Adventures in Mumbai, Thoughts of the New Fujifilm X100s, Leica M & More

Fujifilm X100s

It has been a while since I did a travel update video, so I just put one together to keep you guys in the loop. Also some written notes are below. Click more to read more about my adventures in Mumbai, thoughts on the new Fujifilm X100s and the Leica M, and more!

For Street Photographers On-The-Go: Review of the Chrome Niko Camera Sling and Camera Pack

If you are a street photographer on-the-go looking for some new camera bags for street photography (small or large) check out my above video reviews on the new Chrome Niko Camera Sling and Chrome Niko Camera Pack.

The Chrome Niko Camera Sling is a small bag designed for street photographers with small DSLR’s, Micro 4/3rds cameras, or rangefinders. I love how it is small, waterproof, and forces you to carry only the bare minimum when you are out on the streets. The Chrome Niko Camera Pack is much larger, for traveling street photographers who may also do professional gigs on the side.

For more images of the bags, read more. Special thanks to Chrome for providing these bags for review.

My Personal Thoughts on the New Leica M, Leica M-E & Sony RX-1

The new Leica M
The new Leica M

Leica recently has released a range of new cameras at Photokina, including the Leica M, Leica M-E, Leica S3, Dlux-6, and V-lux 4.

As a street photographer, the two cameras that were interesting to me were the new Leica M and Leica M-E. Here are some of my thoughts of these new cameras as well as the Sony RX-1.

Review of the Leica M-Monochrom for Street Photography

Leica M Monochrom with Film

Eric’s Note: This review of the pre-production model of the Leica M Monochrom isn’t going to be a technical review, but rather a practical one for street photographers who may be interested in the camera. 

I’ll start off my preview of the Leica M-Monochrom with a story. I was ecstatic when I got in my inbox an invitation from Leica to attend their product launch in Berlin. I heard rumors about a new Leica M10, a black/white only camera, and some other stuff about the X2, etc. I always love being able to go to these events, meet other passionate photographers, as well as the good people at Leica.

Review of the CSLR Glide Strap for Street Photography

Custom SLR Glide Strap

(Above image: my Leica MP and CSLR Glide Strap)

In my 6 years of shooting street photography, I have experimented with lots of different straps. I tried neck straps, wrist straps, hand straps, and even no straps.

Finding an ideal camera strap for street photography is very difficult. You need a strap that is discrete, comfortable, yet looks good.

I was really excited when I first came upon the CSLR Glide Strap on the internet (I first heard about it through Kickstarter for their C-Loop). Their revolutionary idea at the time was why not take your camera strap off your neck (where it gets itchy and sticky) and put it over your shoulder instead? This way it could disperse more weight more evenly around your body.

Not only that, they advertised a “gliding” mechanism that would allow you to quickly draw your camera (just like a gun-slinger out of a cowboy movie).

Why Gear Doesn’t Worry Me Anymore Whilst I’m Shooting Street Photography

My Canon AE-1 Program in Chrome
The Leica M9-P Hermes Edition

I started off my photographic career with a my a Nikon D60 two years ago. I loved it and loathed it and wished that I had something that had video mode, so I looked into entry level DSLRs and thought the Nikon D3100 sounded like a pretty good shout. After about two months of using it I felt like I didn’t look professional enough, and people wouldn’t take me seriously enough unless I had a camera to match my ability.

Review of the Leica MP vs Leica M6: What’s the Difference?

Just got a mint (used) Leica MP from Bellamy in the mail and have been using it the last 3 weeks. I was using my Leica M6 for the last several months, but the M6 I had gave me some funky issues (my shutter would get stuck at around 22 shots – and it broke on 3 different occasions while traveling). Now I’m using the MP as my main camera, and the M6 as my backup camera while traveling.

The video above is my review of both cameras. In performance they are identical, although the MP has superior interior mechanics and is more reliable. There are also some cosmetic differences.

Interested in buying a film Leica rangefinder? If you haven’t tried it out yet, I’d recommend getting a Leica M6 and a 35mm Voightlander f/1.4 lens. It is a solid combination, and the best “bang for the buck” out there. I have tons of friends who have the combination and love it. Have the cash and want a more reliable and durable camera film rangefinder that will last you a lifetime? Then get the Leica MP and a Leica lens.

