A practical thought:
If you want to invest in a new creative tool, better to buy a new RICOH GR III (instead of a new iPhone).
This is my rationale:
- Buying a new iPhone or upgrading it will only perhaps give you marginal gains (10% ‘better’).
- I consider the image quality/aesthetics of the photos of the RICOH GR III at least 50x better than the newest iPhone XS/XS Max. Thus if photography is your passion, and you want the most powerful camera (for the smallest size), RICOH GR III is optimal.
- In terms of price, the RICOH GR III is around $899, whereas an iPhone XS is $999 (note a good deal is getting a refurbished iPhone X for around $770). Also a good deal is getting a RICOH GR II (for only $550).
- The RICOH GR III isn’t that much bigger than an iPhone. The RICOH GR III is even smaller than the RICOH GR II, and fits easily in your front pocket! Pair the RICOH with an Eric Kim NECK STRAP or an Eric Kim WRIST STRAP, and call it a day.
Will a RICOH GR III really transform my photographic life?
I think so. You can literally carry it with you everywhere you go (Eric Kim CASE), keep it in your front pocket, or just toss it in your bag.
There is zero friction to shooting photos. You see something interesting, and you just bust it out and shoot a photo. It also charges via USB-C which is insanely useful (it shares the same charger as my MacBook Pro).
The best camera
The RICOH GR III is currently the best camera on the market by an insane margin. If you are passionate about street photography, everyday photography, personal photography (or any form of photography), RICOH GR III is perfect for you.
Equipment 101 >
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 >
- The Best Headphones are In-Ear Monitors
- Are Point-and-Shoot Cameras the Best Cameras?
- Gear Adaptation Syndrome
- What is the Benefit of “Standalone” Digital Cameras?
- All Cameras are Good Cameras
- 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
Digital Medium Format Photography
- Why Digital Medium Format is a Game-Changer for Color Photography
- The Upsides and Downsides of Digital Medium Format Photography
- Fujifilm GFX 50R and 45mm f/2.8 Lens First-Impressions Review
- Review of the Pentax 645Z and Digital Medium Format Photography
- 7 Reasons Why I Love Digital Medium-Format Photography
- My Experience Shooting Digital Medium Format in Street Photography
- My Experience Shooting my Friend’s Wedding on Digital Medium Format
- Why Digital Medium Format is the Future of Photography
- Is Digital Medium Format Worth It?
- 7 Lessons I’ve Learned Shooting Fashion For the First time on Digital Medium Format (PENTAX 645Z)
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.