Maybe you’re just starting out in digital photography, or you’re taking a photography class for an elective. Either way, you’re out there looking for information on digital cameras, and just need some basic information on the different options out there.
We understand. And we’re to help. Below you’ll find information that will explain the different types of digital cameras, and what they’re good for. We’re also offering a brief tutorial on how to choose the right camera for your needs.
Type of Cameras
Obviously, you know that there are both digital and film cameras. Between these two media type cameras, there are a variety of other options. Unless otherwise indicated, all of these varieties are available in both film and digital formats.
- SLRs – Single Lens Reflex
- TLRs – Twin Lens Reflex
- Bridge Cameras
- Compact Lens Shutter
- Single Use Cameras – only available in film cameras
Compact digital cameras are the same thing as point-and-shoot cameras. They’re designed to compact all the basic functions of a camera into an easy-to-use digital camera that nearly everyone can operate.
These are great starter cameras for kids, older folks who don’t want the fuss of settings, or anyone who may have difficulty adjusting cameras settings and determining which settings would be beneficial to his photography.
An SLR camera, or single lens reflex camera, uses a mirror and prism system to view exactly the image that will be captured by the camera.
A DSLR camera is the digital version of this type of camera.
Currently, both digital and film SLRs are prevalent in the market, but you may need to specify that you’re looking for film if looking online. If you’re shopping in person, you will definitely need to specify you’re looking for film if that is your preference.
A TLR, or twin lens reflex, camera uses two lenses with the same focal length to both take the photograph and to function as the viewfinder for the photographer to view the images to be photographed.
There are not generally any digital TLRs available, but the rare one may be found on occasion if you know where to look.
Bridge cameras are those cameras that bridge the gap between an SLR and a point-and-shoot. These are the more basic cameras that are bigger, feel heavier, and have some manual options that a typical compact camera will not have.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 is an example of one of a bridge camera.
Most bridge cameras are also digital, though you occasionally find a film version. You’d probably have to go out of your way to find one of these, though.
A rangefinder is a device that helps the user determine the distance from the camera to the photo subject. Rangefinder cameras enable photographers to take exceptionally focused images from a distance, because of the measuring capabilities.
Rangefinders may be added as an attachment to cameras, though many come with them built in. An example of a digital camera with a rangefinder built in is the Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera.
Mirrorless cameras do not, as the name indicates, have an optical mirror or viewfinder, but rather relies upon digital displays only.
How to Choose Your Digital Camera
1. Understand Your Camera’s Purpose
Is this camera for a hobby, class, business purposes, job, travel, or document photography?
2. Figure Out How Often You Will Use the Camera
Will it be every weekend, rare occasional travel, parties every month, or using regularly for work purposes? The more often the use, the more durable the camera will need to be.
3. Determine Your Budget
If you’re going to be using the camera quite often, you should probably budget a higher figure, to ensure that you get a camera that will last.
4. Decide on Film Versus Digital
For non-artistic purposes, however, a digital camera is far more versatile and will ultimately save you money.
5. Decide on the Type of Camera You Need
If you’re not able to invest much time into learning how to use a more advanced camera, like a DSLR or Rangefinder camera, you should look into a point-and-shoot camera instead.
6. Compare Reviews
Once you’ve decided the other things, you should read reviews from professionals on DSLRs, as well as reviews from any real users on all compact cameras, DSLRs, SLRS, TLRs, or any other camera models that interest you. Try searching for “best compact cameras of 2018,” or “top 10 DSLRs.”
Go Find Your Camera
Once you have an understanding of the types of cameras available, you can more easily determine the type of camera you need. As we mentioned, digital cameras are probably the way to go, unless you’re looking into heavy artistic work with a film camera.
Compare reviews from real users and professionals, do a little research into the types of cameras you’re interested in, and set a firm budget. You’ll find the perfect camera in no time.