I've been asked numerous times what it is I shoot with when I'm on the street. Both by email and also when I'm on photo walks with fellow photographs.
So, if you're reading this it could be because I've linked you here in response to the question or it could be because you're a subscriber to the blog and this landed in your inbox. (Thanks for subscribing by the way!)
Well my street kit is simple:
FREE Photo Walk: London - October 24th!
Before I dive into the details of my camera bag, I just wanted to remind you that my next FREE photo walk is in London on October 24th. All the details are over on the events page: http://www.michaelrammell.com/calendar/london-october24-2015
I shoot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1. When shooting on the street I remove the HL-D7 vertical grip. As much as I like it for the extra balance it brings to the camera and the additional grip it offers your hand, I much prefer the smallest, lightest camera possible when waking the streets. I also don't want to look like a serious photographer of any kind. Looking more like a tourist certainly helps when you're up close with someone and photographing. They feel less threatened or suspicious.
One thing I don't like about the E-M1 for street however is that the shutter isn't silent. Although, this will be remedied with the release of firmware version 4.00 for the OM-D E-M1, due late November 2015. This update will, among other new features, include completely silent shooting!
My lens of choice for street work is the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8. Again it's small, compact and light weight. Instead of the Official Olympus Lens Hood however I've opted for a 3rd party alternative from JJC - who's cheap and cheerful camera accessories can be found on Amazon. The reason I've stuck with this lens hood over Olympus' own though is simply because it's better! It's all-metal, more durable and, let's be honest, looks excellent with the screw on top that keeps the hood clamped to the lens. The 17mm is also splash and dust proof, so if there is a little rain (I live in England!) then I don't have to stop shooting.
On occasion I may be found using the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, however I invariably end up shooting at the wider focal ranges between 12-25mm anyway (24-50mm effective) and so the zoom doesn't offer me that much extra value. So it stays at home more often than not.
I also own the superb Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with this lens (really, there isn't - you should see the sharpness!) I simply prefer the wider field of view offered by the 17mm f/1.8.
Batteries & Cards
I pack 3 batteries including the one in the camera, but rarely use all 3 during a day. I have one spare that I would expect to use and another as a 'just incase' battery because at some stage during the day, particularly if I'm on a photowalk and am showing others what I've captured or how it is I shoot, I'll use the LCD and this will drain the battery. I would hate to drop my fresh battery as I'm changing it and break the battery and then have to put the camera away.
I shoot with a 32Gb Lexar Professional Class 10 SD Card's, writing at 600x (90Mb/s). I don't usually take extra's with me, but when I do they sit snug inside my card pouch, which is the Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket. It holds a business card, as well as 10 SD or CF cards. It alos has a lanyard to attach to a bag to keep it safe as well. Which is an added bonus
For the longest time I didn't used a camera strap. I didn't like them. But on one London photo walk another photographer was using a very simple, minimal and non-intrusive wrist strap that I really liked! It was the Joby DSLR Wrist Strap, but it's perfect for smaller cameras I picked up one for each of my cameras immediately and they've not been taken off the cameras since. For me they're perfect.
My bag is a Lowepro Retrospective 30. I have mine in Pine Green. It's one of the best made bags I've ever owned and very well thought out too. I find the shoulder strap very wide, which after a long day is ideal as it doesn't cut in to your shoulder. Furthermore the should strap has rubber underneath it to prevent it slipping from your shoulder. It has 3 main compartments inside for lenses and camera bodies, with two additional pouches on the front. The bag comes with a rain-proof cover as well. It's very much what I call my TARDIS bag: it can be small and light when you put just a few things in it, but if you really want to load it up you can. It just seems to hold all the gear you can throw at it!
I always carry my little Joby Gorillapod with me, which is great for impromptu HDR's, time lapses or long exposures.
Other goodies & Accessories
London Tube Map, Chewing Gum, A few coins to give to buskers, small notepad & pen, business cards, very lightweight gloves (in my bag I have the North Face E-Tip gloves), Sunglasses, iPhone battery charger (I have the Anker Powercore, it's amazing!)
Are you coming along to London on October 24th? Be sure to head on over to the events page and register your place!
Also, don't forget to share the contents of your camera bag below!