3 Major Types of Digital Cameras

Images of digital cameras

We have many types of cameras in the market place with varied features and uses. Usually, every new model comes with improvements in image quality, performance, and speed. Some of them are for daily photography. But, we also have certain types of cameras for particular purposes. In this article, I’ll give you a brief overview of each type of digital camera.

 As a beginner, it’s arduous to tell which types of digital cameras are flawless. For instance, I started photography with compact cameras when I was in junior school. Currently, I handle nothing less than a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. So, before wasting time, let’s dive in.

Types of cameras common in the market

1. Point and shoot cameras

example of compact camera
Types of digital cameras-compact Camera

Also known as compact cameras and is one of the most common types of digital cameras around. Generally, they are good at producing good images straight off. Besides, new models come with better features and functionality.

 Beginner photographers love them because they have auto settings features. Usually, compact cameras are easy to use because of automation features. Here, you don’t have to use manual control when taking shots. For instance, the camera delivers auto settings for aperture, shutter, and ISO. Additionally, they have a built-in zoom lens and flash unit.

 Modern compact cameras come with more features. Here, a photographer will find various camera modes, image stabilization, and face recognition. Also, some of them have advance hybrid viewfinder such as Fujifilm X100V. Additionally, point and shoot cameras are exceptional if you are a You-Tuber. Some new models record 4K videos up to 30 frames per second.


  • Price. Generally, DSLR cameras have larger sensors compared to compact cameras. In that case, compact cameras prices are more affordable. They also don’t need expensive interchangeable lenses since they have inbuilt lenses.

    Lightweight. Point and shoot cameras are the perfect gear for travel. Here, they fit in your pocket very well and also doesn’t take much space.

    Preprogrammed modes. Here, you only pick your shooting modes and take your shorts.

    Inbuilt lens. You don’t need to bother carrying extra interchangeable lenses and flash.

    Live view- rear LCD. Live view rear LCD gives you the exact picture of what your output will be. Besides, it provides you accurate autofocus. It helps you see what is happening at the image sensor. Additionally, it displays a histogram that shows the number of tones.


  • Low-resolution cameras. Low-end compact cameras have small size image sensors compared to DSLR cameras. Here, you don’t have a lot of pixels to play around. In most cases, they are suitable for sports and wildlife photography. Also, they perform well in wedding, street, and travel photography.

    Less zoom power. Generally, compact cameras come with built-in lenses. Besides, they are not powerful enough to bring far end subjects close. Instead, you can sacrifice for high-end compact cameras such as Coolpix p950. Coolpix p850 has an 83x ultra-power optical zoom lens. It helps you in bringing the further subject closer.

    Fewer controls. Compared to DSLR, compact cameras come with auto setting features in mind. DSLR, rather, relies more on manual mode. Here, you need to know how to set aperture priorities, shutter speed, and ISO.

    Examples of point and shoot(compact) cameras

2. DSLR Cameras

Image of DSLR camera
Types of digital cameras - DSLR camera

A DSLR camera is one of the best types of digital cameras. In summary, it makes use of two elements, optics and the mechanism of SLR cameras.

So, what is DSLR?

 It stands for a digital single-lens reflex camera.

In summary, digital shows that the camera input and output is fixed and comes from a digital sensor. Single-lens means that the DSLR camera is using the selfsame lens in execution. Compared to the rangefinder, Single-lens will give you an option to view from the lens.

 We have the reflex also. Here, it uses a mirror that reflects light up. It allows you to see in the viewfinder.  A reflex in DSLR cameras allows a photographer to see the same image as in the sensor.  Generally, a reflex mirror bounces back the light from the lens. It happens through a unique lens known as the pentaprism lens.

Why is DSLR better

DSLR camera comes with an excellent package for professional photographers. Generally, it offers quality shots that cannot be rival by other types of cameras. Besides, they allow you to enjoy an interchangeable lens.

We all know, taking killer shots with a DSLR camera is not a walk in the park. Here, you are not going to hit the shutter button, and boom delivers excellent pictures. First, you have to learn and understand a wide range of prerequisites. Then, Use your skills to fine-tune manual controls. In the end, you will direct the camera to deliver the output you want.

Some of the outstanding features of DSLR include:

Autofocus speed. Usually, grasping the concept of a DSLR focusing system is the surest way of getting crisp images. In most cases, DSLR camera owners have high-end or entry-level interchangeable lens. Here, you’ll find a collection of autofocus sensors that ensures your subject focuses in the end.

DSLR delivers good images when focusing on fast-moving objects, for instance, sports. They use phase-detection or contrast-detection type of autofocus. In most cases, phase detection works very well in all focusing scenarios. Besides, the method also gets a fresh result for continuous autofocus.

Viewfinder for previewing images. DSLR comes with an optical viewfinder. Here, it shows you the exact copy of what your camera will deliver. Additionally, DSLR performs well in a low lit environment. It is easier to shoot with it since it will get you a preview on the screen even in a low lit environment.

Image stabilization

When you take shots with shaky hands, the outcome becomes blurry images. Now, DSLR comes with an IS system to improve on the output. Here, the sensor measures your DSLR camera movements. Next, it shifts part of your camera lens or image sensor away from the direction of shake.

