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5 CAMERAS FOR GREAT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY:
A (IN)COMPLETE LIST
With more than 6 years of experience in the Street Photography Field and almost 500k pictures taken, I’ve been able to try different cameras while shooting down the streets. This list is based only on my experience, so if you tried different cameras and think they are missing here, please write it in the comment area below and I will be happy to discover more.
1- Fujifilm X100 series
My very first camera for Street Photography was a Fuji X100S, a mirrorless with a fixed 23 mm f2 Lens, and a 16 mpx sensor. A ridicolous autofocus and bad High Iso performance.
My all time favorite Camera.
I can still remember the feelings while I was holding it in my hands for the first time.
Compared to the actual Cameras, the X100S seems like an analogic one, due to its huge limitations about autofocus and ISO, I took 120.000+ pictures with “her”, plus my most famous, the one from Istanbul Airport (see below).
The 16 mp sensor didn’t give that bad “worm sharpness” typical of the newest Fujifilm (only for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom users).
Here is the “Smoking Area, Istanbul 2015”. I remember I was flying to Miami for the Miami Street Photography Festival, waiting for the 2nd flight at Ataturk Airport.
I use to bring my Fujifilm always with me, even on a Motorbike trip in the Balkans in 2016. Its dimensions are a great odd because people get scared only by reflex cameras + 70-200 lens. Plus, the “vintage look” can help you to get out from uncomfortable situations: you can say it’s an analog camera in order to hide the picture!
After the X100S, I stepped to X100F. I can say that it has a lot of technical improvements, especially on the autofocus side and high ISO, but she won’t ever replace her “older sister”.
Click here to discover more about the Fujifilm X100F
2- Leica M10
This is not just a Camera, it’s more like a “monument” (even for the price!)
Released in 2017, the Leica M10 has a 24 mpx sensor with 100-50.000 ISO range. Compared to the previous M8 and M9, the M10 made huge step forward, especially under the ISO aspect. Therefore now you can shoot in low light conditions without the fear of shooting over 1600 iso!
No doubt the Leica is “The Camera” for Street Photography. Henry Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa made this brand famous, yet they soon understood that they needed a “pocket camera” in order to be fast and invisible on the scene.
Before spending € 6.000 for buying this Beauty, you should know that you won’t have any autofocus help because the Leica M is supported only by Manual Focus lenses. And that’s why people love it (even me).
In street photography you have to be quick, and..
“The fastest way to focus, is not focusing at all” – Mario Dondero
Even if this sentence seems weird, it’s absolutely true. Indeed, Italian Photographer Mario Dondero used a Leica M to shoot his project: with a rangefinder camera and the Hyperfocal technique, you are able to previously decide the focus area without the fear that it will change. In this way, when you recognize an interesting scene, you just have to frame it and shoot.
Click here to discover more about the Leica M10
3- Leica Q
When this stunning Camera came out in 2015 a lot of people were sceptic about it: a 4.000 € Camera with a fixed 28 mm Lens seems a little bit too expensive, don’t you think?
Well, that wasn’t just a “28 mm Lens”. It was A Summilux 28mm f1.4
I tried it for the first time in 2016 during Pitti Uomo, a big Fashion Event where I used to work, in Florence. Unlike the Leica M series, you can count on the autofocus (which is very very fast). The raw files of the Leica Q are a total beauty, even in low light conditions.
Click here to discover more about the Leica Q
4- RICOH GR
The Ricoh GR is the favorite camera for lots of Street Photographer. Pau Buscato, to say one, used to shoot with the GR and took some of the most iconic pictures about this genre.
The Ricoh GR is a real pocket camera, essential as powerful. The first model had a 16.2 mpx apsc sensor with a 18 mm f 2.8 lens (28 mm equivalent). Lots of limitations but in daylight it was perfect; the actual GR III made remarkable progress compared to the previous GR and GR II.
The sensor was increased to 24.2 mpx, but the focal length remained the same, with 2 cropping options (35 mm at 15 mpx and 50 mm at 7 mpx).
All of my Banana Fellow, Davide Albani, Giorgio Scalici, Riccardo Cattaneo and Matteo Zannoni use to shoot with the GR (even if now are moving to shooting medium format 😀 )
Click here to discover more about the Ricoh GR.
5- LEICA M6
“A digital camera among the best 5 cameras for street?”
No, it’s not a mistake.
Shooting Film is not a mere “pressing the shutter”, it’s a parallel experience. It starts with loading the roll and never ends: a film picture owns a sort of analog life. I develop my films trough a trusted lab, plus I scan the negative to have a digital archive.
Shooting with Leica M6 gives me the opportunity to slow down and better focus on what surrounds me. No rush, no stress. Just me and my camera as a way to discover the world.
As I previously mentioned, this list is based on my personal experience. All the pictures, except the one with the Leica M10 and Ricoh GR, are copyright of Giacomo Vesprini.
Thank you for reading this article and let me know your opinion in the comment area below.