So last week in my post about stock photography I was talking about equipment and I said that when it comes to professional quality pictures ordinary point and shoot cameras don't cut it with the promise to explain further in a future post - well it started out as this one but then I found I was having to go back slightly further to start with different types of camera - so here you have what I mean when I talk about different types of camera and next week I will look at some of the differences that mean point and shoot cameras do not produce professional quality images

So first off when I talk about point and shoot cameras what do I mean - well cameras (other than phones) can be split into roughly 3 and a half groupings.  I say roughly because there can be quite a bit of overlap and it is far from a precise subject.   Firstly there are instant compact point and shoots - the sort of camera most people have if they are not using their phones which generally have only a couple of buttons - one to take the picture and one to zoom in and out.  They are all autofocus and very simple to use - price wise they start under £30.

Then there are what are called bridge cameras - they are bigger and look very similar to the "proper" cameras you see professionals use.  They have more buttons and dials and the user can control more aspects of the process like aperture.  They do not have interchangeable lenses and are still based on the camera doing things automatically.  They allow the user to start to "bridge" some of the differences between the compacts and the "proper" cameras and vary hugely.  Bridge cameras at the lower end are little more than fancy point and shoots while ones at the top end are not far off professional although with some significant limitations. Prices start at just over £100 and extend up to over £1000.

Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

Finally you have the "proper" cameras professionals use which can be considered one and a half groups - the DSLRs and the mirrorless.  The two main differences with these cameras are they are intended for the user to take full control of every aspect of putting a photograph together and they have removable interchangeable lenses.  They have lots of buttons dials and menus - and although they will come with fully automatic modes enabling them to be used the same as the point and shoot instant compacts to get their full range the user has to control functions themselves.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The main difference between DSLRs and mirrorless is the DSLR is a digital version of the old film cameras - the SLR or Single Lens Reflex where through the use of a mirror and prisms what the photographer sees through the viewfinder is what is seen by the lens.  In old film compact instant cameras, there would be a viewfinder but what was seen through the viewfinder was slightly different from what was caught on the film because the viewfinder was effectively on top of the film.  Mirrorless cameras are totally digital developments relying totally on new technology, there are no mirrors and prisms and the viewfinder is electric - effectively a screen showing what is through the lens.  A few years back early in their development they lagged behind the DSLRs in several areas but they have caught up well and now provide a real alternative for serious photographers being lighter and slightly smaller than the big DSLRs.   The DSLRs and mirrorless cameras start at around £300 for a body (the camera bit) and one basic lens and go up to really the sky's the limit - one single lens can be over £10,000 and the top bodies (that's the camera without any lens) are also four figures.



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