Medium Format Street Photography in Colombia [+Video]


Ah, yes... street photography. It's a hot subject on internet forums and discussion groups. Everyone seems to have their opinion on what street photography actually should be. For me, street photography doesn't even have to have a street in it... or people. But that's not what I want to talk about here. This is about medium format street photography.

Here's the video of me doing street photography in Colombia. Consider subscribing to my channel, there's a lot more to come!


There's this question that keeps popping up: “What's the best camera for street photography?” and there are a million or more answers to that question. For some it has to be a small camera, others say it has to be a DSLR and not mirrorless. Well, I say it doesn't matter at all. Use a camera that you like and it's the perfect one for street photography.

Medium format street photography

I've been traveling with my digital medium format camera now for more than a year and I use it for everything, also street photography. A lot of people will tell you it's the wrong camera for street photography but that's absolutely not true. Street photography is about how you see and capture scenes and how you approach those scenes. It's not about the camera. Sure, my medium format camera is heavier and bigger than most but that does not affect my street photography at all.

The only concern when doing medium format street photography is that you have to know the limitations of your camera. A lot of digital medium format cameras are slower than top of the line DSLRs but even that doesn't have to be a problem.

Medium format street photography in Colombia.

Medium format street photography in Colombia.

Best medium format camera for street photography

I'm using a Pentax 645z for pretty much every type of photography; landscapes, portrait, documentary,… Like I said, it's slower than a DSLR but luckily, the Pentax handles pretty much the same as a DSLR. That’s why, for me, it's the best medium format camera for street photography. You can easily overcome the limitations of a camera by improvising and adapting your shooting style. Nothing's impossible.

Why medium format?

So, before the Pentax 645z, I owned a Canon 5D3 and it was my main weapon of choice. It was and still is a great camera but I've always loved the medium format look. OK, OK, I know what you're thinking now because a lot of people say it's a myth. I don't think so. With a medium format camera I can get close to my subject with a wider angle lens and still get a narrow depth of field. That's the main reason why I like medium format. It just looks special this is the best medium format camera for street photography.

Popayan, Colombia.

Popayan, Colombia.


I also use a wider angle lens in the streets. So, when I shoot wide open when I'm close to my subject, it gives the photos a different look. That's why I like medium format street photography. It just looks a bit different and I find it exciting to shoot with a big camera like that. It shouldn't be a disadvantage at all. In the end, every photographer creates a person style of shooting, also in street photography. What camera you use doesn't make a difference. If you have good eye, you will get great result no matter what camera you use.

Don't let anyone say that you can't use a digital medium format camera for street photography. There are more famous photographers out that use medium format than you think.

Related • Why It’s Important to Shoot Street Photography While Traveling



Is street photography in Colombia safe?

And what about Colombia? Well, we've spent almost three months there and it was a great place for street photography. There are so many interesting towns and cities, each with their own personality. Also, the people are genuinely nice and welcoming. That makes it a lot more comfortable to to street photography because you don't have to worry about people's reactions.

Related • Is It Safe To Travel In India With a Camera?

A lot of people also asked if it was safe in Colombia, especially when walking around with a big camera. Well, I've never felt unsafe. Of course, in some parts of Bogota or Medellin, you don't want to show of expensive gear at night or even in daylight but that's the case in every big city in the world. Generally, you can practice street photography safely in Colombia. Even medium format street photography' Don't worry and enjoy capturing this beautiful country. 

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