July 24, 2014, 04:26:16 PM

Author Topic: My full street photography kit and why my 5dmk3 is perfect for street shooting.  (Read 14282 times)

Mark Carey

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This post is a supplement to my earlier blog post on the Psychology and technique in street photography.  I am an experienced street photographer shooting predominantly in India and South East Asia. I have for the last year or so moved over to a 5dmk3 as my main camera and the more I use it the more I like it.

If you are interested to see what I think of this camera, good and bad, and what other gear I use please take a look.

Thanks.
Mark.

http://www.markcareyphotography.com/2013/my-street-photography-kit/

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tomscott

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I would agree the 5DMKIII is a great camera, but for street I would disagree. Its too big and intrusive regardless how much gafa tape you use to reduce the bling. If it works for you then great but think you would be even less noticeable with a smaller camera.

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Mark Carey

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I would agree the 5DMKIII is a great camera, but for street I would disagree. Its too big and intrusive regardless how much gafa tape you use to reduce the bling. If it works for you then great but think you would be even less noticeable with a smaller camera.

Its not big and intrusive when you have a small lens on it like a 35 f2. Ok, its marginally bigger than a cropped body dslr but there isnt a huge amount of difference. Its marginally bigger than a Fuji xpro1.

Ive done street photography with a variety of cameras from Xpro1, D3s, D700, point and shoot type cameras - so sizes completely across the board. My view is as long as you have a small lens on it and you kinda tuck it under your arm a lot, a 5d's size is not much of a bother to people.

The plus points I have mentioned more than outweigh the fact that in an ideal world Id like it a bit smaller, but I dont really find it a big deal. Take an Xpro1 - God forbid I need to take several shots, quickly check them and take some more. Its just not responsive enough. You are totally 'in touch' with the 5d3 in a way that lifts it apart from many other smaller bodies. Of course with these other smaller bodies you will also be compromising on image quality as well.

Just my opinion - I respect that you may think differently.

RS2021

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I will have to agree with tomscott though I think the effort is nice.

I have used the 5D3 for street but I will not say it is in anyway a low key camera, nor will I say it can be "masked" by tape or other means...it sticks out. If one chooses to use it, one has to accept it for what it is.

For sometime now, I have been considering RX-1.... off and on...(thankfully off-cycle now)

Even RX-1 seems grotesque with its lens diameter almost flush with its body height! Leica does the best footprint job but it is not AF and I think it matters on the street...to me anyways.

When it is all said and done, perhaps iPhones or soemthing similar may be ideal for street photography, all things considered.
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Rienzphotoz

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Its not big and intrusive when you have a small lens on it like a 35 f2. Ok, its marginally bigger than a cropped body dslr but there isnt a huge amount of difference. Its marginally bigger than a Fuji xpro1.

Ive done street photography with a variety of cameras from Xpro1, D3s, D700, point and shoot type cameras - so sizes completely across the board. My view is as long as you have a small lens on it and you kinda tuck it under your arm a lot, a 5d's size is not much of a bother to people.

Just my opinion - I respect that you may think differently.
I don't do much street photography, but I do quite a bit of people photos at Jack-Up drilling rigs & Onshore rigs and I use 5D MK III + 50 f/1.4 (recently I've started using the 40 f/2.8 & 85 f/1.8 ) ... with that combo no one asks me about what camera I'm using, but if I put my 24-70 or 16-35 on 5D MK III, the rig crew start asking questions about my gear ... also most people unfamiliar with camera models (those are the kind of people who we are shooting anyway in street photography) usually cannot tell the difference between a 5D MK III and a 60D or a Rebel ( my wife keeps telling me that all my cameras look the same to her  ;D ) but the moment a good zoom lens or a slightly larger prime is mounted on it, people's heads start to turn ... so I totally agree with you that having a smaller prime lens is not intrusive, at least that's how I feel from my limited experience.
By the way I really like your website, simple but very effective ... the black & white theme peppered with just a few color images gives it an uncluttered look and make you want to read the content.
Great job. All the best.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 10:52:24 AM by Rienzphotoz »
Canon 5DMK3 70D | Nikon D610 | Sony a7 a6000 | RX100M3 | 16-35/2.8LII | 70-200/2.8LISII | 100/2.8LIS | 100-400LIS | 40/2.8 | 50/1.4 | 85/1.8 | 600EX-RTx2 | ST-E3-RT | 24/3.5 T-S | 10-18/4 OSS 16-50 | 24-70/4OSS | 55/1.8 | 55-210 OSS | 70-200/4 OSS | 28-300VR | HVL-F43M | GoPro Black 3+ & DJI Phantom

EvilTed

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I would agree the 5DMKIII is a great camera, but for street I would disagree. Its too big and intrusive regardless how much gafa tape you use to reduce the bling. If it works for you then great but think you would be even less noticeable with a smaller camera.

