The world is full of an almost endless range of potential photography locations. Each setting will have its own photographic opportunities. And each setting requires slightly different photographic methodologies.
The street is one of the most vibrant, dynamic, unpredictable, and downright irresistible shooting “locations” in the world. You never know who you are going to see, or what you are going to see them doing. You need to be ready at a moments notice to capture those perfect shots (that make the streets one of the most interesting places to take photos in the world).
Here we are going to look at what we think are some of the best cameras on the market for street photography that money can buy.
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The Absolute Best Camera For street Photography – Leica 10771 M
In our opinion (and many other peoples opinions) the Leica 10771M is the king of street photography cameras.
We are proud to award it the title of the best camera for street photography. And if you can afford the initial investment – we doubt you’re going to regret buying it.
This camera has a massive 24-megapixel full frame sensor. It produces images of almost unimaginable quality, even when you are shooting in JPEG mode.
Yes, you heard us right, we said JPEG mode…
We know most photographers like to shoot in RAW. But the compression algorithms in this camera are amazing, and you will be able to shoot in JPEG without ever being able to tell the difference. (Which means you get many more shots before you need to switch out your memory card).
Gorilla Glass Screen – You are going to find yourself running, jumping, squeezing and ducking around on the street to get the perfect shot when the opportunity arises. Having a super tough gorilla glass screen will ensure your camera survives any accidental drops or knocks.
High ISO Performance – You are going to need a camera with a high ISO performance if you want to get those instant shots without a tripod. The Lecia performs wonderfully in this regard and you will be able to get super sharp shots at a moments notice without any graining.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
The one thing we are not particularly keen on with this camera is the quality of the viewfinder. The screen itself is crystal clear, and the glass is made from super tough gorilla glass – but honestly it feels a little cheap. It feels like it was a low quality made in china component that. Don’t get us wrong, it works totally fine – but just feels a little bit out of place on a camera of this quality (and price).
What is the difference between the 10771M and the 10771MP?
The main difference between these two models is an increased amount of RAM. The 10771MP has an extra gigabyte, which does slightly increase performance – but it is far from essential.
The Second Best Street Photography Camera – Canon Powershot G7X Mk2
The second best street photography camera we are recommending is the Canon Powershot G7X Mk2. As you would expect from Canon it’s an amazing camera that packs a whole bunch of technology into a reasonably compact space. There are smaller cameras on the market, but this G7X is a great mid-ground between portability and performance.
The main thing we love about the Canon is its ultra-quick burst shooting. It takes near light speed burst shots at a rapid 8fps. This makes it perfect for those dynamic moments when you need shots that capture every millisecond possible to capture the motion and emotion of the scene.
The autofocus tracking is also something worth mentioning here. The Canon has an incredibly efficient and accurate processor that easily identifies movement within tracked subjects. When combined with the burst mode feature above, it’s a winning combination, perfectly suited to the unpredictable nature of the street.
Tilting Touch Screen – From time to time you are going to come across shots that you cannot shoot at eye level. You may have to hold your camera above a crowd or fence, or you may have to squeeze it through a gap low to the ground. Being able to tilt the screen allows you to see what you are shooting from any angle, opening a whole range of creative possibilities.
Ergonomics – Most photographers will have their camera in their hand on the street much more than when they are shooting in other settings. You need to be ready at a moments notice. So it’s important to have a camera that feels good in the hand for long periods of time. It’s clear cannon have put a lot of effort in here, it’s one of the most comfortable cameras money can buy.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
The JPEG quality of this camera is something that leaves a lot to be desired. Unlike the Leica above you are going to have to shoot in RAW to get the maximum quality possible out of this product. It’s not a big deal as many people almost religiously only shoot in RAW – but if you are a JPEG lover, this could be something you want to consider.
The controls are also a little bit fiddly, especially if you have large fingers and thumbs. But with a little bit of getting used to, it’s not really a problem.
Can It Shoot 1080p Video?
Absolutely. This is a great camera for those moments where a photograph won’t suffice and is able to shoot in full 1080p HD.
Is It Easy To Use For A New Photographer?
Despite being packed full of useful features, it’s still a great camera for new photographers. The auto mode is capable of shooting in RAW format, and the chip is highly intelligent in the way it automatically adjusts the settings to get a great shot.
The Third Best Street Camera On The Market – Nikon D750
No list of camera recommendations would be complete without a Nikon. They are arguably the best camera manufacturer in the world. We think that some of the awesome features of their D750 make it one of the best street cameras money can buy.
The huge full frame 24.3-megapixel image sensor is nothing short of magical. It has some of the most vivid color depth we have ever seen and captures scenes in incredible detail. If your compositional skills are lacking slightly then you are going to be able to crop large sections without degrading quality.
This awesome and huge sensor is combined with Nikon’s high-performance EXSPEED processor which is the powerhouse behind the whole product. It enables super fast autofocusing and real-time balancing.
