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What Camera Type Best Fits Your Budget and Use? Three Categories of Digital Cameras

Updated on September 6, 2016

Why Understand Camera Types?

What camera best fits your budget and experience level?
What camera best fits your budget and experience level? | Source

Table of Contents

The Topics Reviewed In This Hub Are:

• Why Understand Camera Types?

• Introduction to Camera Types

 Compact Digital Cameras

 Advanced Digital (Bridge) Cameras

 SLR and DSLRs

I am yet to meet anyone who does not love having beautiful photos of themselves. The social media craze that is now a world phenomenon, has given photography a boost like in no other time in history.

Every now and then, people take or have others take classy photos of themselves in exotic places. While smart phones are increasingly becoming handy gadgets in taking photos, digital cameras still remain the epitome of quality photography.

This article is aimed at helping you to purchase the right camera type and one that will fit your level of experience in taking pictures. With the right camera type, you will increase the chances of getting value for your money. But before you go shopping for a camera, here are certain key questions you should ask yourself;

  • What is the purpose of your camera: Is it for hiking, a wedding photo-shoot, studio photography, or just a simple travel camera?
  • What is you proficiency level in photography: Beginner, semi-professional, or professional (What we normally call Pro)?
  • What weight are you comfortable to carry around?
  • How much are you willing to spend? Below or above $500, $1000, or $3000

Having the answers to these questions will help you identify the perfect gadget to achieve the quality you are looking for.

Introduction to Camera Types

Due to the large number of camera types and manufacturers out there, the classification of camera types is quite varied. However, here we offer a simple classification that can be a starting point in understanding other types of camera categories. These are:

  • Compact Digital Cameras
  • Advanced Digital (Bridge) Cameras
  • SLR and DSLRs

Compact Digital Cameras

This is probably the first camera every aspiring photographer starts out with. Due to their ease of availability and cheap price, they are available in most camera shops. They are also called point-and-shoot cameras since very minimal settings are required in getting a descent photo.

These cameras are normally very light; they weight between 4-10 ounces. One can easily carry them in the pocket just like you would a smart phone. If you desire to take simple photos during a hike, a simple home party, or you want to be discreet, this is the ideal camera type. They are also very affordable since you can buy most of them at prices below $100.

Another key advantage is that most of them are automated. As such, they come with scene modes that allow you to select a scene mode that best fits the scenery you are about to shoot. These can be low light, portrait, macro, action, beach, or snow.

To afford the cheap, small, and uncomplicated qualities, these cameras are made with many other compromises. For starters, they have very small sensors making them unusable under low light. Secondly, these cameras’ depth of field is too large, limiting the ability to separate the subject from its background. It is therefore hard to focus on a single subject.

Another downside is that instead of using the mirror system like DSLRs do, they frame images using an LCD screen. This may be problematic in shooting in lights that are too bright. Most compact cameras suffer from a shutter lag. That is the time between pressing of the capture button and the actual taking of a photo. These are just some of the key characteristics of the compact digital cameras.

Due to the increasing competition that smart phones are making against this category of cameras, manufacturers are increasingly improving the capabilities of compact cameras. All compact camera can take video, though in low quality format.

Well known examples of compact cameras include:

  • Sony DSCW830 20.1 MP Digital Camera
  • Panasonic DMC-ZS35K 16.1 MP Digital Camera
  • Canon PowerShot ELPH 160 20.0MP Digital Camera

Which brand of compact cameras do you most prefer?

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Advanced Digital (Bridge) Cameras

These are also called prosumer cameras, DSLR-Like, Hybrids, or DSLR-Shape. They are in the category that lies between compact cameras and the DSLR types. Their makes also range from body forms similar to compact cameras to those similar to DSLR.

In most cases, the body shape is similar to the higher category although their features mostly resemble the compact types. Like the compact brands, their camera lenses are fixed and cannot be interchanged. However, they have longer lenses and their focal lengths are much wider than compacts. Bridge cameras also come with the capability to make scene setting manually like the DSLRs.

Although they may be similar to DSLRs, they are much lighter; their weight ranges between 10-20 ounces. One can also add lens attachments to some advanced types of bridge cameras. These can be hotshoe compatible items, close-ups, telephotos, or filters.

These cameras are perfect for photography enthusiasts who are just starting out or for travel photography that requires one to carry a light load. They can also take a standard type video possibly for personal use.

Examples of common bridge camera include:

  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300/BC 20.4 MP Digital Camera
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera
  • Fujifilm FinePix S8600 / S8630 / S8650 Digital Camera
  • Canon PowerShot SX510 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera

Which brand of bridge cameras do you most prefer

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SLR and DSLRs

I have had this tradition of labeling SUV type cars the ‘grown-up’ cars. I could borrow the same term for this category of cameras. These are the ‘serious’ type that offer no compromises on all the aspects of a camera that matter. These are the cameras you ought to go for when you decide to do serious photography. The term DSLR is an acronym for Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.

There are unique characteristic that make DSLR cameras perfect for high quality photography. First, advances in camera photography have made it possible to make camera types in this category that fit every photographer’s unique desires. Specifically, these cameras carry the biggest lenses (That is of course the exotic type cameras that are custom made for specific goals).

Secondly, the ability to interchange lenses makes it possible to use various lenses that can suit varying occasions. Secondly, most DSLRs use APS-C sensors. These are the sensor types that fall in between Micro Four Third Sensors and the Full Frame sensors. The APS-C sensors are able to apply a higher conversion factor to any lens (about 1.5x), thus giving it an extra reach.

The high end type DSLR cameras are known as the Full Frame Cameras . These are in the border between standard DSLRs and truly professional and advanced photography cameras. The DSLRs are the cameras any standard photographer can use to make high quality images without necessarily going high end.

The DSLRs cameras use the full range of accessories including numerous additions on the hotshoe and additional items like extra battery grips for high performance and power. The DSLR are now the go-to cameras for HD videos.

The features that make them ideal for videos include the ability to add a stereo mic for sound recording and their shallow depth of field. This depth of field makes them ideal for low light scenes and ease of creativity in video recording. These factors come at a higher price in terms of cost and weight.

The common DSLR types available in the market include:

  • Sony Alpha A200K 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera
  • Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera
  • Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera
  • Sony Alpha A200K 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera

Which brand of DSLR cameras do you most prefer

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