Cameras

Learning street photography with the Canon EOS RP

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words

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Street photography has been around for decades — way back in the early years of World War, famine, hunger, and financial crisis. It even sparked several debates whether it’s legal or ethical to do so. Although these questions remain unanswered, a lot of people have been more invested in street photography lately.

It may have started that way but it didn’t stay for long. Today, it’s not just limited to photojournalists, it even hits casual and creative photographers alike. But the real essence of this photography genre is still intact: it is thrilling, challenging, and takes a lot of patience because it should be candid and in perfect timing, not staged.

Canon Philippines gave us an opportunity to learn more about shooting in streets with the guide of popular photojournalist, Jilson Tiu. We roamed around the streets of Intramuros and got a glimpse of life inside the walls.

It hasn’t been long since Canon released the EOS RP in the Philippines. Just a refresher, it is the early successor of the EOS R, which is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. It is also their second mirrorless camera with a smaller body and introduced other cut-down features to make it (a little bit) cheaper.

Canon has come a long way in making and manufacturing cameras. My first camera is a 60D, which was a prosumer king during its time. My initial hands-on with their newest mirrorless camera felt familiar. They have managed to keep the design language in a smaller form factor.

Enough with the technicals. As someone who has been into photography since high school, I can tell that street photography is specifically not my forte. But this doesn’t mean I won’t challenge myself. I learned so many things during this photo walk — so I’m giving you eight tips when shooting around the streets, together with my EOS RP experience.

1. Learn the basics

They are called “basics” for a reason. You should not go to war without learning how to shoot a gun — the same principle applies in photography. Learning how shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and aperture work before you shoot is essential because you will not (and should not) rely on Auto Mode, especially that you are going to use DSLR or mirrorless cameras when shooting, which is a lot more versatile than using point-and-shoot cameras.

Other photography jargons such as Depth of Field (DOF), focal lengthwhite balanceexposure bracketing, should follow along the way. Composing shots is also part of the basics, including placing subjects within the frame, exercising Rule of Thirds and/or Golden Ratio, and more. With the existence and vastness of the internet, searching for tutorials shouldn’t be a problem for most.

More over, technicals should come along the way. Even the lens you pick affects the quality of shots you take. Prime, kit, telephoto lenses, you name them. Photography isn’t as easy as it seems, but trust me, knowing the basics will be one of your biggest achievements and advances as an aspiring photographer (or photojournalist).

2. Look for human elements

Imagine walking around the streets without any human element, do you think street photography would still make sense? Human element creates several stories in the shots you capture. Street photography isn’t literally talking about capturing the streets, it’s more about capturing the culture between people and the streets you pass by.

One misconception about street photography is when photographers take their posing models as subjects, and street as a background element — put simply, that’s not street photography.

3. Know one’s story

To whoever is reading this, I would admit that I’m socially awkward. A big chunk of me being an introvert holds me back from talking to people. If you are really focused on doing street photography, this tip is very important in establishing connections and making relationships as you shoot more individuals in the long run.

Once you find at least one (or several) human element/s you want to capture, it shouldn’t stop there. Talk to them. Ask them about life, how is their day going, other questions to follow. These questions may sound simple but it helps in creating a sense of belongingness, even if you are both strangers to each other. It would also feel authentic when you talk to them more, even when you are both focused on the different things you’re doing.

Taking the shot above as an example. Although he is busy with his job as a barber, he still entertained our group because we took the initiative to speak with him. Talking to people contributes to the candidness of the photograph. It did not disrupt the things we all did — he even enjoyed the small talk with our group. Let your single photograph say a thousand words to those who will see it.

4. Respect all things around you

Part of having moral ascendancy is respecting each and everything around you — not limited to life forms such as people, animals, and plants, even non-living things alike.

In this particular shot, an old man got mad at our group for suddenly capturing this dog. After trying to ask for permission, he then decided to let us shoot. There are times when people are not amused seeing cameras pointed at them nor at the things they own. If it happens to you, respect their privacy and decision. You should not argue and you definitely need to walk away before you get yourself in trouble.

5. Stop making poverty an aesthetic

I have seen a lot of street photographers who are making poverty as an aesthetic. In connection to tips two and three, showing one’s respect is not imitating the way they live or how they interact with other people.

Exhibit A: You want to do a staged photoshoot with models pretending they are beggars.

Exhibit B: You were awed when you saw two siblings sleeping along the footbridge. You decided to take photos of them and shared it on Social Media without their consent.

Social Media exposure would raise awareness about their situation, but do you think it would make them happy if they knew they were photographed without consent? If no talk or story-telling happened in between, it is not street photography anymore. The essence of knowing their life nor story never even happened. It is unethical to make one’s living condition a part of your Instagram or Bēhance portfolio — so is exaggerating one’s situation as a staged shoot.

6. Post-processing is normal, #NoFilter shots are not bragging rights

Cameras and lenses are not created equally. Although my experience with the Canon EOS RP is outstanding and its RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens does the job well, there were times that the shot I took was not aligned to what I wanted the outcome to be.

