What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

Started Jul 21, 2008 | Discussions thread
calvinboy24 Regular Member • Posts: 458
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

dpreviewuser wrote:

I have a 5D and want to get a P&S camera for street photography in a
city. I want something more subtle than my 5D+ 17-40mm/24-105mm.

I'm looking at the Canon G9 or SD1100, Samsung NV24, Sigma DP1, or
maybe Olympus E420 with pancake lens.

Along with my recommendation for the GX100, I'll provide some further insight into this:

The "classic" street photography kit is a Leica M Rangefinder. I use the M8 when shooting street photography as its smaller than my 5D + 24-70. The obvious advantages are carrying weight, and being a bit more unobtrusive than an SLR.

P&S's can be used for street photography, as they are smaller, light, and unobtrusive, but lack some advantages that an SLR or Rangefinder can provide. These include:

  • Longer shutter lag: street photography is a lot about that "decisive moment", and the quicker the camera captures the frame from the release of the shutter, the better you'll have the moment you spotted on the street. Most P&S suffer from longer shutter lags than SLR's or Rangefinders. This is excluding slower autofocus which is my next point.

  • Slower autofocus: try as much as you can, but P&S autofocus are usually pretty slow. You compose, wait for the camera to focus, snap the shot, and your subject has either moved away or is reacting to you taking your photo. The Ricoh GX100 has a feature called "Snap focus" which is their equivalent to hyperfocal distance setting. I've played around with this but don't have an opinion of it.

  • Lack of high ISO's: probably with the exception of the Fujifilm P&S's, other P&S's suffer from excessive noise at higher ISO's (400+). I don't like to/can't use flash for street photography. Therefore you need to bump up ISO to a minimum of 400, which even on the GX100 and the Panasonic DMC-LX2 produces relatively noisy images (obviously compared to ISO 400 or even 800 on a 5D).

  • RAW or not to RAW?: Only a limited number of P&S's have RAW capability. If you're shooting JPG and can live without the flexibility of having the RAW information, then your options are greater.

These considerations were all the ones that I examined when looking at a P&S. I wanted RAW, something smallish, with manual focus and manual controls (aperture and shutter speed), as well as something with a "fast" lens (lower than f3.5). This limited myself to the Canon G9, Ricoh GX100, Panasonic DMC-LX2. Others near the playing field are the DP1, Fuji F30, and a scattering of others (other Panasonics, Canon ELPHs, Nikon's, etc.).

I first bought the LX2 which I really liked. But then I got a hold of the GX100 and decided to switch. To me their quality and usage is about equal, although the GX100 is more expensive. I opted against the G9 due to its thickness, although the G9 has been receiving some stellar reviews.

Apparently this morning, Panasonic announced the DMC-LX3. Recently, Ricoh announced the GX200, both of which are successors to the cameras mentioned above.

In the end, what you choose has to be right for your purposes.

My recommendation actually... get a Leica M8 and a 35mm Summicron... if money wasn't an issue. If money isn't so much an issue, get a used M6TTL. If money's somewhat an issue, get either the LX3, GX200, or G9. If money IS an issue... get the F30.

Also, check out this website: http://www.seriouscompacts.com/

 calvinboy24's gear list:calvinboy24's gear list
Canon PowerShot S90 Canon EOS-1D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II Leica M8 Olympus PEN E-PL1 +9 more
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