Whats your favorite (Digital) camera for street photography

Sep 8, 2010
London UK
Andy
Awesome replies, Thanks very much everyone!! Here's my take on a few cameras that I'm thinking of...

E-M1 - too big for me for street really. I would like something smaller.

E-M10 (MkII) - could well be perfect and I could pop my 20mm on there, job done! Plus I want to get the 15mm panleica at some point so that would also work well for me.

E-PL5/6/7 - Could work very well as they are smaller, cheaper and still have IBIS. I'm not overly bothered if the camera has an EVF or not but if I had to choose then I guess I would prefer one. My 20mm would work well again on this camera.

Coolpix A - If I were to get this type of camera it would be the GR.

Ricoh GR - I am really really tempted with this one. I have almost bought one on several occasions. The IQ from what I have seen is pretty decent and the camera looks very customisable. The snap focus looks like a decent option too. The only gripes I have are the 2000/s shutter speed (possibly not an issue) and the 28mm focal length. Yes I know it has the option to go to 35mm equiv but the image is then cropped in camera so you may as well shoot at 28mm and crop when on the PC. This camera does seem to be most street shooters favorite so it could be the time to finally take the plunge and get one?!?!?
 
Jan 20, 2014
Launceston & Sydney
Nick Clark
The only gripes I have are the 2000/s shutter speed (possibly not an issue) and the 28mm focal length.
Not an issue. Set the ND filter to 'auto' and you'll never top out, even shooting at f2.8 in sunlight.

Whether 28mm works for you is obviously a personal choice. My 2c though, putting some effort into learning how to shoot 28mm will make you a better photographer - it's not an easy focal length, but gees its awesome when you nail it.

The big risk with the GR is that once you get used to the image quality you're never going to be quite as happy with your MFT gear again ;)
 

Lightmancer

Legend
Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
...The IQ from what I have seen is pretty decent and the camera looks very customisable. ...
Yes and yes.
...The snap focus looks like a decent option too. ...
In practice, I have never relied upon it.

...The only gripes I have are the 2000/s shutter speed (possibly not an issue) and the 28mm focal length. ...
Neither are problems, for the reasons stated above.

...Yes I know it has the option to go to 35mm equiv but the image is then cropped in camera so you may as well shoot at 28mm and crop when on the PC. ...
Well, that's what I thought, until I mastered it. Bear in mind that the screen image is 35/47mm in crop mode so you can frame accurately at the time. Also bear in mind that the GR doesn't just crop a JPG, it crops the raw file too, so the file you are working on is "35mm" or "47mm" - you are just working with fewer pixels, which would be the case if you cropped in post. It's up to you, but I find the in-camera option more useful and less time-consuming than processing in post.

...This camera does seem to be most street shooters favorite so it could be the time to finally take the plunge and get one?!?!?
Resistance is futile... ;)
 
Apr 18, 2014
Boston Burbs
David
I also rarely do street stuff, but I'm mostly likely to grab my LX100 or GX7 + 20mm since they are the best options I currently have. The 20mm's problem is slow AF, if I did more I'd choose a 14/15/17/25 and skip the 20 (17 being the most likely).

As for auto ISO, every camera I own has it turned on unless I'm doing portraits. Thought I do have the limits set on the lower side.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
I now that Ray prefers the Coolpix A to the GR although many go the other way. I've never tried the GR so I can't compare. I was never really tempted by this kind of wide compact but gave in when they were giving the A away for $299. Every thing else aside, there are three main features that really matter for me. It is truly pocketable. This matters because most of my street stuff is taken when going from point A to point B. The lens and sensor are excellent so I never have doubts about IQ and feel comfortable cropping to zoom in a bit. Finally, I find the interface sufficiently workable so that it doesn't get in the way. I found that my old clip on OVF from the E-P1 works just fine if I use the entire visible area instead of just the portion in the lines. These can be really useful in certain lighting conditions. I know you can't check focus but if you really can't see the LCD it's all a moot point anyway.
The snap focus of the GR sounds useful but I make do with the A. I read many negative reviews about the A and was therefore really surprised about how good a camera it was. If the GR is better then by all means go for it. I'm a convert to this style of small wide compact and find it's now my go to camera for the 28 mm FL.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I read many negative reviews about the A and was therefore really surprised about how good a camera it was. If the GR is better then by all means go for it. I'm a convert to this style of small wide compact and find it's now my go to camera for the 28 mm FL.
It's not better or worse - they're nearly twins with slightly different tradeoffs. From an IQ perspective, the only notable difference is the way they handle color and, again, it's not better or worse so much as different and anyone could prefer one or the other. It's really just down to interface and small tradeoffs which may be big tradeoffs to some. Some people swear by snap focus. I swear by auto ISO with really good shutter speed control. There isn't a bad choice between 'em...

