June 2nd, 2012, 08:39 PM
Don, I read on another thread that you sold the Panny GX1, now I see this fine shots with the GRD4. What are you thoughts now on the best street camera. I know you cannot speak for everyone, but I am always interested to hear what a veteran street shooter has to say on the subject. For me it is plainly my growing interest in street photography that has moved me into the small mirrorless camera field.
June 2nd, 2012, 09:02 PM
If I may venture an opinion Dan, there's no such thing. Or more precisely, it depends on the shooter and how he or she likes to use the camera. For some its the X100 or X-Pro used at eye-level, for some its the GRD or GXR held at whatever angle, for some its a DSLR, for some its a camera with a flip up or articulating screen. I've tried a lot and I only know one thing for sure - I'm more comfortable shooting from anywhere but my face, so a viewfinder is a non-issue for me for that type of shooting. In some ways the GRD series are as good as anything I've ever used (at least in half decent light and Michael Penn uses them really well in crazy low light too). The GXR is very similar - better in low light, not quite as much DOF for zone focus. In some ways the OMD is the best street camera I've ever used because I really love the flip up screen and the ability to use that screen as the shutter button, but only with the 12mm because that's the only lens it'll zone focus really easily with. But the bottom line is once I've learned to use a camera and I'm comfortable with the focal length, it almost doesn't matter. My shots end up looking like my shots almost regardless with only fairly subtle differences. Any camera with a reasonably quick shutter, the ability to zone focus reasonably easily, and a focal length I'm comfortable with is just a fine street camera. The equation changes somewhat in low light because you're generally not using zone focus (although with the low light capabilities of the X-Pro, you actually CAN in fairly low light) so the low light capabilities and AF of the camera becomes more important.
Originally Posted by Country Parson
I know Don has a real strong affinity for Ricoh's and they're as good as any and better than most if you don't shoot from eye level. And only the X-Pro is notably better in low light among mirrorless cameras. But unless you're using something that just absolutely does not work for you, I've concluded the camera is probably the least important aspect of street shooting. Which is kind of funny given how much time and money I've spent looking for the holy grail of street cameras. There are subtle differences but they only make a subtle difference in the shooting in most circumstances...
June 2nd, 2012, 09:33 PM
Originally Posted by Country Parson
Good question and I'll answer to the best of my experience. I differ from most shooters in the fact that I feel the camera is a very important part of my process.
Here's why. When I go to work I am in a zone. It's not a trance but a zone of focus that incorporates my eyes, mind and heart. It's like a triangle of emotion, energy and light.
So, as I'm walking and waiting for the next image to find me, I love to feel the camera in my hand.
The GX1 is a great camera but it has a few technical flaws that killed it for me. Most cameras do. The touch screen is a no no for the street. I know you can turn it off but why get a camera with a touch screen if it's going to be off?
There are no real good ways of doing Hyperfocal Distance or Zone Focusing in most cameras. This of course sets me away from m43 all together. That's a shame because it's all good stuff, just not for me.
A very important aspect in a good camera is how you and it work together to get exposure. I use M mode most times with the camera set to Auto ISO high at 3200.
So, I could set the exposure for 125/f8 and the camera computes the proper ISO.
The Ricoh GXR and GRD both have the best UI in the business, bar none. I use the GXR A28 for most things as it just does everything so well. What it doesnt do well is make grit. I mean natural grit. It's so clean that you have to work to destroy the quality and make it look right.
The GRD is a True Grit machine. I have a few different models around the house but made the mistake of selling the GRD3 last year.
The new WHITE GRD4 is an incredible camera. It;s small, fits in my jeans pocket with room to spare. It has great power management and it just feels like a friend in the hand.
It's small but not to small.
So, I dumped the GX1 and no longer have any m43 cameras, again. The GXR is waiting on the shelf but not upset because I am not asking it to make dirty images.
It's little sister is doing fine on that note.
People talk about the decisive moment. Bresson would roll over in his grave if he heard all the hub bub that is mistakingly called the decisive moment.
All I know is this Dan. When I'm working I don't want any stupid IPOD crap playing music in my ears. I want to hear the sounds of life as if I will never hear it again. I want to smell life on the street as if it were the fruits of mankind. I want to see the humanity and feel human as if I could find my soul on the street.
Most importantly, I want to photograph the things that call to me and I don't want a camera making decisions or intruding on my process of being a streetshooter.
June 2nd, 2012, 10:06 PM
I think perhaps that I am less traditional in my methods than Don, but the touchscreen focus/shutter and articulated screen on the E-M5 makes it THE street camera for me, as long the AF speed of the lens can keep up with it (not the 20mm, unfortunately). Without a fast focusing lens it isn't of much use.
Last edited by Luckypenguin; June 2nd, 2012 at 10:17 PM.
Nic (Canonite, Olympian, Panasonian, Samsunite) ~flickr~
June 2nd, 2012, 10:13 PM
I'm with you Nic, except I don't even use it to focus except in low light. In good light, I'm set to manual focus and then the WHOLE touch screen is just a shutter button and you can touch it pretty much anywhere (except the extreme edges) and it will fire the shot. Sometimes I'm looking at it to frame, sometimes I'm not, but I'm almost always using it to fire the shutter. Something about not having my hand anywhere near the shutter button that makes me feel even less conspicuous, whether that has ANY grounding in actual reality being irrelevant as long as it makes me FEEL like it does when I'm shooting. But I say that and then I'll go shoot much more traditionally with the X-Pro at my waist, framing on instinct, using the shutter button, and my shots aren't different, so its all about the shooting experience, and as Don says what puts you in that zone. Its not that much about the results...
Originally Posted by Luckypenguin
June 2nd, 2012, 10:19 PM
Don, Really enjoyed these!
June 2nd, 2012, 10:27 PM
Thank Andrew....there's more cooking and I'm on the street again tomorrow around 0700.
June 2nd, 2012, 10:31 PM
You gonna be at the bike race? Manayunk perhaps? I'm gonna miss it this year - West Chester has its own thing going on tomorrow, but the race is always a pretty interesting scene...
Originally Posted by Streetshooter
June 2nd, 2012, 10:51 PM
Nah, I'll do my walk from 2nd and Market to the Museum and back....
Originally Posted by Ray
June 2nd, 2012, 11:05 PM
Thanks Don and Ray. Good thoughts. While I am happy with both the NEX7 and the Xpro, I am not happy with the uneven and often slow Xpro focus, nor with the fact that neither of these is pocketable. The NEX would be close if there were a decent pancake lens for it but alas there is not, yet. I tried the Xpro at a wedding I attended this afternoon, and got some good results, but the focus was a problem at times. But it does work well using the same method you described, Don, setting the aperture and shutter speed with the auto ISO up to 3200. This works especially well with this camera given the fantastic IQ even at 3200. I am preparing for a few days of fast and furious street work at the DNC in September. The streets of Charlotte will be jumping. Will it be with these two cameras or will i decide something else would be better. At this point I expect these two will be it. When I need fast focus the NEX7 fits the bill, and both have great IQ and adequate interface, though on that count I think both the Ricoh and the Samsung are better.
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