Streetphotography : 28mm Approach

Recently, i bought Ricoh GRD IV. One of serious compact camera available on market. I need to tell you in this very beginning of this post that what i want to write here isn’t about gear review. I’m not big fan of latest gear on earth. This Ricoh has 6mm f1.9 fixed lens on 1/1.7 inch sensor, it means that the lens is equivalent to 28mm for 35mm film camera. Simply put, this camera has 28mm fixed lens.

Before i bought this camera, I have doubts about the use of 28mm for street photography shooting since most people said that the most versatile focal length is 35mm, especially for street photography. Too bad, i am big believer that you can shoot anything with any gear and i am still curious about this 28mm and these are the reason that make me finally bought this camera.


Comparing to the legendary 35mm lens that according to many opinion i have read saying that 35mm is the most versatile lens, and since this 35 focal length also being my most favorite to use on street photography, i need a some adjustment when i am using 28mm which is little bit wider.


to sum up my study using this new approach, here i can share my thought about pros and cons on using 28mm.


Tailor, Fixing his sewing machine, Garut 2014 (c) Tomy Nurseta

(+) Pros

  • More Intimate, i think this is useful when we need to emphasize subject’s persona on our shot. And when using this 28mm, I feel that i am being forced to get closer to my photography subjects, especially when it comes as human.
  • Wider, no need to make big stepping back when we need to put more content to fill up the frame. Just like when i shot this photograph below that was captured by peeking through closest window.
  • Acceptable distortion. I think this “pros” is more technical. But, generally, comparing to several 28mm lens i have used, none of them are having serious distortion problem.


(-) Cons

  • I always believe that the wider lens we use, the more job we have on eliminating subject to make a simpler composition. And on streetphotography, sometimes you have limited time to perfectly capture a quite dynamic scene that changed rapidly almost at every blink of the eye.

These are my other photographs captured using 28mm


“Ojek Payung”. Jakarta 2013 (c) Tomy Nurseta


Sleeper, Jakarta January 2014 (c) Tomy Nurseta



Gulali, Garut 2014 (c) Tomy Nurseta



The Pool, Garut 2014 (c) Tomy Nurseta



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  • Martosc, [Gm]

    I generally agree with what you said. I’ve been using 24mm lens on a APS-C sensor DSLR (35mm FOV), and loving it… but then switched to Ricoh’s 28mm FOV, and still struggling to make the best of it. I guess that’s the beauty of this hobby — you learn and grow with what you have. Cheers.

    • Tomy Nurseta

      Cheers :) . Its glad reading your experience here. thanks for sharing

  • Larry Miller

    IMHO, the 40mm focal length is the most versatile and compact lens to use. I have a Voigt 40/2 pancake that is magnificent. The sharpness is unbelievable and it’s truly a joy to shoot with.