Street photographers are always trying different systems, looking for the best street photography camera. Thankfully, there are always new cameras developed and released on the market. Each style of street photography needs a different camera to record it.
The best cameras for street photography are completely dependent on what you are photographing. Candid images are going to be difficult to capture with a humongous DSLR. Architectural images won’t have the HDR (high-dynamic range) they deserve from a point-and-shoot.
As with many areas of photography, the cameras are almost the least important in capturing great images. A stunning photograph comes from a multitude of areas. A usable camera, a quality lens, patience, planning, confidence, time and energy, and then post-processing.
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There are a few things your camera will need in capturing great street or urban photography. No matter if your focus is architecture, portraiture or documenting daily life, shooting in RAW is a must. It gives you more play when editing your images.
Also, a system that allows you to change your lens is important. This will allow you to get close and far from your subject when the situation demands it.
A High ISO range is beneficial in low-light conditions. Perfect for shooting behind windows and night-time photography.
Portability is also important, as you may find yourself traipsing far-and-wide over a city, capturing all the delights it has to offer. You really don’t want to have a camera that is too fiddly, as you will waste time and miss those precious moments.
Also, a heavy camera soon becomes uncomfortable, making you want to return home.
Speed is essential in capturing those decisive moments that happen in a blink of an eye. Get something that can operate at fast shutter speeds in freezing the action. Also, one of the most overlooked areas is the design of the street photography camera.
A large, bulky camera is easily spotted a mile-off, stopping you from catching those candid shots. It will also stop it from fitting in your pocket for discreet, spy-like captures. Plus, a poorly designed camera body means more time to navigate through those buttons and settings.
The Nikon D750 DSLR Camera is an outstanding choice in the world of street photography. With DSLR cameras, it is easy to think that the most expensive and newest models will offer you the best results.
It can be the case, but most of us don’t have $5000 just sitting around. Entry-level or semi-pro cameras are just as powerful in the right hands.
This camera stands out as it is a full-frame 24.3MP CMOS sensor. Its EXPEED 4 image processor offers high image quality and performance. The other great area is its 51-point autofocus system with AF detection.
This means a fast and accurate autofocus. The D750 has a 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor and a Scene Recognition System. This provides consistent exposure and maintaining focus when shooting in burst mode.
For street photography, this camera is smaller than most full-frame DSLRs and hosts a very comfortable handgrip. The tilt-out LCD is a first for a full-frame DSLR, and will help in keeping the perspective interesting.
The Leica M (240) Digital Rangefinder Camera is a one-of-a-kind. The 240 is bigger than it’s older brother M model, yet has a very quiet shutter action. This is perfect for close-ups in the street, where people are not quite sure if you took a photo or not.
It has live view capability, seen through its 3″ LCD screen. The viewfinder is a treat for all those who miss it from the newer generation of cameras.
ISO runs all the way to 6400, yet the minimal noise comes from the 3200 ISO setting. It has a full-frame sensor, and a resolution of 24MP. The quality of the jpegs is just amazing, but it is a Leica we are talking about.
It is the most expensive camera here, coming in at well over double or even triple some of the other cameras. But the quality is unsurpassed. It is a powerful tool, just don’t be afraid to take it out.
The Sony A6000 is a Semi-Pro Mirrorless camera with a 24.0MP APS-C sensor. It packs a lot of punch in a lightweight package (just over 12 oz). It comes wit ha tilting LCD screen, which is perfect for candid shots of the public.
The ISO can reach a staggering 25,600 and has a 1200-zone exposure metering system that produces images that are nothing short of real life.
The focus is a hybrid, boasting 25 contrast points and an immense 179 focal plane detection points. These numbers mean you can quickly and automatically focus and get sharp those points of interest.
If you already have a bunch of E-Mount lenses at your disposal, this camera is for you. You can recycle them on this mirrorless system.
The great thing about this camera is it is small, discreet and will fit in your pocket. You can charge this camera via USB, meaning, if you got the power, you can go forever.
It stops you from buying many spare batteries and then carrying them all with you. This camera beats the pants off the Fujifilm X100s, in cost and settings.
The Ricoh GR II is my go-to street photography camera. It is small, fits in my pocket and allows me perfect spy-like images. Everything comes through the viewfinder, which isn’t tiltable, unfortunately, but the 16.2 MP sensor more than makes up for it.
This system does have a fixed lens, but you can purchase an adapter, turning your 28mm f/2.8 lens into a wide angle lens.
It is a point-and-shoot camera with a High-Speed Autofocus system. It locks on its subject in just 0.2 seconds. Wow. Great for never missing those moments. Its magnesium-alloy body makes this a very durable, easy-to-tote camera.
What makes it more interesting is that the manufacturers omitted its optical low pass filter for ultra-sharp and detailed images. We love that!
You will find that each one of these cameras has a specific area it will shine in. The DSLR captures the meat and majority of your work, helped by its versatility due to lenses and settings. The mirrorless systems are not far behind, letting you move freer and get more shots.
They are lightweight, meaning you won’t be annoyed and frustrated by carrying the camera around. The point-and-shoot Ricoh is my favourite, and I always have that in my pocket. Even when toting my DSLR around, I have one hand ready to burst into my pocket for the inconspicuous choice.
No matter what your aim is, any one of these cameras will work hard to get you as close as possible to that noteworthy street photograph. Check our post on why you should always carry your camera and don’t miss any opportunity for great street photos!
The best camera is the one you have with you, right? Check our post on smartphone street photography tips!
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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