Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.
Every Street Photographer has their own style, and many prefer to work with natural light. But once you start to work with strobes, you begin to realize just how much different your work can start to look. Taking photos of people candidly in the street already requires some bravery, and we’d be lying to you if we said that adding a strobe into the picture (pun not intended) also didn’t require some major stugots.
In the end though, you’ll be rewarded with not only different photos from everyone else but also with the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve learned a new skill.
Here’s what we recommend.
Olympus OMD EM5
At the moment of writing this article, the Olympus OMD EM5 is the fastest focusing camera with a viewfinder out there. The viewfinder will make it easier for some to shoot (though the touch screen is also very useful) and the built in image stabilization means that any lens you slap on will be stabilized.
Want to drag the shutter while doing some second curtain flash? No worries! You’ve got image stabilization built in!
On top of that, the Sony made sensor at the heart of this camera is damned good–and many of us on staff own the camera.
Olympus 12mm f2
On a Micro Four Thirds camera, the 12mm f2 will render images with a 24mm field of view. That focal length is excellent for the street (even though I’m personally more of a 35mm type of guy). We chose an Olympus lens to take care of the fast focusing with the OMD as their own lenses are the ones that take the most advantage of the new MSC motors and focusing system.
This lens is already plenty sharp wide open, and stopping it down beyond f5.6 isn’t really worth it as diffraction starts to happen a little after this on sensors of this size.
Even better: the 12mm f2 has a depth of field scale for manual focusing. That means you can zone focus shoot all you want.
Tap and Dye LEGACY Shoulder Strap
Tap and Dye’s straps are interesting. The company is extremely young and all the straps are designed by Justin Waldinger–a designer and lover of vintage film cameras in NYC. His straps are made to have a smooth leather feel on the outside and a bit of a textured feel on the inside. The exterior is treated with beeswax to make it stand up to rain, snow, and environmental changes better than standard leather.
We’ve got to admit: they’re a pain in the butt to get on the camera but once they’re on, you’ll be strutting it around like the kid who got the new Leica.
Buy Now: Tap and Dye
Yongnuo 560 III with RF602 Transmitter
While street photographers fired their flashes off with hot shoe cords for years, cords can get in the way and in a situation like this can be a bit too archaic. Thankfully, Yongnuo has recently created an affordable flash with built in radio transmission. The 560 III has full manual control (which many street togs prefer), comes with an included diffuser and also sports some cool features like a sound for when it has fully recharged.
It’s also got some exceptional build quality for the price point. Did we mention that is can be controlled by Yongnuo’s own radio triggers too? The RF602 transmitter can be purchased with the 560 III for a really affordable price that no one can really beat.
Buy Now: Amazon
ONA The Bowery
We reviewed the Bowery a while back. ONA’s camera bags are for the more discerning photographer that cares about the way they look and present themselves–and not just their portfolio. The Bowery was designed for mirrorless cameras. Taking inspiration from their own Union Street camera bag, the Bowery is a small messenger bag designed to hold a small camera and some other sort of accessory.
It’s the bag we recommend because it will help to keep your accessories down and focus just on shooting.
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