Street Photography Gear Discussion

sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
edited November 2013 in General Discussions
Street gear( I want Pancakes)

TaoTeJared" .. .I'm personally not liking the "big" primes or how large prime lenses are becoming. ....for street shooting, smaller is better....

Since joining NRF I have became aware of something called street photography
which, as far as am aware, is photographing people in the street
I think Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908 -2004 ) may have stared the trend, using a Leica
Tony Ray-Jones ( 1941 - 1972) was a master at it
As is Martin Parr

But why do you need a pancake lens ????

In my experience if you have a camera, no matter how small or large, you are going to get noticed

The good new is today, so many people carry camera, people are so used to having the friends pointing smart phones at them
and have now become aware they have probably already been caught on CCTV 50 times today, it really is not a big issue


So do you do "street photography" ?

and what gear do you prefer ?



Post edited by Golf007sd on
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Comments

  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    I spent a better part of a decade shooting street and travel with an old & heavy 28-70mm/2.8 on various Nikon bodies.

    At some point, I thought I'd go "small" and bought a mirrorless (m4/3) Panasonic GF1 with a sweet 17mm pancake lens.

    The GF1 is much smaller than any FX DSLR can be-- the Df looks like a giant next to a GF1 -- yet it was still "not small enough". So I started using P&S cameras instead (mostly the Canon S95) and more recently the Coolpix A.

    With the D800 however, I've mostly gone "big" again and I use it for 95% of whatever I'm shooting (street, studio, travel, kids, whatever) with a variety of lenses. I like having both a full-sized DSLR and a small pocketable camera.

    For me personally, I don't see the point of buying a small DSLR (or conversely, a large P&S super zoom). If I want small I'll bring my Coolpix A or consider other compacts like the Sony RX100M2. If I want top quality I'll bring out the D800 and a set of premium lenses.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2013
    @sevencrossing: Good topic. I made a few change to the title in order to give it more pointed direction.

    I think street photography is awesome. The ability to capture the public at large in their unknowing state of being has it own unique reward. I do not share such images because I respect the privacy of those within my images. You never know how an image can affect another individual and I hate to be the one that may have brought upon them an image that he or she did not want the world to see....if you get my meaning.

    As of now I have been using my D7000 & D4 with prime lenses mostly....50, 35 and 24 once in a while. The new 58 1.4, I feel will be perfect for this task. Moreover, so will the new Nikon Df.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    You generally don't want to spook off anyone when you do street photography, so you'd want the smallest gear you can get your hands on.

    I did it before with the D40 and the 35mm 1.8, but it was a hit and miss thing as I was shooting from my hip some of the time.

    I don't know if these examples count.

    DSC_3544

    Friends Forever

    I generally like street photography, but it's tough to do. The "Friends Forever" picture really was just a quick snap- I had to crop out things ultimately. Another second and it was gone.

    The problem with street photography, especially with kids is that people in the US are way too sue happy. You take a shot of their kid and they think you're some pedophile, so I generally don't try street photography much.

    Thus, I try no to do much street photography because it's not worth the hassle for me. There was this one street vender who got unhappy when he noticed I took a shot of him when I was in Taiwan. He made me delete the photo.


    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited November 2013
    Idk why a pancake lens would good for. If the optics are good then great.

    I been doing street since January to the present.
    The "purists" have said 35 or 50 are ideal.

    I took a while for me to feel confortable photographing people in candid situations.
    I did in the past with a d7000 amd sigma 150mm and 70-300.
    I prefer the reach and cropping the image or person with the lens.

    Using the d800 it took me a while to get used to the 24-70
    For the wider coverage. I was constantly noticed and not for the best.

    I shot the 50 85 35 with the d800 and then for a while the fuji xe1 with 35 (50mm)
    I was noticed less. My city blocks walking was easier in the crazy chicago weather.

    Im back to just the d800 and 85 and 35 for daily usage
    With wide you are more in the scene and you are able to feel the scene.

    Thats why i beleive most street photgraphers prefer wide.

