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Types of Cameras

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There are several different types of cameras and which one suits you best will depend on your requirements and needs as a photographer.

Single Lens Reflex (SLRs)

A Single Lens Reflex camera or SLR for short, are a complex camera and are used mainly by professional photographers. They are used and designed for professional photographers and more advanced amateur photographers as they produce a higher quality image and provide the photographer with more choices. SLR cameras are available in both digital and film form.

SLR cameras are available in manual and automatic format. Most professional photographers prefer the use of the manual SLR cameras, which means that they have no auto focus or auto exposure. This means the photographer is in control of all conditions at all times, which can prove to be difficult for the less experienced or amateur photographer. With the right amount of knowledge almost anything can be photographed and the photographer is in full control of every aspect.

SLR cameras allow the photographer to choose exactly what they would like to control, from which lens to use down to how much light is allowed into the camera, to capture the image that they are trying to achieve. SLR cameras allows the photographer to use interchangeable lenses to achieve different images and effects, these lenses can be purchased with both manual and autofocus facilities. SLR cameras also allow the photographer control over how much light is allowed into the camera, known as aperture. Controlling the amount of light is done via the lens, the further the lens is opened the greater the amount of light that is allowed into the camera and therefore the lighter the exposure. Professional photographers may wish to control the shutter speeds of their shots which can be done with a SLR camera; this will enable the photographer to control the amount of light that enters the lens. The longer the shutter remains open, the lower the shutter speed, the greater the amount of light that is allowed into the camera and vice versa.

The initial purchase price of SLR's does tend to be higher that that of other camera types and with the added expense of additional accessories such as lenses and flashes, these cameras can be a serious investment. The continued development of the camera has led to the systems coming down in price over the years making them more easily accessible to the amateur photographer interested in improving their photography skills.

Compacts

Compact cameras are generally smaller, lighter in weight and easier to use than a SRL, making them more suitable for the amateur or less experienced photographer. The price tag tends to be lower compared to an SRL with similar features and the ease of use ensures that any novice can take satisfactory photos. They are excellent for snapshot type photography and are normally automatic, meaning that the exposure will be automatically focused and set for the user and the flash will activate automatically if needed.

Compact cameras come in both film and digital formats and there are many versions available on the market, with basic compacts aimed at the novice photographer to underwater compacts aimed at the more active and adventurous user. Compact cameras have many features which are dependent upon the model chosen, from large LCD screens, the design and style of the camera to image stabilisation, and there is certainly one to suit any user's individual needs and requirements. Compact cameras are also a great way of introducing children and teenagers to photography.

APS Cameras

Launched in 1996 the APS camera is designed around a new type of film cartridge that is smaller and more adaptable than traditional film. The main feature of the APS camera is that it allows the user to select between three different print formats when taking the picture and it also features a drop in film loading system for ease of loading film.

APS cameras carry many more benefits, for example an index print when the film is developed showing thumbnails of all pictures on the film, the ability to change a film roll mid way through and higher quality picture images, however they are more expensive than the standard compact camera and standard film and developing costs are also higher.