Film, Digital or SLR?
There are now several different types of camera available to photographers.
In this article we will be looking at the 3 main types, Film, Digital, and SLR.
If you have not yet purchased a camera, or you are deciding what to get as an upgrade, hopefully this guide will help to explain the options available to you.
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A CameraInsurance.co.uk Guide to types of cameras
The earliest glass plate cameras were called camera obscura. The modern camera evolved from the camera obscura. Film cameras were developed in the 19th century and took off in a big way, finally bringing a way to the ordinary classes to obtain and partake in photographs. Traditional cameras capture images using light allowed onto photographic film or plate.
There are several different types of film cameras that are commonly used.
Usually, compact cameras include a manual viewfinder and use automatic focusing and exposure. Some cheaper or disposable models often leave out manual focusing. Most compact cameras now will have a flash built in for indoor photography or in darker settings. Generally, the film based compacts will use 35mm film, although some other options are available. The main advantages of compact film cameras are their small size and low prices.
Instant cameras were first developed in 1947. The benefit of this type of camera is that the photograph is printed instantly from the camera itself, without having to worry about taking negative film to be developed.
Large & Medium Format
Large and medium format cameras use a larger film size. They often use sheet film sized 4x5 inch or 8x10 inch, but can often use roll film. In photography, the bigger the film size, better quality prints can be produced because they require less magnification than smaller negatives. To produce an 8x10 inch print from a 35mm negative it would have to be enlarged eight times. With 4x5 inch this is reduced to twice. An 8x10 inch negative doesn't need to be enlarged at all, leading to much higher quality photographs.
Digital cameras appeared in the 1980's, and rapidly overtook standard film cameras for amatuer and professional photography.
Digital cameras are battery operated, and don't use film at all. They work by focusing light from the lens onto a charge coupled device (CCD). This converts the light into data, which in turn is converted into pixels, each of which is designated a color and brightness value. When these pixels are joined together they form the photograph.
Rather than using film, all the photographic images are stored on the cameras internal or removable memory, and can be transfered onto a computer. Most digital cameras can vary the quality of the photographs, with low-resolution images using less memory and producing lower quality images. High-resolution photos offer better quality for printing or enlarging but use much more memory per phot. Digital cameras vary depending on the price, with the more expensive cameras offering more features for the user, such as automatic focusing, flash and exposure controls, with manual options for these features as well.
Digital cameras normally have an LCD screen where the photographs can be viewed both before taking and reviewed afterwards from the memory. This allows you to see the photograph and choose if you wish to delete it if it has not come out as you wish. This is a great saving in time and money, as you do not waste time waiting for your photos to be developed before finding out that some need to be retaken.
SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Cameras first started to appear in the 1950's. Since then, huge leaps in technology have led to ever-better cameras and when combined with digital, led to the creation of the Digital SLR.
SLR cameras usually have a semi-automatic mirror system which allows the user to see exactly what will be captured by the film or digital camera. Before this invention, photographs could show significantly different images from what was expected from the viewfinder image, as the lens and the viewfinder would be two seperate views. This was not so much of a problem for mid to long distance photographs, but closups could lead to framing errors and off-centre photographs.
SLR cameras are available in both film and digital versions. Depending on which you decide to choose,they will have all of the above features relevant to that type of camera. Digital SLR cameras can be especially useful, as they allow you to view the photgraphs you have taken and delete any that are unnecessary without having to wait for film to be developed. This gives you more scope to get that perfect picture.
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