    I alternate for several reasons. Sometimes i feel inspired to shoot buildings and sometimes people.
    With the wide lens i can be in a spot and have people walk into my scene and while they may notice me the camera is not really pointed at them.
    When i use the 85 i try to get just the one person.

    Im going to start working on my shoots from the year.
    Meanwhile visit my flickr for some chicago examples or my website.

    But remember this when doing street photography. The photography is not about you its about them.

    I have some smiley cards that i havent used but i was going to use them to randomly make people smile and take a photo of them.

    One from earlier in the year

    Taking in the shade
    Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    Street photography is just where I feel like the DF will be at home. I typically have done it with my 80-200mm or 17-35mm but primes are much more suited for the medium.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    People have different styles of shooting street and it can really vary on the gear. The opposite ends of the spectrum for street photography lands on being an active participant/catalyst for image, or unobtrusive and passive observer capturing a moment. Most fall on the later edge and want to capture the natural moment rather than a persons reaction to the photographer.

    In the non-traditional realm examples of those would be photographers who really get in people's face and even go as far as using a blasting flash. I don't suggest that, nor am I comfortable with that but it has worked for some. Some use ultra wides, set them to f11 and literately shoot from the hip to capture moments without anyone knowing (nor knowing if they captured anything.) Both of those get some photo bloggers attention but the images are usually very unnatural or just haphazardly good. More traditionally though, some photographers will do a passive gesture to get the ok to take someone's photo and others will just walk around and shoot and not get involved at all.

    Two styles that define the spectrum is capturing the individual person's moment (subject is the person), or capturing a "framed" image where the background is set, and waiting for a perfect moment where a person interacting inside that frame.

    An example of "capturing the moment where the subject is the person" the classic WWII image of a sailor kissing a nurse is a perfect example. Walking around, your eyes light up as you see the image and people interacting, and you take the shot - later finding out the background matched perfectly. Photographers focus is of the people/person and whatever else is, is.
    For this style, most shoot manual focus at F/8 to make sure it is sharp and fire away. The really good shooters will be able to shoot under f/4 and nail the focus and you can get that separation or clutter of non-subjects in the frame. (That is where AF of the DF will outshine all other preferred systems to date) This style is more dominate, very difficult to get good images, and IMO fails tremendously most of the time (maybe 1 good frame out of 1,000s.) This is where the most unobtrusive system is key as you are immersed among subjects and don't want an image of their reaction to you, but their natural self. Smaller bodies, pancake lenses, 2.8s or higher are fine since shooting under f/4 causes too many missed shots and generally most shoot at f/8-f/11 with wide to ultra wide lenses and do lots of cropping.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson style was more the latter where he would find a "framed" image, the structures, leading lines, etc. and just wait for people to enter the frame. I saw an interview of his once where he said he went to the same park bench for 20 years until he finely got the shot he wanted. Now that is vision and dedication. Those shots have a multiple subject dimension to them.
    image
    For this, and if you are a passive observer, almost any lens and gear will work as you are passively observing and just waiting for the moment. Generally though, most will shoot a 35 or 50 "normal" lens as it matches the viewers natural perspective and you can see yourself standing there watching it. I have seen 24mm up to 90mm used in this realm as well that will work but with much care.

    The photographers who are able to merge the two above styles are the one's that capture amazing shots. To have that whole field of vision and to be able to balance it all and react quickly creates some amazing photos.
    sailor kissing a nurse
    image

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Depending on the surrounding area you are shooting somewhat can determining what gear you can use and not be noticed. Locations that are use to tourists with cameras, (New York, Chicago, etc.) you can use larger DSLRs without many noticing. Also being very comfortable with your surroundings, and your actions, also keep others relaxed around you. Even county fairs, sporting events, or venues where it is expected people have cameras, people are less guarded.

    If you are in locations not use to photographers (like myself) anything larger than an iPhone is intrinsically recognized naturally by the irregularity of the shape as a threat to people's subconscious and they notice quickly and become either self aware, or very cautious, and sometimes quite aggressive. God forbid if there is a child around, I have known photogs who have had the police called on them because some parent saw them from a block away and thought he was a stalker. Also if you are not very comfortable or use to the style of photography people will notice you as well.

