Why are there no street photographers using superzooms?

mike3996

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Finland
I think the answer(s) to your question may have been touched on already, however some of what's being discussed is more related to telephoto street photography than using a superzoom per se. Perspective and angle are big reasons why telephoto lenses are not liked for street. But for what is specific to superzooms, I think slow apertures, sluggish power zoom response and a lens that extends a ways out from the camera are the reasons why I personally don't like superzooms. That cannon barrel sticking out of superzoom bodies is pretty suspicious looking in my opinion. Small primes are a lot less intrusive on the street. Also wider lenses look less like you are aiming the camera directly at people that you want to get in the frame than telephoto or long barreled superzoom lenses.
Yeah I wanted to say the same about these superzoom cameras. Largely one spends time in the wider end of things (0-100 mm equiv) so the rest of the 900 mills (equiv) are left pretty much unused.

Then there's the sensor noise thing as street photography is not always best done in the midday light.

Then there's the power zoom ugliness (ugh).
 

agentlossing

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S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
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Andrew Lossing
But, if all one had was a super zoom camera(not dslr w/super zoom lens). And one learned that camera very well. As with any gear, great street photo images could be made.
True for sure - however I suspect even the most practiced superzoom user would have more confrontations with people on the street just due to the look of it. Even at wider anges, they tend to stick pretty far out.
 

donlaw

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Texas
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Don
Nice discussion. I too think that super zooms are too slow. I have got some interesting street images using a Olympus 45mm f1.8. But they tend to be tightly center around one or two people. That can be interesting.
But for me the best street photography includes enough environmental elements to give a sense of space. Basically faces in the environment. That means 28mm or 35mm equivalents.
 

bartjeej

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bart
My favorite street photographer is Saul Leiter, who used the compression of 90mm (and sometimes even longer) lenses to create strongly graphical, stylized street shots with an incredible feel for the time and place, and lots of soul. So the context and soul arguments I really don't buy. You can show plenty of context and surroundings with a longer lens, and soul is difficult to capture with any lens (and no, gritty b/w or desaturated portraits exaggerating en elderly persons wrinkles don't automatically have soul, but that's another discussion)

The wide angle participant / tele observer argument makes more sense to me. When walking in a city I tend to be an observer much more than a participant (unlike my wife), so in that sense it seems logical that i am attracted to street shots with longer lenses.

As to creepiness... the dictionary defines 'to creep' as: 'to move stealthily or cautiously'. So long as you're trying to get shots unnoticed, you are creeping, whether you do it from up close or far away.

Superzooms' slow electronic zoom action seems to me to be the biggest impediment to their use on the street. No one calls a FF DSLR user with a 50mm 1.4 lens out for being 'not street' (at worst 'not stealthy enough') even though they are probably bigger than the superzoom.

I used an RX10 iii for some street photography in Morocco, but since that country is notoriously unaccepting of people photography and I don't want to upset people, i ended up not doing as much as i might have elsewhere. The 'find a pleasing scene and wait for interesting people to walk into it' approach works nicely with it, also at longer focal lengths. For reactive street photography, the zoom action and focus are just too slow.
 
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kyteflyer

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Newcastle, Australia
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Sue
True for sure - however I suspect even the most practiced superzoom user would have more confrontations with people on the street just due to the look of it. Even at wider anges, they tend to stick pretty far out.

Depends on how much zoom you have and whether you use it all.

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rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Zooms/ long focal lengths are ok in terms of observing people, whether or not that's street photography is subjectively up to you, there are after all no rules and I shoot with an 85mm often enough for that purpose too. But I think, if you don't live in an urban environment, by which I mean a populated city and are not comfotable in that environment, the necessity to shoot with a prime, often wide angled, to get that shot/ moment will possibly not be understood and instinctively difficult to execute. It's basically as @Luke said upthrerad.
 

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