If you are shopping around for a new gadget, you may begin to compare digital cameras. After all, the best digital cameras are typically separated by type. Keep reading to learn more about the different kinds of digicams out there for both amateur and professional photographers.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • There are many different types of digital cameras to suit any consumer out there, from hobbyist to professional.
  • Compact cameras are considered to be the cheapest, with the most limited feature set, yet they are easy to use, light, and durable.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, there is the medium format camera. This type of camera is for professionals only, as they are extremely expensive with an advanced feature set.

Various Types of Digital Cameras

There are a number of different kinds of cameras out there available for purchase, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Compact Digital Cameras

Compact cameras are simple no-frills models that appeal to amateur photographers, as they are generally easy to use, on the cheaper side, and pocket-friendly. If you are looking to compare compact digital cameras, you will find that the image sensors are generally less powerful than if you are studying DSLR cameras or some other high-end types. So if you are looking to take professional photos, you may want to look elsewhere, though high-end compact cameras can still deliver professional results with some tinkering in the settings. Compact cameras are known for having autofocus modes and a variety of settings that allow photographers to simply point at their subject and shoot. Model models arrive with an image sensor of at least 12 megapixels or 12MP. Occasionally, smartphone cameras fall into this category.

Point and Shoot Cameras

Insider Tip

Make sure to check how many megapixels a camera has before making a purchase, as well as other stats.

If you looking to compare point and shoot cameras, you will notice many similarities with compact cameras. As a matter of fact, in most instances, the terms point and shoot and compact are interchangeable. However, point and shoot cameras typically lack an optical viewfinder of any kind, while some compact cameras can include a viewscreen. Both compact cameras and point and shoot cameras are also available in “zoom” models, meaning they include a lens that is adept at zooming in on subjects.

Advanced Compact Cameras

These high-end compact cameras take the functionalities up a notch, to suit advanced hobbyists. They are still small and lightweight, but they tend to include the capacity for interchangeable lenses and larger sensors. Additionally, they allow for manual focusing and feature a manual exposure mode. Advanced compact cameras are considered a good middle ground between garden variety compacts and more advanced offerings such as DSLR cameras.

Action Cameras

This is another offshoot of compact cameras, but they feature ultra-rugged designs that are made to withstand outdoor adventures. In other words, they feature sturdy enclosures that are often waterproof or at least highly water-resistant. They may lack an electronic viewfinder, depending on the model, and they do not usually allow for the use of interchangeable lenses. Additionally, action cameras tend to be more expensive than traditional compacts.

Mirrorless Cameras

It has been said that mirrorless cameras represent the future of the photography industry, as mirrorless cameras are nearly as small and light as compact cameras, yet offer most of the functionalities found with DSLR cameras. The term “mirrorless” means that these cameras lack an internal mirror to reflect light onto the image sensor, as the light goes straight into that sensor. Mirrorless cameras allow for plenty of manual control and typically feature the option to use interchangeable lenses.

DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras, otherwise known as digital single-lens reflex cameras, offer an increased image quality over compact cameras and mirrorless cameras, as they tend to be stuffed with high-end features aimed toward professional photographers. They tend to include a full-frame sensor and plenty of megapixels, in addition to offering complete control over the final shot. DSLRs are much more expensive than most other types of cameras, barring medium format cameras, but they are worth it for pro shutterbugs.

Medium Format Cameras

This type of camera is for professionals only. You can occasionally find a DSLR priced for a hobbyist, but the same cannot be said for a medium format camera. When it comes to image sensors, megapixels, control, and the end result, you will find no better option than a medium format camera. MF cameras feature a higher depth of field, a more impressive dynamic range, a powerful zoom, and other features to create a superior image quality.

F.A.Q.S

How to compare cameras?

This depends on what you are looking for. If you want something for a hobbyist that still has some nifty features, think about the Canon EOS line. If you want something high-end, with great dynamic range and optical zoom, go with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10.


What is the best camera to buy for a beginner photographer?

There are some lower-end models with the Canon EOS line that could appeal to beginners. Otherwise, go with a compact.


Why is sensor size important?

Sensor size correlates to how much light is analyzed by the camera to create digital images.



STAT: DSLRs largely replaced film-based SLRs during the 2000s. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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