What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

Started Jul 21, 2008 | Discussions
2005magnum Veteran Member • Posts: 4,473
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

Take a look at the the new Pany on today's news. That LX3 might be an excellent choice. Looks like Pany may have the right formula with a larger CCD, 24-60 lens and I noticed that it is set up for a neck strap.

calvinboy24 Regular Member • Posts: 458
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

dpreviewuser wrote:

I have a 5D and want to get a P&S camera for street photography in a
city. I want something more subtle than my 5D+ 17-40mm/24-105mm.

I'm looking at the Canon G9 or SD1100, Samsung NV24, Sigma DP1, or
maybe Olympus E420 with pancake lens.

Along with my recommendation for the GX100, I'll provide some further insight into this:

The "classic" street photography kit is a Leica M Rangefinder. I use the M8 when shooting street photography as its smaller than my 5D + 24-70. The obvious advantages are carrying weight, and being a bit more unobtrusive than an SLR.

P&S's can be used for street photography, as they are smaller, light, and unobtrusive, but lack some advantages that an SLR or Rangefinder can provide. These include:

  • Longer shutter lag: street photography is a lot about that "decisive moment", and the quicker the camera captures the frame from the release of the shutter, the better you'll have the moment you spotted on the street. Most P&S suffer from longer shutter lags than SLR's or Rangefinders. This is excluding slower autofocus which is my next point.

  • Slower autofocus: try as much as you can, but P&S autofocus are usually pretty slow. You compose, wait for the camera to focus, snap the shot, and your subject has either moved away or is reacting to you taking your photo. The Ricoh GX100 has a feature called "Snap focus" which is their equivalent to hyperfocal distance setting. I've played around with this but don't have an opinion of it.

  • Lack of high ISO's: probably with the exception of the Fujifilm P&S's, other P&S's suffer from excessive noise at higher ISO's (400+). I don't like to/can't use flash for street photography. Therefore you need to bump up ISO to a minimum of 400, which even on the GX100 and the Panasonic DMC-LX2 produces relatively noisy images (obviously compared to ISO 400 or even 800 on a 5D).

  • RAW or not to RAW?: Only a limited number of P&S's have RAW capability. If you're shooting JPG and can live without the flexibility of having the RAW information, then your options are greater.

These considerations were all the ones that I examined when looking at a P&S. I wanted RAW, something smallish, with manual focus and manual controls (aperture and shutter speed), as well as something with a "fast" lens (lower than f3.5). This limited myself to the Canon G9, Ricoh GX100, Panasonic DMC-LX2. Others near the playing field are the DP1, Fuji F30, and a scattering of others (other Panasonics, Canon ELPHs, Nikon's, etc.).

I first bought the LX2 which I really liked. But then I got a hold of the GX100 and decided to switch. To me their quality and usage is about equal, although the GX100 is more expensive. I opted against the G9 due to its thickness, although the G9 has been receiving some stellar reviews.

Apparently this morning, Panasonic announced the DMC-LX3. Recently, Ricoh announced the GX200, both of which are successors to the cameras mentioned above.

In the end, what you choose has to be right for your purposes.

My recommendation actually... get a Leica M8 and a 35mm Summicron... if money wasn't an issue. If money isn't so much an issue, get a used M6TTL. If money's somewhat an issue, get either the LX3, GX200, or G9. If money IS an issue... get the F30.

Also, check out this website: http://www.seriouscompacts.com/

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Max Savin Senior Member • Posts: 2,313
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

have you used a point and shoot camera? i bought one (G9) for a trip to europe and after years of slr usage (1Ds, 1Ds2, 1Ds3) found it near impossible to get the accurately composed pictures that i try for. looking at the back screen which invariable is hard to see because of sunlight is a pain. the viewfinder really sucks and it is so iso limited that it is only usefull on a sunny day. i gave it to my wife and bought an xsi with tamron 17-50 f2.8. i have not been sorry for this switch.

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Leif Laaksonen Junior Member • Posts: 47
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd

An old camera but still very capable! However I doubt it's possible to find it in any shops.

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LarryPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,612
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

Nikon D40 backs my Canon 40D up for that knid of shots.

AdrianGB Contributing Member • Posts: 593
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

ricoh grd2

fixed lens, and noise means you are forced to be creative!

great lens, great flash, great features, and built for photographers (manual controls, flexibility), in my view.

rauf1 Regular Member • Posts: 109
if G9 has a flip/flap lcd...

I choose Ricoh GX100. Very fast AF, nice 24mm, silent, size even too small ...cons is as usual with tiny sensor "grain" above ISO200. Clever is set zoom to jump mode: 24-28-35-50-70. Last but not least...with underwater housing from Sea&Sea u can get sth like this

Main difference with grown up camera? It's much more difficult to get good shot. You need to give thought before. Who call it P&S? It should be "think twice before shot"...

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L M Lloyd Regular Member • Posts: 429
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

My wife loves her G9.

