Best street camera for every purpose?

Rain

Shot with iPhone

You can find tons of suggestions about camera gear in the internet, especially for street photographers. The more I do and practice street photography, the more I realize, that literally any kind of camera is suitable for street photography, even smartphones. It is less a question of brand or specification than more of purpose and practice.

When I started with street photography, I prefered to be „invisible“. I thought, the smaller the better and used my smartphone. The results where really satisfying. Usually I have that “camera” always in my pocket, it is extremely stealthy and there is a “photo lab” in my hand. I can process and share the taken images immediately, if I want.

Shot with iPhone

But remember Vivian Maier with her Rolleiflex or Joel Meyerowitz with his 8×10 camera on a wooden tripod. Size obviously doesn’t matter. I met a few guys using a heavy DSLR during a workshop with Eric Kim.

It surely depends on the purpose and your self-confidence, which size or kind of camera to choose. If you prefer candid and stealthy shots and when you are very close to your subjects, it’s easier to shoot with a small and unobtrusive camera. If you „have the balls“ to approach people and ask for permission or you are shooting with a tele-lens from a distance, you can use a big one too.

A camera has to support me „making“ the picture, to concentrate on composition, to tell a story. It has to be very fast and reliable. At the moment is it the Fujifilm X100T for me.

Shot with Fujifilm X100T and Fujifilm X-T2

The important specs of a camera for street photography in my eyes should be:

  • Fast auto-focus
  • high ISO/low noise
  • fast (light-intense) lens
  • quiet/silent shutter
  • light weight
  • easy handling

This „Jack of all trades“ is hard to find. Depending on your brand fixation and your budget you have to compromise.

Apart from that the following quote applies to that question properly:

There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.
Ernst Haas, austrian-american photographer, 1921–1986

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