Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City

alastair.arthur@gmail.com

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Street Photography Cameras

If you’re trying to choose a camera for street photography you could go one of two ways. You could either look at what most of the great and good street photographers have used, which will typically be the most practical and flexible gear. Or do your own thing. Most cameras and lenses have already been used for street photography in some form or other, but doing something different from the majority of street photographers (whether that’s a fisheye lens, a Holga or a large format beast) might help your images stand out.
Assuming you want to follow a more traditional path though, here are some suggestions:

 

Digital:

 

Leica Q. Not the smallest, and far from the cheapest, but probably the highest quality fixed lens camera. A full frame sensor, Leica design and build quality, and a fast 28mm f/1.7 lens. The Q2 was released in 2019 with weather-sealing and a new 47.3mp sensor. 

Leica CL. A smaller, APS-C sized sensor than the Q, but a smaller size too and interchangeable senses. Why a street camera any more than any other interchangeable lens camera? It isn't really, except that Leica are marketing it as such and they have the heritage to back up the claims.
 

Fujifilm X100. The Fujifilm X100 is becoming one of the most loved and respected series of cameras. The original was slow and quirky (although later improved through firmware updates) but was gradually refined through the X100S, X100T and the current X100F. It's now fast, relatively affordable and still includes the unique hybrid viewfinder that can switch between an electronic and optical view.
 

Ricoh GR. Much loved and with a long history, the Ricoh GR is tiny compared to all the other cameras here. The discontinued Fujifilm X70 and current XF10 offer a similar size but the Ricoh offers a few significant advantages such as the excellent 'snap focus' mode. The new model, the GR III, is now 24mp and even smaller than it's predecessor but no longer includes a built-in flash. No viewfinder but otherwise a great little camera.

Any decent DLSR or mirrorless cameras would be just fine though. Potentially a little more conspicuous if it's a larger camera, but then in some places many tourists are carrying DSLRs anyway. You could still use a good small prime lens to keep the size and weight down. If you want to be able to change lenses but don't want the cost of a Leica, I'd look at the Fujifilm XPro2, Fujifilm X-E3, Olympus Pen or Sony A6000 series.

 

A few suggestions for 35mm film cameras if you prefer analogue to digital:

Leica M

Ricoh GR

Contax T2/T3

Rollei 35