Street photography gear you shouldn’t buy

(this is a transcript of the video you’ll find below)

“The photographer takes the photo, not the camera”

“The best camera is always the one you have with you”

“A photographer’s most important tool is his eyes!”


Beautiful sayings, right?

Unfortunately, we photographers are repeatedly affected by a disease that is

difficult to cure – G.A.S – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. And then the 5-year-old

mirrorless is no longer enough.

It has to be the latest model, because more megapixels are better and a newer

sensor is even better, right?

And this one superzoom definitely has to be on the list —— because as a

Street Photographer you have to make sure that you cover all focal lengths,


I have to tell you, I’m not so sure about that. There are many street

photography products that you don’t need. Some of them can even be harmful

to your street photography.

So first I’ll tell you something about the gear you can save on buying, and then

I’ll tell you what you should buy instead with your money saved.

That’s what this video is about – but before we start – if you want to see more

videos purely dedicated to Street Photography, now it´s is the right time and

place to subscribe and hit the bell button.

And now – let’s jump right in.

The first thing you don’t need, especially if you’re new to street photography, is

the latest camera. All camera companies, be it Fuji, Canon or Nikos, release

dozens of new cameras every year. And the newest always has to be the best,

right? For example, I thought about replacing my Fuji XT-4 with the new Fuji

XT-5 for a while.

The Fuji XT-4 is the camera used to film this video, by the way.

I looked at dozens of reviews on YouTube and various websites and came to

the conclusion that the older XT-4 is the better camera. Why is that?

The video quality is clearly better, it is faster than the XT-5 when shooting

Jpegs, it has a jack plug for audio and much more that simply speaks for the


And the XT-5 is easily 600 to 700 dollars or euros more expensive than the

XT-4. You can do so many useful things with the difference….. for example

drink 2 espressos in your favorite cafe every day for a whole year which also

helps you to be more focused and energized while hitting the streets with your


You can go even further back to the Fuji XT-1, which is still a great camera if

you use it with a good lens and can be had for around 250 euros. In general,

cameras have reached such a high quality level in recent years.

So that a higher investment of several hundred or more euros compared to the

previous camera will not give you the higher quality that you might expect. Ifyou compare the Fuji XT3 with the XT5 – For double the price you won’t get a

100 percent better camera body, unfortunately not, maybe 5 to 10 percent

improvement, if at all.

The second thing you don’t need is a selection of dozens of lenses, including

zoom lenses. Zoom lenses in particular seem very comfortable at the

beginning, but the more you take photos with them, you will see that they can

harm your street photography. You worry too much about choosing the focal

length and not enough about choosing the right frame. And once you’ve

decided on a focal length, the subject may already be gone. The best focal

lengths for street photography are 28mm and 35mm.

The 35mm is definitely more beginner-friendly because composing is easier

than with the more angular 28mm. If you also take street portraits and maybe

want to go out in the evening to take photos in poorer lighting conditions, you

could consider getting a fast 50mm lens as well.

But you definitely don’t need anything more to get started.

For just shooting during daytime a 28mm or 35mm prime lens will be perfectly

fine. If you buy a camera with a fixed lens like something from the Fuji x100

series or the Ricoh GR3, then you don’t have to buy a lens anyway.

That’s why I find, for example, the Fuji x100f, which you can get for 600 to

700 euros, to be an ideal choice for Street Photography beginners.

The third thing you don’t need most of the time are camera bags. Sure, they

are well suited for storing your camera, lenses and other accessories and for

transporting them when you travel, for example, or when you are booked for a

professional photo shoot, for example.

But if you are simply doing street photography, then all you need is a camera

and a lens. Ideally, it is small enough to fit in your jacket pocket or – even

better – have it in your hand at all times to be ready if a cool photo situation

arises. By the time you get your camera out of your bag, the potentially

exciting photo can be a thing of the past.

If you can’t be without a bag and if you are worrying about your camera may

be endangered because of rain, for example, I would at most recommend my

buddy Thomas’s camera bag with his brand Akkisakki. With an Akkisakki bag

(like this) you can grab your camera almost without delay.

The next thing you don’t need in street photography are filters. With one small

exception, but the ones you don’t need for now are the following:

Graduated Neutral Density filters or GND filters may be nice for landscape

photos to darken only the sky and not the landscape itself, but this effect can

be easily recreated in Lightroom.

The same goes for Pro Mist filters, which are so popular because of their

“cinematic look”. The problem is that the effect of a Pro Mist filter cannot be

reversed. So if you think: Oh, I would have liked more contrast – well – there’s

not much you can do.

Conversely, you can also recreate the effect that a Pro Mist filter creates in

Lightroom with the Radial Filter there combined with a contrast reduction,higher exposure and less clarity. And you are much more flexible in Lightroom than you are with a filter, where you can undo the effects that may not suit the


You don’t need a UV filter either. Many people use UV filters to protect their

expensive lenses. But they forget that a UV filter reduces the imaging

performance of most lenses. Unless you buy a UV filter for 300 to 400 euros.

Instead, I would recommend that you always have a lens hood on when taking

photos. With a lens hood you protect your expensive lens from falls and don’t

reduce the quality of your photos.

The only filter that I think is useful for street photography is a neutral density

or ND filter. This allows you to expose longer than usual in bright daylight.

This means that impressively long exposures are possible, which also make

sense in street photography.

However, it is also important not to buy the cheapest filter in order not to

worsen the image quality.

What you don’t need as a street photographer, unless you’re doing the long

exposures I just mentioned – and to be honest, I usually only do these when I

can’t think of anything better when the sky is cloudy – is a tripod.

As a rule, as a street photographer you have to move quickly and

inconspicuously, and a tripod is slow to move and simply makes you much less


During the day you usually don’t need a tripod with exposure times of up to

1/60 or even 1/30.

In poorer lighting conditions, I would simply switch to a faster lens, for

example the strong 50mm lens I spoke about before.

If you really want to take a long exposure and 1/60 or 1/30 is not enough,

there are usually some walls or trash cans that you can put your camera on.

What you also don’t need is an external SSD hard drive for your photos.

On the one hand, and this may be where my personal experience comes into

play, as I once lost 2 years of my photos due to a broken SSD hard drive.

And also because the hard drive can be lost or you simply forget it at home

when you need it, for example when traveling.

Instead, I recommend a cloud solution on Google or Dropbox or simply in

Lightroom so that you can access photos at any time and from anywhere.

To sum it up: To do a lot of street photography, all you need is a camera, a

good lens and good shoes. Oh, and tons of motivation and just being curious of

exploring your surroundings.

You can then put the money you saved by not buying all that other stuff into a

photography trip. Well – At least that’s how I used to do it.

What gear did you buy but now regret the purchase? I’m looking forward to

your feedback!

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