Shoot all day, every day, with whatever camera is least cumbersome to you.
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All cameras are good cameras.
Use any camera that is easily accessible right now, to shoot photos.
Variations in cameras
Cameras come in infinite permutations. Bigger, smaller, heavier, lighter, digital, film, phone, standalone, etc.
Of course every different type of camera produces a different looking photo. And the way you process your photos will affect how the photos will look.
And of course, you want to make photos that look aesthetically beautiful to you.
So this is the question:
Can you make an aesthetically beautiful photograph regardless of the camera?
I think you can.
All day photography
I have this idea that all day, we are photographers. Every instant and every moment of the day, we can do something photographic.
Can you shoot photos from morning until you sleep at night? With a phone, yes you can. Even with low light situations, use a Google Pixel.
Keep a RICOH GR II in your front pocket. Or keep a camera strapped around your neck when you go on grocery trips (HENRI NECK STRAP).
Don’t care about consistency
In art, there is this bias that we must be consistent. I agree that within a certain body of work, or within a certain project, I prefer seeing aesthetic consistency.
But with your personal life, just shoot any camera which is convenient at any moment.
Surround yourself with tools
Have a camera in your car glove compartment or drink holder.
Have a camera at your desk at work. Have a camera at the desk at your house.
Whenever you go out to shoot photos, don’t ask yourself:
What is the best camera for the job?
What is the least cumbersome camera to take with me?
The least cumbersome camera will most likely be a phone (iPhone), or perhaps a point and shoot compact camera.
All day, every day
All cameras are good cameras; don’t discriminate, just shoot every day with haste!
Don’t waste a single day. Shoot all day, every day.
There is no “perfect” camera. Don’t fall into GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and falsely believe that buying a new camera will make you a better photographer.
If you’re not feeling inspired in your photography, I recommend you to buy books, not gear. Also check out these 75+ Inspirational Photo Books You Gotta Buy. You can also download my free books.
Equipment Articles >
- Why The Future of Photography is Software
- RICOH MAFIA
- Use and Abuse Your Gear!
- Why RICOH GR II is the Best Street Photography Camera
- The Best Photography/Vlogging Equipment Setup
- My Favorite Travel Street Photography Equipment
- Zen Body-Hand-Mind Connection with the Camera
- Why It Doesn’t Matter What Camera You Shoot With
- What is the Best Camera and Lenses for Street Photography?
- The Best Travel Street Photography Equipment 2018
- 6 Lessons I’ve Learned After Shooting All the Expensive Cameras
- How to Make Good Photos on a Shitty Camera
- Why I Shoot With One Camera and One Lens
- My Travel Equipment, Winter 2017
- What is the Perfect Camera For You?
- What to Consider When Buying a Camera
Smartphone Photography >
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Smartphone Photography
- Benefits of Shooting Street Photography With a Smartphone
- In Street Photography, The Smaller the Camera, the Better
Film Photography 101 >
- Film Street Photography Manual
- What I Learned Shooting 100 Rolls of Black and White Film
- What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film
My favorite camera for street photography
There is no perfect camera for street photography and everyone’s tastes are different. My favorite camera for street photography is the Ricoh GR II.
The Ricoh GR II is the best bang-for-the-buck camera for street photography on the market. It has an APS-C sensor (DSLR-sized sensor), a super-sharp 28mm lens (no anti-aliasing filter), and literally fits into your front pocket.
The Ricoh GR II is pretty much the same as the prior Ricoh GR, except it has Wi-Fi built in.
Why do I recommend the Ricoh GR II?
First of all, for street photography you want the smallest, most compact, and inconspicuous camera (that you can always carry with you). I find that with other digital cameras, you end up never carrying them with you 24/7, simply because they are too big. The Fujifilm X100F and digital Leica’s are fantastic tools, but honestly even those cameras are too big to fit in your front pocket.
In street photography, the size of the sensor is also not very important. In-fact, having a non-full frame camera is generally preferable, because you have more depth-of-field in street photography, which is beneficial to “zone-focusing.”
When I shoot with the Ricoh GR II, I generally keep the camera on “P” mode, ISO 1600, and center-point autofocus. I treat it like a point-and-shoot: I simply point and click. This makes me have to think less when shooting, and spend more energy focusing on the composition, framing, and capturing emotion in the photos.
Many photographers bemoan the fact that the Ricoh GR II doesn’t have a viewfinder. Honestly, I feel that viewfinders are a bit overrated — the LCD screen helps you be more creative with your compositions (shooting super-low angle, or a super-high angle), and also helps you photograph your subjects closer (putting a small compact camera close to someone’s face is less intimidating than putting a big DSLR lens into someone’s face).
Also if you want, the Ricoh GR II has a fantastic “snap mode” which allows you to pre-focus to a certain distance (1 meter, 1.5 meters, 5 meters, infinity), which is like zone-focusing on a rangefinder camera. This means when you’re shooting on the streets on a sunny day, you can set your pre-focus to 1.5 meters, ISO 1600, aperture-priority mode in f/8, and take photos that are all sharp and in-focus.