I use the 5D for everything, but I have been quite impressed by the quality of some of the pics she has gotten with the G9.

-- hide signature --

The goal is to overcome the deliberate nature of the process.

PIXmantra Senior Member • Posts: 1,637
There is *nothing like it*, available today. Great choice! (nt)


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'What we do in life, echoes in eternity...'

winnonlin Regular Member • Posts: 337
none right now

But I seriously considered Ricoh R7 (R8 is nice but pricy), for the wide angle and style. Hesitated for its low light performance. I assume occasionally everybody will need to shoot a few social pictures with friends/family without pulling out the heavy gears. Also the movie function is not sufficient.

With today's release of Lumix LX3, I would say I am going to buy that, given the upcoming reviews are positive.


KM Maxxum 5D + kit lens since 16 Sep 2005, 50/1.7, 100-300 APO(D), 28-75/2.8D, switch to 30D+17-40/4UL on 16 Oct 2006, 85/1.8, 70-200/4L IS

Jeff Laitila Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Epson R-D1

Slap on a wide angle and set it for hyper-focal, and your ready to go.

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OdieSchnitzel Regular Member • Posts: 169
Minolta Dimage X1

An "old" Minolta Dimage X1, I like it because it has an real CCD Antishake and still is very compact, so it fits in any pocket! But also I am afraid, it is not sold anymore!

Visit my Gallery at http://www.digital-photos.at

Mark Weston Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
E420 with 25mm Pancake

This is my new light weight set up. I prefer this to the G7 that I passed on to a family member.

blackhawk13 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,742
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

5D Monster wrote:

My P&S camera is a 5D. I dont use anything lower that that. Yes I
know its not a P&S, but thats what I use when I leave the 1DsMkIII at

-- hide signature --

Ha-ha, mine is the 1DMK-3, and I prefer it for street shooting over my 5D unless I want to go wide. Faster AF locks ons, better tracking, best view finder. I find people tend to be more receptive with the pro frame and it's a lot easier to hold.

As for the original poster Q:

Sneaking around will cause you to have issues, and maybe bad ones. People see lenses. A P&S being concealed would make almost anyone concerned, and if by chance you line up something that is a bit racy, be prepared for real problems if your spotted. Sorry, but it sounds shady right from the get go, and many will feel that your up to no good, including cops. It will creep people out.

-I shoot my images as I live, in the open-

Hey any movie peeps need a rigger? Blackhawk for hire.

dddiver Regular Member • Posts: 379
Canon G6 - best G-series ever.

Not only for on the street, but also for under water (in Ikelite housing).

It also uses same CF-cards and same BP-511 batteries as my 5D and 30D SLR's, which keeps logistics very simple!
For me G7 and G9 are downhill successors of G6.


Geenine Contributing Member • Posts: 990
Re: What's your P&S camera (for street photography)?

I bought a G9 for this use, but after I upgraded to a 1D MKII, I find I'm using my old 350 with only the kit lens more and more, and leaving the G9 at home...

I find the G9 to be so big and heavy that it's almost an equal "hazzle" to carry around as the 350, and the 350 gives me much better shots.

I'm considering buying a Sigma 18-125 OS,and selling the G9 to pay for it, (and changing my nick,) even though I love the G9 too...

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thx1138 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,162
Probably the new lumix LX-3

dpreviewuser wrote:

I have a 5D and want to get a P&S camera for street photography in a
city. I want something more subtle than my 5D+ 17-40mm/24-105mm.

I'm looking at the Canon G9 or SD1100, Samsung NV24, Sigma DP1, or
maybe Olympus E420 with pancake lens.

But it'll have to be a lot better than the cr@p out there now. I've been more than happy to use a DSLR and will continue to do so if the P&S noise machines don't improve.

Andy Simmons Contributing Member • Posts: 938
Any P&S Cams with Manual Controls?

I'd really like to control aperture so I could narrow DOF. Any P&S cameras that allow this?

Cesare Ferrari Regular Member • Posts: 431
You want a film camera for street work, honest

I use a combination of film cameras depending on what mood i'm in, and what I want to lug about. I tend to use an Olympus 35 RD which is a 35mm rangefinder with a f1.7 40mm lens - armed with some suitable B&W film you can shoot in just about any situation and light very discretely and get very good results. I shoot Ilford FP4, HP5 and Delta 3200 depending on what light i'm likely to get, sometimes pushed.

I also use a Mamiya C3 with an 80/2.8. This is a TLR medium format camera. The joy of this for street photography is the waist level finder which means you aren't looking at people when you take their picture. It works very well for candid and street work since people are generally not that aware these days that you can be looking down and taking pictures of them. Also the C3 has bellows which means you can focus close without extension tubes.

Here are a few from the C3:

And for comarison here is a 1D Mark II shot, again London commuters in the rain:

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John A Clark Senior Member • Posts: 1,519
Fuji F31fd

King of the high ISO P&S ... I also use a G9 on bright days, but noise is plain to see when pixel peeping, even in daylight!

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