I sometimes get the question about what camera gear I use, when walking in the streets. It’s funny, a couple of years ago, I would ask the same question to other photographers. And I would look on my photographs and then my camera and think “if I only had a better camera” 😉 This is actually so stupid. Take a look on Flickr. Find some photos that you really like, and check the camera model. You will be surprised how many photos that are taken with point and shoot cameras and mobile phones, yes and even Nikons. 😉 And they still look fantastic.
It has been said before. The best camera you can have, is the one you bring along with you. This is so true. Find a camera that you know to your fingertips, feel comfortable with and is small enough not to be a burden – and not so big that you would use the weight and size as an excuse not to bring it with you. And don’t listen to all this DSLR or not talk. If you have a DSLR camera that you love – use it. Even if many street photographers would say it is a no go. You will get noticed on the street with any camera. I often feel more exposed with a little point and shoot camera than with my Canon 6D. I feel less creepy with the DSLR camera, since people seem to notice me and believe I am a person interested in photographing, rather than a suspicious person with bad intentions.
Back to the original question. The last year I have been using both a Canon 6D and a Ricoh GR. I love them both. Great cameras! The Ricoh is with me every time I go out in the streets. The 6D when I plan a trip to a city, just to photograph. They are very different cameras. They work very different. But I know them, and the best thing… I know their limitations. I still learn new things with them though. And I love that. We are here to live and learn.
I started shooting street photos with the Canon 6D and a 40mm pancake lens. This setup is great. The 40mm is very sharp, small and light. Sometimes the 40mm is a little limiting. I often used the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 when I needed a wide angel. 24mm is actually a great. The Tamron was the lens I used the most for a week in Rome. Great lens, but sooo big and heavy. If you have problems with your neck, don’t use this lens as a walk-around lens. Now I am using the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS. Its bigger and more heavy than the 40mm pancake, and the sharpness is the same. But f/2 and, IS and the distance scale (for zone metering) was the reason to the switch. And I like 35mm better than 40mm. But still, the Canon pancake is one of the best lenses you can get for money in my opinion.
The Ricoh GR is a perfect camera to have with you all the time. It takes wonderful pictures. Fantastic dynamic range and colors. Just see some of the great photos Erik Kim makes. And read his Ricoh GR reviews. If you are afraid of grain, don’t use higher ISO than 3200. Then you need the 6D. The Ricoh has a steep learning curve though. You have to use some time to know how to program it to your personal use, and to get the best result. Use a weekend to try it out. Read the manual and some of the good articles on the web, and then you will love this wonderful little camera.
There are so many cameras out there. Fujifilm, Sony, Leica etc. None of them makes us better photographers. All in all, just love your camera what ever brand and model you have. Love its best features and learn to overcome its limitations. And most important, have it with you as much as possible.