In the end, remember that it is always a better investment to buy books, not gear when trying to become a better photographer. But if you shoot with a DSLR and might want to try shooting film, want something more compact and discrete, getting a film Leica may be a good idea to try something new

If you are interested in purchasing a second-hand Leica or Lens, hit up my boy Bellamy Hunt (Japan Camera Hunter) or email him at hunts.of.tokyo@gmail.com

Any more questions about the Leica M6 vs Leica MP? Leave a comment below! 

Introduction to Hasselblad Medium Format Cameras by Jeroen Helmink

An introduction to using Hasselblad Medium Format Cameras by Jeroen Helmink, Dutch street photographer. Check out Jeroen’s work on his website or on Flickr!

Also if you are interested in getting a Hasselblad, email Jeroen at jeroen.helmink@gmail.com

Got any questions about Hasselblads or shooting medium-format film? Leave a comment below! 

My First Impression Review of the New Leica M-Monochrom Camera for Street Photography

Leica M Monochrom

I recently had the chance to shoot with the new Leica M-Monochrom camera at the Leica May 10th event in Berlin, and was quite impressed. The High-ISO is amazing but the camera is quite expensive.

Curious if the camera is worth the hype? Keep reading to find out more – and see the amazing b/w images taken of the trans-siberian railroad by Magnum Photographer Jacob Au Sobol.

5 Responses to my “Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography” Article

 

(Pre-war Zeiss Contax III, via Peter Hennig)

Thank you for your feedback and thoughts in my previous article titled, “Why Digital is Dead For Me In Street Photography“. The post I written has sparked a healthy amount of discussion and debate. However I would like to clarify some points which I made in the article which I feel was misinterpreted.

Unboxing and Review of the Ricoh GR1s Film Point-and-Shoot for Street Photography

Just got a new minty Ricoh GR1s film P&S camera in the mail from Bellamy Hunt (Japan Camera Hunter). Unfortunately the LCD screen got a bit damaged en-route from Tokyo to Australia. Bellamy is getting it fixed for me now!

If you want to find out more about the Ricoh GR-series, check out this Ricoh buyer’s guide by Bellamy.

Thanks to Misho Baranovic for recording!

If you need a film Leica, lens, Ricoh, or whatever camera or lens from Tokyo, contact Bellamy Hunt at hunts.of.tokyo@gmail.com

Interview with Detroit Street Photographer Brian Day and Review of the Fujifilm X-Pro 1

Had some time to catch up with my good friend Brian Day, a street photography local in Detroit. We chatted about shooting street photography in Detroit (the pros and the cons) as well as his new Fujifilm X-Pro 1 – which is a fantastic camera – with its quirks (like every other camera out there).

As discussed in the video, apparently the Fujifilm 35mm F1.4 Lens gets “aperture chatter” which is pretty damn annoying when in broad sunlight. If you are interested in getting the X-Pro 1, I’d probably get the Fujifilm 18mm F2.0 Lens which is roughly a ~28mm full-frame equivalent that supposedly doesn’t get “aperture chatter”.

However some of the pros of the camera mentioned include the ridiculously clean high-ISO (I shot at ISO 12,800 in JPEG and it looked better than my old Canon 5D at 3200 ISO) as well as the great image quality. However considering that the body is starting at around $1,699 – the camera isn’t cheap. If having an optical viewfinder is important to you, I’d get the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and the Fujifilm 18mm F2.0 Lens and stick it in manual focus (1.2 meters) and zone-focus at f/8-f/16 all-day.

If you want a camera that is a bit more affordable, has incredibly-fast auto-focus, as well as great image quality + high-ISO – check out the new Olympus OM-D with the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens. The great thing about the 12mm lens is that it has “real manual-focus” on the lens, as well as hyperfocal marks for zone-focusing. Not a big fan of the Electric Viewfinder (the refresh rate is apparently twice as fast as the old model) but I prefer optical viewfinders.

Both are great cameras, but remember not to get sucked too much into GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)! If you already have a Fujifilm X-100 or any other Micro 4/3rds, I wouldn’t upgrade. But if you own a DSLR and want less weight and bulk when you are out shooting on the streets, both cameras mentioned above are great cameras.

Also make sure to check out Brian Day’s recent interview on Vesper Magazine for his “Time Traveler” series.

