“What is the best camera for street photography?” The question arises almost every day, and all I can tell you that there is no such thing… Shoot what you feel comfortable with and use a camera that has ergonomics you like and that feels good in your hands.
That being said, the Leica M9 is arguably the best camera in my hands for street photography and my favorite camera for street shooting after the M6 TTL… The convenience of digital paired with kick-ass ergonomics. relatively quiet and super fast in the right hands- f8 and bang away, as some might say. shown with 35mm f2 Summicron v3 (king of bokeh) and aftermarket vented metal shade and the Leica handgrip, which is a crucial accessory for better ergonomics in my opinion.
Leica M9 18MP Digital Range Finder Camera (Steel Gray, Body Only)
After shooting with an M9 for a little bit over 3 years, I have now upgraded to a Leica M, Typ 240
Everything else you see on this page is pretty much gone from my inventory, as nothing beats a Leica M in the ergonomics department.
my favorite camera strap: Domke gripper with rubberized threads – you also see another must-have accessory: a mini soft shutter release, the original Leica shutter button sits somewhat low and I find a soft release necessary
Domke 740-6BK 1-Inch Web Strap without Swivel (Black)
Voigtlander R4M – M for manual mode, camera is fully manual and needs batteries for the meter only. best wide 21mm viewfinder in the market. works with Leica M lenses. shown with 28mm f2.8 Leica Elmarit and modified B+W metal shade. kick-ass lens, sharp, sharp and sharp with virtually zero distortion.
The original Ricoh GRD, my favorite point-and-shoot camera with a fixed 28mm equivalent f2.4 lens. killer ergonomics and awesome organic, grain-like noise to boot… I like the original version much better than its successors GRD II/III/IV. I have two – it’s that good…
Ricoh GR DIGITAL IV US 10 MP Digital Camera with 1x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD screen (Black)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 – fast f2.0 24mm wide lens, great quality Leica glass and the zoom up to 90mm comes in handy at times… the video mode is great when needed. the lens has a step function to zoom at fixed focal lengths of 24-28-35-50-70-90 for rangefinder style shooting. good quality files clock in at 12MP, RAW is usable up to ISO 1600
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD – Black
The original Canon EOS 5D, still my favorite DSLR after many years of use. 12MP hits the sweet spot and low light performance is still great at ISO 3200, I don’t see the need for faster speeds, even at night as I like a realistic mood and some grain in my photographs anyways, especially in black and white. large prints look awesome, so don’t fall for the megapixel marketing trap. I love, love, love the Canon 28mm f1.8 USM lens.
mounted shown is the 28mm f2.8, which is ok, but suffers from noisy/slow autofocus and barrel distortion close-up. ack.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Canon 430EX speedlite
bunch of Vivitar 283’s with the varipower module for manual control
a pair of pocket wizards (multi max and plus II)
cowboystudio wireless trigger (much smaller than the pocketwizards, especially great for street shooting). I love wireless technology!
two oh-so-lovely 20″ beauty dishes
Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras
Apple Mac Pro 2.93 GHz Quad (8 core) Tower with tons of terabytes of storage and 12GB of RAM… OS runs off a 128GB OCZ SSD and this machine flies like there is no tomorrow!
Apple Mac Pro MC560LL/A Desktop (NEWEST VERSION)
27″ Apple LCD Cinema Display – gorgeous!
Apple Thunderbolt Display MC914LL/A (NEWEST VERSION)
Apple MacBook Pro 13″, 8GB RAM
Apple MacBook Pro MD313LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3
Adobe Photoshop CS5
crashplan for cloud backup
Unfortunately Nikon seized production of this fantastic 35mm scanner, which I use with Vuescan. Vuescan works with almost every scanner known to man, even with my old UMAX PowerLook 1100 (great for contacts with its 8″x10″ transparency unit). I also use an Epson Perfection 3170 for larger negs and prints.
Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Color Scanner
prints are crafted on an Epson 3800 with K3 inks on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper… awesome, awesome blacks with a real photo feel…
Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Inkjet Printer (CA61201-VM)
blast from the past:
I used the Leica M8 for a couple of years, mostly with a 21mm f4 Voigtlander and a 28mm Voigtlander – both are great lenses, especially with the 1.33x crop factor. I like the chrome finish of the Leica M’s much better than the black version, or the gray M9… the chrome version is much more durable and wears much better.
Leica M6 TTL – still my favorite film rangefinder, especially with the M motor attached… I regret selling the 35mm Summicron ASPH almost every day, what a lovely lens
I still have an AE-1 with a 28mm f2.8 and the standard 50mm lens… I used to use it mostly in shitty weather, or when the Leica was in the shop… great camera, cheap to begin with and pretty much undestroyable
I picked this Minolta X-700 up at the local housingworks for 7 bucks and the 58mm f1.4 Rokkor lens for $25. solid, solid camera and an awesome lens
Rolleiflex – if I could find a decent Rolleiflex wide, that’d make my day (Diane Arbus used one)
I liked any of the medium format cameras, but they were all too slow for my kind of work.
Olympus Stylus Epic – I still have one and consider it a strong contender for film shooting and pocketability. it’s weather sealed too. check out this post how to trick the DX sensor into higher ISOs
Canon ML – weird 80ies AF brick with a fast 40mm f1.9 lens and metering up to ISO 1000, generally nicer to use than the Canon Canonet
Canon EOS Elan 7 – the best Canon film SLR besides the 1 series
Canon EOS 10D – totally extinct by now, but my first serious DSLR after an Olympus C-2500 L
Leica M4 – I can live without a meter, but the old-school shutter dial drove me NUTS
end street photo gear page