11 Different Types of Cameras Explained: What to Buy First

By Tati Taylor 11 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

If you decided to find a new camera, then you are probably confused by this rich variety of offers. To make it easier, I advise you to study the different types of cameras offered by the market. You can do this right here in my detailed article on the advantages and disadvantages of each type. After reading it to the end, you will be able to understand which one best suits your requirements, regardless of whether you are a beginner in the world of photography or a real pro.

1. DSLR Cameras - Full Manual Control

dslr different types of cameras

Recommended models: Canon 5D Mark IV, Nikon D850
Average price: $1200

  • Variety of available lens
  • Equipped with the optical viewfinder
  • Completely customizable parameters
  • Perfect output resolution
  • Higher picture quality due to bigger sensors
  • May feel bulky and heavy
  • Expensive
  • Steep learning curve

DSLR cameras have won the hearts of all pro-level photographers and videographers around the globe. That’s because photos and videos taken with them look incredibly sharp, and the background blurs smoothly and softly. Among the benefits, I can also highlight the ability to change the lens to suit the desired photography types, since they come with a detachable one.

dslr different types of cameras lifestyle

With the built-in optical viewfinder, you can count on a direct view of the scene. I especially like that you can have full control over all of your camera’s settings, or apply semi-auto and full-auto modes. They will simplify the shooting process, which is very important for beginners. Also, depending on your needs, you can choose a model with a full-frame sensor (35mm) or a crop sensor called APS-C. What’s more, with such types of cameras you can take pictures in RAW format.

dslr different types of cameras example

2. Mirrorless Cameras - Quiet Operation

mirrorless different types of cameras

Recommended models: Sony Alpha 7 IV, Fujifilm X-T4
Average price: $2400

  • Lightweight and small in size
  • Noiseless work
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Simple operation
  • Weaker battery
  • Fewer suitable lenses

Mirrorless cameras are similar to the previous ones, but with less weight. However, the main difference is that they come without a mirror inside. This allows for a smaller build without affecting the resolution of the shots. Thus, all the functionality of these camera types of photography can please you with super-quality photos and videos.

mirrorless different types of cameras lifestyle

Their models also come in full frame cameras and crop ones. Another benefit is their quietness. It is achieved again due to the absence of a mirror, which no longer needs to be turned over inside the device. This is good for those who often shoot weddings or sports events where extra sound can interfere with the moment.

mirrorless different types of cameras example

The camera also comes with a different type of viewfinder – electronic. It is only installed in mirrorless cameras and allows you to preview your exposure settings in real time. Thus, the camera becomes easier to control, and improved intuitiveness will help the beginner.

3. Medium Format Cameras - The Best Photo Quality

medium format different types of cameras

Recommended models: Fujifilm GFX 50R, Pentax 645z
Average price: $3200

  • Big sensor size
  • Larger dynamic range
  • Amazing detailing
  • Quiet operation
  • High price
  • Bulky
  • Slow AF

Medium format cameras come with a fairly large sensor and offer amazing image quality. This category offers different kinds of cameras to choose from – film or digital ones. Despite the weaker autofocus and slower shooting in burst mode, which affect the speed of work, the quality of the photos, and the amazing clarity that they give, worth it. Pro-grade photographers are increasingly choosing this camera for their work.

medium format different types of cameras lifestyle

However, these models have a couple of drawbacks. First, it is their bulky appearance and heavy weight. It will be a real challenge to carry it with you all day or transport it. Secondly, they are expensive, although their functionality is worth it. Don’t be surprised if your favorite model of such a camera can cost $10,000.

medium format different types of cameras example

4. 360 Degree Cameras - For Panoramic Shots

360 degree different types of cameras

Recommended models: Insta360, RICOH THETA Z1
Average price: $500

  • Compact and light
  • Offers highly realistic 360 pictures and video clips
  • Can be mounted on almost any surface
  • Live view and streaming available
  • Sensitive to motion blur and camera shake
  • Shot framing may seem difficult

With a digital 360 camera, you can shoot scenes in all directions and get wonderful panoramic views. You can see the “photospheres” they made on virtual tours or Google Maps. By analogy with action cameras, they come without screens, which makes it impossible to view the captured frames or preview them.

