The Best Compact Cameras for Street Photography

Are you going to hit the streets to document the craziness around you? Here are some great compact camera options to make that easier.

Street photography is a popular hobby for photographers in dense urban areas. One can simply pick up their camera, and go for a walk for a seemingly endless supply of people, moments, and interactions to capture. It is one of the easiest photographic hobbies to get into, but it is also one of the hardest to master due to its very nature of being almost completely candid and unplanned.

A street photographer must be quick to react while at the same time remaining an obscure figure in the crowd. Your choice of camera can have a great effect on your ability to blend into the sea of people on the street. And as most street photographers will attest, the smaller and more compact your setup the better.

So here are some of our picks for the top compact cameras to utilize for street photography. If you are looking into cameras for this purpose, then we suggest at least starting your search with the models noted below.


Fujifilm X-100F

The Fujifilm X-100F is in many ways the ideal compact street photographer’s camera. It offers a fairly large APS-C sensor, fast and reliable AF, as well as a look and design that isn’t going to call a lot of attention to the photographer. The biggest downsides to the camera are a lack of weather sealing and a lens design that really should have been updated this time around (the X100 series has used the same lens design for the last couple generations).

Read our X-100F Review (or [amazon_textlink asin=’B01N33CT3Z’ text=’Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’56151465-fa27-11e7-a01a-350cfbdd7ceb’])


Fujifilm X-E3

The Fujifilm X-E3 is about as small and compact as you can expect any camera with interchangeable lenses to be these days. It features the same sensor capabilities as Fujifilm’s X100F, minus the hybrid viewfinder, but for many that is a compromise they are willing to make in order to be able to change lenses. The combination of this camera and say, Fujifilm’s 27mm F2.8, would make for an incredibly compact package that is almost tailor-made for a street photographer.

Read our X-E3 Review ([amazon_textlink asin=’B0759G8F8N’ text=’or Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7fdcbabc-fa27-11e7-b543-f9c99b5b752f’])


Sony RX100 V

The Sony RX100 V features the smallest sensor on this list, but it makes up for it with some incredible features and capabilities. It also has one of the most versatile lenses of any of the fixed lens options on this list. It is very easily pocketable and thanks to its size it will not draw any attention whatsoever to the photographer while they are out and about. Its biggest weakness is the small sensor and the cameras low light capabilities when compared to these other options. However, in broad daylight, this camera is just as capable as these others.

Read our RX100 V Review (or [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MCRBY4X’ text=’Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9b07d63a-fa27-11e7-b191-87fefe30da08′])


Sony A6500

Similarly to how the X-E3 could be considered Fujifilm’s interchangeable lens alternative to the X-100F, the A6500 takes a similar role to the RX100 IV. However, the differences between the two are much more pronounced. The RX100 model features a small sensor, while the A6500 has a much larger APS-C sensor (and all the benefits that come with a sensor larger than one inch), while also maintaining many of the impressive features offered in the RX100 IV. Pair this camera with a small lens, and while it may not be as small as the options previously mentioned, it will still be plenty small and compact so as not to draw attention to yourself.

Read our A6500 Review (or [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M586Y9R’ text=’Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b10d5905-fa27-11e7-9a02-c53d86b29919′])


Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

One of the basic tenants and realities of micro four thirds cameras is that by their very nature they are all very small and compact compared to every other camera in their respective categories. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II is no exception to that rule. Thanks to some stellar performance and great features, this is an outstanding option for daylight street photographers. Micro four thirds cameras like the E-M5 II will suffer in lower light compared to their larger sensor brethren, but their performance is still more than good enough for most people being realistic about their needs.

Read our OM-D E-M5 II Review (or [amazon_textlink asin=’B00S6DBM2S’ text=’Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cf18fff7-fa27-11e7-b08f-2f8b48b979c2′])


Ricoh GR-II

A longtime favorite of street photographers thanks to its very small and compact nature, while maintaining excellent image quality and capability. The Ricoh GR-II maybe doesn’t enjoy the broad popularity and recognition of the other options on this list due to the brand name – but don’t let it scare you. There is a reason so many street photographers own and love this camera for their street photography adventures.

Read our Ricoh GR-II  Review (or [amazon_textlink asin=’B00ZY9JJEU’ text=’Buy One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e8ffb4a6-fa27-11e7-aea6-7f050cc40254′])


There you have it. Some of our picks for the best compact cameras that you can and should consider for street photography. Good luck on making a decision, and happy shooting!

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.