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Street Photography

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by johnmk, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. johnmk

    johnmk New Member

    Hi all,
    I really want to get into street photography but unsure what camera is sufficiently suitable.
    Should I opt for a compact or DSLR camera? I've heard that having a standard prime lens is best as it forces you to approach your subject rather than taking a photo from afar, so having any camera with a tele photo, or zoom lens is unnecessary. Also, it is important to be ready to take a photograph at any given moment, so having a lens which retracts after one or two minutes of inactivity is unhelpful in this situation.
    The camera doesn't necessarily have to be the most recent model on the market, in fact realistically, not achievable/desirable, especially as there is a low budget of £120. This might mean obtaining a camera launched within the last ten years?

    Your help and advice will be very much appreciated, please.

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You can use any camera. It depends on how you plan to go about it. The bigger the camera/lens the more aware people are of it. I don't deliberately do "street" other than buildings but if I use my camera (full frame DSLR) in a populated area I see some people who ignore me and readily get in the way (walk into shot) and others who will considerately try to walk around or wait. If you are going to point a camera at someone, rather than set up the background and wait for someone to get into position, a smaller camera is probably better than a hulking DSLR with a F2.8 zoom on it. Plus it weighs less to carry around. A Fuji CSC, like the XPro-2, is quite small and has a vast lens range. The Fuji X-100 has a fixed lens and is small. The micro 4/3 cameras from olympus and panasonic are also quite small. I have an older Fuji, the XE-2, which looks like a rangefinder and is half-silvered so it looks a bit like an old film camera. People do pay less attention to that. On the whole I'd say use a CSC rather than a compact, although there are some good compacts now with 1" sensors and looking like a tourist can help you be less visible.
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Budget only £120 though, Pete.
    I think either as good a compact as possible or a small dslr, say Pentax and 50mm or similar. The good thing about a 50 is that being small, it isn't so noticeable; zooms being larger are more obvious.

  4. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Hi @johnmk - did you buy a DSLR last year when you asked us which one would be best? If you did, does that not work for street photography?
  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    An awful lot depends on what you think of as street photography. I've always thought of it as basically candid photography capturing people as they really are. For that sort of thing I find an inconspicuous camera with a reasonably long focus lens suits me best. At the moment I have a Sony HX90 which I sometimes use for this sort of thing because it's so inconspicuous (which doesn't mean no one will notice it ;) )...

    Sony HX90 8GB 01 DSC00839.JPG

    Sony R1 05973.JPG

    Sony HX90 8GB 09 00273.JPG

    Sony HX90 8GB 09 DSC00348.JPG
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I carry a massive DSLR with a physically large lens on it. No one notices me any more than they would if I was carrying a tiny camera. It's not the camera they notice, it's your behaviour.

    Street photography is a massive genre covering a whole range of styles and themes. There only connection is 'a trace of humanity' in some way (that's my definition).

    The folk spotted the lady with the phone camera, but not me with a huge DSLR.

    [​IMG]He Don't Care by Tony Evans, on Flickr
    AlanW and Geren like this.
  7. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I don't really do street photography as such but I do do photography in the street and as such I'm inclined to agree with PeteR - it's more about the way you act than the camera you're carrying. Act furtively and people will be suspicious, act openly and courteously and people will be more accepting and less inclined to 'see' you.

    I shoot with SLR and CSC and I find it more likely that people are more likely to want to avoid 'getting in your way' if you have a 'serious' camera than if you look like a tourist with a 'tourists' camera.

    Your budget though is more in compact territory than DSLR/CSC. Looking on the Ffordes website you could get a Nikon D70S and AF-s 18-70mm zoom for £144 which wouldn't be a bad combo albeit a little on the old side. A prime lens though would likely mean a significant increase in budget for something suitable.
  8. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    It is fair to say that a large number of people walk around in a state of oblivion to what is going on around them, too occupied with smartphones to actually be aware of anything else. It is furtive behaviour that is most likely to cause anybody to pay you more than passing attention. My own view is that we should not set out to make people look foolish or be overly intrusive, if a camera was shoved right in my face I know what my reaction would be.
  9. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I don't disagree with that in general. My view is that I'll photograph anything I like, but I'll not publish stuff I feel uncomfortable about. In 100 years it may be more valuable so I don't throw them away and not taking them censors reality.
  10. johnmk

    johnmk New Member

    Thank you to all of you for your views, they are really interesting and very helpful, so thank you to you all.
  11. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    To me, street photography is about more than just whacking out candid photos of people. All you're indulging in there is candid photography. There has to be something noteworthy about the subject or the way he/she blends or juxtaposes with the background. That's what separates good street photography from mundane snaps of the street. You might say it defines all good photography - you must offer something outside of the viewer's day-to-day experience.
    Gezza and AlanW like this.
  12. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    .... if you choose a compact camera, pay attention to shutter lag. It's inherently more difficult to capture one of HCB's "decisive moments" if the shutter releases a moment later. The Ricoh GR series is well-liked for street photography.
  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    What Albert regards as a mundane snap in the street Bethany regards as a work of great art.
  14. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    Hardcore street photographers will know the difference! :)
  15. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Is a hardcore street photographer someone who takes pictures of what they put down before they lay the tarmac? :confused:
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    No, that's Mafia street photographers.
  17. Max resist

    Max resist Well-Known Member

    Street Photography is a grey area.
    Be careful.
    Its prohibited in some Shopping Centres for example and Security Guards will enforce this.
    Its prohibited inside Large Supermarkets for whatever reason.
    I took some photos of products in Carrefour France and they were onto me like a ton of bricks
    virtually accusing me of industrial espionage!
    Its possible to get carried away with paraparazzi type street photography
    and very difficult to know what observers or your subject is thinking.
    Are they uncomfortable?
    Have they even noticed you?
    or are they on their phone to the local gang summoning up assistance to deal with a snitch coppers nark pevert
    or nonce?
    Just saying
  18. Lindsay Pennell

    Lindsay Pennell Well-Known Member

    I recently bought a camera with Street in mind: an Olympus E-P3 off ebay for £94, with the standard 12-42mm zoom. Perfect for this task, although I'm looking for the 17mm pancake to be even simpler to use - no zooming to bother with. This is the predecessor of the Pen F, so a fine camera in my opinion, a good equivalent to the Leica iii with standard lens of HC-B's era.
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    But there's very little they can do about it. They can ask you to leave, and physically throw you out if you refuse.

    Fear and paranoia in the photographer's own head is far more of a threat in most cases.


  20. Max resist

    Max resist Well-Known Member

    Actually theres quite a lot some nutjob might do in todays streets.
    Not surprising theres fear and paranoia,
    If you're toting a 3K Full Frame SLR for a start,
    That's a draw to some thief.
    Think folks who wander round Britains streets photographing strangers close up sitting on buses
    etc are asking for some sort of trouble eventually.
    The street and strangers are not a secure free photographic studio for ones enjoyment and pleasure.
    I read a few months back in a local paper of a major hoo ha in some quiet village because 'a man'had been seen'taking photographs'
    in a quiet Berkshire Village.
    That was all.
    Some one had spotted him and considered it 'suspicious;Out of character.
    The paranoia seems to be in the minds of the public.
    Needless to say The Police Helicopter was scrambled and CCTV images posted on Social Media
    of the sighting.

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