There is no “perfect” camera for street photography. Don’t fall into GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and falsely believe that buying a new camera will make you a better photographer.
Also remember that money spent on traveling and experiences is always a better investment than buying new gear (if you don’t need it).
Gear Acquisition Syndrome
- What is the Perfect Camera For You?
- What to Consider When Buying a Camera
- What is the Best Camera for Street Photography?
- What is the Best Lens for Street Photography?
- You Can’t Shoot With More Than One Camera or Lens at a Time
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Smartphone Photography
- Benefits of Shooting Street Photography With a Smartphone
- In Street Photography, The Smaller the Camera, the Better
Film Photography 101
- Film Street Photography Manual
- What I Learned Shooting 100 Rolls of Black and White Film
- What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film
My favorite camera for street photography
There is no perfect camera for street photography and everyone’s tastes are different. My favorite camera for street photography is the Ricoh GR II.
The Ricoh GR II is the best bang-for-the-buck camera for street photography on the market. It has an APS-C sensor (DSLR-sized sensor), a super-sharp 28mm lens (no anti-aliasing filter), and literally fits into your front pocket.
The Ricoh GR II is pretty much the same as the prior Ricoh GR, except it has Wi-Fi built in.
Why do I recommend the Ricoh GR II?
First of all, for street photography you want the smallest, most compact, and inconspicuous camera (that you can always carry with you). I find that with other digital cameras, you end up never carrying them with you 24/7, simply because they are too big. The Fujifilm X100T and digital Leica’s are fantastic tools, but honestly even those cameras are too big to fit in your front pocket.
In street photography, the size of the sensor is also not very important. In-fact, having a non-full frame camera is generally preferable, because you have more depth-of-field in street photography, which is beneficial to “zone-focusing.”
When I shoot with the Ricoh GR II, I generally keep the camera on “P” mode, ISO 1600, and center-point autofocus. I treat it like a point-and-shoot: I simply point and click. This makes me have to think less when shooting, and spend more energy focusing on the composition, framing, and capturing emotion in the photos.
Many photographers bemoan the fact that the Ricoh GR II doesn’t have a viewfinder. Honestly, I feel that viewfinders are a bit overrated — the LCD screen helps you be more creative with your compositions (shooting super-low angle, or a super-high angle), and also helps you photograph your subjects closer (putting a small compact camera close to someone’s face is less intimidating than putting a big DSLR lens into someone’s face).
Also if you want, the Ricoh GR II has a fantastic “snap mode” which allows you to pre-focus to a certain distance (1 meter, 1.5 meters, 5 meters, infinity), which is like zone-focusing on a rangefinder camera. This means when you’re shooting on the streets on a sunny day, you can set your pre-focus to 1.5 meters, ISO 1600, aperture-priority mode in f/8, and take photos that are all sharp and in-focus.
In addition, the Ricoh GR II has the simplest yet comprehensive menu out of any digital camera I’ve used. You can change the function buttons, you can change whether the power lamp is on or off, and everything in the menu is easily searchable. I believe the Ricoh GR II was designed by photographers, not simply by engineers.
The camera is extremely affordable, which means you can save all your hard-earned cash on buying experiences, not stuff. Use that money to travel to a country you’ve always wanted to travel, to buy photography books, and to invest in photography-education (workshops, classes, seminars).
Furthermore, you can charge the camera via USB, which means you don’t need to travel with a bulky battery-charger. As long as you keep the camera off while you’re not shooting on the streets, one battery should last you a full day.
If you end up buying the camera, I recommend picking up a 3” LCD screen protector, shooting in RAW, and using my free Lightroom film simulation presets (you can download below).
- Read my review of the Ricoh GR II
- Review of the prior Ricoh GR (which has the same sensor, just no wifi).
Henri Neck Strap
If you’ve wanted a functional strap that wears beautifully with age, pick up an “Henri” Neck strap to accompany you on your future travels and adventures. There is only a limited supply of 100 straps available:
For questions about ordering, contact Cindy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Henri Wrist Strap
Free Lightroom Presets
If you love the gritty, visceral feel of film, check out the free Eric Kim Lightroom Presets.