When you’re venturing into public spaces for street photography, a compact camera is a must-have. Sure, a lightweight camera is easier to carry around, but an unobtrusive shooter is also the key to getting those perfectly spontaneous shots. You’re going to want to go small and pocketable, with accessible settings to adjust easily while you’re on the move. Let’s explore some solid options for your everyday carry bag as a street photographer.
Reminiscent of classic street photo film cameras, the FUJIFILM X100V looks the part as much as it is a stellar option for street photography. Equipped with a powerful APS-C-format 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and image processor, the X100V boasts blistering fast performance and responsiveness. The compact and sharp 23mm f/2 lens provides shooters with an equivalent 35mm focal length for a comfortable working distance with immense versatility.
Users also benefit from accurate AF performance to lock focus on those tricky fast-moving subjects. As far as handling goes, the X100V also has just the right number of physical dials and controls for on-the-fly operation. The unique hybrid viewfinder is also nifty, allowing users to toggle between optical and electronic types based on specific creative needs. The X100V additionally features Film Simulation modes―a collection of genuinely good-looking presets that replicate the look and feel of a few classic film types.
Ricoh GR III
The Ricoh GR series continues to enjoy immense popularity in the street photography scene because these cameras are compact, minimalist, and fun to use. The Ricoh GR III is no exception, because this third APS-C iteration maintains the design and feel of its predecessors. Featuring a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens, users can enjoy sharp, rich imagery across the board. In addition to full-resolution wide-angle images, the powerful sensor supports two crop modes that allow you to simulate working with longer focal lengths. Controls on the camera are minimalist and intuitive, allowing you to adjust settings easily with the touch of a button.
The GR III’s sibling, the GR IIIx, makes a great companion piece if you are looking for a dynamic street photography duo. While it maintains many familiar features, the GR IIIx boasts a 40mm f/2.8 lens that brings more natural perspective and depth to your work. It also features in-camera RAW editing and a different pair of crop modes if you are looking for additional creative options.
Like our FUJIFILM option, the Leica Q3 is a stylish shooter that is perfect for street photography. Fans of Leica’s Q series are no strangers to this camera’s fixed focal length full-frame design, but the Q3 benefits from a 60MP sensor and hybrid AF system to guarantee excellent performance and gorgeous imagery.
The Q3’s Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens is a familiar feature, garnering a superlative reputation among street photographers using older Q models. Of course, the lens really shines when paired with the more powerful 60MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, making this particular model well-suited for more detail-oriented shooting. Like our Ricoh option, the Q3 can also simulate different focal lengths, with four different crops available to render your shot best. Proudly bearing the Leica red dot, the Q3 provides all the usability and control you would expect of a street-photography camera.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
Sony’s esteemed RX100 series is beloved by many, including us! The seventh-generation Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII is a great little camera for street photography, offering impressive specs and features for a flexible shooting experience. Equipped with a reliable 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor and a 24-200mm equivalent ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens, users are afforded a range of focal lengths for great shooting versatility, especially when you consider its compactness.
Other features include a powerful hybrid AF system with accurate subject tracking. While continuous shooting is available at up to 20 fps, users can also opt for Single Burst Shooting―a 90 fps setting for working with the fastest moving subjects to get those difficult shots every time. Controls are intuitive via the tilting LCD touchscreen, and users can conveniently switch between the LCD and pop-up EVF viewing options for better comfort and utility.
Considered by many to be the original street photographer’s camera, Leica rangefinders are still coveted today for their superb build quality and reliability. The M11 exemplifies this, evoking the classic M3 design from 1954 with all the modern bells and whistles to make it a great little street photography or photojournalism camera.
The M11 enjoys a high-resolution design with a 60MP full-frame CMOS sensor that captures even the most minute details. The beautiful 0.73x optical viewfinder is a dream to work with, and photographers are afforded both electronic and mechanical shutters to use super-fast lenses sans ND filter. Like the Q3, users can select one of three sensor resolutions to achieve just the right dynamic range and noise level. All of this and more is easily accessible via the refurbished menu layout, which closely resembles the Q and SL systems.
Street photography is a deceptively difficult medium that requires skill, effort, and a little luck. Working with the right camera will go a long way when you are out and about, so we hope our top choices have been helpful in your search. There are also plenty of terrific entry-level cameras that can be used for street photography if you are a new photographer looking for additional recommendations.
Did we leave out your favorite street photography camera? Let us know in the Comments section, below!