For those of you who have the new Fujifilm X-Pro 1- have you experienced this “aperture chatter” and what is your take on the camera? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Review + 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 & 60mm f/2.4 Macro by Kai Wong from DigitalRev TV

A nice and fun review of the new Fujifilm X-Pro 1 from Kai Wong from DigitalRev TV. Check it out and subscribe to their awesome show today – or else Kai will hunt you down ;)

Lenses reviewed:

Still haven’t had the chance to play with the new Fujifilm X-Pro 1- but have been hearing great things about it so far! Hopefully I will have the chance to shoot with it on the streets soon and let you guys know what I think!

Mini Review of the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 by Mijonju

My good friend Mijonju from Tokyo recently got his hands on the new Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in Tokyo and made this little mini-review on it. Hope you find it entertaining and helpful!

Make sure to subscribe to him on YouTube and follow him on Twitter.

More info:

X mount to M mount adapter
http://www.petapixel.com/2012/02/09/fujifilm-showing-off-leica-m-mount-adapte…

All the specs
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/fujifilmxpro1/

What do you think about the new X-Pro 1 for those of you guys who have shot with it? Worth the hype or not? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Review of the Olympus OM-D EM-5 For Street Photography

Recently when I was in Kuala Lumpur, I had the great pleasure of meeting Robin Wong, a passionate local street photographer. He was also lucky enough to get a test-unit of the new Olympus OM-D EM-5 directly from Olympus, and tested it extensively the past few days.

As mentioned in my last post, you don’t want to fall victim to GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). However if you are using a DSLR and find it too bulky or have a point-and-shoot and want something a bit beefier yet compact, I found the Olympus OM-D EM-5 a pretty solid option paired with the Olympus 12mm f/2 Lens (which is great for zone focusing). However if you already have an Olympus EP-3 or any other relatively Micro 4/3rds camera out there, I wouldn’t recommend an upgrade.

If you got any questions about the camera, make sure to ask Robin Wong over at his blog.

10 Tips on How to Cure Yourself of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

Leica M9 Titanium
Can a $30,000 camera bring you true happiness?

We are all gear-heads at heart. We love hearing about the newest and greatest camera out there, and we love seeing comparisons with different lenses, at different apertures, and the sharpness and “characteristics” of each lens. I think it is fine to think and discuss about gear in photography, but when discussed about in excess– it starts getting unhealthy and like a disease.

I am weak, and I get tempted by gear all the time, but I try to constantly remind myself not to fall victim to gear acquisition syndrome (also commonly known as “gas”). Based on sociology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, and my personal experiences I will suggest some tips how you can cure yourself of gas (no not your farting, you might need to lay off the beans or get some stomach medicine for that).

1. Realize that you are weak

If you ever watch an introduction to alcoholics anonymous, each person in the group goes around in the group and says, “Hi, my name is “X” and I am an alcoholic”. Similarly, it is important to realize that we are human, and we are weak– and we fall quite easily to temptation. We love to think that we have strong willpower, but studies show that we actually have extremely weak willpower. Admit to yourself that you get tempted to gear as much as the next person, which will help you better resist the “poisoning” of gear around you. I shoot with a Leica camera, and I meet a lot of Leica users and shooters– and many gearheads and collectors. There is nothing inherently wrong with being a gearheads or collector, but it is a vicious cycle that I feel never brings one true satisfaction and happiness (as we always want more).

Take for example yesterday in Kuala Lumpur. I just finished my street photography workshop and had a cocktail and VIP party at the Leica store, and stumbled upon a Leica MP with a .58 magnification viewfinder. It was so goddamn gorgeous, and I felt my own gear whoring come out of myself. I then started feeling that my Leica M6 was inadequate, and that the .72 magnification viewfinder was useless with a 35mm lens. Also I marveled at the Leica script that was embossed on the top plate of the MP, and told myself I needed one. I had a drink and played with the MP some more, and it felt so right in my hands, with the heavy brass and the “mechanical perfection” of the film advance lever. The guys around me were laughing and “poisoning” me in all good fun, and I knew I had to resist myself. I reminded myself how weak I was to peer pressure and gear — and took a step back and gave back the MP.