-Ray
 

Lightmancer

Legend
Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Ray's right, though I'd have to say that the biggest difference for me was that the A is more slab-sided and boxy, whilst I found the GR almost organic in it's tactility. I can't get good results out of a camera that doesn't sit well in my hand - totally subjective, I know!
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
the real differences here between the GR/coolpix and lets say the x100 or m4/3+20mm are pretty stark: 28mm vs 35/40mm, no vf vs vf and fixed lens vs not. at that point it really comes down to whats important to you not what others think. i analyze these very differently than ray does. and you might analyze these still differently from either of us. stark choices, no right or wrong, just personal preference. good results can flow from any of the choices.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2013
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
For me it's a tossup.

My current favorite is probably my Ricoh GR.

But before then, I have shot on and off with a number of cameras which, honestly, were probably almost as good as the GR - in terms of being able to use them in a quick, instinctive, quiet way on the street and get my shots with something resembling a good angle.

Those included a Coolpix A - which someone loaned me briefly and I loved - and also, believe it or not, the all-in-one tiny LX7 compact whose fast Leica lens and relatively wide angle with near silent operation got me some fantastic shots.

Also on the list probably are any of the small micro 4/3 bodies that I've had - and still have - with the right lens. Currently I have 2 of these - a Lumix GX1 and the original Olympus E-P1. Both are great street cameras in their own way - provided you have the right lens. For me, usually, the "right" lens has been the 17mm Olympus pancake - yep, that's right, the slower f/2.8 one which so many people claimed wasn't all that great - but which in the two copies I've had has been outstanding - or the 14mm Lumix pancake, another 'slow' lens. The advantage of the tiny pancake lenses with a small body is/are too obvious to go into detail here. But both of those cameras have been (and still are) pretty great street cameras IMHO.

On my short list of previous fine street cameras would be a few older Olympuses (or is it Olympi?) - the underrated PL2 - and the PL5. With all of these cameras, the accessory viewfinder was helpful but not always a 'must'.

Finally, I'd have to put my current largest camera on the list too - the Lumix GX7 - which processing wise is the fastest of all of them (including the GR) and is capable of great street shots. Not good ones but great ones. The nice thing about the GX7 is that even though, for me, it's on the larger side (body-wise), especially compared to the diminutive GR - nonetheless it doesn't have either the visual bulk or intimidating factor of a larger DSLR - so when I'm shooting with it, generally people ignore me, which is a plus. Not so with my previous ancient (and still, to my mind, wonderful) older Pentax DSLR K200D - when I shot with it, more often than not, my subjects would be much much more aware of me than with any of the other cameras I've mentioned.

So, like I said, it's a tossup.

But probably at the top of my list are the 3 smallest cameras mentioned - the GR - the Coolpix - and weirdly enough the LX7.

