Should you use a DSLR or a mirrorless for Street Photography?

Street Photography can be done with any camera. However if you must chose, is it better to have a DSLR vs mirrorless for street photography? Let's dig right in:

DSLR vs Mirrorless Street Photography

When it comes to street photography mirrorless cameras win by a long-shot. DSLRs are highly discouraged actually. Why? 4 Reasons:

1. Mirrorless cameras are lighter

Mirrorless cameras are lighter than their DSLR counterparts. Most of them at least, like the PEN F, Ricoh GXR and Fuji X100 among others great street photography cameras. This is important in the streets because after a few hours, your hands will get tired. Since a lot of street photographers love to have a camera on a strap around their neck, if your camera is heavy enough, you might end up damaging your neck. This happened to a friend, and he wasn't even dangling a DSLR but a large mirrorless camera with a huge lens.

Street photograph made with a mirrorless camera

2. Mirrorless cameras make it easier to get the shot

Since mirrorless cameras are smaller, you can twist and turn them more easily than you can a dslr. This allow for odd-angle shots that are very hard to get when your camera is heavy and bulky.

3. You scare your subjects away with a DSLR

Street photography is usually done in a stealthy manner, streetshooters try to be as silent and stealthy as possible to get the shot. Nothing gives you away faster than a DSLR that screams “photographer!” from a mile away. You blend in easier with a small camera.

4. Mirrorless cameras have MOJO

Lastly, mirrorless cameras have major MOJO while DSLRs are simply…DSLRs. They are simply bland, big, black cameras. They are boring. Look for yourself, a EOS 200D vs the Olympus PEN F:

DSLR vs mirrorless looks comparison
Come on. Which looks better?

Is it shallow to talk about the cameras looks when both equally can make great pictures? I used to have gear acquisition syndrome, and let me tell you, a cameras mojo is IMPORTANT. Why? Because you end up loving your camera, and the best camera is the one you love. Because you end up shooting it more and more and WANT to use it. I started on a Nikon D80, and had a few DSLRs but I don't remember enjoying any one of them in particular.

Another shot made with a mirrorless camera

Like the processing? Images processed with these street photography presets.

DSLR vs Mirrorless Street Photography conclusion

Mirrorless cameras are better than DSLRs for street photography for these 4 reasons. That being said, there is also the Ricoh GR that has a large sensor and is pocketable, and some street photographers (like me) like the small sensor cameras.

But hey, your camera is only as good as you are. A great street photographer is a great street photographer no matter what camera. If you are reading this, you are interested in street photography, right? Then check out my street photography course. It has everything I know about street photography and much more.

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