Shooting KR Market with 3 Cameras

KR Market - Bangalore, India

KR Market – Bangalore, India

KR Market is the largest wholesale market for Bangalore and fruit and vegetable stands surround the main building. Parts of it were incredibly crowded. Think rush hour in a New York City Subway — crowded. You get through choke points and then it opens up in places only to run until a wave of people. I brought three cameras with me to India and I used all three at the market. It turned out, unexpectedly, that each filled a particular niche and it was actually useful to have three different cameras.

My most versatile, especially in good light, is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 14-150mm travel zoom. The long focal range allowed me to easily frame different types of shots from wide to telephoto. I used the E-M5 Mark II for my first shot framed at a 40mm equivalent. Though I shoot often with a 50mm equivalent these days, I’ve come to re-discover the joys of 40mm. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it is, especially in these close quarters.

KR Market - Bangalore, India

My Olympus mirrorless cameras are fairly compact, especially compared to DSLRs, but in the really crowded areas, even they seem awkward. The 14-150mm lens has some length to it and maneuvering the camera to take pictures in close quarters, while not impossible, seemed unnatural. That’s where my compact Canon G7X Mark II worked really well. I shot this with a 28mm equivalent but the small sensor gives a more exaggerated wide-angle perspective. I also figured that the smaller point and shoot like camera would attract less attention.

KR Market - Bangalore, India
KR Market - Bangalore, India
KR Market - Bangalore, India

Unexpectedly, we moved from the bright outside market into a building, which immediately changed the shooting conditions. Luckily, the inside was less crowded and along with the lower light levels worked perfectly for my Olympus PEN-F equipped with a 25mm f1.4 lens. This is my go to configuration these days and the 50mm framing and the large aperture enabled me to keep a high shutter speed and at acceptable ISO levels. Making tack sharp images with high quality would have been a challenge with the travel zoom.

Because I had two separate Olympus cameras, I could quickly switch, not having to slow down to change lenses or risk exposing my sensor to a dusty environment. And, because my mirrorless cameras and lenses are small, I can basically carry both easily in a space comparable to a single full frame camera.

KR Market - Bangalore, India
KR Market - Bangalore, India

As I followed my friend, Pabish, deeper into the building, the food stands gave way to storage-like areas. Colorful ones, decorated with strings of flowers, which were being made by people working in open metal cages. If it weren’t for the color and softness of the flowers, the place would seem rather grim. But the industrial look and the bare lighting made for an interesting place to make images.

The Olympus PEN-F worked well but I then switched back to my small Canon G7X Mark II to reduce my profile. I wasn’t sure how they would react to an obvious tourist using a moderate-sized professional looking camera. But with a f1.8 lens, even with a smaller sensor, the G7X Mark II did quite well. I also got the wide-angle 24mm framing that I wanted, emphasizing the leading lines of the hallway.

While using three different cameras may have their disadvantages, my experience at the KR Market was quite the opposite. I was able to use each camera for its strengths. Of course it helped that I knew each camera very well. Without this solid foundation, however, switching often between different cameras may cause confusion and frustration.

On the other hand, if you have a few well honed tools, they may really help you, especially if you don’t know what to expect and shooting conditions change quickly.


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6 thoughts on “Shooting KR Market with 3 Cameras

  1. I keep reading (with interest) your experiences with the Canon G7X, as if almost apologetically. There’s nothing to apologize with using such a smaller sensor camera. As an example of how technically excellent a camera like that can be, you should go and look at the Flickr photostream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eddieross/

    The photographer picked up a used Leica Digilux 1. Released in 2002, it was developed with Panasonic. Panasonic’s version was the DMC-LG5, with a 1/1.8″ 4MP sensor. What made the Digilux 1 interesting was the use of a CMYK filter, not RGB. The lens and sensor and overall speed of the camera made it suitable for journalistic reportage. What really makes the package is the Leica lens. When I consider how old this camera is (17 years and counting) and yet how it can still produce quite technically beautiful results with the right photographer, it makes me stop and think about the fruitless arguments over the sensor and the general but-its-not-full-frame arguments.

    And with regards to your comment about how your Pen-F with 25mm/1.4 is your go-to camera for low light conditions, I feel the same way about my Pen-F and M.Zuiko 17mm/1.2. I still have the 1.4 when I want to go “really small”, as the 17mm PRO is physically larger, but with the Pen-F set for silent shutter, nobody really notices. And the ability to get quality photos wide open is fabulous. The only problem with the setup is the nut behind the camera.

    I don’t come for the sensor in the body, I come for the glass.

    1. Hi Bill,

      Interesting observation regarding my coverage of the Canon G7X Mark II. Any hesitation you might sense is not due to the small sensor (I think). I actually get a lot of pleasure making good photos with smaller sensors and “modest” cameras. And, as I often mention, I love how I can do almost everything with my Olympus micro 4/3 cameras instead of jumping on the full frame bandwagon.

      I think there are two points with the Canon. First, it’s a camera I like, but not love. I shot over 13,000 pictures with it last year so it’s clearly good enough. But, there are a few nits that prevent me from loving the camera. There are some optical limitations and the colors, while good, are not my favorite. Ultimately, it takes me more effort to create a picture that I like from G7X Mark II RAW than with my Olympus cameras.

      Second, I am an Olympus fan, though not a fanboy. I own and use different brands of cameras but I always seem to gravitate towards Olympus. I like the way most of their cameras feel and I like their colors. The Canon G7X Mark II is fine. But what I really wish is an Olympus equivalent of that camera with the Olympus color and RAWs. The small, pocketable 1 inch cameras really are useful. Enough so that I’m using my Olympus cameras less often.

      Interesting history regarding the Leica Digilux 1. I remember I use to drool over the Digilux 2, but didn’t know much about the previous model. The Digilux 1 is still rather expensive, it the $300 – $400 range. If it was a lot less expensive, I would’ve considered playing with it.

      I’m still toying with the ideal of the f1.2 Olympus primes. Either the 17 f1.2 or 45 f1.2 seem interesting to me.

      1. About the 17mm PRO: They often ask if you were on a desert island with only one lens, what would it be. For me the 17mm is that lens. I got mine on sale over Christmas ($250 off from B&H) and although it still stung the wallet to purchase it, I believe it’s the best lens I’ve ever owned, and worth every penny.

      2. I’ve heard good things about the new Pro prime lenses. I wish they weren’t so large. I used both the 17 f1.2 and 45 f1.2 for a few minutes and they produced beautiful images.

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