( Above: Leica’s new M Monochrom camera only shoots in black & white! It also has a full-frame sensor and will go for $8,000 USD )
Foto Ruta may be unstrategially located in the least innovative technical hub of the planet ( We’re here for the street life and the malbec, lets be clear about that ) but that doesn’t mean we haven’t made notice of the growing equipment trend as of late: What’s that? The third generation of digital cameras.
During more and more of our weekly Foto Ruta events and our private Foto Ruta Academia street photography workshops, there is one trend becoming more and more apparent: Good cameras are getting smaller. Alot smaller. That’s right, to a significant extent, big clunky, “ look at me I’m such a pro” digital SLR cameras are on the outs. In fact, in 5 years, we’ll look back on them fondly as technical dinosaurs, laughing at the time we all wandered down the narrow streets of San Telmo lugging an impossibly large Nikon on our shoulder with the consensus that bigger equals better. It’s time to tune in photo nerds: Large is no longer.
In a nutshell, technology is getting better ( or shall we say, less space demanding ) and equipment is getting smaller…and to be honest, that’s kind of sexy. Whether the terminology above is over your head or you’ve got your head wrapped right-round it, it’s time to note that new consumer options are available and at Foto Ruta we think they’re going to make street photography heaps more interesting.
What are the advantages?
1. Scary fast FPS ( Frames per second ).
The new The Nikon V1 can do 10 FPS with autofocus or 60 FPS with fixed focus and this is only the beginning. This means when that hipster in Palermo trying his hand at competitive ping pong and you want to capture all 49 frames of his movement – you can do it! It might also mean a bit more work in lightroom selectioning the right images out of 400, but who doesn’t like a full cup of mate and a few hours drooling over pictures?! Sounds good to me:)
2. Almost Pocket Sized
3rd Generation DSLRs are smaller, thinner, and lighter. So are the lenses. From the perspecitve of Foto Ruta, we find this a great advantage to street photography. We can all be clandestino and less loot-worthy again. Hello dodgy neighborhood, it’s me! My camera is barely visible and not at all worth trying to steal!
A possible disadvantage of this is that you won’t look like such a stud anymore in front of clients if you shoot professionally. Don’t worry, they’ll get over it when they realize your camera might not look ” big-time” but the results are another story.
Since the mirror doesn’t flip up and down any more, you’re not flinging a bunch of dust and junk around the inside of that barn. I must admit…I might just be the queen, if not the unofficial president of sensor dust. After one particular contract while crossing the Andes mountains, my camera became a bit like…looking through wax paper really. Major cleaning. I look forwardto the day when I don’t have to do that any more. Call me lazy.
4. Street Savvy
Because the size and weight of these 3rd generation cameras is only a fraction of what the current DSLR units are, its safe to say they make a lot more street sense. How so? It’s less intimidating to approach a mere stranger in La Boca, photographing in places you shouldn’t be in the first place becomes a synch ( those motion shots in the subway are pretty difficult with a tripod and a wide-angle if you want to avoid security ), and mostly, the security risk to your equipment and yourself becomes much reduced when there is less hardware to see and steal. Trying being discrete with a fully-extended 200mm zoom lens mounted on a DSLR. Not so easy.
So what does Foto Ruta recommend? Well, prepare your wallets, this technology is new so it’s still quite expensive, but it’s on its way to getting cheaper just as 2nd generation DSLR’s started plummeting in price after only a couple years of their release. Here are some of our picks:
Nikon Mirrorless J1 ( $600 USD )
Nikon Mirrorless V1 ( $850 USD )
Panasonic DMC G10 ( $600 USD )
Sony NEX – 7 ( $ 1350 USD )
Fuji x-Pro 1 ( price unconfirmed – its just released)
Leica M9 Mirrorless ( $8,000 USD )
We’re not saying throw away your D SLR gear just yet, but in the next 2 years, your likely to go through some major equipment transformations! Ask Foto Ruta about mirrorless models at our weekly events in Buenos Aires.