Post-processing isn’t cheating. There’s nothing wrong with fixing your photography mistake (or worse, a hardware mistake). In fact, it already takes place the moment you press the shutter button on your camera — that is why people should not make #NoFilter shots a big deal. If you are one among the clumsiest users who forgot to set RAW shooting, you have no choice but to stick with your .jpg files.

Let’s say you forgot to adjust the Custom WB (White Balance) while shooting, post-processing apps can help you fix it. You can even do other processing techniques if you want to convey more feelings in your shots. It is a part of experimentation, and the values in each photo you edit are not something that’s always definite.

In this particular photo, I adjusted the curves that helped it achieve a faded look instead of deep shadows, making it feel softer with minimized shadows and contrast. I minimized the highlights because of the harsh sunlight hitting the tile bricks. I also moved the slider to the warmer side for it to look lively. Color science says that photos on the cool side feels melancholic and lifeless.

I suppose not everyone is computer-literate. There are mobile apps you can try when it comes to post-processing your shots — such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile, a toned-down version of the PC-based Adobe Lightroom. Take note that mobile apps may have limited functions, especially because they are free.

Reminder: Before all of you use (and abuse) the power of post-processing, you should have already understood the first tip. Not to sound like a broken record but it is about understanding the basics. Nowadays, a lot of people rely on post-processing without knowing the essentials — maybe it’s time to learn them properly.

7. Capture the scenery, too

Imagine you are trying to shoot on top of a building. You peeked at your camera’s viewfinder, adjusted the focal length, and tried fitting human elements within the camera’s frame. Suddenly, you realized that the scenery makes them stand out more — that’s what this tip is for.

Street photography should not be limited to street per se. As long as the background element does not overpower the human element or subject, you are good to go. The lush greenery along this golf course make the golfers stand out more. The differences in their movement make it feel dynamic, candid, and emphasizes their actions of playing golf.

8. Explore unusual elements to shoot

Last but definitely not the least is all about looking for odd elements that will make you and your composition different from others. Staged photographs can be imitated, but not the candid ones. That’s why learning the basics matter, so you can compose shots in a split second — every shot you take makes a lot of difference.

Use juxtaposition when possible in order to convey two contrasting elements in one frame. In the shot above, I was aiming to describe the situation of the Philippines (or other similar nations) today — the biker represents that Filipino citizens are freely moving around, while the window grilles represent that we are restricted to freely express ourselves due to government policies and sanctions (Threat to Press Freedom, anyone?).

I captured more than ten photographs in the same location just to get my desired composition. If you think this goes against the essence of shooting candid photos, it’s not. I do not personally know him nor directed him to pass by. Misconceptions like this can cause trouble among the photography community, and you should avoid that.

Another candid shot I took talks a lot about growing up and getting old. Having the same walking direction between the old man and the children tells us that time is constant. There is nothing that can stop us from accepting more responsibilities and having different kinds of interest as we grow up.

Photography throughout my years

I was born knowing what traditional film cameras look like and how they function. I was even there when VGA, 3-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras in phones made headlines. Photography has come a long way, and they still keep improving. It’s not even limited to professional cameras anymore that newer smartphones with excellent mobile photography prowess can now be considered as contenders.

As I was saying, street photography is not my forte. But from my experience using the Canon EOS RP coupled with a new RF lens system (vs the old EF lens mount), capturing photos still felt like I was using my old 60D because of the familiar feel and function. After using different cameras throughout my creative journey, Canon still lives up to their name for creating a big name in the camera industry.

 

Cameras

Sony FX30 Cinema Line Camera now for pre-order

An impressive shooter

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Sony FX30

Sony has announced its newest Cinema Line camera, the FX30 (model ILME-FX30). It is now available for pre-order in the Philippines.

The 4K Super 35 compact cinema camera is suitable for aspiring filmmakers and content creators, offering many of the professional features of the Cinema Line.

Prices for both the FX30 and FX30B start at PhP 119,999 with a free Bellroy bag worth PhP 5,000. Interested customers may pre-order here.

Creating a cinematic look

With its BIONZ XR processing engine, the FX30 features the latest imaging systems to help filmmakers in cinematic expression.

It has a 20.1MP APS-C Exmor R CMOS sensor with a dual base ISO (800/2500) for high sensitivity and low noise.

The camera can impressively shoot in high frame rates. It can record 4K Super 35 by oversampling from 6K at up to 60fps. It can also film 4K in 120fps and full HD at 240fps. An HDMI Type-A connector can be used to output 4K, 16-bit RAW to an external recorder.

Like the rest of the Cinema Line, the new camera has Log shooting modes to allow for more flexibility when color grading. The FX30 also has built-in cinematic looks, such as Sony’s S-Cinetone.

When it comes to autofocus, the FX30 has advanced settings such as real-time Eye AF, Tracking, and Assist, providing users more control and a stable angle of view when focusing.

Design-wise, the camera has a compact and lightweight flat-top design with strategic accessory attachment points for easy shooting whether handheld or mounted on a gimbal.

New memory cards released

Meanwhile, Sony has also released two high-performance CFexpress Type A memory cards in the CEA-G320T and CEA-G640T.

