Thanks to modern technology, it has become a regular everyday thing to capture photos. More and more types of cameras are being developed to suit every aspiring photographer and photography enthusiast’s artistic style and needs.
Nowadays, cameras come in various forms. These camera types include compact digital cameras, DSLRs, action cameras, new and improved film cameras, and also the latest mirrorless cameras. It can be a bit hard to choose which type of camera to go for, but one can easily figure out which one will work best for them if they have an in-depth knowledge of cameras, and their pros and cons.
Whether you are a beginner, a hobbyist, or a professional, this blog will help you to find the specific camera that fits your lifestyle and photography needs.
Types of Cameras
1. Compact Digital Camera
Compact digital cameras allow anyone to capture beautiful images by simply pointing the camera at the subject and clicking the shutter. It is also known as a point-and-shoot camera. This is the most user-friendly of all camera types. It is small and light and doesn’t require film or extra lenses. It also does all the hard work of automatically adjusting its settings to deliver well-exposed photos every time. You will not have the freedom of adjusting the settings to your liking. However, with a good artistic eye and a knack for composition, you should have no problem producing great photos.
This walk-around digital camera is incredibly handy and surprisingly very durable. Therefore, people still use their Canon and Sony digital compact cameras from over a decade ago. It fits right in your pocket or a small camera pouch. Therefore, it’s a perfect choice for photography enthusiasts who want to have the convenience of being able to take higher-resolution snapshots (compared to most smartphone cameras).
2. Bridge Camera
In general, a bridge camera is “somewhere between” a point-and-shoot and an interchangeable lens camera. It has a large zoom range, and a viewfinder, and allows for some manual control of settings. It’s ideal for someone who has “graduated” from a point-and-shoot but isn’t ready yet to invest in an interchangeable lens camera (ILC) system or doesn’t want the inconvenience of carrying around and changing multiple lenses.
Bridge cameras typically have image sensors that are smaller than those found in interchangeable lens cameras but larger than in most point-and-shoots. Two of the more popular bridge cameras are the Sony RX10 IV and Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ1000M2. They both offer incredible focal length ranges (24-600mm for the Sony and 25-400mm for the Panasonic) and fairly bright apertures. They also use a 1-inch sensor, which will produce much better-quality images than from a typical point-and-shoot camera sensor. The Sony is also weather sealed in case your photography adventures take you to harsh environments.
Bridge cameras often find themselves in the bags of travel photographers who want to capture a variety of subject matter while keeping equipment to a minimum. As long as you are comfortable with the limitations of just one lens, a smaller sensor size than most interchangeable lens cameras and a somewhat slower operational speed, a bridge camera such as the Sony or Panasonic are good options.
3. Digital SLR Camera
DSLR takes photos to the next level of image quality. This type of camera is best known for delivering remarkably sharp and spectacular images. It produces beautiful background bokeh, and even high-resolution videos with the help of its advanced sensors, manual settings, and wide range of interchangeable lenses.
Today, professional photographers and videographers from around the world mostly use DSLRs (now alternatively known as hybrid single-reflex lens cameras or HDSLR) for commercial purposes. Many of Canon’s and Nikon’s DSLR cameras are being used for capturing hi-res images for magazines and billboards, and even full HD 1080p videos at up to 60fps for television shows and movies. Pentax DSLRs are also well-known for being the perfect camera buddy for shooting under the most difficult weather situations.
While they are considered high-end, there are more affordable entry-level DSLRs for beginners. They are suitable for almost every kind of photography out there, so anyone—from hobbyists to event and sports photographers—can opt for this type of camera.
There are two types of DSLRs: the full-frame or 35mm, and the crop sensor or APS-C. A full-frame DSLR camera has a 36x24mm sensor, which typically yields better image quality and low-light capability. They also tend to be more expensive than their crop sensor counterparts, which cover less of the image projected by the lens due to the smaller sensor.
4. Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless Cameras are the latest in professional cameras. They are more compact DSLRs without the internal mirror that reflects light onto the sensor.
The interesting fact about mirrorless cameras is that they are now capable of capturing incredible, high-resolution images with even faster shutter speeds and recording ultra HD videos that only the most expensive, higher-end DSLRs can produce.
Overall, it’s a combination of two popular types of digital cameras—a point-and-shoot for its compact size and simpler controls, and a DSLR for its interchangeable lenses and impressive output. Similar to the DSLR, mirrorless cameras also come in two types: full-frame and crop sensor. There aren’t many full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market at the moment.
5. Medium Format Cameras
his section will focus on the digital version of medium format cameras, which, in general, have sensor sizes that are smaller than film medium format. However, a medium format sensor size is larger than a full-frame sensor, which generally translates to higher-quality images.
Medium format cameras also produce a shallower depth of field, produce smaller equivalent focal lengths, and have more dynamic range when compared to a full-frame camera. For example, on the Fuji GFX 100S medium format digital camera, there is a crop or magnification factor of approximately 0.8. Therefore, a 100mm lens for that camera would be equivalent to 80mm on a full-frame sensor. Similarly, if the aperture was set to f/4, the full frame equivalent would be about 3.2.
Because of the larger surface area of the sensor and typically larger pixel size, the resulting image quality and noise profile are also better. Because medium format cameras are generally slower (e.g., autofocus speed and frames per second) and produce much larger image files, they are usually not as well suited for fast-moving action (e.g., birds in flight) or sports photography. Medium format cameras are mainly used for studio and landscape work. However, with evolving technology, this is changing.
6. Action Cameras
We’ve definitely seen the abundance and rising popularity of action cameras in the past few years. Common action cameras like the GoPro can fit in the palm of your hand, but they’re some of the most durable and versatile types of digital cameras that offer very high-resolution output.
