We all know what a camera is and what it does. What some may not be aware of is the fact that there are different types of camera. For a novice photographer, shopping for the right digital camera can be overwhelming. It could be tasking also for a professional looking to change the format. This is because there are so many different camera types.

To help shed light on the different types of camera available in the market, this article has been prepared. It will help you understand what types of camera are there and also talk about the peculiarities of each type.

See also: Top Canon Cameras

Compact Cameras

Compact cameras are popularly known as point-and-shoot cameras. Usually inexpensive, they are entry level camera for amateur photographers. They are usually small and lightweight and come with standard, automatic settings. They are easy to use and are designed with the user in mind. You frame your subject and simply press the button. The camera will do all the work such as determining the correct exposure.

Compact cameras come with in-built flash and a zoom lens. They also come equipped with an LCD screen which allows you to preview the scene before taking the picture. A lot of compact cameras come with some manual functions that allow you to have some measure of control over your photography. You should, however, bear in mind that these cameras are all about ease of use and won’t give you control over every camera setting.

An example is the Canon Powershot SX540.

Some models of compact cameras allow you to change lenses. A major drawback of compact cameras is that they have a very small sensor as a result of which they don’t allow for great picture quality or printing large images. Easy to use and that’s just about it for compact cameras. They are great for a hobbyist starting out but have almost no value to a professional photographer.

Zoom Compact Camera

Compact zoom cameras come with a more powerful zoom lens which means a much greater magnification ability. Zoom compact cameras offer automatic exposure settings as well. Most of them offer manual options and HD recording.


They do not allow you to change lenses due to the enhanced zoom function. The zoom typically ranges from 28-300mm. Most models of zoom compact lenses offer at least 12 megapixels which are excellent for your personal images. Similar to other compact cameras, zoom compact cameras are not suitable for professional usage.

Advanced Compact Cameras

These cameras are designed with more experienced hobbyists in mind. It offers more control over images than the regular compact camera. They come with manual exposure mode and manual focusing. Though significantly better than regular compact cameras, advanced compact cameras are still lightweight and user-friendly.

You get to capture higher resolution pictures than your smartphone can do but still, they are small and compact as a result of which they are easy to carry around for many shooting situations.

Adventure Cameras

Quite recently, action cameras have become very popular with more and more models being released. Similar to compact cameras but have bells and whistles that allow them to withstand extreme conditions. Adventure cameras are weatherproof and shockproof, with their lens placed behind very durable glass.

They are small and offer a lot of versatility and high resolution despite their small size. However not suitable for professional use just like other compact cameras due to their small sensor. Also, they are not equipped with interchangeable lenses.

DSLRs – Digital Single Lens Reflex

DSLRs are designed for both serious amateurs and professionals alike. They are larger and heavier than compact cameras. It is a known fact that most professional cameras out there are DSLRs, although bridge cameras and mirrorless are gradually catching up.

See also: Difference Between DSLR and Mirrorless Camera

The design and functions of DSLRs come from film cameras and the higher-end models come with a full-frame sensor, a development inspired by the traditional 35mm film camera. Many DSLRs come with a cropped-sensor which is quite cheap for manufacturers to produce. This also allows DSLRs to be accessible to a larger number of people. Lenses of DSLRs are interchangeable but their behavior is dependent on whether the camera is built with a cropped sensor or a full-frame sensor.

Lenses for DSLRs range in quality with many manufacturers offering a line for amateur photographers and another more expensive line for professional photographers. DSLRs allow you to get creative with your photos as you are in control of the camera settings.

DSLRs offer a variety of manual settings as well as creative controls. You can opt to shoot in Automatic mode. These cameras also offer Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual mode as well.

Compact Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are believed to be for the future. Offering most of the features of a DSLR camera but smaller, lighter and generally less expensive. They are called mirrorless due to the fact that they have no internal mirror that reflects light onto the sensor.

See also: Camera to Buy For Beginners

Light comes in through the lens and goes straight to the sensor which then transmits the information it captures onto the LCD screen. They are a powerful alternative to the DSLR which is why many professional photographers are switching over or using them as an alternative to their usual DSLRs, such as while traveling. Mirrorless cameras are versatile, high-performance cameras allowing you a lot of control over your results.

Lenses on these cameras are changeable. They have lots of features that allow a photographer together creative with his shots. Some mirrorless camera models offer facial recognition and have focus points in every part of the frame. This is excellent for event or wedding photography.

Most of them offer high resolution and video and also WiFi capability. The WiFi feature allows you to remotely control your camera that is, you control your camera from a distance.

See also: 10 Best Mirrorless Cameras

Medium Format Camera Types

Ridiculously expensive and unsuitable for most shooting situations. Medium format refers to the 120 size film format that is used in the Hasselblad V system film cameras. Hasselblad is the leading manufacturer of this camera type.

A Medium-format is simply a camera equipped with a larger sensor than a full-frame DSLR. It is commonly used in certain types of advertising work where very high resolutions are required. They offer amazing resolution but have less sophisticated autofocusing systems and burst modes. This makes them unsuitable for every genre of photography.

Unfortunately, these cameras are usually way too expensive and out of the reach of the average photographer. Even most pros rent them rather than own one.


Making the perfect choice on the type of camera suitable for your level of photography can be difficult. This article has shed some light on the types out there as well as their peculiarities and uses.

Go and make a choice on the type of camera most suitable for your level of photography.  Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, or someone looking to get into professional level photography. Take time out to explore the features of several models of these camera types. Then settle on the model most suitable to your need.

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

View all posts by Arinze →

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