The sensor and the processor combined make this a super speedy camera that will be able to take some of the best shots on the street at a moment’s notice.
51 Point Auto Focus – As we mentioned earlier, good autofocus is something that no photographer shooting on the street can be without. The Nikon has a massive 51 point auto focus system that will track and instantly focus on even the most dynamic subjects you are likely to encounter.
Scene Recognition System – The intelligent processor in this camera has been designed to be used in high speed, split second situations. The scene recognition system automatically adjusts the settings to ensure you are getting the correct exposure during burst shots. It takes a split second reading in-between each individual shot in the burst and adjusts and optimizes for the smallest changes in the scene.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
As with most Nikon products, the main flaw is the price. This is a premium product that has a premium price tag.
If you can afford the initial investment, then you are going to thank yourself for years to come. It’s a smart purchase. However, if you are on a budget, this may not be the camera you are looking for (right now).
The other thing we were not particularly happy about is the fact that burst shots tend to end a little bit early when shooting in RAW format. It’s probably never going to be a problem, because the amount of shots it takes are more than adequate. But it’s something to consider if you foresee yourself regularly using the burst feature to compensate for poor timing technique.
How Comfortable Is The Camera?
This is an incredibly comfortable camera that will feel great in the hands. The solid and ergonomically designed grip will fit well in any hand (even in large hands which can often be a problem).
The Fourth Best Camera For Street Photography – Sony A6000
The sony a6000 transformed the way people thought about DSLR photography when it first came on the scene. It is an incredibly small compact fully featured camera, which makes it a perfect product to be featured on our best cameras for street photography list.
The main benefit of the a6000 is its portable size. The ability to put a camera in a coat pocket and take it out everywhere with you is not to be underestimated. Especially with street photography where you may want to be discreet.
But apart from the portability, we are just amazed by the image quality that a camera of this size can produce. The a6000s sensor is incredible and is widely regarded as being one of the best in this “size class” of cameras. It picks up colors well and the processor that powers the whole product can accurately adjust the balance on auto mode.
Some other cameras without a digital viewfinder can struggle in bright lighting conditions making the shot reasonably difficult (or impossible) to take. The OLED viewfinder on the a6000 makes it well suited to shooting in bright conditions. It is perfect for the street where you never know when the next shot might arise.
Fast Auto Focus – Like many of the other cameras on this list, the a6000 has blazing fast autofocus capabilities. You will have no problems shooting dynamic subjects with a lot of movement.
Ergonomically Designed – One of the main issues with cameras of this size is that the controls can be a little bit fiddly and tricky to use. It’s an almost inherent problem due to the compact nature of the products. However, the a6000 is probably the best in the world in terms of ergonomic small cameras. Even people with the fattest fingers and thumbs in the world will be able to operate it accurately with ease.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
The main “issue” with the a6000 is that you are limited to lenses that use Sonys e-mount system. This significantly limits the amount of lenses you can choose from when you are looking to get something quite specific. Luckily the a6000 was an instant hit and as such a huge demand for e-mount lenses was created. Lens manufacturers have stepped up to the plate and there are many high-quality lenses available in all shapes and sizes. So while it’s not a deal-breaker issue, it could mean that some of your existing lenses may not be compatible.
Does The Camera Have Image Stabilization?
Unfortunately, the a6000 does not have image stabilization, but we don’t mark it down on points because of this. Image stabilization is reasonably large and clunky technology, which is near impossible to fit into something this compact. Its got a great sensor capable of shooting at high ISOs without grain, so the lack of image stabilization is not really something that limits the potential of the camera.
The Fifth Best Digital Camera For Street Photography – Fujifilm X100T
The final entry on our best digital camera for street photography list is the Fujifilm X100T. It’s a great compact little camera that does everything you could hope for when shooting on the street. Discretion is the name of the game with the Fujifilm, and if you envision yourself taking loads of shots that you don’t want your subjects to notice – this could be the camera for you.
This camera has many special features that make it worthy of inclusion on this list. The most notable one for us is just how quiet this thing is. It’s almost silent, literally. This makes it ideal for those situations where you want to take candid shots without your subjects noticing.
We also love the hybrid viewfinder that Fujifilm have added to this product. It’s kind of like augmented reality, and once you start using it – you will struggle to use another camera that doesn’t have it. You get a heads up display of various focusing and balance information overlaid on the optical viewfinder. When this is combined with the intuitive focus ring design that controls the overlay, it’s a winner in our book.
To be honest, this is one of the slower focusing cameras on this list (but it’s more than acceptable). But focus time is just one part of the speed equation – you also need to take into account start-up time.
You are not going to have your camera constantly turned on while walking around looking for shots. And when the time arises, you need to be able to up and running in as little time as possible.