Possibly if I'd succumbed to the temptation to get one of the tinier Lumix bodies - the GM1 or the GM5 - then that, mated with an appropriately wide and small (pancake preferred) lens would be on my list. Or even an Olympus PM2. And possibly the worst camera on my short list is the E-P1, simply because with its 1st-generation processing engine, it's the slowest shot-to-shot. But, that said, even so, it's a great street camera - and coupled with the tiny Oly 17mm pancake (the equivalent or course of Cartier-Bresson's classic 35mm field of view), it has to rank as a damn fine street camera too.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
I don't do much street shooting, except when I travel, so I don't have a camera dedicated to it. But when I have attempted it, I found the E-M5 with either the Oly 25 or 45 worked quite well, depending on how far back I was. I thought that after dusk the Pana 20 was frustrating on the street. But if I went out specifically to shoot street, I'd probably take my Leica X1 (with VF) set to manual focus and zone focused. It has worked quite well for the purpose. I have a trip to Laos coming up in November, and have thought of taking only the X-Pro-1 and the X20 (the E-M5 needing repair). I know I'll be at certain events, including a carnival at night to celebrate the Hmong New Year, and this thread has made me think that the X1 is tiny enough that throwing it into the mix is not going to send my carry-on baggage over the top. Hmmmmm. I know part of it is probably that Fuji is using a more conservative circle of confusion in it's in camera estimates of depth of field with the 27mm, but the X1 indicates significantly more DOFj and surely the 24mm on the X1 does have some advantage. For the 8x10 size I would typically display street photography the estimates seem accurate.

None of which addresses the OP's original question. But thought I'd put my half cent in anyway. I don't think I can come up with two cents for the amount of street shooting I've done.
 

Livnius

Top Veteran
Jun 3, 2012
Melbourne. Australia
Joe
I've settled on the Nikon A despite initially starting off with the GR. I found the Nikons compromises more aligned with mine.

The GR is for me still the most tactile and comfortable camera I've ever shot with, its curves just site beautifully in my paw and is a real joy to shoot with....the snap focus feature is also quite handy for quick, reactive shooting. In terms of tactile feel, the Nikon A is not at the same level IMO, but, the max ISO/min shutter speed logic of the Nikon works better for me.

The shooter can instruct both cameras to lock in a minimum shutter speed and a maximum ISO....but when a shot is taken in light that requires the camera to operate outside of those user defined limits is where for me the big difference between the two kicks in (as already mentioned several times in this times in this thread). As discussed, the Ricoh will gradually bump up the ISO until it is able to expose 'correctly', the Nikon will not breach the user defined upper ISO limit but will instead begin to gradually lower the shutter speed to compensate. Both sensors are really good...but the GR logic meant that all too often I found myself in ISO ranges that induced noise and color degradation beyond what I was comfortable with.

Having said that, I still miss how nice it is to shoot with the GR.
 
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dalethorn

Guest
(Might as well add some of my experience here) - When I had the first Coolpix A that I paid $1100 USD for, I was disappointed in it for some reason, maybe because I was fighting against the 28 mm view, or maybe the low light shots didn't seem good enough. Fast forward a couple years and several cameras, and I got the Leica Q and began anew with a 28 mm FL. And I've enjoyed it a lot! So after ignoring the $399 offers on the Coolpix A for a month or two, I finally got one from Samy's, and I've been amazed by the quality of its images. I guess the big difference for me was adopting the Leica Q's FL for long enough that when I segued to the Coolpix A, everything clicked.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Jan 19, 2015
(Might as well add some of my experience here) - When I had the first Coolpix A that I paid $1100 USD for, I was disappointed in it for some reason, maybe because I was fighting against the 28 mm view, or maybe the low light shots didn't seem good enough. Fast forward a couple years and several cameras, and I got the Leica Q and began anew with a 28 mm FL. And I've enjoyed it a lot! So after ignoring the $399 offers on the Coolpix A for a month or two, I finally got one from Samy's, and I've been amazed by the quality of its images. I guess the big difference for me was adopting the Leica Q's FL for long enough that when I segued to the Coolpix A, everything clicked.
I'm a poor man's version of you. Appreciating the Canon S95 again after a number of years with M43, haha.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
(Might as well add some of my experience here) - When I had the first Coolpix A that I paid $1100 USD for, I was disappointed in it for some reason, maybe because I was fighting against the 28 mm view, or maybe the low light shots didn't seem good enough. Fast forward a couple years and several cameras, and I got the Leica Q and began anew with a 28 mm FL. And I've enjoyed it a lot! So after ignoring the $399 offers on the Coolpix A for a month or two, I finally got one from Samy's, and I've been amazed by the quality of its images. I guess the big difference for me was adopting the Leica Q's FL for long enough that when I segued to the Coolpix A, everything clicked.
This is not uncommon. I designated the A as my only camera for last year's singles in January challenge. I had never been overly comfortable with the "28" FL except for a time when I was using the E-PM1 with the 14. Once you need to see that way for a while, it's a very creative FL.
 
