nikon D5300 & 50mm 1.8 and the mirrorless A6000 & 60mm 2.8.
      Both have the same size sensor (24mp) and both are prime lenses…..so in theory they should produce the same quality images. Who knows?

      If you sell your DSLR you could use the money to buy that prime lens you want for your mirrorless camera ;0)

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