What is the best camera for street photography?
1. Ricoh GR
Why Ricoh GR? Let me explain:
- Good design: the ergonomics perfectly fit the hand. The FUJI x70 is a good contender, but the Ricoh has better design. The Ricoh also has a nice matte black finish, and all the right dials and buttons. The menus are thoughtfully laid out, and customizable.
- Integrated flash which is accessible via physical switch. I use the flash in street photography a lot. On the left of the Ricoh GR II, there is a physical switch you can flip easily to pop up the flash. This is very useful, instead of the Fujifilm x70and X100 series where you have to enter the software menu to turn on the flash.
- Fits in your front pocket. Not that much bigger than your phone. Small enough to carry everywhere. Therefore, you will end up actually shooting more. And isn’t the goal of photography to shoot more?
The film Ricoh GR cameras are great too. But just be warned, Ricoh Japan no longer repairs broken film Ricoh GR cameras. And they break often.
2. Leica M Rangefinder
I think the film Leica (Leica M6) is the best bang for the buck Leica or rangefinder. I own the film Leica MP, which I hope will out live me.
The digital Leica cameras are good too, although expensive. I personally won’t buy a new digital Leica, but I would buy a used digital one, like I did when buying a second hand digital Leica M9 in 2011 (for $5000 instead of $7000).
Why Leica? Reasons:
- Manual focusing with optical viewfinder and zone focusing is still ideal for fast shooting. Focus peaking and electronic viewfinder still not a fluid enough experience with manual lens and focusing.
- Support for legacy Leica M Mount lens. Voigtlander and Zeiss make great M mount Lenses too, for much cheaper than Leica.
- Classic and timeless design that will never go out of style.
To learn more, read LEICA MANUAL.
The new Fujifilm XT20 looks great. Good value, small size, light weight, same sensor as the FUJI XPro 2, and Fuji XT2. Also, it has an integrated pop up flash with a physical switch.
Get this and the Fujifilm 27mm pancake lens (roughly 40mm full frame equivalent) and call it a day.
Why not the XT or XPRO or X100?
Get the newest iPhone (Normal one, not the plus). The phone is probably the best street photography camera for most people. Everyone has one, and it is easy to shoot with. Now the image quality is more than good enough for 99% of Street Photographers.
It is small, inconspicuous, and you can just point, click, edit, and share easily.
And yes, iPhone or your Android is a real camera.
All cameras are good for street photography now.
Less talking about gear and more shooting. Fight GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) by just shooting with what you already got. I still recommend for digital cameras, upgrade every 2-3 years, but buy a good value camera, and never forget the “two camera rule”—buy it in cash, and have enough money to afford two of them.