I'd have to agree.
I even tried shooting my 5D MK3 on the street with a manual Zeiss 50mm this weekend, but it really sucked :(
It's too big and heavy.

I disagree with the OP comment regarding a Fuji X-Pro1 - this camera is a lot lighter and better suited for street IMHO.

Now I use Leicas for street work, preferring hyperfocal focussing...

ET

tomscott

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The rangefinder camera has been the street choice for decades. Reason being it is small, light and to the subject it doesn't seem like you are photographing them as the viewfinder and your face is off at an angle.

35mm is more like the focal range of choice too. Many of the greats like Gary Winogrand, Tony Ray Jones, William Klein etc all used 24-35mm lenses. Getting closer was the moto, stalking the subject like prey.

Like this from Winogrand.



Cameras like the Fuji X100s, Xpro1, Leica M (for those that can afford it) are more suited IMO. I use a 5DMKIII as my commercial camera but I wouldn't take it out on the street even with the 50mm lens it is intimidating.

But again if it works for you then great. Just there are better options, the 5DMKIII apart from the fully fledged 1D series is one of the biggest DSLRs available.



« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 10:56:40 AM by tomscott »
5D MKIII, 16-35mm F2.8 II L, 24-70mm F2.8 L, 24-105mm F4 IS L, 100mm F2.8 IS L, 70-200mm F2.8 IS II L, 50mm F1.8, 2x Ex, 580EX
BU: 40D,17-55mm F2.8 IS
www.tomscottphotography.co.uk

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jcollett

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I would like to add that the Sigma DP camera series is also quite capable of street shooting ... many of their qualities mirror that of rangefinders. 

Mark Carey

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The rangefinder camera has been the street choice for decades. Reason being it is small, light and to the subject it doesn't seem like you are photographing them as the viewfinder and your face is off at an angle.

35mm is more like the focal range of choice too. Many of the greats like Gary Winogrand, Tony Ray Jones, William Klein etc all used 24-35mm lenses. Getting closer was the moto, stalking the subject like prey.

Like this from Winogrand.



Cameras like the Fuji X100s, Xpro1, Leica M (for those that can afford it) are more suited IMO. I use a 5DMKIII as my commercial camera but I wouldn't take it out on the street even with the 50mm lens it is intimidating.

But again if it works for you then great. Just there are better options, the 5DMKIII apart from the fully fledged 1D series is one of the biggest DSLRs available.





I think we are are talking about different kinds of street photography - its a pretty broad church. I am referring to the street photography that I conduct which is totally different to the kind I think you are talking about.  My street photography is more often about taking up a position, watching and waiting. Moreover most of my photography is in India and South East Asia. There is a different sensibility here. If the cameras you and some of the other guys suggest are 25% smaller it really doenst make all that much difference to how people will perceive you. How you carry yourself and carry your camera will. Its more about trying to make myself disappear for me than trying to make my camera smaller. There is something about the lens size I think that draws more attention more than the body size.

I do agree on the streets of say Manhatten or London a camera this size would not be good for me either - I dont shoot in places like that though.

In a sense its not fair just to compare on just size when I think most would agree that the 5d3 is going to be much more responsive that most other cameras. Attain focus better, shoot in low light better and be ready to shoot again without delay...

If you are interested in what street shooting is like is India have a look at this...
http://www.markcareyphotography.com/2013/24540/

Hey, at the end of the day its what works for the individual of course....But then I think we are all agreed there... :)



RS2021

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A key attraction for me with street photography has always been the immediacy and subject interaction...granted we can't do that with every shot.

In the end, it is not about gaffer tapes, or zooms, or hiding, or subterfuge...a shot becomes dear when it has a memory, a story, or moment however mundane.

I have done a fair bit of wandering...and as you indicate South Asia, here is a bucolic "street" shot...

Some years ago, during a trip into the villages of India, I came across this goat herder sitting on the grass... while all her goats were out in the field, this one kid-goat was milling around her feet coming up to nuzzle and she was clearly fond of it.

