We suggest a range of gear that’s ideal when you’re travelling light on the street
Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 shoulder bag
£124.25 • www.thinktankphoto.com
Think Tank Photo has always prided itself on providing camera-carrying solutions that enable photographers to access gear quickly and easily. Founders of the company include Deanne Fitzmaurice, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 2005, and Kurt Rogers, a long-time photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle. This understanding of how photographers genuinely work has led to them developing a number of innovative products, including the Shape Shifter series, which allows you to build your own bag by attaching Skin Pouches or Lens Changers.
For street work, the Retrospective shoulder bag range is hard to beat. The Retrospective 5 is an old-school camera bag with a sand-washed cotton-canvas exterior, giving it an unassuming, attractively worn look. The outer has a water-repellent coating and features abrasion-resistant zippers, while the inner has foam dividers (which are reinforced with PE board), and can accommodate a mirrorless system or small DSLR and lens. The expandable pocket at the front can house a tablet measuring up to 8in. The Retrospective 5 is available in three colours – pinestone, black and sandstone – and comes with a seam-sealed rain cover.
Peak Design Slide Lite camera strap
£42.99 • www.peakdesign.com
The Slide Lite can be worn as a sling, neck or shoulder strap, making it truly versatile. Its adaptability is largely down to a series of small corded discs, each one designed to hold more than 90kg in weight. The discs (known as Anchor Links) slide into each end of the strap, where they are held in place. To create a sling strap, the Links are attached to one strap lug and the tripod socket (the Slide Lite comes with an Arca-compatible tripod plate). To create a neck strap they are attached to both strap lugs, while to create a shoulder strap they are attached as per the sling strap, but with the fabric reversed to make use of a silicon grip that prevents the Slide Lite from slipping off your shoulder. The strap is 144cm long and 3.2cm wide (compared to 145cm long and 4.5cm wide on the original Slide version). As a result, it’s ideal for mirrorless systems and small DSLRs, but less useful for larger cameras. The fabric comprises seatbelt-style webbing, making it strong, yet comfortable against the body. The length of the strap can be altered via two aluminium quick-adjust handles.
Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 Asph lens
£2,280 (black version) • en.leica-camera.com
The Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 Asph lens is a popular choice among reportage and street photographers. Part of its charm is the pleasing bokeh it produces – the iris is formed of 11 blades, creating a circular aperture that renders out-of-focus areas beautifully smooth. Another attraction is its compact size – the lens measures 3.53cm in length and weighs 253.8g (without the hood). And then, of course, there’s the hood itself, which is metal and has a screw-thread mount. Aside from preventing stray light from entering the lens, its solid construction indicates that the lens can withstand the odd knock or two. Naturally, image quality is impressive – the Summicron-M 35mm f/2 Asph delivers pin-sharp pictures with plenty of contrast and low levels of distortion.
£1,399 (body only) • www.fujifilm.eu
Street photographers require rugged, lightweight cameras capable of delivering highly detailed images even in low light. The Fujifilm XT-2 delivers on all fronts, boasting a magnesium-alloy body (dust and water-resistant), a 24.3-million-pixel sensor (with no low-pass filter) and weighing just 507g (including card and battery). This mirrorless model also features a range of film-simulation modes including Acros – a monochrome setting that delivers deep blacks, attractive textures and smooth gradation of tones.
For street shooters, speed is of the essence, and the X-T2 is satisfyingly responsive. It also handles intuitively with a fine balance of external and menu-driven controls, many of which can be customised. Furthermore, the electronic viewfinder has a time lag of just 0.005sec and can display up to 100fps. The X-T2 is also the first in the X series to feature an LCD screen that can be tilted in three directions: up and down in landscape format, and down in portrait format.
Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4R lens
£429 • www.fujifilm.eu
Henri Cartier-Bresson spent most of his photographic career shooting with a 50mm prime lens. The angle of view provided by this focal length is similar to that of the human eye, which goes some way to explain its enduring popularity. It’s a flattering choice for street or any other kind of portraiture, and has the added bonus of allowing you to keep further back from your subject – something that photographers new to street photography will appreciate.
The Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4R lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 53mm, and a maximum aperture of f/1.4 (which is perfect for low-light situations). It’s also relatively petite (compared to an equivalent DSLR lens), measuring 5cm in length and weighing 187g (without the lens hood). The iris is formed of seven rounded blades that, while insufficient to form a perfect circle, still produce impressive bokeh. Image quality is impressive, with minimal distortion and little evidence of chromatic aberration. To round things off, the lens comes with a rectangular hood for added protection.
Leica M (Typ 240) digital camera
£5,030 • en.leica-camera.com
Quiet and compact, the Leica M series of cameras has always been popular with street photographers, travellers and photojournalists. These cameras have a physical depth of less than 4.2cm, making them truly pocketable, while the high-speed primes they support offer superb image quality without excessive bulk.
The Leica M (Typ 240) features a 24mp CMOS sensor in full 35mm format, with two additional focusing options (aside from the classic rangefinder method): the first, Live View Zoom, allows you to magnify the display up to 10x, and the second, Live View Focus Peaking, instructs the camera to highlight sharp contours to enable fine focus control. The camera is also the first in the M series to offer live view. Leica cameras are built to last, with metal bodies, scratch-resistant glass and rubber seals to protect against moisture and dust, and the M (Typ 240) is no different. What’s more, it can take advantage of almost all the lenses in the Leica R-Lenses series, with an adapter.
Henri Neck Strap (Mark II)
£59.95 • www.erickimphotography.com
Street photographer Eric Kim was searching for his dream camera strap – one that combined function and fashion. Unable to find what he was looking for, he set about designing his own (with a little help from his partner, Cindy). The end result is the Henri Neck Strap (now in its second incarnation). Handcrafted from leather, Henri straps are made in limited-edition batches by one of Kim’s friends, a craftsman and artist in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Despite being soft and hardwearing, over time the leather develops subtle marks that tell the story of your adventures.
Henri straps are designed to hold ‘smaller’ cameras (those with side lugs), so mirrorless systems and compacts are ideal, but DSLR users will have to look elsewhere. They have a drop length of 15-19in, and can be adjusted as required. Kim also offers a shorter wrist-strap version.
Cosyspeed Camslinger 160
£39.99 • cosyspeed.com
Cosyspeed bags are specifically designed to accommodate mirrorless cameras (and compacts), small DSLRs and bridge cameras. They are worn around the waist on a wide, soft ‘belt’ that can be adjusted to ensure a snug fit. The Camslinger 160, in particular, is great for street work because it offers the convenient one-handed access you get from a sling strap, with the added protection of a traditional camera bag. The design of the bag is slim and unobtrusive, which may also deter opportunist thieves. With the Camslinger 160 safely on your person you can access your kit with ease, and alter its depth, using a Velcro size-adjustment system, to house more or less equipment. The bag comes with three removable dividers and a finger strap, and is available in black and Paris grey. The CEO and founder of the company, Thomas Ludwig, has a healthy sense of social responsibility, which led him to develop a Limited Edition range, with a percentage of sales donated to charities such as Terre des Hommes, which supports children in need. At present, the Limited Edition range includes the Streetomatic bag, a celebration of the talents of Swiss street photographer Thomas Leuthard.