A Short Course Book
Curtin's Guide to Digital Cameras
And Other Photographic Equipment

Types Of Digital Cameras

 
This old Kodak ad slogan now applies to the entire field of digital photography.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pentax makes underwater cameras including the Optio WPi.
 
 
SLR cameras from major companies have more lenses than you'll ever need.
 
 
 
 
 
Minox makes a Leica M3 miniature camera with a 3.2 Megapixel image sensor. Courtesy of Minox at www.minox.com.
 
 
You'll rarely be without a camera if it's on your key ring.
When it comes time to choose a new digital camera, there is quite a range of types to choose from. You are often trading off size versus features. Pocket sized cameras usually don't have as many features as larger cameras, but they are much more convenient. The best news is that despite their great differences, most cameras will capture very high-quality images, especially when used to create snapshot-sized prints.
 
 
With kiosks everywhere, it's easy to shoot and then just print the images you want.
 
Point and shoot cameras usually have fewer controls than other digital cameras but many are also small, bordering on tiny. With a camera that fits into your pocket, you're more likely to have it when you need it.
 
 
Camera phone quality is improving rapidly with 8 Megapixel models already available in some parts of the world.In time these cameras may present real competition to point and shoot cameras.
 
The fastest selling point and shoot digital cameras are those built into camera phones. The problem with these cameras is that their image quality is improving very slowly and doesn't yet match that of dedicated cameras.
 
 
One-time-use cameras take surprisingly good pictures and some even have a monitor on which you can review your results.
 
Digital photography has already matured to the point where there are onetime- use point and shoot versions.
 
Fixed lens cameras like Canon's S3 IS often have great zoom lenses and capture large images.
 
High-end fixed lens cameras usually have a zoom lens and many of the exposure and focus controls found on SLR cameras.
 
 
DIRTY SECRET
Removing the lens from an SLR lets dust enter the camera and settle on the sensor. This dust creates dark spots in your images. You can remove the dust yourself but it's risky
 
One of the most popular camera types among professionals and serious amateurs is the single-lens reflex, better known as a digital SLR. These cameras are expensive but have certain advantages over other camera types:
  • You can change lenses.
  • You see the scene through the lens so what you see is what you get. (Fixed lens cameras with electronic viewfinders differ from SLRs in that they don't use a movable mirror to bounce light into the viewfinder).
  • You can select from a large variety of accessories, including powerful flash units.
 
Rangefinder cameras such as the Leica dominated photojournalism and fine arts photography for decades. They were quiet, small, and their large, bright viewfinders made it easy to focus and compose images. There aren't many digital rangefinder cameras, but Leica's first one in the tradition of their film cameras is the Leica M8.

What's interesting about the model name is that it numerically follows the film-based M7 and isn't called digital. It's obvious that Leica sees digital as the only way forward and that we've reached the point where, when it comes to cameras, digital can be assumed without its being mentioned.

 
 
CAMERA SIZE
When it comes to digital cameras,size doesn't matteras much as you think. Small pocket cameras can take images that are as good as those taken by larger cameras. The only difference is they usually have fewer features and lower resolution.
 
Video cameras often have the ability to capture still images. The images are smaller than those captured by many digital still cameras, but it's nice to have this option when you are videoing an event. As you'll see, most digital cameras also have a movie mode that lets you capture short video clips. The more I use these movie modes, the more I like them. The secret to interesting movies for most of us is to keep them short. A video camera may be able to capture hours of footage, but who wants to watch it. Short, one minute or so videos can capture highlights and be shared by e-mail or by posting them on popular sites such as YouTube.com.


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