Testing the E-M5 for waist-level street photography

Started May 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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cbran
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Testing the E-M5 for waist-level street photography
May 5, 2012

I’ve always admired great street photography but never had the courage to attempt much myself. With the E-M5, I decided I might finally have the right tool for the job — small, discreet camera, tilt screen for waist-level shooting, very quiet shutter, and almost instant touch-to-focus/shoot right on the screen.

As the title of this post indicates, my shooting session the other day in San Francisco was more a test of the method than a serious attempt to get good, interesting shots.

I had the PL 25mm f1.4 on at first, but found it to be a little too long of a focal length for many shots (lots of cut-off feet and heads) so I switched to the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens at one point.

I’m guessing that 17mm might be the ideal focal length (classic 35mm equivalent, so no surprise there), but I don’t own the Olympus 17mm pancake. Perhaps I should pull out the 14-42mm kit lens and test it for street shots, though I think I’ll enjoy the faster primes more for this kind of shooting.

Both the 25mm and the 14mm focused extremely quickly and were a joy to use. The lightning-fast autofocus and touchscreen shooting make it possible to shoot wide open and still nail the focus (in the past, I’ve had to use zone-focusing which I never really enjoyed).

My biggest problem was composition: I really wanted to shoot vertically for many shots but couldn’t really manage it with the waist-level tilt screen method. My solution was to crop in post — not ideal, but workable.

All in all, I came to the conclusion that this setup, in the right hands, will yield some extremely good street photography. I hope to have the chance to take something other than test shots soon!

All pictures are JPEGs processed in LR4 (also a departure from the norm for me — I almost exclusively process RAWs through both LR and Photoshop, but as these were just test shots I went the "minimal effort" route.)

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