2. Create physical constraints

As humans, we have very weak self-control and constraint. Take smoking for example. Many people try to quit “cold turkey” using just their will– but few people actually succeed. Statistics prove that majority of smokers quit when having some physical aid (using a e-cigarette or nicotine patches) to overcome their addiction to smoking. I feel that the same goes with gas. You need to create some physical constraints on yourself. For example, I am awful with money. If kept to my own will, I would spend all of my money on Leica lenses, crocodile leather shoes, and ice cream cones (I love ice cream almost as much as Allamby). I know this, and therefore consult my girlfriend Cindy before making any serious monetary investments.

About a month ago, I asked Cindy what she felt about myself buying a Leica MP (yeah I have been thinking about it for a while). She essentially smacked me upside the head and told me I would be a complete moron if I did, and talked some sense into me. She gave me a ton of clarity, and by having her as a “gatekeeper” to my wallet–she helps me a ton from making stupid decisions. If you don’t have a beautiful and bossy girlfriend to help you keep your money in check, perhaps hire a financial consultant and tell them to prevent you from making stupid financial decisions (including gas). Even by putting all of your savings into a fund (that you can’t touch) and keeping a certain limit on your credit card, you will prevent yourself from buying crap you don’t need.

3. Don’t hang out with gear-heads

One thing I learned in sociology is that “you are the average of the three closest person to yourself”. Therefore if you hang out with a lot of gear-heads, you will be a gearheads yourself and succumb to gas. Rather than hanging out with gearheads and stroking your Leica and lenses with baby oil, hang out with photographers who talk less about gear, and more about photography. Finding a community more focused about shooting (and less about gear) will in-turn make you more focused on photography and less on gear. Inevitability we all love talking about gear at one point or another (the latest Leica rumors, the new Fuji camera, or the new Olympus micro 4/3rds) but try to find a group that keeps it to a minimal.

4. Stick to one camera and one lens

Currently the only cameras I own are my Leica M9 and my Leica M6, along with my 35mm summicron f/2 asph (yeah the latest version baby!) I gave my old Canon 5D to a close family friend’s younger brother (who is an aspiring photo journalist) along with my 35mm f/2 and my 24mm f/2.8. I told him it was all he needed to take incredible photographs. He asked me if he should buy a 70-200 lens and I threatened him that if he bought it, I would take my Canon back. I also recently had a 21mm Voightlander for my Leica, and returned that. I also gave my 21mm to my good friend Todd at the Hatakayana Gallery to use on his sweet new 21mm Leica lens (yeah the same guy who gave me his M6! Even trade.) The last three months or so (since I inherited my M6 from Todd in Tokyo) I have been working on all of my personal projects on film (tri-x and portra 400).

Nowadays my M9 is my backup camera (and really expensive point and shoot camera). Therefore all I am really using for my street photography is my Leica M6 and 35mm summicron f/2. It is one camera and one lens. Nothing more and nothing less. What I love most about having one camera and one lens is that it is just less stressful, and plain bliss. I never concern myself with having a different focal length for a situation (having a 28mm if someone is really close or a 50mm if someone is further away) but rather I learn to adapt to my situation, and become more creative. I have used a 35mm focal length more or less exclusively for around 4 years now, starting with my Canon.

I now know the focal length inside and out, and know how my frame looks in any situation. I don’t really even have the desire to have any other lens, as the 35mm framelines on my Leica are difficult enough to see with my glasses. Less is more. Having more choices simply gives us more stress. Remember the last time you wanted to order something at a restaurant, and there were like five million options on the menu? You then order something, wishing for the best, and it comes out and you feel disappointed? (damn, this chicken Alfredo sucks– I should have gone with the beef stew). Less options is less stress on us, and doesn’t cause “paralysis by analysis”. But damn, if I got a Leica MP with a .58 viewfinder and 28mm lens, it would be pretty sweet. Ahhhh nooo! Eric, stop this self-poisoning of yourself.

5. Calculate the lost opportunity cost

New cameras and lenses are expensive, and often that money can be used towards better things related to photography (buying photo books, going on trips, buying film, or paying off your maxed out credit card). I currently have the M6 which is worth around $1300 usd. The Leica MP is around $3300 usd. The cost of upgrading will be $2000.

Let’s do some math:

What else can I better do with $2000?

