I’ve used a few cameras for street photography with varying focal lengths. But my lasting favourite has been the Leica Q series with it’s 28mm 1.7 fixed lens and full frame sensor.
Not only does the Leica Q series have great image quality, it is small, quiet and has fast autofocus. I currently have the Leica Q2.
I often, but not always, hip-shoot; I photograph from just above the waist and without looking through the viewfinder, and frequently whilst both the subject and I are moving at just a few feet from each other.
I will set the shutter speed to 1/1000th, and sometimes even that is not enough. With the Leica Q2 I shoot wide open, at around f1.7, this keeps the ISO down so I am not left with unwanted image noise.
As an introvert, getting the courage to photograph strangers in the street can be a mental struggle. I have overcome these in my approach. As mentioned, I hip-shoot so I can take photos without looking like I am taking photos, I wouldn’t want to disturb the scene I want to capture nor do I want confrontation.
One of the greatest helps has been to listen to music, it helps me disconnect from the world which alleviates fears. Music can also inspire creativity and raise my mood. I’ve listened to the Bladerunner sound track whilst taking night photos and how about some Harry Potter to make everything seem more wondrous and magical.
I’m writing this blog post at a time where I am actually selling my Leica Q2, as a great a camera as it is, I do ask from it more than it’s sometimes capable. Whilst the autofocus is fast, sometimes, whilst hip-shooting it can pick up the background instead or fail to lock onto the subject. I do find it frustrating to lose these moments.
So I am intending to purchase the Leica M10 Monochrom, a black and white camera with manual focus only lenses. The remarkable thing about this camera is it’s incredible ISO handling. Going forward, I intend to “zone-focus” my shots, which means pre-focusing to a desired distance and narrowing the aperture to get sufficient depth of field. High shutter speeds and narrow apertures will raise the ISO, but for this the M10M will cope far better than the Q2.