Equipment

One of the questions art director now world renowned photographer, Joel Meyerowitz was asked after accompanying photojournalist Robert Frank on an assignment and returned to inform his boss, he wanted to become a photographer, "Do you have a camera?"

That was the key to Joel Meyerowitz success, the camera he used was a Pentax 35 mm SLR camera. He then moved on to other formats for his work, including Aftermath.

So what about his street photography? What camera does he use in fact what camera does anyone use on the street?

Street photography is synonymous with small compact lightweight cameras, that enable the photographer to be light on his feet, to not be hindered by the weight of some over obvious pro DSLR.

Remember this is street photography, you want to be fast to get the photograph and smallness of being is were its at. So what do most people like to use digital or analogue, well for beginners who have worked up the nerve to go out and photograph the street, its people and places.

Well, both formats have their pros and cons but to be honest, if you are a beginner stick to digital then when you feel your work is of a better standard, to perhaps create a book or a portfolio, you can begin experimenting with other formats.


What things should I consider

A number of other aspects to consider are what camera does your budget fit, or rather what camera fits my budget? 

Here is some key advice from Eric Kim; street photographer, blogger and street photography workshop guru.  
Eric Kim has an abundance of knowledge on the subject, however I know a thing or two myself, as am a student photographer, I know a lot about composition and various formats that cameras use.

So lets have a look from the top we have a Full Frame (EOS 1D MK II), we have EOS 60D APSC-sensor, we have Micro 4/3rds, which is a format commonly found on ‎Olympus PEN E-PL5 these hand held cameras are ideal for quick shots, very versatile and some even come with interchangeable lenses. 

Although looking at compact cameras nowadays they too, have evolved. Panasonic has really come a long way now they produce, compacts like the DMC-SZ8EB-K or even the very popular Nikon Coolpix


Of course once you look at those cameras, you may want to start looking at some books on the subject after all books, are the one aspect about photography which is affordable, collectible and you can gain learning and inspiration through the medium of viewing at your own pace. 

Another thing to think about is the preferred focal length to shoot at most street photographer's will use an 35 mm lens rather than the much more tight 50 mm lens.  


Here in this example we can see how the field of view comparison compares, using a wider lens enables the photographer to capture a greater field of view, hence the old saying in street photography, Go Wide or Go Home! 


So if we therefore use an 35 mm lens focal length, we can begin to see how we can capture much more of the story unfolding before us.

http://nealcurrie.com/media/tech/fov/fov.jpg
©Neal Currie

Don't get me wrong I do like 50mm focal length for some of my shots, as did one of the greatest past masters this art form has known Henri Cartier-Bresson. 

We all know that Henri, used a Leica camera in fact the very camera he owned and captured most of the beautiful images of Paris, was eventually purchased by another great master William Klein.

Strangely the two compare in what must seem very differing styles but taken with the very same camera.

This is what really puts the renowned camera of choice Leica on the map for me, is the camera the only choice?

Well, no it isn't. I own a Russian made FED 4 rangefinder and after shooting a roll of AGFA Vista + was very impressed to find how rich the colours were in the photographs, that I had produced.

Yes, it is a bit slow to handle however the images were very sharp, and the exposure was spot on, no under exposed or over exposure was experienced in the prints at all. I will post these images on my gallery page. 

Another camera I use is my Pentax MX I have two lenses with it a 28mm f/2 and a 50mm f/2, seeing now as I now shoot more film again, I have captured some better photographs, it seems with film that you really do have to work it, you have to become more agile, more athletic and certainly to some degree, the photographs become more chaotic. 

I just love these beautiful moments that are captured, it like freezing time. Although in reality it is only just 1/250 second,  all of your pictures would only make up a couple of minutes if they were stitched together. That is like a paradox, it is our paradox that we are documenting our lives and the lives of those we capture around us and those moments would be lost forever if it wasn't for us photographers having the knowledge to momentarily freeze time. 

So in order to do just that we need a very fast shutter speed, most cameras nowadays will produce a shutter speed range of 1/4000 second, that is very fast but then the camera has to be to ensure you capture a unique moment. 

See here for Fuji cameras, they are lightweight and non obtrusive just being the right size to capture a great shot. Not only that but the camera has a great view finder essential for framing the photograph, which is something not many people do these days, unless of course they study composition or art at least. 

The most important thing to remember is to just enjoy it, learn from the books then go out there and discover a whole new world of photography.