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street photography - small camera vs big camera

Published February 4th, 2012

I have tried a mixture of a Canon 5d2 SLR (alebit with a small fixed lens) and a Fuji X100 for street photos while trying to teach myself street techniques - here is what I found...

I felt a bit more self conscious with the Canon, but in reality, with either round my kneck (or in hand), most people didnt take a great deal of notice anyway. There were two real differences though which would mean me choosing the 5d2 most of the time...

Camera in hand / hip shooting: The grip on the 5d2 makes it very comfortable to hang from the right hand as you walk around - even if you dont have a wrist strap (you can wrap the main strap round your wrist for security). The smaller X100 doesnt have such a grip (as per most non SLR cameras) and i found my hand cramping within minutes of trying to keep the camera at ready in my hand. It was also a lot harder keep my finger on the shutter in such a position.

Speed: The main problem i found with the x100 is the start up time. I missed a number of shots because the camera had gone to sleep and took a couple of seconds to wake up again - oops, moment gone. This is even with all the fast wake up etc enabled... it just isnt quick enough in some situations. I found that if i saw something approaching that looked interesting, i would have to press the shutter half way in advance just to wake the camera up ready.

The perfect camera (for street hip shooting) would be about x100 size, with instant on, and grip add on - oh, that will probably be a Leica at many thousands of pounds then! ah, except the Fuji X1-pro is coming out soon... i really hope it is instant on (and better battery life). Just a shame the lenses are electronic with no focus scale on them - damn. Will have to stick with the 5d2.

Non hip shooting: With either camera round the kneck and a more thought out approach to shooting, either camera does an amazing job - I love them both. This is fine in London where everyone seems to be walking round with an SLR, but in smaller, run down towns, you might consider the smaller camera to be a bit more discreet.

See my best shots so far are at: 500px.com/markheathcote - please give your feedback good and bad to help me on the journey.

Also to be found at:





the hand that feeds it

After a couple of dull shots of someone feeding pigeons, i realised there might be something more interesting if i just showed the hand coming round the tree. I'm not sure how obvious the hand is at first look, so it might not quite work, but still loads more interesting than just someone feeding pigeons, plus she couldn't see me - haha! had to use burst mode to catch the hand which appeared very quickly then went again. took me about 6 burst attempts before i thought i had caught it.

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