PHLEARN MagazineDave Krugman Uses Vintage Glass on a Modern Camera to Capture NYC

Dave Krugman Uses Vintage Glass on a Modern Camera to Capture NYC

Dave Krugman recognized the power of Instagram back when the rest of us were still figuring out that the “Kelvin” filter didn’t really work for any picture, ever. Ever.

Born just outside of Boston, Dave moved to New York as soon as he finished college to pursue his dream of becoming a photographer. As a psychology major, Dave had a keen interest in human behavior, and was – perhaps inevitably – drawn into the world of street photography. And that’s where Instagram came in.

With an observant eye and acute attention to detail, Dave captured engaging images of the busy city streets and shared them on the social media platform. As his own following grew, he began working with iconic institutions – like the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum, and more – to build their own Instagram audiences and attract a younger demographic.

Now, nearly 300K followers keep up with Dave’s regular Instagram posts, which primarily feature foggy, rainy cityscapes from New York and beyond, along with the occasional studio shot. We caught up with Dave to see what this on-the-go street photographer uses to decisively capture the perfect candid moment.

How do you go about deciding which gear is essential to your work?


Street photography is the style that I would say is at the core of my creative drive. I’m always looking for gear that can just stay out of my way – I’m happiest when I forget the technology between me and my subject. Digital cameras today feel very fluid, and there are amazing options at every price point. I also love combining vintage lenses with powerful modern cameras.


Sony a7R III

42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor, 399-Point AF System, Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Dual SD Slots

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I shoot mainly with the Sony a7R III. It’s an incredibly fast, powerful mirrorless camera, packing incredible features into a lightweight, full-frame body. It’s amazing in low light, which is very helpful for my style, and the dynamic range is unrivaled. The ability to adapt older lenses and use the focus peaking feature is another key strength of this camera option.


Sony 16-35mm f/2.8

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Focus Hold Button; AF/MF Switch, Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

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Sony 24-70 2.8 GM lens

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor, Focus Hold Button; Internal Focus

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Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Dual Linear & Super Sonic Wave AF Motors, Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

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I use both modern lenses and vintage glass. For my newer lenses, the Sony G Master series is my go-to choice. My 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 70-200mm f/2.8 give me a range from 16mm to 200mm at a wonderfully bright aperture.

For vintage glass, I love adapting old Leica lenses to my Sony body. These lenses have a totally different look – their uniqueness adds to the atmosphere of the whole photo. I love trying different combinations and experimenting with the results.


Luxli Cello 10” LED

10″ 176 RGBAW LED Light, Adjustable Full Color Light, iOS/Android App Control via Bluetooth

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I use mostly available and ambient light, but recently I got a Luxli light (the Cello) to play around with, and I’m totally blown away. This addition to my toolkit will certainly change my approach to photography. It has amazing brightness and every color in the spectrum ­– so fun to play around with.


For my camera bag, I use the Manfrotto Manhattan backpack. It has room for all my gear, plus a hard drive, my computer, and a top section for all the extra things I need – like headphones, sunglasses, and other accessories. It’s super light and easy to use, keeping my gear accessible at all times. That speed is key when I’m switching lenses on assignment.


I generally have my headphones, iPhone, and laptop with me – it’s all part of my creative flow. I live a pretty nomadic life, and having the technology to edit and share images on the go is key for me. With social media, we hold a world of inspiration in the palm of our hands; if you follow the right artists, every day is a lesson. I love being able to learn from and contribute to this incredible creative community.

While Dave is primarily based in New York City, his work sees him traveling the world – and sharing the captures on social media. To check out more of his adventures in global street photography, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, or catch up with him on his website.

Jessi Gowan

Jessi Gowan is an award-winning writer and photographer who specializes in rural landscapes and fine art abstracts, with a focus on form and composition. Her photography has been included in a variety of publications, as well as in exhibitions in Canada and the United States.

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