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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6 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.

  2. Nice results. That’s the way I’ve got my Pen-F set up, same lens. Makes a handsome bit of kit, even more so than my actual Leica.

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