  • I can have enough money to buy two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world. ($1000 a ticket times two)
  • I can have enough money to buy and process 200 rolls of film ($5 a roll and $5 to process a roll).
  • I can have enough money to buy 40 photography books ($50 usd for a decent photo book).

All of these things will do me so much more for my photography and happiness than a new shiny Leica. Do your own calculations for what gear or lenses you may be pondering, and see how ridiculous your ideas may be.

6. Buy a film camera

The best thing I have heard digital cameras likened to were computers. Think about how long you can use a computer before it gets outdated. 4 years, at best? Digital cameras as essentially computers. They get outdated fast as hell. There are always new digital cameras coming out with moar and moar megapixels, iso, dynamic range, faster autofocus, and crappy features like hdr and panorama, etc). I doubt you can use a digital camera longer than 4 years, without it being considered a dinosaur.

Ever since I got my film Leica, I no longer am very impressed or concerned with these new cameras coming out (besides the MP). A film Leica will last you a lifetime, and you never need to upgrade. It is simple and straightforward, and remember- all film cameras are “full frame”. Regardless of my MP envy, I would say that having my Leica M6 and 35mm summicron — I feel truly “content” with my gear. If you want to make a purchase, remember to get a good lens, as they will last a lifetime (more or less). They will outlast your camera, as there is only so sharp you can make a piece of glass. I doubt they will ever quit selling film- and don’t worry about Kodak going bankrupt. Their film business is stilly profitable.

Remember, when photography first came out people said nobody would ever paint anymore. People still paint. People said cd’s would kill vinyl records. Vinyl records are now thriving more than ever (thanks to all the hipsters who shop at Urban Outfitters). Classic things never truly “die”.

7. Don’t spend time on gear forums

If you spend an unhealthy amount of time on gear forums, stop. It is quite possibly the worst thing you can do in your spare time. I actually suggest downloading an add-on for chrome or Firefox that prevent you from visiting these sites altogether.

Rather, spend time visiting sites about photography. Spend time on invisible photographer Asia, la pure vida, burn magazine, in-public, the magnum website, little brown mushroom blog, Blake Andrews blog, and so on. Looking at great photographs will inspire you to take great photographs. Looking at reviews of gear and lenses will make you want to spend your money. Remember, you are what you eat.

8. Realize that sharpness and bokeh is overrated

In street photography, sharpness and the “bokeh quality” of a lens is the most overrated thing ever. Sure if you give me a Noctilux and have me shoot that bad boy at .95 I will squeal like a little schoolgirl about how creamy and “bokehlicious” the photo turn out, but it is quite useless in street photography. When is the last time you saw a great street photograph from any of the masters and said, “Wow, that photograph is really sharp” or “Wow, that photograph has really nice bokeh”.

Another thing that I used to do a lot (which I am trying my best not to do anymore) is look at someone’s photographs (who are very good) and ask what camera or lens they use. It is like asking your chef what pots and pans he or she uses to cook your meals (if the food is really good). If you don’t want to get slapped in the face (or your food spit in) realize that it is the artist that creates the art, not the tools.

Frankly speaking, all prime lenses out there are pretty damn sharp (and you will always sharpen the photos a bit in post-processing anyways) and I feel that street photography is best captured using a large depth of field using zone focusing. Therefore don’t worry about having a large maximum wide aperture– unless you want to take nice bokeh shots of your water bottles at home, that is.

9. Realize that you will never be satisfied

Material things never bring true happiness. Yeah, yeah we have all heard it before but it is true. We all tell ourselves, oh–if I only had full-frame I’d truly be happy. If I had that Leica I’d be truly happy. If I had that one 1.4 lens I would be truly happy. Realize that with gear, it is a slippery slope. As humans, we are biologically greedy. We want stuff, and like having lots of it. It was our genetic way of making sure that we wouldn’t die. After all when we were cavemen, if we hoarded tons of food for ourselves, we would have a higher likelihood of making it through tough winters and droughts.

Nowdays modern day life is much different. Most people in the modern world don’t suffer from famine and most of our basic needs are met (food, shelter, clothing). However the instincts we have make us never satisfied with what we have. And of course, advertising and consumerism has a large part to blame as well. There is no “end goal” of gas.