In addition, the Ricoh GR II has the simplest yet comprehensive menu out of any digital camera I’ve used. You can change the function buttons, you can change whether the power lamp is on or off, and everything in the menu is easily searchable. I believe the Ricoh GR II was designed by photographers, not simply by engineers.
The camera is extremely affordable, which means you can save all your hard-earned cash on buying experiences, not stuff. Use that money to travel to a country you’ve always wanted to travel, to buy photography books, and to invest in photography-education (workshops, classes, seminars).
Furthermore, you can charge the camera via USB, which means you don’t need to travel with a bulky battery-charger. As long as you keep the camera off while you’re not shooting on the streets, one battery should last you a full day.
If you end up buying the camera, I recommend picking up a 3” LCD screen protector, shooting in RAW, and using my free Lightroom film simulation presets.
- Read my review of the Ricoh GR II
Best Equipment by ERIC KIM
This is a list of my personal favorite equipment in photography, computers, and life:
Of course, this list probably won’t apply to you — but this is advice I would give myself (if I needed to buy stuff):
My favorite cameras:
Best value digital camera for street photography
Fujifilm X100F Review // Buy on Amazon for $1300 >
Best digital compact camera
Ricoh GR II Review // Buy on Amazon for $600 >
Best 3-inch screen protector
For Ricoh GR II: Expert Shield 3” LCD protector ($14)
Best designed mirrorless camera
Olympus Pen F (silver): $1200 + Olympus 17mm f/1.8 Lens: $500 //my review
Best value mirrorless camera
Fujifilm XT-2 ($1600) + Fujinon XF23mmF2 WR Lens ($450)
Best digital rangefinder
Leica M10 + Leica 35mm f/2 ASPH Lens
Best digital video camera
Sony A7S II ($2700) + Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar ($800)
Best SD card
Transcend 128 GB SD card UHS-3: $73
Best fashion digital camera
Pentax Medium-format digital 645Z ($6500) + Pentax 55mm F2.8 AL ($960) // 7 Lessons I’ve Learned Shooting Fashion Photography For the First Time
If you’re new to shooting film, pick up a copy of FILM NOTES.
Best film rangefinder
Leica MP + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron Lens
Best affordable film rangefinder
Leica M6 + Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Lens
Best compact film camera
Best medium-format film camera
Fujifilm GF670 (discontinued, find on eBay)
Best black and white film
Kodak Tri-X 400 (pushed to 1600): $5
Best color film
Best film scanner
For medium-format/35mm: Epson v800: $800
For 35mm: Plustek OpticFilm 8100: $270
Best camera shoulder bag
Best camera backpack
Fits 13” Laptop and Camera: Thinktank Perception 15 (black): $120
Best photography neck strap
Best photography wrist strap
Best photography inspiration website
Best photography news blog
Best photography software
Best video editing software
iMovie (free) or Final Cut Pro X ($300)
Best educational photography book
Best black-and-white photography art book
Best color photography art book
“The Suffering of Light” by Alex Webb
Best photography handbook
Best philosophy book
On the Shortness of Life – Seneca ($8) // 10 Lessons Seneca Has Taught Me.
Best digital tools
Any MacBook Air or Pro
iPad Pro 10.5 inch, 64 gb, space grey
Best value phone
iPhone SE (cheapest model): $400
Best android phone
Best value android phone
Best Mac Apps
Best writing app
IA Writer (for writing) + Ulysses (for note-taking)
Best screen recorder
Best image resizer
Best noise-cancelling headphones
Apple Beats X
Casio Men’s F108WH Illuminator Collection Black Resin Strap Digital Watch: $13
ExOfficio Men Boxer Brief (black): $26
Outlier NYC Merino Wool T-Shirt
Darn Tough Socks Merino Wool
Nike Free Flyknight RN Motion (black/white) // my review
Merino Wool Leggings (black)
Best bank / credit card (USA)
Chase / Chase Sapphire credit card
Best entrepreneurial tools
Best blogging platform
WordPress.org + Genesis theme (I use the ‘Academy Pro’ theme).
Best paid online services
Best cloud storage
Diet & Nutrition
Intermittent fasting — with one big meal a day (only dinner)
Deadlifts (one rep max) + squats + dumbbell press + chin-ups + pushups
Of course this is just a list of stuff that work for me. It probably won’t work for you.
But I got inspired to make this list– because it took me about 10 years to figure out the best equipment for me. And this works for me, and I hope it can help simplify your purchasing decisions (at least in photography and some other details).
I’ll continue to do articles and videos related to equipment– because I do believe (up to a certain degree) having the ‘right’ equipment in life makes life easier. But the problem is falling victim to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) where we are buying stuff for the sake of it (has happened to me).
If you already have a bunch of equipment that works for you– stick with it. But if you need some help, I hope this list helped you.