A wide range of accessories like waterproof housing and mounts allow the user to attach action cameras to helmets, bicycles, and even drones, which enable hands-free shooting in different types of situations. This opens up a whole new world of photographic possibilities. This type of camera allows you to capture impressive wide-angle photos and videos with sound from almost any angle and environment. Take them underwater or on top of a mountain.
If you’re the adventurous or sporty type and simply want to take breathtaking photos and videos that will “take you back” to those moments, action cameras are for you.
7. 360 Degrees Cameras
The 360-degree camera takes half-dome to full-circle panoramic photos and videos using back-to-back lenses. Like action cameras, some of them are also water resistant and mountable on many surfaces, such as on top of cars, helmets, or drones. Above all, they take the most realistic pictures and videos with stunning panoramic views that you can truly immerse yourself in, virtual reality style.
It’s a very good camera choice for taking vacation photos that you can proudly show off to your loved ones and on social media. After all, we still can’t get enough of this new Google Streetview-style photography and videography. However, because of its non-traditional output, images cannot be printed unless they are cropped as a rectangular panoramic frame.
It can also be a challenge to produce perfect panoramic shots because a lot can go wrong with the image stitching and composition (especially since it’s hard to hide the camera director in the shots). But when it works, the results can be truly exceptional.
While mostly geared toward hobbyists, professional photographers can also benefit from this type of camera if they wish to create highly unique, immersive digital photos that allow them to capture a certain scene from all angles.
8. Film Cameras
Film cameras may seem outdated in our new digital world, but they are by no means obsolete.
There are many types of a film cameras and they provide more artistic output than ever before. Much to the delight of film photography enthusiasts, there are still classic 35mm film cameras being sold today with improved bodies and enhanced capabilities.
The younger generation has learned to love film cameras, thanks to the birth of instant and Lomography cameras, which produce (and sometimes print out) vintage-style photos with vignettes and Instagram-style “filters” with every click of the shutter. Rangefinder cameras, which manually measure subject distance, have been improved while retaining the vintage body and analog settings.
Medium format film cameras provide an even bigger surface frame (up to 4 times bigger than the usual 35mm, but smaller than large format) and are widely used by gallery artists for their capability to develop huge prints without losing image quality and to capture natural-looking, wide-angle shots as our eyes see them in the real world.
Film cameras require more hard work in achieving your desired images, but they are loved for their unmatched ability to produce gorgeous, artistic photos that are great for galleries and photo albums.
9. Instant Cameras/Polaroid Cameras
In recent years, instant film has made a strong resurgence. There are a variety of reasons why you should consider purchasing an instant camera. The biggest benefit of instant cameras is it allows you to give a physical copy (print) of the image to anyone right after taking the picture. This feature alone has changed the way many photographers approach their craft, such as event or wedding photography. Instant cameras also appeal to the casual photographer who might want to hand out keepsakes at a family gathering or when out with friends.
With the recent concentration on social media privacy and growing mistrust for online digital distribution of images, an instant camera seems to have found a home with the younger generation of photographers who prefer to keep physical versions of the images over digital ones.
There are several brands of Instant cameras, with Fujifilm Instax being one of the most popular. The mini version will produce images about the size of a credit card while Instax Wide will allow you to print a size approximately double that. Both color and black and white media are available. Buying the paper in bulk can make the price of individual prints quite affordable.
10. Smartphone Cameras
We all know the adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. This saying isn’t truer than for smartphone cameras. Arguably, the most significant advances in digital photography in recent years have been in smartphone cameras. According to many online sources, images taken with smartphone cameras vastly outnumber those taken with any other format.
Computational photography allows for sought-after features such as simulated shallow depth field, the automatic blending of files to produce noise-free images, and easy removal of unwanted elements from photos. The latest generation of cameras on iPhones and Android devices allow for incredible zooming capabilities, RAW image capture, and 8K video, just to name a few features.
Many apps are also available for photo editing to further enhance the look and quality of images from a smartphone. Although the sensors on these are usually tiny compared to dedicated cameras, the advanced software features and integration of hardware allow them to overcome this handicap.
Modern smartphones also come with several lenses build in, both in front and at the rear. It is not uncommon to have a 12 – 40 MP selfie camera and up to 108 MP rear-facing sensors. The lenses range from ultra-wide to extreme telephoto. You can also buy mobile add-on lenses for improved photo abilities.
Strong built-in image stabilization has allowed many smartphones to produce handheld night shots that are noise-free and well-exposed, something impossible to do just a few years ago.
11. Rugged Cameras
What exactly makes a camera “rugged”? Most people will likely mention a camera that is waterproof or freeze-proof or one that can survive a drop from a certain height. So, it all depends on your definition of “rugged”. For simplicity and fairness, let’s only include cameras that are waterproof and can withstand a few tumbles.
If you read reviews, one of the best-rugged cameras is the Olympus Tough TG-6 is frequently at the top of the list. It’s reasonably priced, waterproof (50 feet /15 meters), dust proof, shock proof (7 feet / 2.1 meter), crush-proof (100 kg), freezeproof (14 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 degrees Celsius), and has an anti-fog coating.
A lot of action cams, such as the Go Pro Hero 10 Black, are also considered rugged cameras and are ideal for outdoor and underwater adventures You’ll have to sacrifice a bit of overall image quality or focal length versatility when using a rugged camera because the lens coating/cover needs to prioritize sturdiness over the absolute best optical quality glass. The system also needs to be completely self-contained and sealed or be placed in a housing. However, if you’re willing to spend a little extra and don’t want to sacrifice image quality, you should look into underwater housing for your ILC. You are now equipped with knowledge of cameras used in photography. This blog will eventually help you in choosing the perfect camera for your purpose.