Let’s say you start off with a dslr, you will want a full-frame. You get a full-frame, you want that nice canon L lens. You realize the canon L-lens zoom isn’t enough, so you get some nice prime lenses. You then realize the whole damn thing is too bulky, and go for a Leica. You then get a Leica M9, and need more lenses. You end up collecting all the lenses, and then realize you want the M9 titanium. M9 soon becomes passé, and you get a S2. The madness never ends. Be content with what you have and of course feel free to purchase gear, but realize once you find a system you are reasonably happy with (80% satisfied) stick with it.

10. Realize a lot of gas is just bragging rights

Many of us try to rationalize what we do in terms of our purchasing decisions. We tell ourselves that the cameras and lenses we buy are “investments” and thus make rational decisions. Let’s cut away a lot of the bs. A lot of us (including myself) want to just show off with our gear and have bragging rights.

One of the reasons that I kept my old 35mm 1.4 summilux for so long was so I could state that I had a summilux for the sake of having one. The summilux wasn’t the optimal lens for street photography (far too big and heavy) and I never used the 1.4 (only when taking snapshots of my friends at bars to show them the creaminess of the bokeh!)

The reason a lot of us buy expensive cameras or gear is to try to fit in (if our friends all have a certain camera or lens, we will want to get one). Another reason is that we might want to differentiate ourselves from other people (like Leica users vs Dslr users). We want to feel superior with superior gear to be seen by others as having a higher status. With more status comes more prestige, comes more opportunities for us to connect with other people with high status, and have a feeling of “smugness”.

Conclusion

NEED MOAR CAMERAS (Don't become like this guy)
NEED MOAR CAMERAS (Don’t become like this guy)

We all love our toys and cameras and lenses. I don’t see any problem “geeking out” with gear with the friends or playing with our friends new camera or lens. It is perfectly healthy and all fun. However what becomes an issue is when we concern ourselves with gear excessively. Photography is a damn expensive hobby, and not being able to have the best and greatest sucks. We don’t want to be the loser with the “crop sensor” or only having the f/2 lens instead of the f/1.4 lens. We just want to fit in and feel “important” with other people with nice cameras and things.

If you currently suffer from gas, admit to yourself that you are a gear whore and decide for yourself if you want to cure yourself or not. If you have the cash and enjoy continually acquiring lenses and cameras, no problem. If you don’t have the cash and you are taking out credit card debt to feed your addiction, you should probably reconsider things. Life isn’t about getting nice things and being happy.

Spending time with others and being social is what makes us truly happy. Therefore quit spending so much damn time on gear forums and thinking about that stuff, and get out of the house and call some buddies and go shooting. The more time I find myself going out and actually taking photographs and spending time with my fellow streettogs, I am truly happy. I geek out and at times have wet dreams about the next Leica purchase myself, but I realize that I am weak and easily susceptible to peer pressure or advertising. Take a moment to consider how addicted you may be to gas, and I hope this has helped you.

Further Reading

  1. Disregard Differences, Notice Similarities
  2. How to Be Grateful For What You Have
  3. F$%K GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)
  4. Buy Books, Not Gear
  5. How Much is Enough?

The “Best Settings” and How to Use The Leica M9 for Street Photography

After traveling and having done many workshops on street photography, I have met many Leica M9/rangefinder users who have had difficulty configuring their camera for shooting on the streets. There are lots of misconceptions out there, which make things confusing for people. Therefore here is some advice I have for Leica m9 users (or Fuji x100 or rangefinder users) when shooting street photography. (Note that for the original video, the audio gets cut out at 16 minutes, so I edited the video down). 

Check out the video below, and I have things written in more detail below!

Bag Review: The Stylish ONA Union Street Camera Bag for Street Photography

For those who are looking for a stylish, sleek, and functional messenger bag for street photography – check out the new ONA Union Street Bag. ONA sent me a bag to review, and after thorough testing (took it all over India) here is my review/overall impressions of this bag. Keep reading more if you are interested in making an investment into a fashionable and durable bag that will last you a long time!

The QL17 Love Affair and My Newly Adressed Obsession With Gear

Self portrait wires

Eric’s Note: If you are wondering what all those crazy things coming out of Ollie’s head are, check out his last blog post.

Ollie Gapper: I was recently lucky enough to pick up a Canonet QL17 rangefinder off of eBay for a steal at £30 with postage, a camera I had been after for quite a while, and for good reason.

