Discover the perfect camera for street photography that fits your budget and style. From shooting in daylight to capturing the vintage look, our guide has you covered

When venturing into the world of street photography, choosing the right camera can be a daunting decision. The fast-paced nature of street photography demands a reliable camera that offers quick, sharp focus and delivers high-quality, crisp images. You'll need to consider what type of camera suits your style: 

  • Are you shooting during daylight or at night? 

  • Do you prefer sharp, modern images?

  • Or are you drawn to the older aesthetic of a film camera? 

Unfortunately, cameras can be costly, and as any enthusiast will tell you, you can never have enough gear. Whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned professional, our guide offers suggestions to help you make an informed decision. Stay tuned for more.

Essential Features of a Street Photography Camera

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(2)

When it comes to street photography, there are a few essentials to consider for any brand and type of camera. First, your camera needs to be lightweight. While using a tripod can be beneficial occasionally, street photography is mostly fluid, so being burdened with bulky gear isn’t ideal. Lightweight cameras and lenses will allow you to move quickly and keep up with the action. Also, you might find yourself waiting for the perfect moment to capture a passing subject, and holding heavy equipment for long periods can become taxing.

Capture the World in Stunning Detail with an AI Photo Editor

Try Now!

Additionally, having a fast lens is crucial. Since street photography often relies on autofocus, especially in unpredictable scenes, you need a lens that can quickly and reliably achieve sharp focus. Lenses with focal lengths of 35mm to 50mm are typically favored for street photography. These lenses are not only lightweight and fast but also provide an ideal focal length that captures street scenes effectively.

Camera Recommendations

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(3)

One of the best places to get your first camera is to look for a decent second-hand camera in a store or marketplace. Usually, you can find a good deal which may even include a good lens. With photography being an expensive venture, finding a used camera will allow you to get some quality gear at a budget-friendly price. 

Best Cameras for Beginners

1. Canon EOS 4000D DSLR

This entry-level DSLR is an excellent choice if you're just starting in photography. It's budget-friendly and user-friendly, making it an ideal starter camera. One of the best advantages of choosing a Canon for your first camera is the extensive range of compatible lenses available, which will be invaluable as you grow more confident in your photography skills.

Your AI-Powered Photo Editor for MacOS and Windows


2. Canon EOS R50

For those interested in exploring mirrorless technology, the Canon EOS R50 is a superb starting point. Mirrorless cameras are typically lighter and allow you to view the scene through the electronic viewfinder exactly as the sensor will capture it, which is especially useful when you start experimenting with manual modes.

3. Sony A5100

If portability is a priority, the Sony A5100 is worth considering. This compact camera delivers excellent image quality and is compatible with a wide range of high-quality Sony lenses. Its small size makes it perfect for street photography, offering discretion and the ability to slip easily into your pocket.

And what about Smartphone Photography?

Mobile photography can be an ideal solution for beginners. Nowadays, smartphone cameras have become impressively effective, offering high-quality photo and video capabilities. Additionally, various companies now create attachments, such as lenses, that can further enhance the quality of your smartphone photos. Using your phone, you can experiment with composition and lighting. Many smartphones also offer manual settings, allowing you to gain familiarity with these controls, which will be beneficial when you transition to using a dedicated camera.

Must Know Key Points of Mobile Portrait Photography

learn more

Professional Cameras for Daytime Photography

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(4)

Now, let's discuss more advanced equipment. We'll begin with cameras that are perfect for photographers who prefer shooting in daylight or under high-light conditions.

1. Fuji X100V

Lately, Fuji cameras have been highly sought after and can be difficult to obtain. If you are lucky enough to acquire this model, you'll find it a joy for street photography. The X100V is designed specifically for this purpose, featuring a fixed 23mm lens with an APS-C sensor that achieves a 35mm equivalent focal length. It also offers built-in film simulation presets with high-quality JPEG output, allowing you to shoot and share your images online immediately.

2. Sony RX100 VII

Compact, lightweight, and incredibly efficient, the Sony RX100 VII is a top choice for street photographers. It boasts rapid autofocus capabilities, including Sony’s advanced eye-tracking features, making it highly reliable for capturing those fleeting moments that are so common in street photography. While the lens offers a versatile range from 24mm to 200mm, the best image quality is found within the 24mm to 50mm range.

