I like street photography because you can walk out of your front door and start taking pictures. Well, that’s not true because where I live in a village in the UK, there are not that many people about. Unless it is the day of the village fete or harvest festival. Anyway a short drive away, there are streets, people and loads of photo opportunities. On the face of it, the Canon EOS R is not an obvious choice as a street camera, but on closer examination, it is right on the button. So what are the Canon EOS R street credentials?
Canon EOS R Street: Lens
Prime lenses are ideal for street photography, they are generally smaller and lighter than zoom lenses and usually have wider apertures. As a result, there is no need to ramp up the ISO to avoid a blurry shot or too narrow depth of field.
Zoom lenses also make you feel furtive and more like a sniper than a photographer. So a 35mm lens is ideal. It is probably the most used street lens there is. Wide enough to capture detail from the right distance, and so as long as you have the nerve to shoot close up it is ideal. Otherwise, try a 50mm lens.
It just so happens that Canon has a lovely 35mm lens designed especially for this camera. It is the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro STM Lens.
I waxed lyrically about this lens here. The EOS R and this lens make a consummate camera combination. Small enough so that finding the shutter button does not involve keyhole surgery, and compact and light enough to carry all day.
Remember mixing it in the street can easily knock the camera from your hands, so take my advice and use a wrist strap. This is what I use:
Canon EOS R Street: View
An articulated screen is now almost a must for street photography. OK, Cartier Bresson did not have one, but we no longer use film either. An articulated screen has two advantages. Firstly, you can shoot from the hip, which is a far more hip vantage point than eye level. Secondly, lifting the camera to your eye is like shouting your intent to take a photograph. Using a discrete flip out screen is far more incognito.
The Canon flippy screen is especially good for this. It opens outward so that the screen is just left of the camera. A picture can be taken by just touching the screen, and using the electronic shutter rather than the mechanical one makes this camera completely silent. Your finger does not even have to go near the shutter release, and there is no sound.
Canon EOS R Street: Set Up
Most street photographers would normally recommend P or Programmed Automatic for street photography. You can set the ISO and then the camera will calculate the best combination of aperture and shutter speed. This works well most of the time, but there is a Perito Principle at work here. Usually, 80% of images are passable and around 20% result in some motion blur or lack depth of field. Fortunately, on the Canon EOS R there is Fv mode, which is a customisable P mode.
Fv mode is like Programmed Automation but it is possible to switch between the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance, in the viewfinder, using just the top mode dial. Change any one value, and the others change automatically. This is massively quicker than manually changing the mode from Av, Tv, P, etc. Just do it in camera. This is ideal for street shots, where there is no time to fiddle with the camera, and any fiddling would just draw attention to yourself.
Touch Screen Shooting
To enable a touch screen shutter release. CAMERA 5> Touch Shutter> Enable> Use the icon on the screen to toggle between ON / OFF (the camera will focus on the area touched)
To silent beeps when focussing etc: WRENCH 3> Beep> Disable
To enable the electronic shutter: CAMERA 6> Silent Shutter> Enable
To disable the focus beam that assists focus in low light: AF 4>AF assist beam firing> OFF
To save these settings WRENCH 6> Custom Shooting Mode (C1-C3)> Register Settings> Custom shooting mode> Register camera settings to Custom shooting mode> OK.
Not the Obvious Choice
So this camera is not a Leica M10 which many purists would see as de rigeur for this type of work. No, this camera is better than that.
Where I Buy
I buy my equipment from Wex because of their exceptional customer service. I once returned a camera after 30 days, and the next day they called to return my money to my account. Their prices are always competitive and they offer good prices on the trade in of your used gear