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 needs to be lightweight and portable, have easy-to-adjust settings, and have a relatively fast lens and effective autofocus to capture fleeting moments. For those reasons, premium point-and-shoots are favored, but depending on your needs and preferences, a larger interchangeable mirrorless camera can also fit the bill.
We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for street photography for most people to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For more options, see our recommendations for the best point-and-shoot cameras, the best compact cameras for travel, and the best cameras for photography.
The best camera for street photography that we've tested is the Fujifilm X100V. This premium APS-C compact from Fujifilm comes with a dense feature set and a retro-style rangefinder design that's perfect for street photography. Its built-in lens has a 35mm full-frame equivalent focal length and a relatively fast f/2 aperture. It's also partially weather-sealed out of the box, though you need to buy an additional lens adapter and filter for full weather-sealing.
This camera also features a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder that makes for a dynamic shooting experience. You can use it as an optical viewfinder to get an uninterrupted view of your subject and its surroundings, or flip a switch and use it as an electronic viewfinder to preview your exposure settings and film simulation profiles. Its 26-megapixel X Trans 4 sensor, the same one found in the flagship Fujifilm X-T4, delivers excellent overall image quality with impressive noise handling at higher ISO settings for low light situations.
However, the controls may take some getting used to, and it's not the most comfortable camera to shoot with, nor the most portable on this list. It also lacks any kind of image stabilization, which makes it a bit harder to get clear, steady shots when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds. Still, this is one of the best street photography cameras out there, thanks to its hybrid viewfinder, excellent image quality, and sleek, well-constructed design.
The RICOH GR III is the third iteration of RICOH's GR street photography camera, and it's the best camera for street photography for those who prize discretion and portability above all. It's remarkably portable for a large-sensor compact, featuring a minimalist design with a small bump for grip and a large APS-C sensor, and all in all, it feels sturdy and well-built.
Its built-in lens uses a relatively wide-angle 28mm equivalent focal length that's well-suited to street photography. It also has a built-in ND filter that lets you shoot at slower shutter speeds or use a larger aperture in sunny conditions. Overall, image quality is amazing, and it has excellent noise handling even when shooting in RAW at higher ISO settings. While the camera has a minimalist control layout, it also has several customization options, including up to three different custom setting configurations that you can save to the mode dial.
The camera also has a disappointing battery life, which only lasts for about 200 photos, according to RICOH, although battery life depends heavily on how you use your camera and what settings you choose. It also lacks a viewfinder and has a fixed screen, making it a little more difficult to compose shots and shoot from different angles. Despite its shortcomings, this is a great option for street photographers due to its low-profile, portable design, and excellent image quality.
The Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II is a unique point-and-shoot camera that uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor with a smaller lens opening that lets it crop photos down to various aspect ratios in-camera without reducing its field of view. It's designed with enthusiasts in mind with dedicated exposure dials and a retro look. It's also highly portable and comes with an external flash accessory in the box.
It has a built-in Leica DC lens with a 24-75mm equivalent focal length, so you have a bit of zoom range to work with. It also has a fast f/1.7 aperture, so you can take advantage of faster shutter speeds or shoot in more dimly-lit conditions. It delivers excellent image quality, with great dynamic range and impressive noise handling capability at higher ISOs. On top of that, it has a fast 11 fps burst rate and a virtually instantaneous buffer empty time, so you can shoot continuously to capture brief moments of fast movement.
That said, the camera's autofocus system is disappointing. While it supports face and eye detection, it does a poor job tracking both faces and objects consistently. It also lacks in-body image stabilization, and its screen is fixed, making it harder to shoot from lower angles. Still, if you're looking for one of the best cameras for street photography, this is a great choice thanks to its unique multi-aspect sensor and fast aperture.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 is the best camera for street photography that we've tested with an interchangeable lens design. While it's not as compact as the other options, being able to switch out different lenses to suit your needs gives this camera versatility that a fixed-lens camera can't provide. It's also uniquely designed with a reverse-tilting screen to encourage users not to rely on the camera's screen and engage more with their subjects, making it a great option for street photography.
Like the Fujifilm X100V, the X-Pro3 has a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder offset from the center of the body, allowing you to get an unfiltered view of your subject and its surroundings or preview your exposure settings live through the viewfinder with the flip of a switch. The camera delivers great overall image quality when shooting in JPEG, and there are several film simulation profiles to choose from to adjust the tone and colors of your photos. It also has fantastic RAW noise handling capability, meaning it performs well even in low light.
However, its battery life is only okay. It's advertised to last for approximately 370 photos, which is decent but may not be long enough for heavy shooters. Note that battery life can also vary drastically depending on your settings and usage habits. It isn't as portable or discreet as a more compact camera would be, though it is weather-sealed. Still, if you're looking for an interchangeable lens camera that's well-suited to street photography, this one is hard to beat.
If you'd like an interchangeable lens camera with an even more compact body, check out the Fujifilm X-E4. While it lacks the optical viewfinder capability of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 and isn't weather-sealed, it's considerably smaller and lighter and still gives you the option to switch out different lenses. It only uses an EVF and lacks a handgrip and dedicated ISO dial. Its minimalist design makes it easy to take with you wherever you go, and its tilting screen can help you shoot from lower angles. It delivers similarly great image quality and noise handling capability since both use the same X-Trans 4 sensor. That said, its autofocus system tends to perform less consistently when tracking moving subjects, and it has a slower max shutter speed. On the upside, it has a longer advertised battery life.
Get the X-Pro3 if you want better ergonomics and a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, but if portability is your top concern, the X-E4 is a good alternative.
Jan 07, 2022: Reviewed accuracy of picks with no change to recommendations.
Dec 17, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.
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.