Best camera for street photography - DSLR vs CSC vs Compact

What's best for photographing a bustling market?

The compact camera is of course what most people will have quick access to, and is an obvious choice if you just want a few quick snaps and are out with the family. We chose the Samsung MV800, which features a flip-out display.

Of all of the cameras we used, the compact camera was the most discreet, allowing for quick detail shots to be grabbed without drawing attention or getting in the way of other customers.


  • Discreet
  • (A few) have an articulated screen - though most don't
  • Touchscreen available on many models
  • Quick to grab photos, no extensive knowledge required


  • Attractive shallow depth of field effects harder to achieve
  • No viewfinder or EVF (on most compacts)
  • Dynamic range is limited, making it easier to burn out highlights
  • Shadow noise will be more apparent
  • Limited manual settings (on most compacts)

Chucking a compact camera in your pocket is the best option if your primary reason for being somewhere like a Christmas market is to have fun or shop. However, with the lack of manual control and different creative options on most models can limit creativity.

Street photography compact

Street photography compact

Street photography compact

Street photography compact

Street photography compact


News Reporter

Amy (Twitter, Google+, blog) is a freelance journalist and photographer. She worked full-time as the News Reporter / Technical Writer (cameras) across Future Publishing's photography brands and TechRadar between 2009 and 2014 having become obsessed with photography at an early age. Since graduating from Cardiff Journalism School, she's also won awards for her blogging skills and photographic prowess, and once snatched exhibition space from a Magnum photographer.