Author Archives: vicsukuleleblog

About vicsukuleleblog

I retired in the Spring of 2015. My free time is spent with my family and taking pictures.

Street Photography with the Canon M6

If I may, a little background for this post. A few years ago I was deeply involved in street photography and had more than one blog that I was posting to and maintaining on the subject. In reality what I did was overextend myself to the point of burnout. I decided it was time to take a break, which I did. I pursued my music by playing bass, guitar and learning the ukulele. I also retired during this time so I had plenty of time on my hands.

A few months ago I injured the index finger on my chording hand and decided it was time to give it a rest so it can hopefully heal. Having my background in photography I decided to buy a camera to take pictures of my new granddaughter. From 2010-2014 I had shot many different systems including Nikon, Olympus, Leica and Fujifilm. I decided this time around to buy a Canon camera since I hadn’t owned a Canon Rebel since my film days in the early 70’s.

My first camera was a Canon M50 which I love and have used for people, nature and street. I then decided that I didn’t need a viewfinder for street, as I shoot from the navel and do all candids. After researching extensively  and almost buying a Ricoh GR I decided that for the money a Canon M6 would work perfectly.

Before I talk about the Canon M6 I want to make it clear that this is a user review. It is not a technical review. There are great websites that do very thorough jobs with this. My favorites are Imaging Resource and DP Review. This review is about me using the M6 in a street photography situation.

I found one locally so I purchased it. I already owned the M50 so setting it up would have been fairly simple but I decided to buy a course through Creative Live to do it properly. John Greengo is the instructor and he does a great job covering everything from buttons to menus. I highly recommend anything he teaches as he covers many aspects of photography.

Unfortunately, I live in the Mid-Atlantic and it is cold. Shooting anything outside is uncomfortable at best but we were blessed with a couple of warm days so I was able to take the M6 out on its maiden voyage. I had it outfitted with the Canon 22mm lens so I was ready to go.

My first task was to set it up to shoot using zone focusing. The lens does not have anything on the exterior to help with this process but it can be done. In manual mode I set the camera to f/10 with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. I used Auto ISO with a max of 3200. To deal with the focus I used auto focus to focus on an object about 8 feet away. I then put the camera in manual focus and went on my photo walk.

One thing I have learned with my photography is to always be ready which means the camera is on and ready to go when I leave the car. As soon as I turned the corner to the walking mall I saw this couple. I am glad I was ready.

I love this picture. There is affection and undoubtedly discussion going on. I have other pics of them I will share at another time.

I basically walked the mall shooting as I went. I love pics like the one above. I shoot candids. I have the camera hanging from my neck, resting on my navel ready to shoot. I look like a run of the mill tourist. I do not look through the LCD and I don’t pose people. I want to capture photography on the street, as people are, without them knowing they are on camera. Let’s face it, when people know they are having their picture taken they don’t look natural so a candid, normal shot is not possible, at least in my mind. My finger is always on the shutter as I look for a pic to take.

When I got to the end of the mall I decided to use the camera in auto focus. I was curious to see how it would focus and if it would be as good as the M50. It did a great job- on par with the M50.

Here are my first thoughts on the Canon M6.

Pros:

Small, light and doesn’t stand out. Mine is black with black gaff tape over the Canon and EOS lettering.

Very easy to hold and use. Comfortable ergonomics.

It is fast and relatively quiet. More on this in the “Cons” area.

The picture quality is great and the CH mode works well. I always shoot in CH but only take 2-3 pics at a time, usually.

The RAW files convert to B&W nicely.

It cost me less than $500 without the lens which I thought was a good price.

Cons:

No “silent” setting. It doesn’t even have a silent scene mode like the M50. I want the ability to turn off the volume of the shutter so it can be completely silent. For me, this is important. Without that ability I am limited in what I can shoot.

The battery. It is impossible to find an aftermarket battery, as in Wasabi, that will function normally. I have them for my M50 and my Panasonic LX7. I bought two from a battery warehouse but they wouldn’t register in the charger or the camera so I never knew how charged they were or what kind of battery life I had. Now I have to spend $50-60 on a small Canon battery. Listen up Canon. I understand profit but not when I can buy an aftermarket battery that works as well as the $50 version, for $5. Not cool in this situation.

The LCD is impossible to see under certain lighting conditions. I don’t use it to shoot but on rare occasions I like to see how a picture is framed or if it is in focus.

Here is how I decide how much I like a camera. If it was stolen, would i get another one? In this case- YES! Definitely. The weather is limiting me as far as street photography goes right now but when I get a nice day I will be out with the M6 right away.

On a side note, I have just received an Artisan 35mm lens from B&H with the appropriate scale so I can monitor distance and depth of field when I zone focus. I am really looking forward to shooting with this lens. I got use to this kind of set-up with my Leica cameras, especially my M8. More to come once I get a chance to try it out.

All in all, if you want something to shoot street photography that is small, light and more than capable, I highly recommend the Canon M6, even though the battery situation is a pain in the posterior.

©Vic Schmeltz

 

Starting Up Again

It was about four years ago that I shut down this blog to pursue my music and other interests. I feel it is time to start it up, as I am shooting a new camera system, Canon, and  hitting the streets again.

You will notice the dates of most of the pics and posts are from a few years ago but they are as current as ever. The only thing that has really changed is that I am older, retired and shooting a Canon M6 and M50. Below I have posted a pic I took a couple of days ago. I have posted it in B&W and color. Glad to be back again and welcome to those who have happened by. Enjoy!

Canon M50
ISO 200
f/5.6
1/125 sec.

 

Link

As I progressed as a photographer, and spent more time observing other photographers as they were taking pictures, I noticed a strange phenomenon. They would point their lens at their subject, press the shutter down half way and then move their lens again before taking the picture. At first I wasn’t sure what they were doing as it seemed strange. It was as if they were focusing twice.

As time progressed I found out that they were locking focus the first time and then recomposing their shot while they kept their finger pressed half way down on the shutter button. Why would they want to do this?

Many times, when taking pictures, a photographer wants to use the “rule of thirds.” Instead of having the subject right in the middle of the frame, portrait style, they want their subject slightly to the left or right. This is employing the “rule of thirds.”

When I look at many of my first photos, they are pretty good but everything is smack dab in the middle of the frame. There is something about moving the subject to the left or right that appeals more to the human eye. I can’t really explain it fully but there you have it.

Does that mean that I never have a picture with the subject right in the middle of the frame? Of course not! This is acceptable, especially in portrait photography, but not something that should be done all the time.

Many cameras let you have a grid visible in the viewfinder or on the LCD on the back of the camera. I highly recommend this. If you choose the 9 point grid it looks like a “tic, tac, toe” board is overlaid on your screen.  This makes it easier to use the “rule of thirds.” Simply put you subject in one of the places where the lines intersect. You can do this by recomposing or you can do this later in post-production by cropping/moving your subject. Personally, I prefer to get it right in the camera if possible.

Grid

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 5.23.57 PM

I wish I would have known this when I purchased my first digital camera four years ago. Then again, one of the best things about photography is that I will never know it all. There is always something new to learn.

I have posted some examples below showing the difference between a portrait view and a view using the “rule of thirds.” I hope this helps.

Portrait mode- Pic in middle

_DSF3023

Rule of thirds- Correct

_DSF3023-2Rule of thirds- Incorrect

_DSF3023-3I labeled the last one “incorrect”, and this is my personal feeling, because I tend to give more space in front of the direction the subject is facing. The second pic gives more room to her left.  The last one does not and puts her too close to the left edge of the frame.

© Vic Schmeltz