The Non Intruding Camera
Let me start by stating that I am not a strolling shooter. I am not a Street Tog, I am a walker. I am not out on the street in a hap-hazard way. I am out there intentionally seeking the images that are seeking me. I do not exist without them and they do not exist without me. That is, unless YOU find them first.
So, here’s the way it works sometimes. I’m out walking with the GRD4 in my hand with a wrist strap. A neck strap also works very well but one must learn how not to struggle with ones gear. Then something calls to me and I start to feel my finger get itchy.
The finger is the main organ in photography. The eye is secondary as it finds the image with the brain and heart but….the finger is the organ that makes the camera expose. It is crucial that the camera provide a nice resting place for the finger. It is also crucial that the camera has a very delicate sexy feel to the finger for exposure.
Anyway, what happens for me is that I start to feel the finger want to work. The other 3 elements, (eye, heart, brain) of the process are analyzing the scene so that the finger can go to work. What I mean is this….
The eye generally responds to the scene first. Then the heart or brain get involved. There is no set order to the finding process. Any stimulis could work with any of the 3 elements to seek the image. The danger is that the finger get started first. That’s why they made that stupid multi drive crap years ago that has flooded into our nice easy laid back digital imaging world. A motor drive is for the finger to work first. You start the machine gun and hope to find something in the holes you made. Mostly you don’t or maybe you do by accident.
Once the image starts to form and the 3 elements start to frame, the finger is ready and hopefully, the camera is just as ready as you are. Many times a setting was made wrong, focus wasn’t close or off, exposure was off etc. These things are intrusions. We must be able to detect and control these intrusions. For me, any of the above and about a gazillion other things are not nice and I don’t want them as a part of my process.
I’ve used Leica M’s for over 40 years and started with the M8 when it first came out. I was one of the lucky ones that got the bad sensor, magenta bullcrap and camera turns into a brick mode. It happened with 4 different bodies and that killed Leica for me.
Now, it’s the Ricoh GXR. Why, ok I’ll explain my thinking.
The GXR is a totally expandable camera. It can morph into different cameras very easy. I prefer the 2 A12 units. The 28mm & 50mm are both excellent lenses. They keep the camera very compact and maintain all the features of a full DSLR. I prefer AF and depend on it all the time. The GXR has a snap focus mode that is ideal for street work.
With the 28mm at f8, focused at 6.6ft….you have 3.3ft to infinity as your DOF. So, it dont get better then that.
I set the camera to A mode, f8 and adjust the ISO to get the shutter speed In the range I want. Now that Ricoh has seen fit to install Auto ISO on the GXR, that’s what I use. I now can set both aperture and shutter speed and the camera sets the ISO. Wonderful!
Well, I used a Fuji X100 because I thought that it would bring back that “M” feel. It did and that was the problem. The main issue I had was the finder. I know, I know…that’s the reason to get the camera. It works great and so does the EVF but not for me.
What happens is this….the camera intrudes on my vision and process because it’s up at my eye. It’s blocking my view and puts most subjects off as they are totally aware that you are making a photo of them. Your hiding your face from the scene/subject.
I have since abandoned the GXR cameras and have settled on the GRD once again. I will not say how many times in the past that I have had the GRD series but lets just say, I learned my lesson well. The GRD4 is home.
The street is about being an observer not being observed.