What type of film camera is best for street photography?

Any film camera can be used for street photography and can give you excellent results. However some cameras are certainly more popular than others for photographers wishing to capture life on the streets.

Point-and-shoot cameras

Most people who want to do street photography are looking for compact cameras – something lightweight and unobtrusive, that will allow them to take photos quickly, without having to pause and adjust the camera’s settings too much. It makes sense then that automatic point-and-shoot cameras are popular with street photographers.

These cameras are small enough to be easily slipped in and out of the pocket, and do not require the user to adjust their camera settings for every shot. They also usually have autofocus, focus-free (where the focal point is fixed at its hyperfocal distance) or quick zone-focusing systems. They are the epitome of the “don’t think, just shoot” attitude, and ensure that you will not miss the opportunity to capture those fleeting perfect moments.

Photo credits: @vicuna & @opon21 with the Lomo LC-A+


Rangefinder cameras and ultra-compact pancake lenses are also a very popular choice for street photographers. They offer more control over settings than many point-and-shoots, but can still be simple enough to operate. Compared to SLR cameras they are generally considered easier and faster to focus, and because they don’t have a mirror they are also more compact, as well as quieter when firing the shutter. The Leica M series are the quintessential and most coveted rangefinders for street photography, however there are plenty of excellent and more affordable alternatives available.

Photo credits: @duffman,

110 cameras

110 cameras have been making a comeback in recent years. We’d love to see this trend continue, and what better way to utilize their strengths than in street photography. 110 cameras are so tiny they can easily go unnoticed in public, and the enhanced grain of 110 film will give a beautifully retro look to any street shots.

Photo credits: @mackiechartres, @berlin-runner, @johbeil

SLR cameras

SLRs are a less popular choice for street photography. The camera bodies are generally bulky as they need to accommodate the internal mirror, and this mirror also slaps loudly when firing the shutter, an unwanted trait for many stealthy street photographers. However, don’t write these cameras off completely. An SLR with semi-automatic settings, paired with a sharp lens can still be a great tool for street photography.

Photo credits: @frenchyfyl, @maria_vlachou

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