Save 30% now with our Black Friday sale! Limited time only! Upgrade now

One Focal Length for All Street Photography? No...

Published September 1st, 2013

Everyone likes to write article on gear, it's so much fun. "This new camera rocks!", "this lens has less CA than yours!", etc... All very nice and all, with clever jokes and, sometimes, good analysis. But only a few care about the big picture (pun intended). Wether it's a Zeiss, Nikkor, Zuiko or whatever lens, which focal length should use, where, why and how?

That, to me, is way more interesting than comparing two similar lenses to decide which one to get (even if I recognize, I do commit the sin each time I buy a new piece of gear, about every 12 months or so).

So, lots of people will tell you: "use THIS focal length for street photography, all the rest is either too tight or too wide". Well, to me, this is BS. Buy some photo books and you'll see one thing: great photographers have taken great pictures with all kind of lenses.

Now, street photography is a genre in itself, and it does have some "rules". To me, you can use all type of lenses, but most useful street lenses will be be ...

Read More →

Soccer boys, a photography and humanity lesson

Published May 17th, 2012

There it was, my old Nikon F55, my first SLR, crying for film in a dusty bag. It also contained a few unexposed Kodak T-Max 100 film. They were three years out of date, stored in a closet. I said to myself: "I might as well use them, what's the risk?". So I took that with me, two lenses (a 20mm and a 50mm) and went for a walk with it, looking for a subject to shoot. Strangely, using film again made me feel like each photo was more precious, that it shouldn't be misused, that it should show something, something important. And then I found my subject, in the park near my home.

Read More →

Sony NEX-7 + Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 Sonnar ZA...

Published February 15th, 2012

As you are well aware now, I'm a NEX-7 user. I also, finally, got my Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA at the end of January (hurray!). Those are my final thought on the system, comments on the lens and how it could be (easily) improved.

The NEX-7 body is, as you've read before, extremely functional and well made. Lightweight, yet robust, small, yet versatile. A real tour de force by Sony. I've used quite a few Sony products in my life so, it doesn't surprise me. They may not always be on top, but they do know how to make a very high quality product. My only complaints are about the firmware. While it has a lot of features and option, it lacks a few I'd like to have:

-Adjustable auto-ISO. In auto-iso, your camera will try to shoot at 1/60s and won't go above ISO 1600. While it is fine for most walk-around usage, I find it too restrictive. My old Nikon D90 was way more configurable in that regard. Sony should add options to restrict min and max speeds, as well as the ISO range. I mean, t ...

Read More →

Sony NEX-7 + Nikkor and Leica lenses

Published January 7th, 2012

My first feedback on the Sony NEX-7 camera with non-NEX lenses (my Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 should arrive by mid-february, arrgh).

First, Nikkor lenses. I've tried them with a Voigtlander adapter and a Novoflex adapter. Both are precise and well made, but the Novoflex is a bit heavier. In this particular case, it does help balancing the camera. The Voiglander is so light it feels like empty space between the camera and the lens, not good for balancing. If you plan to use reflex lenses on the NEX, I'd go with the Novoflex for that reason. It doesn't matter for the M adapter (since it's very small), as long as you don't buy a super-cheap, chinese $30 badly-calibrated adapter...

Handling was OK with my Nikkor AF 20mm f/2.8D, great with the Nikkor AI-S 50m f/2 I borrowed. Being a manual lens, it was much easier to control. It was lighter too. I also love the 75mm perspective (used it a lot on my Nikon gear) so... As for results, well, stunning, simply stunning (I'm talking about technical resul ...

Read More →

Why I just bought a Sony NEX-7...

Published December 25th, 2011

I've been a Nikon user for a decade. My mother was a Nikon shooter when she was working in French newspapers in the 1990's. I absolutely love Nikon ergonomics. I trust Nikon's philosophy more than most of its competitors (especially Canon, sorry). However, I've just sold most of my Nikon stuff and acquired a Sony NEX-7 (the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 is also on order and part of the story).

As some of my followers may know, I really enjoy street and people photography. I believe that fast primes on light bodies are the way to go to shoot in this conditions. That's why I was using a Nikon D90 with an assortment of 3 fast primes (20mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8). All great gear, never let me down. I was always satisfied of image quality and versatility.

But I wanted more, I wanted even lighter and more discrete. I've gaffer taped my Nikon gear so it didn't catch everyone's eyes when I was shooting. It did help. However, I happen to work in a store where the main products are Leica ones. As you ...

Read More →

My gear - Part II

Published June 22nd, 2011

Now that you know that I shoot Nikon camera with prime lenses, you ought to know what I carry them with.

First things first, I'm gonna talk extensively of the Domke brand here. I'm not affiliated with them or Tiffen (the owner). This is not an ad. I just so happen to have looked at a lot of gear and want to share my thoughts about the stuff I use.

Talking about bags, vests and even straps can seem silly, but it's actually an important part of your gear. A great camera can be useless if you won't take it out because you don't trust your carrying gear.

So, here's what I use for street work : a Domke F-5XZ RuggedWear shoulder bag. It's relatively thin, very tall, water resistant and has a low profile (unlike most Lowepro bags, even if they are well done, I even own two of them). It looks like an old messenger bag, not like a camera bag, and it's not bulky (very handy on the streets!). The F-5XB, its smaller brother can be a nice choice too for rangefinder users. In my bag, I can put : ...

Read More →

My gear - part I

Published June 21st, 2011

I use both a Nikon D90 and a D50. I consider that Nikon cameras offer better ergonomics, more photo-oriented than gadget-oriented cameras. They shine in low-light, are very well made, though and don’t care as much for video. I want a photo camera, not a video camera. If I want one, I buy one. This statement is both biased and personal, just like the rest of the text :-)

My Nikkor lenses: 20mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/2D, 50 f/1.8D, 55-200 f/4-5.6 DX VR

I consider fixed focal to be a plus for creativity. Zooms are useful for money-earning photographers, for their contracts. With a fixed focal length, one moves and pays attention to his framing, a lot more than he would with a zoom. One is also more discrete and lighter. Think about it, a 969g and 13cm long 14-24mm 2.8, or a 270g and 4.3 cm 20mm 2.8? A 900g for 13cm 24-70mm 2.8, or a 155g for 4cm 50mm 1.8, which is also faster? Good zooms are a work tool for pros (weddings, events, etc.), fixed focal are creation tools, because they restrict you ...

Read More →

My first post on 500px

Published June 20th, 2011

Let me introduce myself. I am Manu, a Franco-Canadian soon-to-be historian and amateur photographer. On this blog, I’ll mainly write about photography, it’s related news and some history stuff.

I’ve been into photography since I was five years old, when my dad bought my a Polaroid in the USA (we lived in France at the time). I learned to frame a picture with this little camera. Then I got a Canon 35mm, but I really started shooting with my Nikon F55m, my first SLR, bought in 2005. Quite a few rolls of film later came my first DSLR, a Nikon D50. Believe me, this little 6 Megapixels camera does marvels, and I started learning digital photography and advance editing software with it (I tried them all: Bibble, Capture One, Lightroom, Aperture and finally chose the latter, more on that in a few posts). In 2010, I got hired in a pro camera shop and bought a D90 (not a pro camera, I know, more on that later) Nikkor prime lenses. In the next posts, I’ll write about what I love about photograp ...

Read More →