Essentials: The Beginning Street Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (1 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Essentials is a 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. 

Documenting daily life as it happens can become incredibly addicting. The mere act of capturing an expression or a scene then looking back on it and never seeing that person again is one that can keep you shooting over and over until you capture a moment that you feel is perfect. Now, you can use a ton of different gear to do that, but when you’re really trying to get into street photography there are some selections that are better than others. And if you’re also trying to do this at a more affordable price, we’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.

Olympus OMD EM10

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (2 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

This camera can surely be coined at the low end of the Olympus OMD line of cameras. But it is also the most affordable and packs everything you really need into it. With its 16.3MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, the processor of the OMD EM1 (its high end brother) and borrowing some features from the Pen EP-5, what more could you really want? We don’t see many of you shooting in the rain, but if you’re looking for speedy focusing and reliability in a small size then you’ve got it right here.

Oh right, and an EVF…

Buy Now: Amazon

Olympus 25mm f1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (3 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

Micro Four Thirds users finally have an affordable 50mm equivalent lens. While users have long had the Panasonic 25mm f1.4, Olympus has recently come out with the 25mm f1.8. This lens has almost all the same types of glass as their 45mm f1.8–which is one of the sharpest and most affordable lenses in the system. Overall, there is also the small size and super fast focusing that you’ll experience with it too.

If you’re looking to use the zone focusing method to capture photos though, you’ll need to look elsewhere like at their 12mm f2 or 17mm f1.8 with the snap back focusing ring.

Buy Now: Amazon

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X100s for street photography (9 of 9)ISO 32001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Pro Tip: At a given aperture, more will be in focus for a Micro Four Thirds camera than with a full frame camera. That’s because of the 2x crop factor. In terms of depth of field, f2 on Micro Four Thirds is the equivalent to f4 on full frame. Just take an aperture and go two stops down to figure out the conversion rate.

Sigma 30mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (4 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

There are some times where you’ll feel you’ll want more reach. For sessions like that, you’ll probably want to reach for the Sigma 30mm f2.8. It is affordable, small, and pretty damned sharp. Though the company has released an update to the lenses, we don’t really see a reason to go for the newer glass. Instead, save some cash and spring for the older versions.

This lens will be a 60mm equivalent at f5.6 wide open on a Micro Four Thirds camera. There seriously is no point in stopping down if you’re shooting portraits.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: The zone focusing system requires using the depth of field scale on your lens. It tells you that at a given distance and when the lens is stopped down at a given aperture, a certain range of subject material will be in focus.

Pro Tip: The zone focusing system requires using the depth of field scale on your lens. It tells you that at a given distance and when the lens is stopped down at a given aperture, a certain range of subject material will be in focus.

Sigma 19mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (5 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

Once you’ve become a bit braver, you’ll opt for a semi-wide focal length. At 19mm this lens will be a 38mm equivalent on a Micro Four Thirds camera. It’s not quite a 35mm equivalent but instead gives you a tad more reach. We’ve used this lens a lot, though it doesn’t focus as snappily as Olympus’s own glass.

For what it’s worth though, you won’t have a single complaint about the image quality: both the bokeh and sharpness are top notch. Like its 60mm brother, we recommend getting the older version.

Buy Now: Amazon

Voigtlander Bessa R

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (6 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

What would this list be without a film camera?

Many of the world’s first photojournalists and street photographers shot with rangefinders. And if you want to get something a bit different, we strongly recommend using a Voigtlander Bessa R and not getting any further into the rangefinder world. For what it’s worth, we’re recommending a screwmount camera because if you go M mount, then you’ll want more lenses and bodies.

Additionally, the Bessa R is a really affordable option that won’t fail you at all.

Buy Now: Check eBay

Zkin Champ Camera Bag

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Beginning Street Photogrpaher (7 of 7)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

Sure, it’s a high end camera bag but it looks beautiful and on you it’ll show off that you’ve got a bit of class to you. A bag like tis has a leather and canvas exterior with a mini bag inside complete with dividers. You can store cameras, lenses, and flashes inside. We’ve even been able to stuff a laptop and an iPad in here.

Buy Now: Lomography

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