Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just How Small Can A Quality Street Shooting Kit Be?

I'll leave it up to you, fair reader, to either search up your kit's weight on your favorite technical site (I like this one:
or get on that bathroom scale and see for yourself.

When I am going minimal, for a street shooting session where the camera must be unobtusive, or when I don't want my family to even know our trip to the museum is a photo outing, this is my kit.

It consists of a Lumix DMC-LX5, DMW-LVF1 live view finder, spare battery (Panasonic model DMW-BCJ13PP), spare SD card, all nicely slid into a Lowepro Terraclime  50 small bag. The entire kit weighs in at 495 g., or just over one pound!

What does this buy you in terms of performance? Well, as I've said, I won't descend into restating camera specs for you, but it has a real, albeit digital, finder, a nice Leica-branded Vario-Summicron 24-90mm equivalent (actual 5.1-19.2mm), f2.0-3.3 lens, and enough battery power and memory to shoot all day.

Of course, the tradeoff is in the small sensor, and its noise performance. I feel pretty comfortable using it at iso400, and 800 instead of missing the shot. As in other cases, I find that slightly overexposing at high iso allows me to better remove noise in post-procesing.

Here are a couple of examples of images I've taken with this combination (full disclosure - I process my images in Lightroom):

Girls Reading Fortunes (Omikuji), Kamakura, Japan
iso 80, focal length 7.5mm, f4.5, 1/125 sec

Kaiten Sushi (Sushi on a Conveyor), Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan
iso 250, focal length 7.5mm, f3.5, 1/60 sec

Train Rider, Tokyo, Japan
iso 800, focal length 10.7mm, f2.7, 1/100 sec

Of course, these are low resolution images.  Feel free to drop me an email, or visit my flickr page:
if you'd like to see the full-size images.

I will write in a later post about my specific setup of the camera for street shooting. It has some grreat features that were not present in my previous DMC-LX2. The obvious one here is the live view finder.

Since I have committed to carry a Lumix every day in 2012, you can bet this kit is sure to continue to get a lot of use!