    If you want to avoid attention, the smaller the system the less threatening or noticed it is. When I shoot my D300/D800 with even a 50mm on it, I stand out like a sore thumb. The great big zooms or even 1.4s are just too large.

    For bodies, Leica/Xpro1/x100/Film FMs size systems seem to be just small enough to pass. The older film camera's seem to evoke curiosity than caution as well. I tend to like to sit in a spot, frame up and wait. Larger systems, people politely stop waiting for you to put the camera down. Midwestern politeness that ruins the shot ;). The smaller the system, the easier you can hide it.

    Lenses are fairly easy, small and fast (1.4) is not needed. One of the big errors I see, is people trying to shoot at larger apertures and it just distracts the image rather than pulls it together. Most images need f5.6-f11 due to the speed of moving people and the quickness. So really, really small primes are great for street stuff.

    At least that is what I all find.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2013
    Ade. If I want top quality I'll bring out the D800 and a set of premium lenses.

    Same here.( I cant see any point is taking photographs that are not top quality )

    I use a D800 and the 16 -35 f4 for wide shots or the new 80 -400 for close ups

    One tip for trying to "blend in" is not to use a camera strap. I use a spider holster, which means the camera can be hidden under a jacket when not in use

    Some advantages of the D800, focusing is accurate and blisteringly fast; I can shoot wide and crop in post ; whilst not in the same league as a D4, the high ISO settings are enough for me
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    edited November 2013
    You never know how an image can affect another individual and I hate to be the one that may have brought upon them an image that he or she did not want the world to see....if you get my meaning.
    True story. Many years ago my wife worked in the marketing department for a major ski resort on the East Coast. Each year they put out a large, tabloid-style brochure and sent it out to about 30,000 people. It was full color with tons of photography. The times being what they were, they didn't always do "professional" shoots with models. Often they just sent a photographer out to shoot candids around the resort in the street photography style being discussed here. So one winter a guy comes in with a copy of the brochure tucked under his arm, opens to a page with a picture of a couple sitting in a hot tub together and says, "See this picture? This is me. But this woman is not my wife. She's my secretary. My wife and I are now divorced. It probably would have happened anyway and I'm now engaged to this woman, so I'm not going to sue you because it all worked out. But you might want to be careful in the future."

    After that they always invested in professional photoshoots. Cheaper than a lawsuit. One can only imagine if the sailor shown in the famous image shared by TTJ had a wife back home and what she might have thought when she saw the images.

    Post edited by proudgeek on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    In most countries there is a legal division between commercial use (e.g., photographs for advertisements, including brochures) and editorial use (e.g., for newspapers, certain magazines, etc.).

    For commercial use, a legal model release is generally required for each and every individual "recognizable" in the picture. A property release may be required as well. Recognizable doesn't necessarily mean the person's face must be visible -- an unique tattoo, for example, might be considered recognizable.

    For editorial use, an explicit release is not required. However, the laws and practices governing editorial use of photographs differ by countries & jurisdictions. In the US, having a strong First Amendment right to free speech, news editors have great leeway in using photographs without explicit consent from recognizable individuals. In many European countries, where there is more emphasis on personal privacy, there are narrower circumstances where a picture may be used without a release in an editorial setting.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I have uploaded some more photos to flickr from earlier in the year.
    I have used 1.4-f8 for my shots. Depends on what I'm doing at the moment.
    I have shot from the hip. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but for me its about timing.
    Sometime I have the camera in my bag and I see something and I time myself walking and getting the camera out of the bag and take the hip shot. However looking in the viewfinder is the best way.

    I do want to focus in framing shots and having people in them. My trusty feedback person (my wife) says that she likes my photos more when there is a person involved.

    Here is one with the 24-70 at 70mm. My goal that day was shooting the Chase tower and the fountain plaza and as I was going down the plaza I noticed the scene and the Rails had a good frame to the two people.