The EXR 2 Processor in this camera has one of the fastest start-up times in the world. In under 0.5 seconds, your camera will be powered up and ready to shoot. This is probably quicker than you could move your finger from the power switch to the button (so it basically instantly turns on for all intents and purposes).
Real Time Parallax Correction – I’m guessing most photographers reading this list will have had to deal with parallax issues at one time or another. Having to reframe after refocusing is probably responsible for hundreds of thousands of missed shots over time. The real time parallax correction on this product removes that issue entirely and is something you will appreciate massively.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
The 16MP sensor is a little bit smaller than most of the other cameras on this list. In fact, some smartphones have a bigger sensor. We would like to have seen Fujifilm increase the megapixel rating on this product a little bit, but its far from a deal breaker.
This camera takes incredible photos that are crystal clear with vivid vibrancy. The only issue is you are going to have to be a little more careful with your composition. The lower megapixel rating means that you are not going to be able to crop your photos as aggressively as some of the larger MP cameras on this page.
Is There Any Shutter Lag?
No, there is no shutter lag whatsoever. We know some of Fujifilm’s other offerings have suffered from this issue slightly in the past, but this is a super speedy, lag free camera.
Is The 16MP Sensor Size A Problem?
No, not at all. While it might look a little bit scary on paper compared to the many 20+ MP cameras – in reality, it performs excellently. People tend to get a little bit obsessed with megapixel ratings these days (thanks to smartphones), but there are many more important features (like the sensor size) to take into account. This is a great camera that is worthy of your consideration, despite it’s smaller megapixel rating.
There are a few specific features that make a camera well suited to street photography. As we have mentioned in the reviews above it’s all about speed, portability, and discretion. You need to be able to carry your camera easily, take a shot in a split second, and not have anyone notice you.
With that in mind, here are some things you should look out for on any camera you are considering for street photography.
This is not a deal breaker, but ideally, you want to try and have a compact camera. You are either going to have to carry it around your neck or have it in a coat pocket for super quick access. If you have a big camera, it’s going to be fatiguing (and noticeable). Sometimes the additional functionality of larger cameras is worth the size trade-off. But unless you specifically need the features, smaller is usually better.
You would struggle to find a shooting location that is more unpredictable and dynamic than the street. Shots can appear and disappear at a moments notice, and as such – you need a camera that can keep up. Having fast autofocus is incredibly important, the faster the better.
Start Up Time
Unless you plan on draining your battery in an hour, you are going to usually have your camera turned off while walking around looking for shots. When the opportune time sensitive moment presents itself, you need to be sure you can turn the camera on and take a picture in a matter of seconds. Check to see the start up time of any camera you are considering, ideally you want this to be under a second.
A tilting screen allows you to take shots that you would otherwise be unable to get. The most obvious examples of this are times when you are going to have to hold the camera above or below your eye line – but it’s also good to have for discretion. Someone holding a camera up to their eye is immediately noticeable (almost subconsciously). But holding it lower by your waist with the viewfinder tilted upward is much less likely to be discovered.
Again, if you want to be discreet you are going to need to find a quiet camera. The sound of a shutter operating is distinct and easily noticeable. If you have a noisy camera it’s going to turn heads in your direction as soon as you press the button. Super stealthy, silent cameras are going to make you feel much more comfortable taking those candid shots that are found in abundance on the street.
The vast majority of the time you are out on the street taking photos, you are not going to have a tripod with you. You are going to have to rely on good stance and technique to steady the camera and get the shot. Image stabilization technology can really help you here and allows you to take pictures at slower shutter speeds without inducing blur. It’s not an essential feature, because image stabilization often comes at the cost of portability. But if your technique is lacking (or you plan on doing lots of low light shots) then it’s certainly a feature you should consider.
One of the rarer features that are worth looking out for is weatherproofing. You don’t want to be scared of a little rain or snow hitting your camera and ruining your investment. And you probably are not going to be taking your camera bag out with you on the street to use as a safe haven. So you should look for a camera that can take a little bit of a beating from the elements without giving up the ghost.
So there you have it, some of the best cameras for street photography on the market.
The street is one of the most dynamic and exciting places to take photos on the planet. You never know what kind of emotional, vivid, and exceptionally human scenes you may come across on any given shoot.
Every day is going to be different.
By taking some of the tips from our buyer’s guide, or by choosing some of the products we have mentioned above – you are going to be well prepared for this exciting shooting location.
It takes a little bit of getting used to at first. Pointing a camera in the face of a stranger can be daunting, to say the least. But once you have learned to be discreet and you are taking photos like a fly on the wall – you will take some of the best shots of your life.
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Thomas Leuthard – https://flic.kr/p/qYSjsn
Thomas Leuthard – https://flic.kr/p/qTC1Be
Thomas Leuthard – https://flic.kr/p/qTSNLQ
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