My Micro Four Thirds Kit for Urban & Street Photography

I recently added the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II to my street photography camera bag so here's an update on my complete kit.

You may also check out a full review of some of the top lenses for micro four thirds here as well as a review of the best leather camera straps. Sorted!

Now read on to find out what's in my bag!

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1 - OM-D E-M5 Mark 2

Now my primary camera, I tend to prefer it over the E-M1 for my urban and street photography since it's a bit lighter, smaller but packs pretty much the same punch as the E-M1. Read my full review here. One thing I did not include at the time in that review is the clip-on flash which can rotate 180 degrees and tilt 90 degrees for you to bounce all over the place! Well it's a really excellent flash in itself on top of my list of favourite new features.

OM-D E-M5 Mark II with Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 and A7 leather camera strap

OM-D E-M5 Mark II with Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 and A7 leather camera strap

2 - Olympus OM-D E-M1

The E-M1 is a camera I now like to use mostly on photography jobs and is kept as my back-up camera. I just find the E-M5 Mark II a better overall package for street/urban photography.

3 - Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95

My long-time favourite micro four thirds lens, it spends most of its time attached to my camera. Manual focusing prime and currently one of the fastest MFT lens on the market. There's just something very special about this lens and the aesthetics it helps me produce. I wasn't one to manual focus much but I got used to it in no time and absolutely love it, especially with the focus peaking on the E-M5 Mark 2. The image quality is excellent and you can shoot in low light to such an extent that I am always surprised. To many, 17.5mm on micro four thirds is the perfect focal length for street photography.

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I shot my entire series "The Great Londoners" which was exhibited for 3 months at the new Hoxton Hotel in Holborn using that lens. When not used for street photography, the Nokton is excellent for creative photography. Screw it on and discover a whole new world of possibilities. Seriously.

4 - Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4

When not shooting with my Voigtlander, then this is my second favourite lens for street photography. The image quality is second to none and a fantastic lens to use in low light. It happens to also be great for portraits and even landscapes (as you don't have the foreground in the shot, not usually the best part anyway).

5 - Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 75mm f1.8

This is a phenomenal prime lens, easily Olympus' best micro four thirds lens. Ideal for portraits because of it's focal length resulting in less distorted, more natural looking shots, it also provides a beautiful shallow depth of field isolating your subject. It's built like you'd want a lens to be, cold metal, solid and with a smooth focusing ring. It's got quality written all over it. Also to be considered for street photography if you don't enjoy being too close to your subject.

6 - Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 UMC Fisheye

Another manual focusing prime. If you want a bit of fun and get your creative juices flowing, get a fisheye lens. And actually it can be fun to experiment with in street photography especially combined with the art filters from the OM-D such as cross-process or tilt-shift. Also interesting used to shoot skateboarding/ers and London urban landscapes.

7 - Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8

This one is as close as it gets to a prime in terms of quality. Fast and quiet in auto-focusing and sharp. This lens is weather sealed so ideal for any photographer living in London or anywhere the weather can be unreliable. Construction is solid and it's a very versatile lens which can be used for a multitude of applications. I found it perfect for Interiors Photography as well as some of my Urban Landscapes and street shooting and even a rare wedding I shot! The constant f2.8 aperture makes it perform well in all lights. An excellent feature is the addition of an L-Fn button which can be customised from the camera menu.

8 - Olympus Zuiko 17mm f1.8

When I don't want to carry the heavier Nokton or don't want to manual focus, the 17mm f1.8 is a great go to lens for street photography. It's also a lot smaller, less obtrusive and cheaper if you're on a budget. All metal construction and switch from auto-focus to manual by simply pulling the ring. All in all, a great lens and one of the cheapest.

9 - Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100 f2.8

This one's strength? It's a constant f2.8 aperture lens, so it's fast all the way through. And again, image quality is excellent. I actually use this one a lot in my minimal urban photography series (below) and in some street situations where it's just not possible to get any closer.

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10 - Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8

The name gives it away, yes... it's a macro prime lens! I've had tons of fun shooting macro when I first got this lens. But then as I'm more of an urban photographer than a garden one, I found that actually it's also great for portraits and street photography. Although I use it a lot less than the rest of them.

11 - Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ  

The kit lens for the E-M5 Mark 2, this is an excellent weather sealed lens with an electromagnetic zoom mechanism (ideal for shooting video), near-silent fast auto-focus. The lens features the handy L-Fn button also found on the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 which is customisable in-camera. A versatile, affordable, everyday zoom lens.

12 - Holga lens for micro four thirds

This is pretty much just a toy. It's a £20 lens so you know what you get. But it does the trick for anyone interested in the Holga camera aesthetics, give it a go! Although having said that, it makes no sense at all to own an E-M5 Mark II and screw on such a basic lens... pretty counter productive if you ask me.

13 - A7 leather camera strap

Whether you prefer a shoulder or a wrist strap, get rid of your standard "out of the box" one. This is not just an exercise to look cool, but you'll see how comfortable these A7 leather camera straps are. You'll also be less noticeable shooting street photography than if you had Canon or Nikon written all over you like a tourist.

Read my extensive review of the best leather camera straps here.

 

Voila! That's my kit, although you'll never find me carrying around more than two lenses unless I'm on a job.

Nico