State Fair

North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh 2022

Having been dragooned into attending the NC State Fair by visiting friends, I decided to try the M240 as a ‘street photography’ camera. 21mm f4, ISO 800, f8 and scale focus. Basically point and shoot. As I’ve mentioned innumerable times, my preferred ‘street photography’ set-up is the Ricoh GXR with the 21mm via the M-Mount module using the same settings. Given the GXR’s crop sensor, its the equivalent of shooting a 32mm on a full frame.

Having now experienced both, I’m still partial to the Ricoh for street work. It’s smaller, lighter, less obtrusive, and mated to the 21mm gives the perfect focal length for drive by shooting (the 21mm used full frame is simply a bit too wide for my tastes, not allowing you to get the feeling of being on top of subjects in a way the same lens on a 1.5 crop sensor does. The M240’s 24mpx sensor does, however, give you much more leeway to crop, unlike the GXR’s 10 mpx, but I’m pretty much a ‘no crop’ guy anyway). Here’s the best of what I could do with the M240 in 150 minutes at the fair. The one above and the one directly below are cropped. IMHO, nothing exceptional, but then again I was there 2.5 hours, so I wasn’t expecting a body of work. But the two previous times I’ve been to the fair with the GXR I’ve been amazed at the amount of interesting photos it’s brought back.

Another thing I’ve noticed with the larger megapixel sensors is that it’s more difficult to dirty them up in post-processing. With lower pixel count cameras – the old CCD Nikon D200 or the Ricoh, both 10 megapixel – it’s easy enough to push a few buttons in Silver Efex and get a gritty image resembling Neopan 1600 or Tri-X pushed a few stops. It seems the pixel density of 20+ megapixel sensors resist such treatment. One more reason I find the digital sensor sweet spot to be 10-16 megapixels; of course, if you’re shooting with sharpness and clarity in mind, or are looking to produce 40×60 prints, lower resolution sensors aren’t going to cut it. But for street photography you’re going to display digitally or print in reasonable sizes i.e. 12×18 max, they work.

Anyone else shoot them both? I’d love to hear reader’s preferred cameras for street work…..

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7 thoughts on “State Fair

  1. Dan Newell

    I’ve been walking around with a Ricoh GR3, before the plague hit I was in the Isle of Man

    I don’t print that large, they turned out fine.

    I used to use a M240 at fairs and such but the Leica Q seems to fit the bill for me

    The Q also has a setting for Acid Flashback. pretty cool…..

  2. Rob Campbell

    Nice pix; as a current user of the D200, I can agree that it does have something special – maybe that’s a side-product of a CCD sensor? My defunct D700 didn’t have that sensor type, gave me perhaps better colours, but its greatest asset was letting me use my 135 format lenses properly, on the negative size for which they were designed. Just cropping into their image circle with a smaller sensor doesn’t offer the best from those lenses.

    I once tested my Hassy’s 150mm against the Nikon’s 135 by taking the same shot on both cameras, but using the 120 format frame with the same physical size of image section I was testing, as I had on the Nikon. The Nikkor lens beat the partial area of the Hassy lens for definition. Lenses are designed to suit the relevant film/sensor size of the cameras for which they are designed; they do not offer superior image quality in the way some people imagine. It’s a holistic thing… ?

  3. Nick

    Preferred cameras for street work?

    Leica M2 + VC Skopar f/4 21mm. The dedicated finder is tricky, showing you your “target” at mid-range when you are very close to it in reality. I already bumped into people I was shooting… Not an issue as they don’t imagine how I can take their picture that close.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Hi Nick: Sounds like you choose to frame your subjects with the viewfinder to your eye. I never bring the camera to my eye.

        1. Dan Newell

          yeah…like we haven’t figured out F11 and just to the side of infinity.
          I mean, sure I took drugs in the sixties, but I didn’t fall off a turnip truck…..although I did abandon ship out of a Alfa Duetto Spider once.

  4. Pierre Saget

    I mostly shoot with the Fuji X-Pro3 (APS-C sensor) and 35mm or 23mm lenses. I have 60mm and 14mm as well but I don’t use them as much. I also sometimes use a Fuji GA645, Pentax K1000, Canonet QL17 GIII and Olympus 35RC when doing street photography. I don’t shoot much film but I enjoy it when I do. My home focal lengths are 35-50mm equivalents, 50mm being my favorite. Never shot a Leica and don’t shoot enough 135 format to justify the expense. I do love your blog though and have worked to apply a classic rangefinder shooter ethic to my work on both digital and film.

    My Flickr photos are here. I’m primarily a black and white shooter but I’ve been mostly uploading color there lately:
    My Instagram is more current. You may enjoy some of the pictures of our Pride Week drag show I uploaded back in August and September:

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