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Types of cameras

What Type Of Camera Is right For Me? So, you have decided to make photography as part of your life, and now you are considering what camera should you choose.Well, range of cameras are available on the market from various types to various brands. Depending on your need, the choices can be narrowed down. So, before thinking about particular models, you should decide what type of camera is going to suit you best. Generally, there are 3 main groups of camera; compacts, superzooms and DSLRs.

Compacts

Sony DSC W730

Sony DSC W730

Compacts are exactly what they sound like – small, light and pocketable. A lot of manufacturers produce this kind of camera such as Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Fujiflim and list can go on and on, and prices vary from $100 to $400. The more expensive models normally has long lasting batteries, higher megapixel ratings, and more decent features. A huge benefit compacts enjoy is video camera features which some models offer slow motion video recording.

Recently, manufacturers are integrating their compacts with android, something  new to the world of digital camera and it is worth looking for. However, the battery life is quite disappointing and there are not many apps that utilise this kind of camera to the full potential. Probably in 3 to 5 years later, we can see huge improvements in this technology.

Compacts have their drawback, though. Many don’t offer full control of the camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed. Even some cameras do offer these controls, their prices do not differ much from an entry level DSLR. The other thing is image quality. Although some compacts have high megapixel ratings like 16.1 mp, these compacts have low performance normally at low light condition. That’s because of the small sensor of the compacts. Taking pictures at this condition forces the compacts to use high ISO rating and because of the small sensor, more pixels are packed into a smaller area thus creating the so called digital noise.

Of course, if image quality don’t bother you much and you prefer a pocketable camera with decent features, a compact digital camera is for you.

Superzooms

Canon SX50 - 50x zoom (equivalent to 24-1200 mm)

Canon SX50 – 50x zoom (equivalent to 24-1200 mm)

Superzooms or also known as bridge cameras are similar to DSLRs in terms of look, build and handling. However, the internal design is more like a digital compact – they have smaller image sensorsThat means the image quality sometimes isn’t as high as it could be, particularly at high ISO ratings. However, you might want to read some reviews on the camera you plan to buy.

The good thing about these superzooms is that they cover broad range of focal length and let you take shots that are impossible to achieve with compacts. If you want to achieve similar result with a DSLR, you would probably need expensive lenses. In addition, most superzooms offer more control than compacts, allowing you to manually control the aperture and shutter speed. Many models do offer tilt and swivel LCD screen, for creative shooting with less struggle.

Although some cameras offer image stabilization feature, shooting at maximum zoom tend to produce blur due to camera shake, particularly at low light condition (you would want to use a tripod, or maybe flash). Of course, you can’t expect a superzoom to be a champion in low light situation.

So, if you are looking for a jack-of-all-trades digital cameras, full control of the exposure, smaller than a DSLR, a superzoom or bridge camera is an ideal companion. Well, some serious photographers would want it as a back up camera for convenience and flexibility.

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex)

If a larger, heavier camera is nothing much to you, a DSLR is the best tool for taking great pictures. Stunning sunsets, fireworks or misty-like waterfall can all be captured with a DSLR.

A major difference of DSLRs is that they have interchangeable lenses from 8 mm focal length to over than 500 mm with a variety of combinations, depending on your needs. Well, that also include range of prices from $300 to over than $1000.

There are more advantages to DSLRs. They turn on in just few seconds and can immediately start shooting several frames per second. Their autofocus system is much better than a compact, which makes capturing a moving subject can be performed at ease. Large batteries allow them to take hundreds of shots, that is superior than any of compacts or superzooms. That is because power is consumed to zoom in and out for compacts, while for DSLRs, you yourself do the zooming.

To add the detail, there are 3 kinds of DSLR; Entry level, Mid-range (also known as semi pro) and Pro level. Going up the level gives you more control to your camera like dedicated buttons for certain features. As an example, Canon EOS 7D offers a button to switch from RAW to JPEG, which the button is not available in entry level models.The leaders in this area is of course Nikon and Canon because they offer a lot of models and lenses. Worth to note that Pro level has full frame sensor while mid-range and entry level cameras have crop sensor. I will explain about this in another post.

All in all, DSLRs have larger, higher-quality image sensors than either compacts or superzooms. They produce more detailed pictures, with fewer digital defects like noise or chromatic aberrations. They also have a higher dynamic range, meaning they can capture more subtle tonal variation in the light- they can have a huge impact on the resulting photo. So, if you are frustrated by the quality of your pictures, and you want to learn more about photography, a DSLR is for you!

Canon 650D

Canon 650D – a decent entry level DSLR with touch screen feature

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