Hahaha glad we all have a sense of humor. I could care less if it is loud to me, I just don't want to be too distracting too my subjects. I think in the "ideal" street scenario where there are lots of people and ambient noise it won't be a problem at all. However, when I encounter someone alone then it becomes awkward or uncomfortable (for us both).
I still have a lot of things to learn about street photography and building up my confidence is definitely one of them.
Thanks for the tips guys, I had forgotten about the RT, that should be a pretty quiet camera!
I've owned the 630, RT, original Elan, and 1v. The original Elan is way, way quieter than the 1/1N/1v. It's also very cheap these days, if you can find one in decent condition. However, if you're used to the responsiveness of a 1-series camera, the Elan will take some getting used to.
The RT is a very interesting camera, and definitely not so obtrusive as a 1-series. I think the biggest drawback is that manual metering is primitive and awkward. And of course, if you're trying to follow things that are happening quickly, the AF isn't in the same league as later 1-series cameras.
People are known to practice street photography with anything from little Olympus Trips up to big noisy "sky-shuttering" Pentax 67s. Shutter noise is never a big issue because most of the time it's masked from ambient noise. I believe that you should concentrate more on lens, weight (a sharp 28-35 will do) and technique and less on shutter noise.
The EOS 30(E)/Elan 7(E) is the most quiet Canon EOS SLR camera. But compared to a Leica M7 still noisy and even more quiet is the C.V. Bessa III 667 RF medium format camera. You can hardly hear if a picture has been made
My old Kodak Instamatic 500 is dead quiet, sometimes I'm not sure I've taken the shot but it has a self cocking shutter so I don't make accidental double exposures like I can with my Yashicaflex. Both are leaf shutters so very quiet.
The Elan 7 was supposed to be the quiestest EOS I thought. I have a 1NRS and even without mirror slap I find the shutter to be kind of noisy, metal curtains and all. The 1V's autofocus is second to none, the 1N isn't bad but my old 10S and 650 often fail especially in portrait orientation with the old BASIS sensors.
Often it is simpler not to have to focus at all, my Kodak Instamatic has scale focus and for street that can be the quickest, just prefocus, preset the aperture and shutter speed and just shoot.
Depending on the location I've done street photography with all the cameras above, Canon FTb or even the Mamiya RB67 which is HUGE (sometimes mistaken for an old movie camera due to the bellows focus) and sounds like a door slamming shut with the 6x7 mirror! The separate film advance and shutter cocking sounds a bit like a bolt action too.
Another vote for technique over equipment - don't sit there composing your shot like you would with a view camera on a tripod - if that's how you work, you'll end up drawing everyone's attention even if you're shooting with a pinhole with no mechanical parts whatever. I make a terrible street shooter because most of the time I do work with a view camera and I'm thinking about "Is that finger-tip still in the frame? What about that wire? Does that shrub look like it's growing out of someone's head?" and I take too long composing the background and then the subject notices I'm pointing a camera their way. When I practice quick and loose shooting, not worrying about the composition so much, my Contax G2 with its noisy auto-focus is absolutely invisible.