It was in the last millennium when I last loaded an analogue film into a SLR. Twenty years ago I bought my first digital camera. Since then I never shot another film photograph. But this is about to change. Today I bought my very first roll of film in twenty years. And I’m looking very much forward to insert it into this 1970 SLR and take it onto the Streets of Nuremberg for some retro – decelerated photography. Stay tuned for the results.
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The Konica Autoreflex T, launched in 1968, was the first camera with fully automatic exposure control through the lens (TTL). Both features, in their own right, already existed before: the fully automatic exposure control with built-in light meter on the Konica Auto-Reflex, the exposure metering through the lens on the Topcon RE Super / Super D and the Spotmatic series from Pentax. But the combination of both was new. Back then, fully automatic exposure control was a very advanced feature of SLR cameras, other manufacturers were still unable to offer this option a decade later, and until the end of the 1970s fully automatic exposure control was not a matter of course.
I often get asked what gear and camera settings I use when venturing out to shoot on the streets. What works for me is less gear and very basic camera settings.
Let’s talk about the gear first. I switched from my Nikon setup to Micro Four Thirds because I was tired carrying around a big backpack with 5 kilos and more of camera equipment but without compromising image quality. Another benefit from using m4/3 gear is that when you carry a big Nikon with a big lense attached (and even Nikon prime lenses are huge pieces of glass) you always get attention, you are automatically regarded as a serious photographer, with all the negativ implications and restrictions many photographers encounter today when roaming the streets. Now with a m4/3 camera that is much smaller and a small prime lense attached you generate much less attention, blend more in, and that is generally what you are looking for as a street photographer. People tend to much less notice you and when they do, they more regard you as a tourist snapping away than a photographer looking for some serious shots.
Having said that, I typically go out with a single camera, either my OM-D E-M1 or my PEN E-PL7. Attached to it I have typically my M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 prime lens. 17mm in m4/3 translates to ~35mm in full frame format. A fast, perfect and small piece of glass with excellent image quality. Many famous street photographers shoot 35mm only, as it is more or less equal to the normal field of view of our eyes. In the streets I like to shoot wide as my desire is to show people in the context of their environment. Continue reading “Gear & Camera Settings for Street Photography”→