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We’ve recently been to Sicily. It was a family trip and I’ve learned that it’s not really possible to be a useful dad and focus on taking photos. So I simply used my phone and snatched the odd image before … Continue reading

Is there a benefit to Micro Four Thirds Cameras in Street Photography?

Most weeks I do a little window shopping at our local camera shop. I seem drawn to opportunities to grow envious of gear that I don’t need and can’t afford. I suppose it’s the chipping away of residual satisfaction with my current camera, so that eventually I persuade myself that a new camera will improve my lacklustre images.

On a recent browse, I was surprised by a couple of new Nikon bodies in the window.  Both were entry level cameras and both were much smaller than I had imagined. In fact they they seemed almost the same size as the Panasonic G7 beside them. To confirm this I did a little research and found a really helpful site called For example, if you follow the link you’ll see that there is very little difference in size between the Nikon D5500 and the Panasonic G7.

Which got me thinking about the increasing size of successive models of mirrorless camera and in particular the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds (MFT) range (e.g. compare the GH1-GH4, the GX1-GX8 or the G3-G7*). To me the increase in size seems to be counter productive, particularly in terms of Street Photography.

The greatest advantage of mirrorless cameras is their size. Of course you need to include lenses when considering overall system sizes. But since APS mirrorless bodies and DSLR bodies use similarly sized lenses, having bodies the same size clearly diminishes the mirrorless advantage. Even in the case of MFT bodies where lenses can be significantly smaller, a small DSLR body with a small prime may be almost the same size. And in terms of image quality an APS DSLR with a small fast lens might be preferable to a similarly sized MFT body. Clearly this is also an issue which MFT cameras face in relation to APS mirrorless bodies.

There remain clear advantages to using MFT systems in some genres of photography. For example if you are going to carry multiple lenses then MFT bodies will have a size and weight advantage. This might sway a travel or documentary photographer. Similarly film makers may prefer the overall system size when using a Lumix GH4 over a Canon 5D.

But in the case of street photographers who usually want small light cameras, when MFT bodies grow closer in size to APS DSLR and Mirrorless bodies their benefit is reduced. This issue is mainly notable at entry and enthusiast level. Once you move up to the pro cameras, mirrorless systems seem much smaller than their Full Frame DSLR equivalents. However at this end of the scale additional considerations of image quality and relative expense may be of equal importance to body size.

*the LUMIX G series has seen only a small increase in size and G3 was actually smaller than both the G1 and G2. 

March 2018 – I notice the new Lumix GX9 appears smaller than the GX8, perhaps Panasonic have been reading this blog;-)

Serendipity too


 This image was not the best shot from a half hour photo dash yesterday. But as I reviewed the shots today I was delighted.

Ideally, this blog would showcase some incredible craftsmanship, but clearly there are technical issues with the shot; it’s blurred, his feet are cut off, etc. Instead, I like this shot because it highlights the funny, serendipitous and even surreal wold of street photography.

I took the shot because I liked the look; sunglasses with masked face.  But I couldn’t have anticipated that at the ‘decisive moment’ the bus would pass and create both a colourful background and more importantly a great subtext!  That’s what makes street photography such a humbling exercise. Some of the best shots work not due to great skill and composition but as a happy accident.

Comfort Zone 

Decided to challenge myself to shoot wider on the streets for a while. I normally use the Panny 20mm 1.7 or the Sigma 30mm 2.8, with the respective FF equivalence of 40mm & 60mm. 

So, I’ve purchased a second hand Panny 14mm 2.5 which gives the FF equivalent field of view of 28mm. 

It’s a tiny lens, not too much larger than a 10p.  Time will tell if I can get close enough to use it. 


I was walking with my camera in my hand, at my side. A guy came round the corner in front of me. He made a strange shout and then appeared to pose for me.  This was not the first time someone had acted like this, so I assumed he wanted me to take a picture.

So, I raised my camera and took a few shots. I was using an old Panasonic G3 and had been using the screen. When I raised the camera the viewfinder, therefore, did not switch on (I believe the automatic switch came with the G5). I couldn’t see him but I took a shot anyway.

When I lowered the camera I was surprised to see he was directly in front of me and not looking too happy. I turns out I had misunderstood his behaviour and he did not like it. He made that clear and exclaimed, ‘you should ask first!’ He then went on his way and I didn’t get a chance to explain my misunderstanding.

Many people don’t seem to mind too much if you take their photo, even without asking. On this occasion I thought I had been given permission, without asking. But it just goes to show there can be a confrontational side to street photography.

Fear and Proximity 

This is a friend of mine. She didn’t notice me as I arrived at her bus stop and I already had my camera so I thought I’d get a candid shot. 

I got in closer than normal, without sticking the lens right in her face. I also shot with the sigma 30mm f2.8 instead of my usual Pany 20mm f1.7. I prefer the framing of the 30mm and the ability to stand further back, but I often feel that it’s not wide enough for classic street photography.  

But the main reason I got in close it that I wasn’t afraid of the reaction I’d get. I knew if my subject noticed me she would be pleased not irritated.  It makes me wonder what type of shots I’d get if I overcame a fear of negative responses. 

Old school

A few years ago I picked up an old OM 50mm 1.8 with a mft adapter. It was fun to use and nice as a portrait lens (100mm equiv.)

The adapter was poor quality and eventually the coating started to come off. Concerned that it would mess up the inside of my camera I left the lens aside. 

So, yesterday I bought an old OM-10 and some ilford film to begin an experiment in going analogue. 

I’m not sure how the OM-10 will fair in street photography it has the loudest shutter action I’ve ever heard. But time will tell.

The image above shows the similarity between the OM-10 and the EM10.