When walking around the streets of any big city, the best camera is always the one that you have on you. But lots of us here at the Phoblographer love point and shoots. These cameras are lightweight, better than a phone, small, and so low profile that no one will think that you look like a creep. But what we care about a whole lot more is the image quality–and many modern cameras perform more than well enough to please even the most snobbish of shooters.
Here are our picks for the best cameras for street photography.
Canon G1X Mk II
The Canon G1X MK II almost won an Editor’s Choice award with us, but a few things prevented us from giving it the full five stars. The camera delivers some excellent image quality and has some of the best colors that we’ve seen from most cameras these days. It also has a slightly beefy feel, WiFi connectivity, controls for all the exposure values at your finger tips, and is truly portable. While we’re not talking about pocketable, it is surely something that we’d be glad to tote around with a nice leather strap and a half case.
As for autofocusing performance, it mostly hit its targets when walking around the streets. And when it didn’t, we had no problems using our editing abilities to make the image look better then send up to Instagram or EyeEm. The image quality can be attributed to its slightly-larger-than-Micro-Four-Thirds sensor at the heart.
In fact, we believe that you really can’t go wrong with this product.
Sony RX100 Mk III
While we’re still working on our review of the RX100 Mk III, the camera has been impressing us quite a bit. It’s a truly pocketable digital camera with a 24-70mm equivalent lens with an f1.8-f2.8 aperture, it’ll be able to tackle most situations that you’ll run into on the streets.
At its heart, the RX100 Mk III houses a 1 inch sensor, which means that you’ll get a whole lot in focus at f1.8. In some of our tests so far, we’re also quite impressed with the amount of details that it pulls in at a given aperture. This can be attributed to the Zeiss lens attached to the body.
But besides the great image quality, what you’ll also appreciate is that the RX100 Mk III has a pop-up EVF that works quite well. We have some quibbles with its ease of use, but otherwise we commend Sony for doing this as very few have really got it right.
Then there is the built-in Wifi that the camera has for quick uploading to the web as soon as you’ve got the image. Just imagine how fast you can update your Tumblr with this camera.
The Fujifilm X100s has some focusing issues that have been fixed with firmware updates, but otherwise there is very little that you can do to hate on what could be one of the best designed point and shoot cameras of our time.
At the heart of the X100s is an APS-C X-Trans sensor specially designed to keep image noise down and render better colors and resolution. And in front of that heart is a 23mm f2 lens that renders a 35mm field of view–perfect for street shooting. Then consider the aperture ring, shutter speed dial, and quick control that you can have over the ISO settings and you’ll have something amazing on your hands.
The other nice thing about the X100s is the hybrid viewfinder: which lets you use the optical setting or electronic depending on what you and your eyes prefer. While performance with the EVF is much faster, you can’t really knock the OVF too much.
Tote it around your shoulder and you’ll have a camera that you’ll want to carry everywhere with you. Not only is it fairly compact, but it has some great retro-inspired looks. One can easily say that it very much is modeled after the old Hexar AF film camera that dominated in the street scene.
Ricoh has an incredible history in the street photography world. Funny enough, right after Nikon released the Nikon A, Ricoh came out with this camera. As an ode to the original GR film camera, they coined this one the Ricoh GR. Housing an APS-C sensor and a 28mm equivalent lens, it is small with grippy material and a pretty solid build overall.
The camera’s APS-C sensor has no OLPF, so it will deliver sharper and more crisp images. And while it keeps the noise down at higher ISOs, it still isn’t the greatest. However, those images can be converted to grainy black and whites–and a little grain never hurt anyone too badly.