Types of Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are not all created equal. If you are shopping for one, it's important to compare features and abilities to make the right choice. Whether you're planning to take snapshots of the kids or start a career as a professional photographer, there's a digital camera out there that is right for you.

  1. Types

    • There are three basic types of digital cameras: compact, fixed-lens and digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). Compacts typically operate as automatic, point-and-shoot cameras, although some have manual settings. Fixed lens cameras look and feel like DSLRs, but the lenses cannot be changed. DSLRs are the choice of professional photographers, since they have interchangeable lenses. This allows the photographer to change from a normal lens to a telephoto or wide-angle lens.


    • Compact cameras are easy to use. The camera focuses and sets the shutter speed and F-stop values automatically. Smaller compact cameras can fit in your pocket or purse. Fixed lens cameras have many of the features of professional DSLRs, but are more portable and usually less expensive. Digital single-lens reflex cameras are more complex to use, but they are also very versatile. If you make your living from photography, a high-end DSLR is the camera to choose.


    • Some ultracompact digital cameras produce consistently poor photographs. Higher end compact cameras, however, often can compete with high-end fixed-lens cameras in terms of features and image quality. DSLRs are typically much faster and more responsive than fixed-lens digital cameras. Also, a higher price does not necessarily mean you're getting a better camera. Some relatively inexpensive DSLRs outperform more expensive fixed-lens cameras.


    • Compact cameras come in very high megapixel counts. Megapixels refers to the number of pixels a camera can produce. If a camera has 5 megapixels, it can produce images at 5 million pixels resolution. Many compact digital cameras also come with different automatic settings to make taking photographs easier. For example, the camera may have a portrait, landscape, night and indoor settings. Fixed-lens cameras often combine the features of both point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs. For example, it may have automatic settings such as autofocus, but also has the option to use a manual, optical zoom. Digital single-lens reflex cameras function much like manual 35mm film cameras. They also may have sophisticated, advanced features such as image stabilization and anti-dust technology.


    • Digital cameras are a good choice for almost any type of photographer. They are more convenient and less expensive to use than film cameras, since you can avoid the costs of film and development. You only need a memory card or a USB cable to download the photographs to your computer. You can edit your own pictures using your favorite image-editing software. You can then upload only the ones you would like to print to your chosen photo lab. Digital cameras are so effective, in fact, that there are very few reasons to use film any more.

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