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May 3rd 2014 1:36 pm

What camera do you recommend for street photography -- if any?

It's one thing to take photos on a hike or at a friend's wedding, but it's another to just walk around downtown snapping photos of street life; you probably want a light, portable camera with good mid-range (if not close-up) lenses. What dedicated camera do you have and/or recommend for that purpose... if you use one at all?

I have a Sony NEX-5N, and it's still a fun mirrorless cam for those times when I want high-quality shots on the street. It's very portable and easy to use one-handed. That said, I often end up using only my phone; there's a certain appeal to traveling light and getting to share your pics right after you take them.

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Hi Jon. I have a NEX 5R which good to carry around in my hand if am specifically on the prowl to shoot photos. But if I want to have a camera that sits in a pocket or bag 'just in case' something comes up that is worth taking a shot of I use my RX100.

The 5R takes great shots, but only if it has a good quality lens on it. The 16-50 kit lens is nothing special, the 18-200 is good but huge to carry around just in case there is something to snap. You really need to spend the money on a good lens the NEX cameras, whereas the RX100 straight out of the box is fun to use, easy to handle and takes excellent shots time after time.
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I've found that it's usually best to either stick with the kit lens or else go high end -- I know the 16-70 T lens is very well regarded.
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The RX100/II fits that idea of a compact camera that doesn't feel like a burden to have around.

I still think Fuji's current lineup is probably the best cross between a more lightweight shooter that offers a lot of flexibility in shooting options. They tend to deal really well with reviews when being looked at as a "fun" camera to shoot with, which is kind of the idea when it comes to street photography.
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Inclined to agree with you on both counts... I've used a few Fujifilm X-series cameras, and they're fun to shoot with. That said, you really want a smaller camera like the X-E series or X100s. I used the X-Pro1, and that was way too big to slip into a typical messenger bag!
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Street photography and the Fujifilm X100S go together like "rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong." Which is to say: very well.
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I also have a nex-5n and paired with the right lens it is magical for street photography and a great size.

For pocketability the 20mm 2.8sony pancake is great. Just plan on getting a little closer and cropping in a bit in lightroom. If you are in dtown you have the bonus of shooting architecture without a lens change.

For day time I use my Minolta 35-70mm 3.5 paired with a focal reducer to simulate fullframe. This is a magical combo. I love my Minolta lenses and paired with the reducer really bring out that non digital look of an old film camera.

Nighttime, the Minolta 50mm 1.4 and reducer. Can almost shoot in total darkness. The reducer makes the aperture more like a 1.2 lens and at ISO1600 you can shoot in ultra low light.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 Lens would be great too and have the benefit of autofocus, but unless you have an a6000 or A7 I don't trust a sony nex"s autofocus ability. And it is pricey

Happy shooting!
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It has been a few years since I did street photography, 1997. Back then I opted to go big rather than small. I shot with a 4x5 film camera, yep I carried a tripod, too. Here is one of the pics:


What I liked about it is that folks took me serious. In this day and age, I am going to opt for using my old Nikon D2H, which is a large professional camera with the 17-35/2.8, an equally large lens.

People are much more willing to give you the time of day when you look like you are a professional.
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The X100S and Ricoh GR are pretty appealing options for street photography with their semi wide, relatively fast lenses, large sensors, and compact form factors. Neither will be very intimidating to your subjects, so you can easily pretend to be a tourist taking a random test shot without being noticed.
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I would go with either the X100s or RX1 both are good but there is a big price difference between the two. The X100s is good value for what you pay and the viewfinder is amazing!
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It depends, I sometimes use my Canon 20D, other times I use my Panasonic FZ10, and other times I use my cell phone, tablet or my 3D cameras. Any or all of the above seem to work pretty well..
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More recently I bought the Sony RX10 and have been using this as my go-to travel camera. It's a good all-in-one package.
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