I learned that either his mom had died or had rejected the little guy and he had taken to hanging around the herder. I politely asked if I could take a picture and she agreed.

While this is clearly not a sharp picture, and I think I may have used a point and shoot, I still smile at remembering the encounter.
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

RS2021

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And on the difference distance makes and immediacy... a couple of shots.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 01:50:18 PM by RS2021 »
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Mark Carey

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A key attraction for me with street photography has always been the immediacy and subject interaction...granted we can't do that with every shot.

In the end, it is not about gaffer tapes, or zooms, or hiding, or subterfuge...a shot becomes dear when it has a memory, a story, or moment however mundane.

I have done a fair bit of wandering...and as you indicate South Asia, here is a bucolic "street" shot...

Some years ago, during a trip into the villages of India, I came across this goat herder sitting on the grass... while all her goats were out in the field, this one kid-goat was milling around her feet coming up to nuzzle and she was clearly fond of it.

I learned that either his mom had died or had rejected the little guy and he had taken to hanging around the herder. I politely asked if I could take a picture and she agreed.

While this is clearly not a sharp picture, and I think I may have used a point and shoot, I still smile at remembering the encounter.

I guess we will have to differ on our views on what is the attraction of street photography - to me it is not subject interaction but capturing life candidly. That is not to say that I do not interact with my subjects, I do but after the event, not before. Otherwise my presence is affecting the image.

Gaffer tape - as I have indicated, this primarily do with making people think my camera is old and so they are not inclined to steal it - its not a big deal.
Zooms - since you put this in the same sentence Ill make the assumption you are referring to my post - you will notice that I shoot with a small 35mm prime, close to my subject. I dont use zooms.
Subterfuge - I dont hide. I work close to my subjects and use my body language to disappear as much as I can by encouraging them to forget about me.

A shot can become dear for a variety of reasons, not just because someone has told you some interesting background to a picture.  I like layers to in my images - they can tell stories without my needing to ask anyone anything.
The shot in which you asked for a portrait is a nice shot and has good story.  For me a requested portrait in my opinion is not 'street photography'  in the traditional sense which I would suggest at least has the premise that pictures are not requested. I will occasionally request a portrait, Im not saying I see anything wrong with this. It is a different style of photography to that which I am practising however.

Yes its good to be polite and I often thank and engage people after I have taken a candid shot and talk to them and thank them if appropriate.

Your subsequent image - Im not sure what point you are trying to make since I never take images as far away as that -
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 01:51:15 AM by Mark Carey »

Grumbaki

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Please people, those are the key words:

shooting predominantly in India and South East Asia.

Mark carey, in south east asia.

Except if he has local heritage, he will be conspicuous. There is no freaking point in trying to avoid it with a small camera.

Actually a large camera (and some skill in local langage) get you way better interaction and sneaky candids than touristy cameras. Show you are "local". I'm in china, got a tshirt made for friendly shooting spots that reads: just another alien photograph, give me your qq i'll give you your picture." (and then my own qq, which is a very local social network/messaging system). It's the most gimmicky thing ever but you get great results by knowing you are different but making use of it.

Actually the only bad point is that you get way more work with the portraits they'll ask, pics of you they wanna take, general discussion time but generally ends up in being great memories and discussion around a few beers.

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Mark Carey

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Please people, those are the key words:

shooting predominantly in India and South East Asia.


Mark carey, in south east asia.

Except if he has local heritage, he will be conspicuous. There is no freaking point in trying to avoid it with a small camera.

Actually a large camera (and some skill in local langage) get you way better interaction and sneaky candids than touristy cameras. Show you are "local". I'm in china, got a tshirt made for friendly shooting spots that reads: just another alien photograph, give me your qq i'll give you your picture." (and then my own qq, which is a very local social network/messaging system). It's the most gimmicky thing ever but you get great results by knowing you are different but making use of it.

Actually the only bad point is that you get way more work with the portraits they'll ask, pics of you they wanna take, general discussion time but generally ends up in being great memories and discussion around a few beers.



Of course westerners are conspicuous - how you conduct yourself  when you shoot however can make you dramatically less so.
Its been a while since I shot there but here are some results - gallery takes a little while to load properly.
http://www.markcareyphotography.com/pictures/vietnam/

passserby

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You can do great street photography with any of the 5ds. It's more about the skill then the camera.

Check out this guy for instance:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/maciejdakowicz/
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/maciejdakowicz/popular-interesting/

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