Street Shooting with the Sony Nex-5

For any of you who have been a regular visitor to this web site, you will know that I am a HUGE Leica guy. I love Leica cameras not only for their superb build quality, design, and pedigree but also what they stand for. Simplicity. A tool that gets out of the way of your creative vision and lets you capture what your mind envisions. Also, the ability to capture those moments using your own skill with manual focus, metering, and a rangefinder window. Leica M cameras have always been known as great candid and street shooting cameras, but they are not limited to these things. My M’s have been used for weddings, landscapes, portraits and just about anything and everything any other camera can or would shoot. Even nature! The only limits of an M system is macro and telephoto, everything else? No problem.

Street shooting is as popular as ever but not everyone can afford a Leica M9 these days, including myself. Since I have had ย the Sony NEX-5 for a few weeks I have shot with it in almost every kind of situation. Concert, Portraits, and even some street stuff while I was in Italy a couple weeks back. It’s no M9 but even with its quirks and flaws, it’s a nice little camera and works nicely when shooting street.

I have just now gotten around to loading some of the photos off of the SD card and was pleasantly surprised. The NEX-5 was lightning quick with AF, it was small enough where no one really even gave me a second look. I shot video and stills and just had the LCD tilted up so I could walk Rollei style through the streets, mainly un-noticed. It worked out well as I never had to bring the camera to my eye. It stayed at my waist and was pretty cool to shoot like that while walking. Just walk…see a moment and SNAP!

Below are a few shots from my walk that day, which was only about a 40 minute stroll right outside my hotel room so I did not shoot that much. Even with the fast DSRL like capability of the NEX-5, I still kept it slow ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Bringing to the eye isn’t really an issue. Before that happens you should have the composition worked out in your head, your camera is already pre adjusted for the light and set a zone focus – or move the zone. Quick rise and click and done…

    • Well, that only works for a camera which is pre adjustable, and that’s rarely the case for P&S cams. Wonder whether one could properly pre adjust a X1?

      • It works great with manual M lenses on NEX. Or, you could set the Sony lenses to manual mode and prefocus on an object at any distance you’d like.

  2. Nice shots Steve, hope you had a great time there.

    Recognise the location below? ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Hope the pic is added, can’t see it in the preview….

  3. Great shots Steve! Sorry to hear that you had to sell your Leica setup. Your photos definitely help promote Leica ๐Ÿ™‚ Why hasn’t Leica thrown some freebies your way?

  4. Has anyone done any extensive shooting with Leica M lenses on the NEX? I’m a prime lens shooter so I’m switching my film kit over to Leica M, mainly for the image quality and the size (I travel on business frequently). I’d like to have a digital body to take too, and ideally share lenses with the film body to save space and weight. Since I’m not earning income from photography, I really can’t afford the M8 or M9. The NEX seems ideally positioned to fill the gap for me, but the kit lenses seem to have too much aberration for my tastes.

    — C

  5. Shooting from the hip is something I have done with my D2h with the not-well-received 18-200mm lens. I can carry with my right hand underneath and a finger on the 2nd shutter button. No one pays any attention to me as I just seem to be strolling around. I will usually walk with it set @18mm and if I see something a little further away, I bring it up to my eye, zoom in, and shoot. Since I prefer to shoot wide open even though most folks say the 18-200mm images are soft. Quite often I come away with a number of keepers. Keep shooting and have fun!!

  6. Nice shoots! I start to see the idea behind a tiltable screen… Maybe especially for street photography an excellent “replacement” for an optical/electronic viewfinder?

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