Street Photography in Chinatown

Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan

Chinatown – Yokohama, Japan

Yokohama, which is Japan’s second largest city, and right next to Tokyo, has a large Chinatown. I was there with my family and has some excellent Chinese food. The main street, which is dense with tourists, is also a wonderful place for street photography. I experimented with a new technique.

I usually shoot my street photographs, like any other, with autofocus and framed with either the EVF or the rear LCD. For these, I zone focused, “Leica style”, and shot more from the hip. Zone focusing, where I pre-focus to a certain distance, isn’t the exclusive purview of Leica of course, but it’s a technique that is not used as often anymore. Leica street shooters, with their manual M lenses, are ideally suited for this type of photography.

No, I didn’t suddenly go buy a Leica M. I used the Olympus PEN-F with the 17mm f1.8 lens and aped this traditional way of shooting on the street. Some of the Olympus lenses, including the 17 f1.8, have a manual focus mode with a distance scale. I roughly set my focus area to around 9 feet and gave it a try.

They are not tack sharp but I’m satisfied with the results and with the more candid appearance. I had the PEN-F set to the contrasty “Mono Profile 2” JPEG setting but opted to convert the RAWs instead for finer control of the shadows. That’s my preferred way with the PEN-F. Shooting and viewing the screen in monochrome, but set to both JPEG and RAW so that I have options later.

Here are a few more, shot during that afternoon.

Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan
Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan
Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan
Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan
Chinatown - Yokohama, Japan

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2 thoughts on “Street Photography in Chinatown

  1. Quite successful, I’d say. Set that at the f/5.6 sweet spot for M4/3 sensors and you wind up with 45 or so feet of depth of field…four of that in front of your 9 foot zone focus mark. Who could ask for more?

    1. Yes, micro 4/3 does make it easier. Instead of the old adage of f8 and be there, it’s more like f4 and be there.

      f5.6 does give me extra breathing room.

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