Published
Categorized as Equipment

Why Sharpness is a Bourgeoise Concept in Street Photography

Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” – Henri Cartier Bresson

In the modern age of photography, everyone seems to have an unhealthy obsession with how sharp lenses are, how much bokeh they produce, and how “3d” they can make their images appear.

Ignore these statements. Anyone who talks at excessive length about any of these topics are misled into thinking that what makes a great photograph are the effects that expensive lenses can give you.

10 Reasons Why You Should Shoot Street Photography With Film

Ryan Cabal

(Above image by Devin Yalkin)

Recently when I went to Tokyo, I had a ton of fun shooting in the streets with Charlie Kirk and Bellamy Hunt—both who shoot film. I never really understood the rationale why people shot with film. To me at the time, it seemed like a burden. First of all, you had to buy the film. Secondly, after you took the photos you couldn’t see them instantly. And lastly, it was expensive to develop it (and even more money to scan). For these three reasons, I was mostly put off by film. Although I did shoot a bit with my Contax IIIa film rangefinder and did enjoy it—at the end of the day I preferred my digital camera.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued with film once I came to Tokyo. In Tokyo, the analog culture is strong. There are tons of used film camera shops, and tons of other places where you can buy film as well. Not only that, but there are many photographers who shoot film who support one another as well and have their own communities. I had no idea how much influence the analog culture would have on me when I was in Tokyo.

Smaller Is Better: Why You Should Use a Compact Camera for Street Photography

Ricoh-GR1s

Eric’s Note: This is article is part of an on-going weekly column by Japancamerahunter (Bellamy Hunt) where he talks about vintage cameras, film, and street photography. You can check out his part articles here or if you need to get hooked up with a lens or camera, contact him here

Well well, good old Uncle Eric has asked me to write another article for you. This time on the joys of shooting street with a compact camera. Eric and many of us spend a lot of time shooting with rangefinders and DSLR’s, but I think it important for people to realize that there are other ways to shoot street. The compact camera is one of these ways (medium format is another, but that is a whole different barrel of fish and something I may talk about another time).
So, why shoot a compact camera for street? Well, there are several reasons, but let me start with the most obvious…

Shooting a Film Leica M6 vs Digital Leica M9 in Tokyo

My good friend Todd Hatakeyama (and sponsor over at SimpleStudioLighting.com) and owner of the Hatakeyama Gallery (grand opening in Downtown LA this Saturday from 5pm-10pm) recently gave me a his old Leica M6 to shoot with and have. It has been great shooting with it–as it helps me slow down and be more critical when shooting (compared to my Leica M9). I can’t quite describe it, but I feel much more zen when shooting analog vs digital–as I don’t worry so much about the final image but focus on the process of shooting.

Also if you want to pick up a film case from Bellamy Hunt or find a sweet analog camera from Japan, check him out at JapanCameraHunter.com.

The Leica M9: The Ultimate Street Photography Camera or Just Hype? My Practical Review

My old M9 Blacked our.

Leica M9

My Leica M9P* (gaffer tape upgrade) and 35mm Summilux 1.4. 

Background

About a few months ago, I finally achieved one of my lifetime goals: purchasing a digital Leica (the Leica M9 to be specific). Although I was enthralled by the camera the first month I tested it (when Leica loaned me one for my Paris trip as well as a 35mm Summilux) the initial glitz and glamor faded away. However after shooting with one, I knew I wanted to get one nonetheless for a variety of reasons (explained in this article).

For this review I am going to give you my honest review of the camera, not focusing much on the technical aspects (other sites have already done this to death) but how it actually performs when it comes to shooting street photography. Considering that I have only been shooting with the camera around 3 months—I am not an expert with the Leica M9. However having shot with it enough when it comes to street photography, I am very confortable discussing how it performs when shooting on the streets.

How to Shoot with the Fujifilm FinePix X100 for Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Note: This blog post is by Kaushal Parikh, a street photographer from Mumbai, India. 

Although this is an article about a camera, I don’t believe that gear alone can create good photographs. But I do believe that a good photographer can be inspired to make good images with the right gear.  I recently acquired a Fujifilm FinePix x100 that I have come to love and thought I would just share a few thoughts and tips about this camera.