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dalethorn

Guest
.....The shooter can instruct both cameras to lock in a minimum shutter speed and a maximum ISO....but when a shot is taken in light that requires the camera to operate outside of those user defined limits is where for me the big difference between the two kicks in (as already mentioned several times in this times in this thread). As discussed, the Ricoh will gradually bump up the ISO until it is able to expose 'correctly', the Nikon will not breach the user defined upper ISO limit but will instead begin to gradually lower the shutter speed to compensate. Both sensors are really good...but the GR logic meant that all too often I found myself in ISO ranges that induced noise and color degradation beyond what I was comfortable with.....
I've settled on my best-case method by starting with Aperture at f5.6, ISO at 200, Shutter on Auto. Then as I'm working, if I have a special need to change the DOF, I'll change the Aperture, but that's the least often change. If I need more light, I'll lower the Aperture, but only if the DOF is acceptable. If I exhaust that option, then I raise the ISO until I have an adequate minimum shutter speed for handheld burst shooting. So the main deal for me for most street etc. shooting is to pay attention only to one thing - shutter speed, then adjust Aperture first, then ISO. It's hard for me to say which of those two settings will have the most negative impact if allowed to float, since they have different effects. Probably it's high ISO that's the worst. But by checking shutter speed only as I go, it makes things easier.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
I am sort of like Ray in this, in that I do not go out looking to shoot "street photos"most of the time but when I am traveling for fun I could use any one of the cameras I may have brought with me (XT1, RX1r, GR or R100) with just a few adjustment in technique depending on the camera. When I am traveling for work or just working, I do not want to take some slr with the lens assortment, so it comes down to the pocket cameras and even though I still love the RX1r it can be a little big for my computer bag and just a little slow. So that brings me to the always there cameras, the GR, great camera but I never seem to see it in color always B&W. Lately the GR has been pushed out of the bag by first, the RX100 III and now the RX100 IV. Since I shoot these “street photos” just for fun I find the smaller chip of the RX100 a non-issue most of the time, the camera is very quick and versatile and does have that wacky viewfinder when you need it.
 

Lightmancer

Legend
Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
I agree. I think there's a whole sub-genre that's a mixture of street, travel, candid, close-up, still life and... Let's call it "Adjunct Photography" for the sake of anything more apt. It is not the same as incidental photography undertaken with a portable telephone; I am differentiating here by intent. Adjunct Photography requires the practitioner to have grabbed a camera before setting forth. It doesn't matter if they are going to work, shop, business trip, hospital visit, get some petrol or get a tin of beans; something in their head has said, in that little, tiny voice, "you might just see something a bit special today..."

Many of the cameras we are discussing in this thread are the tools of choice for the Adjunct-, er, -ist. In my own experience, the GR is the dernier cri in this market - at least until the next one comes along. It's not just about size and capability, it's also about more subtle factors such as the ability to charge directly without having to lug a charger - it makes a difference when flying hand-baggage only on an overnight business trip.

The Adjunctist of the past would have stashed a Leica in their attaché, a Vest Pocket Kodak in their battledress or an Olympus Trip in their wicker shopping basket. Today digital has increased convenience, but not changed the game all that much. The Adjunctist leads a sometimes misunderstood existence - "Are you really carrying a camera today/here/now?" - but their reward is sometimes, just sometimes, to capture that image that nobody else has - or can.

I tip my hat to my fellow Adjunctists, with our cameras in our briefcases, pockets, backpacks, under our jackets. Here's to you my friends.
 

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