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Showing posts with label COMPACT OR SYSTEM CAMERA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COMPACT OR SYSTEM CAMERA. Show all posts




COMPACT OR SYSTEM CAMERA - If you've set aside a budget for a new camera, you'll want to know which type is going to make the best choice and why. Our complete guide runs through your best options

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All digital cameras are based around the same theory, sensor to capture light, then process the result and save it onto a memory card. Beyond that the functionality can vary wildly from model to model, from touch-screen controls to HD video and wide aperture lenses differentiating one from another.

Digital cameras fit into there distinct categories : Compact Camera. Compact System Camera (CSC) and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Cameras. All there have sub-genres within them, but there are other obvious qualities which set them apart.

Compact cameras have a fixed lens, which can't be removed and changed. This means the lens becomes a feature in itself, with some starting at a particularly wide focal length, or reaching out much further than others (or both), and others having wide maximum apertures which prove their worth in low light and for controlling depth of field.

Manual controls, the ability to record HD video and large, high resolution display or viewfinder are just a few of many other features that can be had when more money is spent.

Within the Compact Camera genre are the likes of bridge, or 'super-zoom' models, which offer a far longer zoom and a body shape akin to that of DSLR, together with manual control over shutter speed and aperture, While they can be used more creatively than regular compacts, their small sensor (relative to DSLR and CSC cameras) place restrictions on the king of image quality that can be achieved.


CSCs fit somewhere between compacts and DSLRs, with the benefit of a small format body and interchangeable lenses. Due to their mirror-less designs, optical viewfinders are exchanged for electronic variants that continue to get better all the time in terms of their resolution and sharpness.

Due to the lack of an established form factor, unlike DSLRs, CSCs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The majority of differences are purely aesthetic, but a fair few affect the handling quite significantly too. Some models have thin, wide bodies where as other are shaped like DSLRs to provide more to wrap your hand around.


DSLRs range from absolute beginner models, such as the Canon EOS 1100D, up to professional level models, such as the same company's EOS-1D X. The body shape is similar throughout, with a large hand grip and dials on the top, although most professional DSLRs are shaped to be more square than rectangular, with additional shutter release buttons and dials to make portrait- orientation shooting comfortable. The addition of an optical viewfinder is one of the unique features that differentiates a DSLR model from most CSCs and compact cameras.

The only models that buck this trend, and as a result can's quite be described as true DSLRs, are those in the Sony SLR range, whose models include the A58 and A77. The SLT construction uses a translucent mirror which means it does not need to move in order for light to pass through to the sensor, in contrast to DSLRs which flip their mirrors up at the point of exposure, As a result the burst rate is faster, with the likes of the A77 able to shoot at up to 12fps. The disadvantage, depending on your preference, is the presence of an electronic, rather than optical, viewfinder.

There are essentially two different kinds of sensor used in DSLRs : APS-C and full frame. Although full frame sensors are starting to creep into some CSCs such as the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R.

Full frame is described as such because it's roughly the same size as a 35mm negative. APS-C sensors are smaller, and as a result they only use the central part of a lens, which in turn increases their effective focal length (reducing the angle of view). This is known as a 'crop factor' Full frame lenses do not apply a crop factor to lenses, and so they maintain the same angle of view and focal length as if they were used on a film SLR.

DSLRs and CSCs also attract the attention of video-graphers, given the proliferation of HD video functionality and the range of lenses available. Many DSLRs particularly those aimed towards a more discerning audience also now incorporate ports for external microphones and have a full complement of options for different frame rates and output options as well as control over audio recording.

About Compact

Small camera, generally pocket sized, with non removable zoom lenses. Designed for convenience more than image quality, though some premium models feature larger sensors and manual controls.

small, affordable, No additional lenses required, Pocket-able, Less intimidating to use than DSLRs.

No option to change lenses for specific purposes. Small sensor not suited to all conditions.

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About Bridge 

A Bridge Camera - Looks like a DSLR but is actually a compact with a high magnification zoom lens in a DSLR shaped body - usually incorporating a large hand grip and often a viewfinder.

Long zoom, ALL in one design, Manual controls

Generally small sensors are no match to DSLR quality, Build quality can be more plasticity than a DSLR

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About CSC

An interchangeable lens camera with no optical viewing assembly but either an electronic one, or just the LCD screen to shoot with. CSCs come in a wide variety of forms with a wide range of sensor sizes, so image quality varies greatly between models.

Typical smaller than DSLRs, HD video, Interchangeable lenses, HOtshoes for accessories, Great image quality for the size.

Optical viewfinder usually not available, lens range continuing to evolve, Premium models can be expensive.

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About DSLR 

The choice of professionals. A DSLR features interchangeable lenses, plus an optical viewfinder that sees what the lens sees thanks to a 45'mirror and prism assembly inside the camera. THe bulkiest camera type, but the ful frame models deliver the highest image quality.

Interchangeable lenses, Manual exposure control, HD video, Excellent ergonomics

Large and weighty bodies, Expensive, Poor quality kit lenses often supplied as standard.

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