Hands-on with the Olympus EPM-1 (and other thoughts about cameras)

Olympus EPM-1

Recently I have had the huge pleasure of being invited to the PEN Ready Project, in which Olympus gave away 1000 Olympus EPM-1 cameras for people to shoot and review. I have always been a big fan of the Micro 4/3rds cameras, as they are small, compact, and take great photos. I tested an Olympus EP-2 a while back, and was quite impressed by the performance. I recently shot with the Olympus EP-3 and was quite pleased with the (even faster) autofocus performance as well as the image quality. If you have a micro 4/3rds camera and pick up a Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens (~35mm equivalent), the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 Lens (40mm equivalent), or the  new Olympus 12mm f/2 lens (24mm equivalent) it makes a great combination.

The Benefits of Shooting Street Photography with a Leica (or rangefinder)

Street Photography with Leica by Bellamy Hunt

Eric’s Note: This is article is part of an on-going weekly column by Japancamerahunter (Bellamy Hunt) where he talks about vintage cameras, film, and street photography. You can check out his part articles here

So, it looks like Eric has got himself a Leica M9, the lucky little so and so. So I thought that this would be as good a time as any to write a post about the perceived benefits of shooting with a rangefinder, or more specifically a Leica.

Now It has to be said that I am a big Leica fan, but that does not mean that they are the only rangefinders. I also have a Contax G2, a Konica Hexar and a Canon 7. They all have their differences, so good, some bad. What I am going to talk about in this is the general benefits that I have found using a rangefinder.

Another Viewpoint of the Fuji X100 by Steve Foon

Eric’s note: Steve Foon, a street photographer from the Bay Area, recently offered to write this comparison of the Fujifilm FinePix X100 versus the Leica M9 (which he owns as well). Read his thoughts on the camera and how it stacks up against the M9! 

Every photographer has a style of photography that just calls their name. Be it wildlife, sports, landscape, architectural, portraitures, models, etc… my personal calling is Street Photography.

Each genre has certain requirements that will demand that a certain photographic tool be used. Let me clarify that you don’t really have to have a specific photographic tool to be able to shoot the genre you like. It’s just that certain cameras just seem to fit the job better than others.

A Review of the Clik Elite Magnesian 20 Camera Bag

For my recent Intermediate Street Photography Workshop in Downtown LA, Todd from Lighting Leica and the kind folks from Clik hooked it up with a Clik Elite Magnesian 20 Camera Bag to test out. When I am out shooting, I typically use the Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera bag, but at times found it a bit small and with one annoyance: it didn’t have slots for water bottles. The Magnesian 20 Camera Bag is fairly larger than the Think Tank Retrospective 5, and is loaded with two water bottle holders on the side (or you can store lenses or flashes there). Read more to see my mini-review!

Is Your Glass Half Empty? What You Should Be Thinking When Buying a Lens

Lenses by Bellamy Hunt

Eric’s Note: This post is by Bellamy Hunt (aka Japan Camera Hunter) who has a weekly column on camera gear, lenses, film, and other topics every Tuesday on my blog.

The question that everyone asks me when they have decided to buy a camera is usually “which camera should I buy, oh wise one?“ (Well, maybe no the wise one bit, but you know what I mean).

This is a bit of a loaded question really, as there is no right or wrong answer other than “whatever suits you best”. You could spend hours pouring over the net, reading magazines and reviews or listening to the bloke down the pub, but until you actually hold a camera you have no idea. What I usually tell people is this, find a camera that suits your needs and your style, and most of all, one that feels good in your hand and next to your eye. Because cameras come and go. This is certainly even more relevant now, in the digital age. The average digital camera has a ‘cycle’ of about 3 years, which means that just as you are getting comfortable with your camera, the next piece of eye candy is out there on the shelf flaunting its megapixels at you, and the piece you have in your hand looks forlornly back at you waiting to die.

Street Photography Camera Porn

Click to read more

Pictured above: Ryan Cabal’s Street Photography Camera Collection

After Ryan uploaded a picture of his awesome street photography camera collection on my Facebook fan page, I asked you guys on Facebook and Twitter to send me photos of what was in your bag. Thanks to everyone who submitted photos of their awesome cameras and equipment! Keep reading to see all the street photography camera porn ;)