I have to admit that there was a time when my go to camera was a dslr, and the decision to take my full frame Canon 6d or crop sensor Canon 7d depended on what I was going out to shoot. My circumstances have changed a bit and I now have a new go to camera for street photography, and that is a mirrorless camera. The mirrorless camera hasn’t replaced my dslr, far from it in fact, it’s just when I go out on to shoot street photography I take the mirrorless camera instead.
Mirrorless cameras are great for street photography and there are many advantages including;-
Mirrorless cameras are lightweight
A mirrorless camera and prime lens (such as a 35mm which is one of my all-time favourite focal lengths for street photography) is light set up you can use all day long and not feel any adverse effects. Lugging around a pro-spec dslr camera and a heavyweight prime lens is going to take its toll on your neck, shoulders and arms however a lightweight mirrorless camera won’t.
Mirrorless cameras are discreet
Unlike dslr cameras, which tend to stick out like a sore thumb, mirrorless cameras are discreet and go unnoticed which makes them perfect for candid shots and paparazzi type photography. With a mirrorless camera you can snap street photos all day and no-one will bat an eyelid, which is great for those photographers, much like myself, who don’t like being stared out when taking photos.
Mirrorless cameras don’t attract as much attention
Dslr cameras look expensive and people (even non-photographers) know how much they cost and what they are worth. There are a lot of scum bags out there only too keen to relieve you of your possessions and a photographer is an easy target. You may think that it doesn’t happen, but believe me it does and it is a bigger problem than you probably realize. For example, on a trip to Europe last year there were three people who lost some of their expensive photography kit to some thieving scum.
Mirrorless cameras are smaller, mirrorless cameras look cheaper (even though they are damn expensive) and many people mistake mirrorless cameras for point and shoot cameras. Mirrorless cameras don’t attract as much unwanted attention as dslr cameras and when you carry a mirrorless camera you are not such a prime target for a thief.
Mirrorless cameras are easily hidden
Because of their small size mirrorless cameras can be quickly hidden from view and stuffed in a bag or a coat pocket if needed. If you end up in the “wrong” part of town, i.e. those places that are off the tourist trail and not very friendly to strangers, being able to quickly hide the camera is very useful. In the past I have ended up in places where tourists really shouldn’t go with my dslr camera and encountered quite a few issues, including being shouted at for taking photos, being accused of taking pictures of minors (something I totally don’t agree with and wouldn’t do) and being threatened for invading privacy. Had I been using a mirrorless camera I could have snuck it away, and carried on through and out of the area (to a nicer location) trouble free.
Similarly, there are many places that prohibit cameras and photography, and I have had issues with these in the past whilst carrying my dslr camera. Even though the camera was tucked away in a bag (which was easily identifiable as a a camera bag) I was sternly told cameras were banned, taking photos was prohibited etc. etc. I had no intention of using my camera but I was still given the third degree and “told off” – it was like being back at school. Had I been using a mirrorless camera that day I could have put the camera in my jacket pocket or the better half’s handbag and avoided the embarrassment (and hassle) of the situation.
It is the small size, lightweight and discreetness of mirrorless cameras that make them the perfect tool for street photography. Mirrorless camera technology has evolved and come on in leaps and bounds, and there are some exceptionally good mirrorless cameras out there that, if used correctly, will produce images of the same quality as a dslr.
THE MIRRORLESS CAMERA I USE FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
"The Canon EOS M"
I wanted (and bought) my mirrorless camera solely for street photography, even though I had a dslr camera and had owned one for several years. Over the years I have invested in, and built up, a selection of lenses (many of which are L series lenses) and I couldn’t justify investing in a totally new camera and suite of lenses (not to mention other accessories) therefore I ended up buying the Canon M camera. I knew the Canon M was not the best mirrorless camera, and it isn’t the most desirable either but given I was only going to use it for street photography, and perhaps a backup camera it was the obvious choice.
Like all Canon camera the M series camera is tough, durable and very well made. Like all Canon cameras it is user friendly, intuitive and the dials and controls to change the poplar settings are close to hand. The Canon M’s menu is logical, which is the same as all other Canon cameras. With its 24MP C-MOS sensor the image quality is very good, especially when you stick a decent lens on it, and noise etc. is well controlled.
Even though the Canon M wouldn’t be my first choice of mirrorless camera I have to say that I am very happy with it and the photos I have managed to capture with it.
Would I recommend the Canon M camera? If you already shoot a Canon dslr camera, have invested in some expensive lenses and want a mirrorless camera as a backup or street photography (like me in my situation) I would highly recommend the Canon M camera, and it is a great bit of kit.
Alternatively you may want to spend some money and get a used EOS M .If you want to do this there is only one website to go to and that is eBay. Use the search box below to see the current Canon EOS M camera deals on eBay.
What are you waiting for? Go and grab yourself a bargain
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.