    Framed

    The chase plaza, the federal plaza and daley center is where I go weekly.
    Sometimes its a bust and sometimes I get a nice photo, a fashion show, farmers market, boxing tournament, etc...

    I have yet to become more strong in all my photography but I really enjoy street.

    I do have to work on my people skills and asking them for a photo is not really a bad or hard thing to do.

    Sigma 35

    I mustache you a question
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member

    If you are in locations not use to photographers (like myself) anything larger than an iPhone is intrinsically recognized naturally by the irregularity of the shape as a threat to people's subconscious and they notice quickly and become either self aware, or very cautious, and sometimes quite aggressive. God forbid if there is a child around, I have known photogs who have had the police called on them because some parent saw them from a block away and thought he was a stalker. Also if you are not very comfortable or use to the style of photography people will notice you as well.

    If you want to avoid attention, the smaller the system the less threatening or noticed it is. When I shoot my D300/D800 with even a 50mm on it, I stand out like a sore thumb. The great big zooms or even 1.4s are just too large.

    For bodies, Leica/Xpro1/x100/Film FMs size systems seem to be just small enough to pass. The older film camera's seem to evoke curiosity than caution as well. I tend to like to sit in a spot, frame up and wait. Larger systems, people politely stop waiting for you to put the camera down. Midwestern politeness that ruins the shot ;). The smaller the system, the easier you can hide it.

    Lenses are fairly easy, small and fast (1.4) is not needed. One of the big errors I see, is people trying to shoot at larger apertures and it just distracts the image rather than pulls it together. Most images need f5.6-f11 due to the speed of moving people and the quickness. So really, really small primes are great for street stuff.

    At least that is what I all find.
    Living in LA my response seems to be a little different (maybe because everyone has a camera) but most people tend to not react negatively to largo odd cameras. Any slr setup often grabs attention although taping up all of the white spots and using a prime is less conspicuous. In fact it seems the bigger the camera and smaller the lens is the less people tend to pay attention. However when I am out with my speed graphlex which is HUGE for a street camera I get nothing but positive feedback if not being totally ignored.

    Maybe it is because the locals have a pre determined view of what a DSLR photographer is. Ive been called a paparazzi, insurance agent, undercover cop, terrorist, creeper, pervert,and worthless filfth by various individuals and like you said Tao"God forbid if there is a child around" I was screamed at in venice beach (a place swarming not just with tourists with DSLRS, but Photo Sudents & professionals. It is not unusual to see a pro out with a hassy or mamiya) for photographing a kid after he ran through my frame. I was pissed too because it was a split second type of shot and the damm kid ruined it. She threatened to call the cops and after a few minutes of arguing with her I moved on.

    I do hate when people get self aware or "polite" lol.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    You never know how an image can affect another individual and I hate to be the one that may have brought upon them an image that he or she did not want the world to see....if you get my meaning.
    True story. Many years ago my wife worked in the marketing department for a major ski resort on the East Coast. Each year they put out a large, tabloid-style brochure and sent it out to about 30,000 people. It was full color with tons of photography. The times being what they were, they didn't always do "professional" shoots with models. Often they just sent a photographer out to shoot candids around the resort in the street photography style being discussed here. So one winter a guy comes in with a copy of the brochure tucked under his arm, opens to a page with a picture of a couple sitting in a hot tub together and says, "See this picture? This is me. But this woman is not my wife. She's my secretary. My wife and I are now divorced. It probably would have happened anyway and I'm now engaged to this woman, so I'm not going to sue you because it all worked out. But you might want to be careful in the future."

    After that they always invested in professional photoshoots. Cheaper than a lawsuit. One can only imagine if the sailor shown in the famous image shared by TTJ had a wife back home and what she might have thought when she saw the images.

    Well... to answer Golf, if you're in a public area, you're free to shoot photos of everyone, at least in NYC.

    Proudgeek- by buying a ticket or entering the ski resort, isn't there a sort of contract that you agree to be on the property? Technically you're on private property, and the owner could take photos of everyone should they choose to. That is a very funny story though.

