May 172011

Sharing Perspectives

Photography tends to form little worlds

based on equipment.  The SLR’s hang out

in one room while the rangefinders go to

another.  Even if we are shooting the same

subjects, our choice in gear is a dividing

force.  While both sides are immensely

happy with their tools, I wanted to hear

what someone from the “other room”

has to say.

Eric Kim Adam Marelli

Together In The Rain. Eric Kim.


When I first came across photographer Eric Kim, I was taken by his enthusiasm.  His love of street photography posses a charm that is rarely found in the working world.  Based in Los Angeles, Eric’s recent travels have taken him to the middle east and he will host an upcoming “Street Photography” workshop in London.  Working with an Canon 5D Mark II and prime lenses, Eric shares why he likes to roam the streets with his Canon DSLR.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use a DSLR to Shoot Street Photography by Eric Kim

For the last several years, I have primarily used my Canon 5D for my street photography. During this time, I have created some of my most memorable images which I cherish and adore. Although I have started to shift more towards using rangefinders for my work, there are still huge merits of using a DSLR for street photography. I will try my best to outline my thoughts in this blog post.

—They have incredibly fast autofocus

When shooting street photography, it is essential to capture “the decisive moment.” Although many people advocate using manual focus, it still isn’t faster than autofocus when lighting conditions are optimal. Autofocus is incredibly useful when you are walking in crowded areas, when you may not have enough time to constantly focus at your subjects at different distances.

Eric Kim Adam Marelli

Mime at St. Pancras. Eric Kim

—They have great high-ISO performance

When it comes to high-ISO performance, nothing can beat a DSLR. I love shooting street photography at night, which is difficult to do with any other camera. If you are using a point and shoot, the noise is far unbearable. When shooting with my Canon 5D, I would have no problem pushing my ISO to 3200—as I still got incredibly clear images.

Eric Kim Adam Marelli

Elegance. Eric Kim.

—They are easy to configure

Using a DSLR is far more flexible than using any other camera out there. There is a plethora of lenses you can purchase, at relatively reasonable prices. If you shoot with a point and shoot, you are stuck with only one focal length. With a Micro 4/3rds camera, there aren’t many lenses out there. With a rangefinder, those lenses are either rare or incredibly expensive. When shooting with my Canon 5D, I primarily swap between my Canon 35mm f/2 and Canon 24mm f/2.8—which work great for me.

Eric Kim Adam Marelli

The Conductor. Eric Kim.

—The image files are flexible

When shooting with my DSLR, I always shoot in RAW. This allows me to have a ton of data to play around and edit. Even when I blow out my highlights, they are quite easy to recover. Not only that, but I can always adjust settings such as exposure and white-balance afterwards, which is hard to use with other digital files such as JPEG (or in film).

Eric Kim Adam Marelli

The Entrance. Eric Kim.

—You already have one

I would say most of the photographers out there who are hobbyists are shooting with DSLr’s. Therefore if you are interested in street photography, don’t feel obliged that you need to go out there and buy any other type of camera. Use the gear that you already have, and don’t make excuses. Every camera out there has its own strengths and weaknesses—and I believe that DSLr’s have tons of strengths when it comes to street photography.

So do you shoot street photography with a DSLR? How do you like it? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Check out more of Eric Kim’s work on his Blog, on a recent Guest Post for Leica, and at his upcoming workshop in England!

Thanks Eric!

  6 Responses to “Perspectives: Eric Kim”

  1. Thank you for this great honor and opportunity Adam! :)

  2. Thanks! You just saved me a lot of money :-)

  3. More money for plane tickets!

  4. Beautiful examples, nice and clear story. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Street photography works best when you can use your camera quickly and efficiently with confidence to capture the decisive moment. Whether it’d be a dSLR or a small, unintrusive rangefinder doesn’t matter jack.

  6. I appreciate, lead to I discovered exactly what I
    was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt!

    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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