This article expands on the information in Tip #1 of my book, Pet Photography 101 (pages 2-8). It is an overview of the most popular camera types primarily used today. So without further ado…
Overviews of popular types of cameras used today:
1. Film Cameras
Most people (including me) learned photography using film cameras. Film cameras have been produced for over 100 years, and many types and models have been made, including:
• Single-use plastic film cameras that you buy and drop off when getting your film processed;
• Point-and-shoot 35mm film cameras, which have been made for many years in a wide variety of quality levels and price points. A few of the photos I included in this book were shot with a high quality point-and-shoot camera.
• 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) film cameras, which were the primary camera type used by professional photographers (and many non-pros) until digital cameras became very popular.
• Specialty film cameras, including swing-lens panoramic cameras that can produce some amazing images. Other cameras include the Holga and Diana+, which help to produce very artistic images that must be seen to be believed [see w1.2].
2. 35mm DSLRs: 35mm DSLRs have become the most popular camera type for professional photographers, and many non-pros also use them because of the many features they offer. There are many options, from compact, lightweight models that cost less than $500 including a zoom lens, to 20+ megapixel models in the $2,500-$6,000 range that can produce images comparable in quality to some medium- and large-format camera/digital camera back combos costing $10,000-30,000 or more. These cameras are often called “35mm DSLRs” even though the size of the CMOS or CCD sensor that captures the image is often smaller than a full-frame 35mm film frame. Examples of full-frame 35mm digital cameras are the Canon EOS 5D and the Nikon D3. There are some excellent charts and photo overlays showing different sensor sizes on this page of wikipedia.com.
3. Digital point-and-shoot cameras Excluding camera phones, digital point-and-shoot cameras are the most popular category of digital camera. They are available from many manufacturers in a wide array of colors, sizes and features. Some have features comparable to or even exceeding those found on some DSLRs, and many can produce images at a quality level similar to DSLRs. One of the main features most digital point-and-shoot cameras have that most DSLRs lack is video, but that gap is closing fast.
4. Video Cameras with Still Photo Modes: There are many video cameras on the market today that have very good–quality still picture modes, and the lines are blurring between video cameras and point-and-shoot still cameras. Every year more flash-media–based video cameras are introduced (eliminating the need for DV or Super 8 tapes), which blurs the lines even more. SD/SDHC cards are the most popular removable media for both video and still cameras.
5. Camera Phones: The popularity of camera phones is nothing short of incredible. Whereas just a few years ago only a small percentage of the population carried a camera, today over a billion people worldwide have a camera at their side, integrated into their phone/smartphone. The best way to describe camera phones is to compare them with other phones, which I’ve done in an article which you can find here.