Street photography is an art that requires a good eye, a little discretion, and a camera that you can take anywhere. There's a saying in photography that the best camera is the one you have on you, but while your smartphone can capture interesting moments in a pinch, a dedicated camera can take your street photos to the next level. A good street photography camera has to be lightweight and portable, with easy-to-adjust settings, a relatively fast lens, and effective autofocus to capture fleeting moments.
For those reasons, we've geared our list toward premium point-and-shoots. Depending on your needs and preferences, an interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera can also fit the bill, especially when paired with a small prime lens, so we've included some of the best mirrorless options as well, which you can find listed beneath our point-and-shoot picks.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best street photography cameras. If you're interested in urban landscape photography, you might also want to check out our picks for the best cameras for landscape photography. Or, if you want to take street photos while traveling, you can check out our recommendations for the best travel cameras or the best compact cameras.
Fujifilm's X100 series has long been a favorite among enthusiasts and street photographers, and the latest iteration improves upon a tried-and-true formula to create one of the best premium point-and-shoots on the market. The Fujifilm X100V may not be the most compact choice, but Fuji has managed to pack in just about everything you'd want in a portable carry-around camera. With a sleek vintage-inspired design, the camera evokes the classic rangefinder cameras favored by street photography legends of the past. Beyond looking the part, it's built around an excellent APS-C sensor that captures stunning photos straight out of the camera.
Best of all is its unique hybrid viewfinder which toggles between an optical viewfinder for an unfiltered view of your subjects and an electronic viewfinder, meaning you can preview your final image in real-time. The improved built-in lens is nice and sharp, and its 35mm-equivalent focal length is perfect for street photography. Last but not least, its dedicated exposure dials let you easily change settings on the fly. Put all that together, and you've got one of the best enthusiast street photography cameras on the market.
The RICOH GR III was made for street photographers, and if you're looking for something truly pocketable, this is the camera to get. Its minimalist design isn't nearly as nice to look at as the sleek Fujifilm X100V—you won't find a viewfinder or tilting screen here, either—but its small, unassuming form factor can't be beaten for discretion and portability. Like the Fuji, it also uses a large APS-C sensor, so you get excellent image quality and solid low-light performance.
While it doesn't have the fastest or most reliable autofocus, it does come with a unique 'Snap Focus' feature that's ideal for street shooting. With the press of a button, the camera 'snaps' the focus to a pre-set distance, which is incredibly convenient for quick, discreet shots when you can gauge your distance to a subject. The wide-angle 28mm equivalent focal length is also common for street photography. If you prefer a more standard field of view, you can also buy the RICOH GR IIIx variant, which is a tad pricier but comes with a 40mm equivalent lens. Otherwise, if you prefer a camera with more physical controls, the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II is another worthy option in this price range with dedicated exposure dials, though it isn't as compact and uses a smaller sensor.
For many people, the best budget camera for street photos is going to be the camera they've already got in their pocket: their smartphone. If you prefer to use a dedicated camera and you'd like something with more optical zoom than your phone, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 is a budget point-and-shoot that offers a lot of value for its price.
Image quality isn't as impressive as the larger-sensor compacts mentioned above, but it isn't bad overall, and the camera's packed with features. Its flip-up screen is great for waist-level shooting, and there's even a small viewfinder for sunny days when it might be harder to see the screen. On top of that, it's got a decent battery life and a long zoom range that gives you more flexibility with framing. Overall, if you're on a tight budget, this is a solid little camera that can get the job done without breaking the bank.
While you can't beat compact cameras for portability, some people may prefer the versatility of an interchangeable-lens camera. Thankfully, some excellent mirrorless options come in relatively portable form factors. The Fujifilm X-Pro3 is one of the best among those for street photography. Like the Fujifilm X100V, it has a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder offset from the center of the body and uses the same high-resolution APS-C sensor, so you'll get the same great image quality but with the option to use different lenses and focal lengths.
It's also uniquely designed with a reverse-tilting screen to encourage you not to rely on the camera's screen and engage more with your surroundings, making it a great fit for the intrepid street photographer. It's also got a sturdy, weather-sealed body and dual SD card slots for expanded memory or to keep your files backed up on the go. Though it isn't as portable, the hybrid viewfinder and similar Fuji handling, complete with dedicated exposure dials, make this a fantastic interchangeable-lens alternative to the X100V.
If it wasn't already clear, Fujifilm cameras are some of the best on the market for street photography, thanks to their portable designs and enthusiast-oriented manual controls. As far as mid-range mirrorless options go, the Fujifilm X-T30 II has much to offer. Its body is super lightweight and portable, and though it can feel more cramped than the Fujifilm X-Pro3, it still has physical control dials that make it easy to adjust settings on the go. You also get a more traditional tilting screen with this model.
Like the other Fujifilm cameras mentioned here, it uses the same high-resolution APS-C sensor, meaning image quality is comparable. However, it has a slower max burst rate and shooting speed than the X-Pro3 and doesn't have any weather sealing. Still, if you like Fujifilm's old-school approach to design but prefer something a bit more conventional and portable, this is the camera for you.
Last but not least is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, one of the best budget mirrorless cameras we've tested. It uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, meaning it isn't as well-suited to low-light settings as APS-C options like the Fujifilm X-Pro3 or the Fujifilm X-T30 II. That smaller sensor makes it incredibly portable. Compatible lenses will also be smaller, making this a good choice if you want portability but want the versatility to switch out lenses.
On top of that, it's one of the few cameras in this price range to offer in-body image stabilization, making it easier to get clear handheld shots at slower shutter speeds. The ergonomics are also solid, especially for such a small camera. However, it doesn't have the most reliable autofocus system, and the build quality isn't quite as good as more expensive models. If you're looking for a more portable camera kit, the Micro Four Thirds system is a great, more affordable choice.
Jan 31, 2023: Replaced the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II with the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 as the 'Best Budget Camera For Street Photography' and removed the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II from Notable Mentions.
Dec 02, 2022: Brushed up text for clarity; no change to recommendations.
Oct 05, 2022: Restructured article for clarity and to better represent user needs.
Feb 18, 2022: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations.
Jan 28, 2022: Reviewed article for clarity and accuracy.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras for street photography for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our point-and-shoot and interchangeable lens camera reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.