Cameras have come a long way since their inception over two hundred years ago. Today, there are different types of cameras available in the market, each designed to cater to specific needs and purposes.
Whether you're a professional photographer or a casual snapper, understanding the different types of cameras can help you choose the best one for your needs.
From traditional film cameras to digital cameras, from compact point-and-shoot cameras to advanced digital cameras, the choices can be overwhelming.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the different types of cameras and their unique features, to help you make an informed decision.
1. Action Cameras/ GoPro Cameras
Little and versatile, action cameras may be attached to almost anything and taken almost everywhere.
These cameras are a photographer's dream, allowing them to capture images in previously inaccessible environments, making them ideal for extreme sports fans.
The picture stabilization capabilities of modern models are outstanding, surpassing those of even the most costly mirrorless or DSLR cameras by a wide margin.
Even if they aren't naturally waterproof, many can be housed in an impervious container. With such a wide field of view, there's no need to worry about focusing; everything in the picture will appear sharp.
Although some models feature RAW photography options, exposure is handled automatically, and colors are vivid and saturated by default.
- Action cameras are the types of cameras built to withstand severe environments and intense physical activity. Common features include resistance to water and shock, letting you record in a wide variety of conditions.
- Action cameras are extremely adaptable and can be attached to almost anything, including helmets, surfboards, and handlebars, allowing you to record from a wide range of angles and views.
- It's simple to bring an action camera around or attach it to anything because of how compact and light they are.
- They are also space-efficient, making them ideal for transport via backpack or suitcase.
- Despite advancements, action cameras still can't produce photographs that are as high-quality as those taken with professional equipment. In low light conditions, they may create grainy photos.
- When taking pictures with an action camera, it can be difficult to adjust the exposure, focus, and other important settings manually.
2. Bridge Cameras
Many beginning photographers start with a bridge camera before upgrading to something more capable. Bridge cameras are much more powerful and unconstrained by the constraints of film cameras.
The viewfinder of a bridge camera gives it the appearance of a DSLR. There are, nevertheless, important distinctions despite their similarities. Because of their reduced size, reduced weight, and reduced complexity, they are more convenient to work with.
One of the best ways to start learning about photography is using a bridge camera. The quality of bridge cameras lies between that of smartphones and film cameras, the first two categories of cameras on our list.
Its sensor is smaller than those of most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It's not as small as those found in smartphone cameras, though. The lens on this model the camera cannot be changed.
This lens is not interchangeable. It's a given that a zoom lens will be included on a bridge camera. The zooms on the more expensive models cover extraordinary focal lengths, going from wide-angle to ultra-telephoto.
- Many bridge cameras feature 20x-60x optical zoom ranges. This makes them fantastic for long-distance photography of landscapes, sports, or animals.
- Bridge cameras are a wonderful choice for travel or outdoor photography because they are smaller and more portable than standard DSLR cameras.
- For photographers on a tighter budget or a tighter schedule, a bridge camera may be a better option than a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera.
- Bridge cameras are advantageous since they are all-in-one devices, requiring no additional lenses or viewfinders thanks to their integrated design.
- Some manual options are available on this camera, but not as many as on a DSLR. For photographers who wish to have more creative freedom with their photographs, this might be a severe limitation.
- A bridge camera's limited functionality stems from the fact that its lens cannot be swapped out. To have additional options in terms of composition, some photographers opt for cameras with interchangeable lenses.
- While an electronic viewfinder is included with certain bridge cameras, it often lacks the responsiveness and quality of a DSLR's optical viewfinder.
3. DSLR Cameras
Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras are also commonly referred to as DSLRs. An adjustable lens directs light onto a mirror, which then reflects the image onto a prism and into the viewfinder.
Pictures can be taken by pressing a button that raises a mirror so that light may hit a photosensitive sensor.
DSLR cameras, with its interchangeable lens design and extensive menus, provide a great deal of creative freedom. There's a good deal of history behind them. Therefore, a wide range of digital camera prices is available.
DSLR cameras' strengths lie in their bigger sensors and RAW shooting capabilities. As a result, adjusting the white balance and rescuing shadow detail is less of a hassle.
- DSLRs offer high-quality images with greater detail and clarity compared to other types of cameras.
- The digital camera has interchangeable lenses ability and provides greater flexibility in capturing a variety of shots.
- Many DSLR cameras offer manual controls for fine-tuning exposure, focus, and other settings.DSLRs are known for their fast autofocus, quick burst modes, and fast frame rates.
- Many DSLR cameras can be larger and heavier than other types of cameras, making them less portable.
- DSLRs can be more expensive than other types of cameras, especially when paired with high-quality interchangeable lenses.
- Due to their advanced features, DSLRs typically have a shorter battery life.
4. Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless cameras are the future of photography among the different types of cameras. They come with a variety of sensor sizes, including full-frame, Micro Four Thirds, and APS-C. They combine the best features of both small and DSLR cameras.
They have a mirrorless design like compacts but the interchangeable lenses ability of a DSLR camera. The primary distinction lies in the fact that a mirrorless camera does not require the user to manually raise a mirror to capture an image.
Instead, the camera communicates the image to an electronic viewfinder using a sensor that does not require a lens.
For a long time, this was an issue because mirrorless cameras cannot use an optical viewfinder. Not to mention, "viewfinder lag" was a major annoyance in earlier models.
Now that manufacturers have found a solution, full-frame mirrorless cameras can easily outperform DSLR cameras.
- Mirrorless cameras have faster refresh rates (up to 30 fps)
- There are multiple points of focus with a Mirrorless camera covering the majority of the screen.
- Mirrorless cameras have improved autofocus speed and precision (with eye-tracking)
- Mirrorless cameras have smaller, lighter bodies
- Using a Mirrorless camera, there is no need to "match" lenses and cameras through the use of autofocus fine-tuning.
- Deficiency of an optical viewfinder
- There is only a small selection of lenses available.
- Battery drains quickly
5. Film Cameras
Film cameras are where photography began. But the fact digital cameras have almost entirely replaced them shows where the advantage lies.
If you can find a decent second-hand film camera and compatible lenses, they’ll probably be cheap and have an “authentic” retro vibe.
But you won’t have access to the latest features because the major camera manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, and Sony have all switched to digital.
Film cameras can’t offer real-time viewing, auto ISO or computer backup. Plus, you have to put up with the cost and trouble of buying and developing rolls of film.
That means you’re more likely to make focus using film cameras and exposure mistakes—although you won’t find out until it’s too late.
Are you curious about the key differences between film and digital cameras? Our article will reveal all - let us take a closer look at these two different camera types and explore how they compare.
- Film cameras are authentic
- Cheap, high-quality eyewear
- Superb clarity
- Film cameras have no LCD
- Constant expenditures on filming and production
- Possible problems with parallax, focus, and exposure
6. Large and Medium Format Cameras
Though not all large and medium format cameras, such as those made by Hasselblad, are digital these days, the majority are.
The resolution of a large format camera is between 50 and 100MP, and its sensor is between 4 by 5 inches and 5 by 120 millimeters.
Large and medium format cameras are notorious for being cumbersome, having slow autofocus mechanisms, and bulky designs. This means that you shouldn't use them in the Antarctic, but rather in a high-end recording studio.
If you're going for the cover of Vogue, though, you'll appreciate the improved large and medium format cameras resolution, reduced noise, and expanded dynamic range.
- Extended film or sensor size
- Large and medium format cameras have low noise level
- Large and medium format film cameras have limited focus depth
- An extremely broad spectrum of expression
- Large and medium format cameras possess superb clarity
- Lenses that can be swapped out
- Slower autofocus
7. Trail Cameras
Trail cameras, often known as game cameras or wildlife cameras, are handheld digital cameras used to record photos in inaccessible or distant locations.
These cameras can record either still photos or moving video, and they are often actuated by motion detectors or a timer.
Simply put, trail cameras are specialized forms of camera traps. They're supposed to be left outdoors for extended periods so that when activity is detected, they can snap photos or record video of whatever wildlife happens to be there.
It may be more convenient to leave a trail camera than risk waiting for an opportunity to snap images in person, especially if sightings are extremely infrequent or the area is risky or inaccessible.
Need help finding the perfect trail camera without breaking the bank? We've got you covered! Dive into our reviews for top-rated trail cameras under $100, including pros and cons to assist with your decision.
- The remote control is a key feature of trail cameras, allowing photographers to take pictures of animals and other objects without having to be in the same place at the same time.
- Trail cameras' motion sensors are extremely sensitive, allowing the camera to take a picture with minimal disruption to the target.
- Trail cameras can be used for a wide range of applications, from wildlife photography to monitoring security or surveying the property.
- Trail cameras can withstand the elements thanks to their rugged design and construction.
- The photographs captured by a trail camera are often lower resolution images sensitive and of poor quality.
- Trail cameras can consume a lot of battery power.
8. Compact Cameras / Point and Shoot Camera
Despite their diminutive stature, compact digital cameras/point and shoot camera is capable of capturing high-quality images in a broad variety of scenarios because of their intuitive controls and lightweight construction.
The viewfinder is absent from smaller models, which instead rely on a rear LCD screen. They often have a high level of automation, while more sophisticated bodies allow for manual adjustment of shutter speed and ISO.
