There are basically four types or categories of digital cameras on the market to which consumers have easy access. Here is a brief overview of all of them:
Compact digital cameras
Prices range from $100 to $450.
Compacts are very popular and are the most sold among the general public. They are also the simplest type of digital camera. However, compacts are not quite suitable for professional purposes. A sub-type called an ultra-compact camera is even flatter and is easily portable as compared to regular compact cameras.
The size of this digital camera is further reduced by the fact that they no longer require a case for inserting film cartridges. They also have lenses that are not bulky.
An LCD screen is always present on the back of a compact camera, which serves as a viewfinder, and also as a screen for viewing the photos.
The lens of a compact includes an integrated shutter that is continuously open in a window on the LCD screen.
SLR cameras (Reflex)
Prices range from $300 to $7,000 for professional cameras.
SLR cameras are the most high-end cameras. They use a mirror for the purpose of reflecting the light passing towards the sensor. Additionally, SLRs give you the option of selecting several types of lenses according to your needs. The prices of the different lenses vary from 3 to 4 figures according to their characteristics.
The SLR also has an LCD screen, and thanks to this, you can see the image, and also have access to the menu where you can easily change different settings. Different models of this category also allow viewing the image in real-time through the screen.
The shutter of the SLR is in front of the sensor, and it is plane-focal. It is recommended to buy the camera and the lens of your choice separately because most of the lenses that are shipped with the device are of medium quality in order to maintain an affordable price.
Prices range from $300 to $780.
Mirrorless cameras, also known as hybrid cameras, have been introduced recently.
Basically, they are advanced compacts with interchangeable lenses; however, the sensors of mirrorless cameras are larger than conventional compacts.
Mirrorless cameras have the same optical advantages as SLRs, plus ease of maneuverability and discretion. They are also equipped with a rear viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder. Thanks to the latter, the hold of the device is more stable and more natural.
Mirrorless cameras are expensive, but given the quality they offer, the price is sometimes worth it. Some professionals use them in addition to SLR cameras or to move on to something else for their handling needs.
Prices range from $150 to $600.
Bridges are intermediate cameras that are between compacts and SLRs; hence, the reason for the name “bridge cameras”. The bridges significantly contrast with the other types of digital cameras in terms of quality, definition, and configuration options. Their cases are more cumbersome than those of compact cameras, but less cumbersome than those of SLRs.
The lens of a bridge camera offers good optical quality and brightness, even if it is bulky; however, the lens is only interchangeable on a few models.
Bridges have a real-time display of the image on their LCD screen, which is located at the back of the camera, and this screen is rotatable on some models.
Bridges are an excellent compromise between the simplicity of a compact and the complexity or even the high cost of an SLR. More and more hybrids are merging with SLRs on the market; the only difference is that the lens of some hybrid cameras is not interchangeable.
Now you know what the different digital camera types are!
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