Here are my personal recommendations for the best cameras and lenses for street photography:
1. RICOH GR II
If you want just one camera and one lens for street photography, get the RICOH GR II. It is roughly ~$600 USD, small, compact, fits in your front pocket, always with you, has a (very sharp) integrated and non-interchangeable wide-angle 28mm lens, APS-C DSLR-sized no anti-aliasing filter (very sharp images), very customizable, perfect ergonomics for a handheld camera, nice color JPEG photos (positive film preset), and the RAW photos look beautiful with ERIC KIM MONOCHROME presets.
Recommend accessories with RICOH GR II:
– ERIC KIM Neck Strap (compatible with the point-and-shoot strap lugs for RICOH GR II)
– ERIC KIM WRIST STRAP (compatible with Ricoh GR II)
– 3.0 inch Screen protector
The best value camera for street photography (in terms of price, functions) is the Fujifilm x100F. After many generations of x100’s, the x100F is pretty much perfect. It is small, light, has a good 35mm integrated lens, insanely fast autofocus, and a thin profile. Also it has a cool ‘retro’ look (known in street photography circles as the ‘poor man’s Leica’).
Also, the X100F (as well as all the Fujifilm cameras) have the best in-camera JPEG processing for colors, as well as insanely-great high-ISO capabilities.
If you want a camera that looks cooler than the X100F (in terms of aesthetics), and an even faster autofocus, I recommend the Olympus PEN-F. The on-off switch is like where the old film rewinder was on my film Leica MP. The black and white in-camera JPEG settings look awesome. I also love the color-filter JPEG front dial (where the old Olympus PEN ISO dial was), which is fun to switch around and play with.
Another benefit of the PEN-F: you can turn around the back LCD screen, so you can prevent yourself from “chimping” (checking your LCD screen immediately after shooting photos). Thus, it is like a zen-like experience of staying focused of making photos (like shooting with a film camera).
The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 Lens (after the 2x crop of the Olympus PEN-F), is a full-frame 35mm equivalent (ideal for street photography) with a camera with a viewfinder. Also the electronic viewfinder on the Olympus PEN-F is excellent: very fast refresh rate.
Lenses for Street Photography
For street photography, generally a 35mm “full-frame equivalent” is ideal for street photography (if you use a viewfinder). If you shoot with a point-and-shoot camera and frame with your LCD screen, I recommend a 28mm “full-frame equivalent” lens.
Personal recommendations of lenses for street photography:
- Fujifilm: 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens (for smaller size). For faster autofocus, I recommend the Fujifilm 23mm f/2.8 lens.
- Sony (full-frame A7-series camera): Sony 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar Lens
- Sony (crop-sensor E-mount): Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Sony NEX E-mount (roughly a 28mm “full-frame equivalent” with the crop).
- Canon (full-frame): Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens (light, sharp, compact).
- Canon (crop-sensor): Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens (roughly a 35mm full-frame equivalent)
- Nikon (full-frame): Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Lens.
- Nikon (crop-sensor): Nikon AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D Lens (roughly a 35mm-full frame equivalent)
Not sure what is the best camera for street photography? ANNETTE KIM put together this dope visualization on how to simplify your life by helping you decide, “What is the best street photography camera for me?”
There is no “perfect” camera. Don’t fall into GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and falsely believe that buying a new camera will make you a better photographer.
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