Generally, we have two types of image stabilization. They include lens-based and in-camera. Moreover, the lens-based image stabilization incorporates a floating lens element. Here, it uses an electronic system to control and swap opposite to any shake. Likewise, for in-camera image stabilization, the image sensor is physically swapped.

As a rule, it’s advisable to cut the image stabilization when working on a tripod. For instance, it will create a feedback loop because it detects its vibration. That is why you’ll see a camera moving around even if the rest of your DSLR camera is still. As a result, you’ll end up with blurry images since it has introduced motion objects. The camera systems will detect any shots you take after that as a moving subject.

Image quality

 DSLR are professional types of digital cameras because they can take high-quality pictures. Moreover, they have a large sensor size, which allows it to yield quality images. Nowadays, professional photographers prefer to use full-frame sensor DSLR cameras. Usually, a full-frame sensor will get you a wider dynamic range. Additionally, you’ll get high-quality images in low light and high ISO performance.

Generally, most types of digital cameras with a larger sensor will cover a large surface area. Usually, large sensor harvests more photons. As a result, it will also need a good image processor to conduct such an operation. Most DSLR cameras, especially full frames, will help you achieve quality images. In most cases, DSLR cameras use either APS-C or full-frame sensor

 They have capabilities in:

  • Connects well when dealing between resolution and noise control
  • It gives you a more comprehensive dynamic range. As a result, it captures images with more details.
  • Flexibility in the depth of field
Photo from a DSLR camera
A close up image taken by DSLR camera

Shooting speed

A DSLR camera has the potential to fire shots at breakneck shutter speed. Also, it can capture burst images without compromising quality. Additionally, they also have an edge when it comes to battery life. You can take shots continuously without having a live view on an EVF or LCD screen.

Battery life

Usually, DSLR cameras can shoot without making use of live view on an LCD screen or EVF. In effect, an LCD screen and electronic viewfinder (EVF) consumes a lot of power. By the way, that’s why you find cameras such as Nikon D850 delivering 1550 shots per charge.

Accessories and lenses

A DSLR camera allows you to have a pool of lenses at your disposal. Thus, you will enjoy a better selection of various accessories. For example, speed-lights and flash-lights.

3. Mirrorless cameras

 Mirrorless are types of digital cameras that don’t incorporate the use of a mirror. Unlike the DSLR, Mirrorless cameras feature a single, removable lens. Besides, they also use a digital display system instead of an optical viewfinder.

Generally, a DSLR camera uses a reflex technique or a mirror in nature. As a result, this mirror bounces back images to the optical viewfinder. But, a Mirrorless camera doesn’t need a mirror to bounce back images. Here, the imaging sensor is ‘exposed’ to light through-out. In the end, it gives you a digital preview of the image on either an EVF or on the rear LCD screen.

An image of mirroless camera
Types of digital cameras -mirrorless camera

Important features common with Mirrorless cameras

Quality Video recording

Nowadays, photographers are more interested in a camera that delivers video capabilities. Usually, mirrorless provides good video because of their on-chip focus sensors. Again, they can shoot at higher frame rates and also offer better 4k videos. 

In-body image stabilization

The number one culprit for blurry images is when you shoot your subject with shaky hands. Besides, when taking shots in low light environment, you’ll need to lower shutter speed. It will help you to compensate for the lack of light because lower shutter speed allows more light. Lastly, when more light hits the sensor, your image will get enough exposure. But, things might work out the opposite, and your image might end up blurry. The main reason is that the shutter speed is too low, and a little shake destabilizes everything.

 Mirrorless cameras use an in-body image stabilization system to compensate for shaky hands. In most cases, photographers use a tripod. Similarly, in-body image stabilization shifts the sensor body to compensate for movement. For instance, the sensor will change on the vertical, horizontal, pitch, yaw, and roll. Thus, the name five axes built-in image stabilization.

Shooting speed

Mirrorless camera is exceptional when it comes to fast shutter speed. Here, you can capture a burst of images at a glance. Generally, Mirrorless cameras don’t incorporate the use of a  mirror. In this case, it gives it the power to take shots after shots. As a result, the electronic shutter will read more light for long.

Electronic viewfinder

The viewfinder is one way in which you can feel and get a more reliable connection with your subject. Usually, it helps photographers to cut distractions. It also helps them achieve the most concentration in the act. Moreover, an Electronic viewfinder will help you get a clear view in bright sunlight.

A person taking pictures
A Photographer using EVF to take shots

Electronic shutter

The DSLR camera usually flips mirror noise, which is a result of the mechanical shutter. But, Mirrorless is getting the crown when it comes to silent photography. In this case, it uses an electronic shutter system, which helps it achieve quiet operation.


Other types of digital cameras

  • Bridge cameras
  • Smartphone cameras
  • Instant cameras
  • Digital cine/documentaries cameras
  • webcams


In recent years, manufacturers have improved camera capabilities. In summary, some types of digital cameras, such as compact cameras, are getting slimmer. Another key point they have is videos. Mirrorless cameras are also gaining the audience from their small size and speed.

 DSLR is still the best choice for professional photographers. Above all, they offer a wide selection of lenses. Moreover, you get longer battery life, speed, optical viewfinder, and more. 

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