Even though compact cameras are extremely practical, only the most sophisticated (and costly) models allow you to adjust settings to achieve unique effects in your photographs.
Despite their diminutive stature, compact cameras are capable of capturing high-quality images in a broad variety of scenarios because of their intuitive controls and lightweight construction.
The viewfinder is absent from smaller models, which instead rely on a rear LCD screen.
Compact cameras often have a high level of automation, while more sophisticated bodies allow for manual adjustment of shutter speed and ISO.
Even though compact cameras are extremely practical, only the most sophisticated compact camera (and costly) models allow you to adjust settings to achieve unique effects in your photographs.
- Compact cameras are convenient to carry along due to their tiny size and lightweight.
- Users who are unfamiliar with photography will benefit greatly from the compact camera ease of use.
- Compact cameras are more affordable and accessible.
- Compact digital cameras have limited manual control options, making it challenging to control the exposure, focus, and other critical elements of a photo.
- When using a compact camera, it can be difficult to zoom in far enough to get a clear shot of a distant subject.
9. Instant Cameras
Understandably, instant cameras wouldn't seem at home in today's ultra-modern digital age, but that's part of their appeal.
The analog flaw is a tribute to photography's long and storied past. You can see your print materialize before your eyes, and when it's done, you can take it with you.
Despite their antique appearance, instant cameras are typically fully automated, making them relatively simple to use.
There is often a retro feel to the filmstock, not unlike the effects of Instagram filters.
Considering the cost of each shot, employing an instant camera may also encourage careful image-making.
Like a digital camera, you can't just fire away without any consideration.
Unfortunately, there aren't many options when it comes to instant cameras; Polaroid and Instax are the two most well-known manufacturers.
- One of the biggest benefits of instant cameras is that you can get physical prints of your photos right after taking them.
- Instant cameras have a distinctive, retro look that can add a fun and nostalgic touch to your photos.
- They are typically easy to use and don't require any technical knowledge.
- It is expensive
- It has limited manual control options, which can limit the user’s ability to control exposure, focus, and other critical elements of a photo.
10. Underwater Cameras/ Waterproof Cameras
Waterproof cameras are increasingly popular among all kinds of photographers, professionals and amateurs alike.
These unique cameras offer the chance to capture beautiful images even in challenging, wet environments, eliminating the need for clumsy protective gear.
They are also a great choice for water activities such as surfing or kayaking, providing stunning photographs no matter how vigorous the wave or rapid the river rapids.
Waterproof cameras come in different shapes and sizes, so finding one that suits your particular needs is easy.
Whether you’re shooting a professional outdoor scene or just want to document your summer vacation by the seaside, a waterproof camera will let you capture all of life’s memorable experiences with ease and elegance.
- It can withstand the pressure of deep water.
- Many underwater cameras have built-in features, such as underwater white balance and color correction.
- They are compact and portable, making them a great option for travel or use on vacation.
- It can be used for a wide range of applications, including snorkeling and diving underwater videography and cinematography.
- They can have limited manual control options, making it hard to balance exposure and color balance.
- They can be more difficult to maintain and keep in good working condition.
11. 360 Degree Cameras
As with action cameras, 360-degree cameras are compact and portable.
They feature two extremely wide-angle lenses pointing in different directions, and the device's internals stitch together movies and photographs to create a complete field of view, letting you pick your perspective in post-production.
They work similarly to action cameras in that you can frame shots and download and edit footage from your phone. In most cases, they won't offer preview screens for your photo.
These cameras are best suited for certain applications and have limited flexibility.
Still, they're fantastic for trips and capturing thrilling events, and they shine when it comes to recording hyper lapses or other content that calls for a first-person vantage point.
Unique capabilities found on some versions include "photosphere" and "no drone, no problem" picture-taking using "invisible" selfie sticks.
- When using a 360-degree camera, the spectator is immersed in the scene and given the freedom to move around and investigate it from every angle.
- There is a wide variety of uses for 360-degree cameras, from action sports and adventure filming to real estate photography and virtual tours.
- Numerous 360-degree cameras are portable, user-friendly, and equipped with straightforward navigation menus and editing programs.
- Since 360-degree cameras can be easily incorporated into many different platforms, including VR and AR applications, sharing and viewing 360-degree material is a breeze.
- With lower resolution images sensitive and dynamic range, they may produce subpar images in comparison to more conventional cameras.
- To create a seamless 360-degree vision, it is necessary to stitch together many photographs, and occasionally, the stitching faults can be seen in the final image.
12. Rangefinder Cameras
As an autofocus device, a rangefinder operates by constructing two distinct images and fusing them into a single, high-quality one.
