PHLEARN MagazineiPhone to Sony: Inside Tokyo Street Photographer RK’s Camera Bag

iPhone to Sony: Inside Tokyo Street Photographer RK’s Camera Bag

The emerging genre of “dense” photography – a style which portrays the intense density of urban life throughout Asia – owes a lot to Tokyo-based photographer RK.

Since RK first started shooting street photography with his iPhone in 2013, the DJ-turned-graphic-designer has earned international acclaim. His first foray into photography was entirely by chance – after joining a Tokyo urban running crew in an effort to lose weight, he began taking and editing photos of the various scenes he was jogging past.

By 2014, he was selected as a “suggested user” by the Instagram official account, and his well-publicized use of an iPhone as his camera of choice resulted in an invitation from Apple to hold workshops at its Ginza storefront. Since then, however, RK’s camera bag has grown to include a DSLR and a variety of other equipment.

Take a peek inside his bag to see exactly what RK uses to showcase the busy scenes that make up everyday life in Tokyo.


RK

I explore various photography styles, and don’t want to specialize in any particular field. If I want to take a specific kind of photo, I’ll buy the suitable equipment I may need for getting that – all the photography gear I’ve purchased is because of this reason.

CAMERA

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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Sony a7R III: Since everyone uses Canon or Nikon already, I wanted to make a difference choice – that’s why I use Sony. And I think the most expensive one must have state-of-the-art technology, so I bought this model.

LENSES

Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/1.4 to 16, Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating

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Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22, Double-Gauss Optical Design

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Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/3.5-6.3 to f/22-40, Linear Autofocus Motor, Internal Focus

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Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4: I always use this lens for taking portrait photos, because it’s bright and sharp.

Sony 50mm f/1.8: It’s budget lens, so it’s light – that’s a good thing for taking photos while walking. Sometimes, I also use it for portrait photography.

Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3: Actually, I don’t like this lens because it isn’t sharp at all… but I’m still using it now, because I bought it when I didn’t know anything about DSLR yet.

Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6

Sony E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/5.6 to f/22, One Aspherical Element
Rectilinear, Non-Fisheye Design

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Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22

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Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22

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Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6: The distortion is terrible, but it’s unique because other people don’t use it.

Laowa 12mm f/2.8: I bought it recently. It’s good because it’s bright and no distortion; however, it is heavy and difficult to focus.

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4: It’s sharp, but dark. I bought it before the f/2.8 came out; I would like to replace it.

LIGHTING

YONGNUO YN360 LED: I bought it just because my friends use it and they said it’s good, not because I like it or not.

BAG

Endurance: It’s the only bag I found that seemed simple and easy to use. I customize it myself, to make it look not so tacky.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone: New technology from Hasselblad is the best, the resolution of photo is totally renewed. However, I regret not being able to make vertical compositions.

SLIK Tripod: I like it. It’s expensive, but simple and cool.


While RK initially caught the eye of the international media with his iPhone shots of frantic Tokyo streets, his work has evolved since he acquired his first DSLR – and in 2017, FR2 gallery in Shibuya hosted the first exhibition of RK’s work. Now working as a full-time freelance photographer, RK provides his services to a variety of well-known clients in the fashion industry.

To see more of RK’s photography, visit his website or Instagram.

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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