    Legal matters are annoying, which is why I stay away from street photography unless something catches my eye.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited November 2013
    This is a good website that outlines legal rights as it relates to street photography. There are a few others as well.

    www.andrewkantor.com
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Street photography law changes with geography so watch out for that gotcha.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2013
    several of you have mentioned "shooting from the hip " be aware, in some parts of the world this can get you into very serous trouble, as far as the police are concerned ( both secret and in uniform) you can be seen to be spying
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Yes, I was in Kuwait taking photos and was approached often. I had a legitimate reason and kept local woman out of the photos. I think the above website is a good guideline for North America and Japan based on my experience. When visiting European countries, I am a little more careful, but only slightly more so. Other places, I am more cautious.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @jshickele

    I agree, Andrew Kantor has outlined his research in a useful way. In most cases I will attempt to comply with what is requested as the issue can be one of impeding a law officer in doing their duty, not a good situation to be in.

    Usually, when confronted I will grab a couple shots, then move away, acknowledge the "authority" figure and leave the area. Often, a hang tag around the neck, one which appears to be press credentials, eliminates any problem.
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    For most "Western" countries the laws come down to "Expected Privacy" in situations. Now to what degree, that changes.

    For the US, If you are in public walking around, you are not in a "private" situation and can not expect not to be photographed. People have tried to sue photographers, but almost none ever win (unless it is the peeping Tom with a camera on his shoe.) If you shoot over a fence/wall, or even a building with people in the window, it gets dicey. A lot of times that just comes down to what the primary subject is, the window or people on the other side vs the whole "scene" is generally what I have seen most cases outcomes are about.

    If you are in a shopping mall or the like, that really could cause problems as that is private property and you have less rights or better rights have been given to you by the owner of the property. The cases where I see photogs getting sued and loosing is at these type of places and seems to be determined what the posted property policies are. There have been some suits involving Mall of America and those have almost always gone against the photographer. Due to that, I stay away from malls all together.

    One also has to be very careful around museums, art galleries, botanical gardens and other places "open to the public." If you just ask the main office they and explain what you would like to do, my experience is they are usually very helpful. Usually they are concerned about 2 things; 1) selling images of their exhibits, 2) using their exhibits as backgrounds for commercial, wedding, portrait photography. Around me, the outdoor galleries will charge a very reasonable "rental" fee for wedding/portrait work, and for commercial, those fees vary.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    edited November 2013
    What street shooters often forget is the difference between what is legally their right, and what common courtesy is. If you disrespect your subject, expect nothing less in return.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Curiosity = courtesy?
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    edited November 2013
    Yes, got to love auto correct. :D
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2013
    Golf007sd Good topic. I made a few change to the title in order to give it more pointed direction

    as ever, we have yet again drifted off the original topic of gear and pancake lenses

    may be just "street photography" would be better



    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    edited November 2013

    If you are in a shopping mall or the like, that really could cause problems as that is private property and you have less rights or better rights have been given to you by the owner of the property. The cases where I see photogs getting sued and loosing is at these type of places and seems to be determined what the posted property policies are. There have been some suits involving Mall of America and those have almost always gone against the photographer. Due to that, I stay away from malls all together.
    I agree with you 100% but I read this article today and thought it was an interesting perspective. No law suits, yet...

    http://gizmodo.com/11-photos-of-1980s-malls-that-will-like-totally-blow-yo-1461537182/1466823578/
    Post edited by Elvishefer on
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    A point on respecting one's subject. I find this critical and in capturing regular street people, e.g., homeless or those asking for assistance, I discuss the photography first, and assure them I will give them something, usually three dollars, for my privilege of being able to use them as a subject. I often ask the individuals as to how things are going, even label their activities as their job. This is done in a very sincere manner, as indeed in our society I find these folks on the street who are not harming anyone are providing a kind of service. If nothing more, i can be grateful I have sufficient means so as to not have to be there.

    All of these folks are fellow human beings and deserve all the respect I can give them.
    Msmoto, mod
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