A rangefinder camera is a type of camera that has been around since the early 1900s. But currently, just a handful are being manufactured, such as the Pixii Camera (A1112), Zenit M, and Leica M10.
Numerous rangefinder cameras, made by Leica, have been produced over the years.
However, they are typically quite pricey, and the rangefinder system has the inherent flaw of requiring a separate viewfinder.
Compared to DSLRs, which typically feature electronic autofocus and optical viewfinders located behind the lens, these cameras have a significant disadvantage.
Whereas the DSLR camera can sometimes be heard clicking away, rangefinder cameras typically keep a lower profile.
Photojournalists and anyone seeking authentic photographs have embraced them as a result.
- Photographers can easily and rapidly achieve sharp focus thanks to the rangefinder mechanism on rangefinder cameras.
- The modest size of most rangefinder cameras makes them ideal for use while traveling or taking pictures in urban environments.
- With their renowned silence of operation, rangefinder cameras are perfect for settings where a loud camera would be inappropriate.
- As a rule, rangefinder cameras provide a great deal of manual control, allowing the photographer to dial in the perfect exposure and other parameters.
- There may be a greater learning curve associated with using a rangefinder camera, as they are typically more complicated than more conventional cameras.
- The view via the viewfinder of most rangefinder cameras is restricted, providing only a miniature preview of the final product.
13. Rugged Cameras
In what ways are cameras considered "rugged"? The majority of respondents are likely to suggest a camera with special features, such as resistance to extreme temperatures or drops from a given height.
Therefore, it is dependent upon how one defines "rugged."
Let's keep things easy and fair by only considering cameras that are both waterproof and durable enough to sustain a fall or two.
Reviewers consistently rank the Olympus Tough TG-6 as a top-tough camera.
It's anti-fog, waterproof (up to 50 feet/15 meters), dustproof, shockproof (up to 7 feet/2.1 meters), crushproof (100 kg), and freezeproof (down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit/-10 degrees Celsius), all at a reasonable price.
Many popular action cams, like the GoPro Hero10 Black, also qualify as tough cameras, making them well-suited for use in extreme environments like the outdoors or even underwater.
Because the lens coating/cover on a rugged camera must prioritize durability above the absolute highest optical quality glass, you will have to make some compromises in terms of overall image quality or focal length adaptability.
It's also important for the system to be hermetically sealed or housed in its enclosure.
- Rugged cameras are designed to withstand falls and impacts, making them perfect for adventure and action photography.
- Rugged cameras offer a range of features, including high-resolution images, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity, and more.
- Many rugged cameras are waterproof, allowing you to capture images and videos while swimming, snorkeling, or even scuba diving.
- These cameras are also dustproof, keeping your camera and lens protected from dirt, dust, and sand.
- Rugged cameras can be bulkier and heavier than other types of cameras, making them less convenient to carry around.
- Rugged cameras typically have a shorter battery life due to their built-in features, such as GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity.
14. Drone Cameras
A drone camera, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is a small aircraft that can be flown without the need for a pilot.
It typically consists of four rotors or propellers that provide lift and control, along with an onboard camera capable of capturing still images or video footage from the sky.
Modern drones come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from palm-sized models to large professional rigs weighing several kilograms.
The main purpose of a drone camera is to capture stunning images or videos from unique angles and perspectives not possible with traditional ground-based cameras.
With its ability to fly higher than most people can reach, it provides an excellent way to explore places that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Drones are frequently used by photographers, filmmakers, journalists, surveyors and other professionals who need to capture images from above.
They are also becoming increasingly popular among hobbyists who simply enjoy flying them around for fun!
Need a drone for your young pilot-in-training? Check out our 5 Best Drone Camera for Kids Reviews to uncover the advantages and disadvantages of each model - helping you make an informed decision that's sure to please.
- Allows for unique shots that would be difficult to get with traditional cameras
- Captures wide angles without distortion
- Can be maneuvered into hard to reach places
- Automatically follows pre-programmed paths for consistent shots
- Relatively low cost compared to traditional cameras or helicopters
- Battery life is limited
- Wind can cause the drone to drift off course or crash
- Requires specialized training and skill to operate safely
- Can be noisy which may disturb wildlife or other people nearby
Cameras come in various shapes, sizes, and forms, each designed to meet the needs of different photography genres and personal preferences.
It's easy to find a camera that suits your needs, from the reliable point-and-shoot to the high-powered SLR or the adaptable mirrorless model, as explained from the different types of cameras explained above.
High-resolution still photographs, video recording, and various connection methods are just some of the many new features available on today's cameras thanks to technological progress.
Before settling on a camera, it's crucial to think about the types of photos you'll be taking and your personal preferences and demands.
The appropriate camera can freeze time and record every nuance of your feelings and experiences.