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, have easy-to-adjust settings, and have 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 fast prime lens, so we've included some top mirrorless options.
Below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for street photography to buy, narrowed down from over 75 cameras that we've bought and tested. 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 an already-excellent formula to create one of the best premium point-and-shoots on the market. The Fujifilm X100V may not be the most compact option, but Fuji has managed to pack in just about everything you'd want in a portable carry-around camera. Built around a tried-and-true 26MP crop sensor, the camera evokes the classic rangefinder cameras favored by street photography legends of the past. Beyond looking the part, it also has a solid AF system and takes stunning photos straight out of the camera.
Best of all is its unique hybrid viewfinder which can toggle between an optical rangefinder for an unfiltered view of your subjects or a high-res electronic viewfinder, which gives you a real-time preview of how your image will look. The built-in lens is also an improvement on that of its predecessor, the Fujifilm X100F, and its 35mm full-frame equivalent focal length is super well-suited to a range of photo styles, from wide-angle close-ups to busier scenes. Plus, dedicated exposure dials let you easily change settings on the fly, all of which make this one of the top street photography cameras for enthusiasts.
The RICOH GR III was made for street photographers, and if you're looking for something that is 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 fair performance even in low light.
While it doesn't have the fastest or most accurate autofocus, it does come with a unique 'Snap Focus' feature that's ideal for street shooting. It allows you to quickly full-press the shutter and 'snap' the focus to a pre-set distance, which is super convenient for quick and discreet shots when you can gauge the distance to your subject. The wide-angle 28mm-equivalent focal length is also a common one for street photography, but if you prefer a more standard field of view, you can also buy the RICOH GR IIIx variant, which comes with a 40mm-equivalent lens at a slightly higher price.
In most cases, the best budget camera for street photos is going to be the camera you've already got on you: your smartphone. If you want to step up from your phone, the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II is the cheapest new compact option we recommend. If it's still a little out of your price range, you can also look into older models like the original LX100 or the RICOH GR II.
Like the Fujifilm X100V, the Panasonic has dedicated exposure dials to give you more control over settings without diving into menus. Inside is a Micro Four Thirds sensor, smaller than either the Fuji or the RICOH GR III, but instead of using the full sensor, the camera has a smaller lens opening that allows you to change the aspect ratio of your photos without affecting the field of view. You'll still get great image quality out of it, and while it isn't as compact as the GR III, it has a viewfinder, which comes in handy on sunny days, as well as a zoom lens to give you a bit more flexibility with framing.
While you can't beat compact cameras for portability, some people may prefer the versatility of an interchangeable-lens camera. Thankfully, there are some excellent mirrorless options that still come in relatively portable form factors, and the best one we've tested for street photography is the Fujifilm X-Pro3. Like the Fujifilm X100V, it has a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder offset from the center of the body, and it uses the same high-resolution APS-C sensor, so you'll get the same great image quality out of it, 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 subjects, making it a great fit for the intrepid street photographer. It's also got a sturdy, weather-sealed body along with dual SD card slots for expanded memory or to keep a live backup of your work. 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 retro-inspired enthusiast-oriented designs. As far as mid-range mirrorless options go, the Fujifilm X-T30 II has a lot to love about it. It has a super portable lightweight body, and though it can feel more cramped than the Fujifilm X-Pro3, it still has Fuji's dedicated-dial layout that makes it easy to adjust settings on the go. Plus, you get a more traditional tilting screen with this model.
Like the other Fujifilm cameras mentioned here, it uses the same 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, which is one of the best budget mirrorless cameras we've tested. It uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, so 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. But that smaller sensor makes it incredibly portable, plus it uses smaller Micro Four Thirds lenses, making it a good choice if you want portability but still want the versatility of switching out different lenses.
On top of that, it's got a great in-body image stabilization system, meaning you can get clear handheld shots at slower shutter speeds. The ergonomics on this thing are solid, especially for such a small camera. It doesn't have the most reliable autofocus system, and build quality isn't quite as good as pricier models. But if you're looking for a portable camera kit, the Micro Four Thirds system is a great choice that won't break the bank.
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.
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.