3. Leica Q2

For those where budget is less of a concern, the Leica Q2 represents the pinnacle of street photography cameras. This camera is robustly built and features an f/1.8, 28mm lens that delivers exceptional image quality. Equipped with a full-frame 47.3-megapixel sensor, the Q2 produces images that are both sharp and crisp, impressive on both screens and in print. Although the price tag is steep, the investment is justifiable for a camera of this calibre that is built to last.

Professional Camera For Night Photography

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(5)

Sure, you can use a regular camera for night photography, but if you often find yourself shooting in low-light conditions, these options are worth considering. They’re designed to perform exceptionally well in the dark and will definitely improve your night shots.

1. Sony A7RV

For low-light photography, full-frame cameras are often the best option, especially if you frequently shoot in such conditions. The Sony A7R series offers powerful full-frame, mirrorless capabilities ideal for low light. The latest model, the A7RV, features a robust 61-megapixel sensor. Another significant advantage of this camera is its relatively lightweight and compact design, which can be paired with a wide range of high-quality Sony lenses. Although the price point is high, the quality and reliability you get with this camera justify the investment.

Exclusive Tools of Endless Possibilities in One AI Editor


2. Nikon Z7 II

The Nikon Z7 II is an excellent choice for low-light conditions, particularly because of its superior handling of high ISO settings, which are crucial for night photography. With this camera, you can confidently increase your ISO settings without significantly compromising image quality, thanks to its advanced noise reduction capabilities.

Back to Film Photography

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(6)

Why not go back to where it all started, with a film camera? Film photography is a broad topic, as not only do we have cameras and lenses to consider, but also different film stocks for various times of day and weather conditions. However, being so hands-on with your camera is a feeling like no other and can quickly become quite addictive. When looking to purchase a film camera, you'll want to explore marketplaces, but be sure to diligently research potential issues such as mould and moisture that might have found their way onto the sensor—remember, these cameras are decades old!

All About Film Photography

learn more

If a film camera is your very first camera, you will need to familiarise yourself with the exposure triangle, which includes ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, as traditional film cameras do not offer automatic settings. If you're finding it difficult to get the right exposure for your shots, consider using a light meter or a light meter app that can recommend appropriate settings based on your environment.

Additional Equipment

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(7)
  • Photography Backpacks: There are some fantastic backpacks designed with specialised compartments for cameras, lenses, and all of your other equipment. To further protect your gear during those moody rainy street photography sessions, consider including a waterproof cover for your bag.

  • Spare Memory Cards: It’s always a good idea to carry a few spare memory cards just to be on the safe side. Some cameras even feature dual memory card slots, maximising available memory so you can stay out shooting for many hours.

  • Quick Release Camera Straps: These handy devices allow you to quickly detach your camera strap when switching between handheld shooting and using a tripod. They are extremely secure and save a great deal of time.

  • Prisms: If you are working with city lights at night, try using prisms to give your night photography a creative edge. Whether you are shooting car lights, traffic lights, or neon lights, prisms can help you achieve some spectacular effects.

  • Filters: Filters can create specific moods and effects. With a wide range to choose from, ensure that the filter is compatible with your lens.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(8)

If you are just starting out in street photography or have been roaming the streets with a camera in hand for some time, deciding which camera to invest in can be challenging. There are several factors to consider, including your budget, the time of day you plan to shoot, the size and weight of the camera, and the overall aesthetic you aim to achieve with your shots. 

Each year brings new, faster, sharper, and more advanced equipment, and every photographer dreams of having an endless budget to accommodate this gear. While cameras and lenses can be expensive, quality gear is built to last. If you are unsure about which camera to purchase, consider renting different models in your area to have a hands-on experience before making a decision. 

There's nothing quite like the excitement of taking a new camera or lens out for its first street photography session—it makes all the research and waiting worthwhile. So take your time, do your research, test out different options, and enjoy your brand-new purchase during memorable street photography outings.

A Special Perk for Our Blog Readers

Get a 10% discount on Luminar Neo and dive into professional photo editing today!

Please, enter valid email!

Thank you for subscribing.

Your gift is waiting in your inbox!

Choosing the Best Street Photography Camera | Skylum Blog(9)

Advanced yet easy-to-use photo editor

view plans