So Christmas is around the corner and you have been a good boy/girl this year. So you want to buy a new camera and/or some new lenses? Sure we know that it is the street photographer, not the camera that makes his/her photos amazing. But hey– it is always fun to experiment with new cameras and lenses as well.
I have gotten many questions from aspiring street photographers–asking what lens or body to get next. Read this list and pass it onto your loved ones (hopefully they love you enough to buy you some stuff in this list).
Also please note that these are my personal recommendations. If you don’t agree with this list, please leave a comment below and let me know whats up!
If you are interested in purchasing your first DSLR, I would highly recommend a used Canon 5D. You can get them used for only $1200, and they are full-frame, meaning that the lenses you get will show their true focal length. It is also phenomenal at low-light high-iso situations.
A bit short on cash? Check out the Rebel XSi or the Rebel XS (a bit cheaper). Both are small, and give great performance as well. Oh yeah, also heard great things about the Nikon D3000 as well.
If I was in the market for a new camera, it would definitely be for a micro 4/3rds. They are small, inconspicuous, and give fantastic image quality. Definitely the best “bang-for-the-buck” imho. I tried out Thomas Leuthard’s Panasonic GF-1 and instantly fell in love with it. Super-responsive auto-focus, and great image quality. I also heard that the EP-1 gives great image quality as well, but the autofocus is painfully slow.
Point and Shoots
Out of all the point and shoots for the street photographer out there, the Canon S95 (or S90) blow all the competitors out of the water. It is one of the smallest point and shoots out there, but offer great control with the front and rear dials–and has a super fast f/2 lens. Don’t consider anything else.
Update: If you have a little extra $$$ to spend, check out the Ricoh GRIII. It has a beautiful fixed focal 28mm 1.9 lens and with its “snap-focus” function, it has practically zero shutter lag (while the Canon S95 has a slight shutter lag). Also its built like a tank with its alloy body, and feels great in the hand as well. A worthy (but more expensive) competitor.
If you are interested in getting a digital rangefinder on a budget, check out the Leica M8. Sure it is not full-frame, but it will give you the true “rangefinder experience” without having to shell out $6900 on a Leica M9.
The Canon 35mm f/2 is my lens of choice on my full-framed 5D. Small, inconspicuous, and sharp– it is the perfect walk-around lens for a street photographer. I personally like the 35mm focal length, as it is wide enough to capture a background, but at the same not too wide. Also note that the 35mm focal length is my preference, although many street photographers out there such as Markus Hartel prefer the 28mm focal length.
For 1.6 crop bodies, the problem about primes is that they are often too close. Therefore you are good getting a 20mm 1.8, which will translate into roughly a 32mm (close to a 35mm).
- Handstrap (any cheap one on eBay)