These large capacity 320GB and 640GB cards support a maximum writing speed of up to 700MB/s and Video Performance Guarantee “VPG400”, offering sustained writing speeds of up to 400MB/s and enabling 4K 120p video shooting.

Both new memory cards are likewise IP57-rated to be waterproof and dustproof.

 

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Fujifilm X-H2 mirrorless digital camera now official

Two lenses also announced

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Fujifilm X-H2

Fujifilm has announced its newest products during the X-Summit NYC event, to be available locally by the end of September 2022:

  • FUJIFILM X-H2 mirrorless digital camera
  • FUJINON Lens XF5gmmF1.2 R WR
  • FUJINON Lens GF20-35mmF4 R WR

FUJIFILM X-H2 camera

The latest addition to the X Series lineup of compact and lightweight cameras features a back-illuminated 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor and high-speed X-Processor 5.

It is capable of high-resolution stills with an even faster shutter speed of up to 1/180000 and ISO125 standard sensitivity.

The X-H2 is the first APS-C sensor camera to boast to a high-definition 8K (30p) video in 4:2:2 10-bit, with support for three Apple ProRes codecs.

It is also the first in the X Series to feature the Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function that quadruples image resolution and produces accurate color reproduction.

Among other advanced features are:

  • Smooth Skin Effect
  • Deep Learning technology for boosted Auto White Balance
  • 19 Film Simulation modes
  • Support for HEIF format
  • Optimized algorithm for substantially improved AF accuracy during recording 

Price

  • X-H2 body — PhP 123,990
  • X-H2 16-80mm Kit — PhP 153,990

FUJINON XF5gmmF1.2 R WR lens

The fast mid-telephoto prime lens joins the brand’s lineup of XF lenses. With a focal length of 56mm (85mm in the 35mm film format), the XF56mmF1.2 R WR has a maximum aperture of F1.2 just like its predecessor but with significant improvements in image-resolving performance, as well as close-up capability including beautiful bokeh.

Thanks to its 13 elements in eight groups, the lens is able to minimize chromatic, spherical, and comatic aberrations – including the onion ring effect – to provide better stills than the previous model. When it comes to close ups, the minimum focusing distance has also been improved to 20cm from 50cm.

The lens is the first Fujifilm lens to use 11 diaphragm blades to achieve a near-perfect circle in the aperture, which again is an improvement from the previous iteration.

Aside from these technical aspects, the XF5gmmF1.2 R WR is also built for mobility, as it weighs us 445g and measures 76mm. The lens barrel is dust- and weather-resistant too, and can operate at temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius.

Price — PhP 61,990

FUJINON GF20-35mmF4 R WR lens

Lastly, the GF20-35mmF4 R WR joins the GF group designed for the GFX Series mirrorless cameras as the widest in the series, offering a new dynamic for landscape photographers. 

Featuring a 20mm zoom lens (16mm in the 35mm format) with a F4.0 maximum aperture, the lens is tailor-made for covering expansive wide-angle views outdoors, whether in the wild or in the city.

It suppresses distortion and aberration with help of its 14 elements in 10 groups. The dust- and weather- resistant lens likewise utilizes Fujifilm’s unique NANO GI coating to minimize the effects of light reflection.

For its focal length, the GF20-35mmF4 R WR is still kept lightweight as much as possible, measuring 112.5mm with a weight of 725g.

Price — PhP 153,990

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Cameras

Samsung likely close to launching 450-megapixel camera

Say hello to the Hexa2pixel

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Galaxy S22+

Samsung is pioneering a new generation of smartphone photography. Amid the brand’s iconic smartphones, it is also developing new cameras that push the boundaries of what’s possible. For example, a 200-megapixel camera recently launched, opening the door for crisper photos. Now, Samsung is looking towards the future once again. According to a new leak, the next stop is a 450-megapixel shooter.

Such a large sensor shouldn’t be a surprise. In the past, Samsung already promised larger and larger sensors. The company clearly delivered with the new 200-megapixel sensor. Now, a new trademark has teased what’s next for the company’s cameras.

Recently, Samsung trademarked the name “Hexa2pixel.” On its own, the name doesn’t confirm much. However, popular Samsung leaker Ice Universe hinted at what the name means. The leaker’s tweet simply reads, “If X÷6²=12MP, then X=?”

The “62” offers a lot of insight as to what Hexa2pixel means. The new sensor will presumably use a binning method to compress the pixels into a crisper photo. As is standard with Samsung now, output photos are usually 12 megapixels in size. Though 200-megapixel sensors are impressive, it’s not practical to deliver photos of the same size. Users would have full phones almost immediately.

That said, if you solve the algebraic equation, you’ll get 432, the amount of megapixel needed to deliver 12-megapixel photos using the binning method. Samsung will likely round this up further to 450 megapixels, too.

Of course, a trademark is hardly indicative of what’s coming for sure. The company is still reveling in the glory of its 200-megapixel shooter. It will likely take some time before a 450-megapixel shooter makes it to the public.

SEE ALSO: Leaked Samsung teaser reveals two foldables

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