360 degree different types of cameras lifestyle

However, by the same analogy, most of these camera types are designed to be flexible to a wide variety of weather conditions. They cannot be called universal with their list of functions and options; they are rather narrowly focused equipment. You may also like to shoot with them in the first person, and for such a low price. All of the above makes this camera an excellent and feature-rich travel companion.

360 degree different types of cameras example

5. Film Cameras - For Vintage Look

film different types of cameras

Recommended models: Kodak M35, Ilford Sprite 35-II
Average price: $50

  • Top-quality lenses for a low price
  • Artistic pictures
  • Wide range of suitable films
  • High dynamic range
  • Frequent film expenses
  • Possible exposure fails

If you are moving from digital to film cameras, then the most unusual thing for you will be the lack of a screen. Also, you should stock up on patience and self-confidence, because you should set up such a device carefully. The thing is that if you did something wrong, you will know about it only after developing the film, and simply deleting the photo and making it again will not work.

film different types of cameras lifestyle

Such devices are in no way inferior to their digital counterparts in photo quality. You should be prepared to spend a lot of money on 35mm film, but its variety will please you. Today’s photographers still prefer film cameras to different types of cameras, not only because of their high dynamic range but also for the stylish look and unique vibe that such photos give. What’s more, developing the film and digitizing the resulting images in our time will not cause you any problems.

film different types of cameras example

6. Action Cameras - For Adventure Videos

action different types of cameras

Recommended models: GoPro HERO10, AKASO Brave 7
Average price: $400

  • Small-sized and durable
  • Light
  • Universal and can be mounted on almost any surface
  • Comes with shutter via phone and remote view
  • Small-sized sensor
  • Without manual focus
  • Few settings options

Action cameras are compact devices that mount seamlessly on your hands, vehicles, or helmets. This makes it possible to shoot in extreme conditions and completely new angles, previously inaccessible to us. All this made them a must-have for lovers of extreme leisure activities. GoPro cameras have become the key to their success in today’s market.

action different types of cameras lifestyle

The stabilization capabilities of these types of cameras are simply amazing and surpass even the most professional devices. Thus, it is perfect for highly dynamic filming. Most of them are waterproof, which means nothing stops you from mounting it on your surfboard or diving deep and taking some of the most breathtaking shots of your life. With an action camera, you can both shoot video and take photos, but it is obvious that they are more applicable to video.

action different types of cameras example

7. Bridge Cameras - With Fixed Zoom Lens

bridge different types of cameras

Recommended models: Panasonic LUMIX FZ80, Nikon COOLPIX P950
Average price: $400

  • User-friendly
  • Versatile zoom lenses
  • Reasonable price
  • Perfectly-sized sensor
  • Weak battery
  • Poorer photo quality

If you are after a device that combines the advantages of DSLR and compact camera types of photography, then take a closer look at the bridge camera. They are ergonomic and easily customizable like a DSLR and are as handy and small as a compact one. The difference from DSLRs is that they are equipped with zoom lenses, instead of being compatible with interchangeable lenses. What’s more, they quite correspond to the range of focal lengths of a telephoto lens.

bridge different types of cameras lifestyle

All of this makes the bridge camera a real boon for those who love capturing nature or high-action activities but don’t want to invest too much and buy a DSLR or mirrorless camera. There are also very handy DSLR-like controls that let you set ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to name a few.

bridge different types of cameras example

8. Instant Cameras - For gatherings and Parties

instant different types of cameras

Recommended models: Polaroid Now+, Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Average price: $150

  • Compact build
  • Ease of use
  • Reliable media
  • Comes in several sizes
  • Not cheap
  • Comes without interchangeable lenses
  • Setting limitations

As you might have guessed from the name, instant cameras were designed to give users their shots as soon as the shutter is clicked. Polaroid introduced the first models of such devices, and they are still popular under this brand. Different kinds of cameras in this category feature exclusive vintage styling and increased automation, making them incredibly beginner-friendly.

instant different types of cameras lifestyle

They produce authentic shots with a special vibe that is so loved by millions that photo editing software developers create special filters that resemble this vibe. Such devices will come in very handy for guests at weddings and other parties because no one will have to set complex settings and wait days for their photos.

instant different types of cameras example

9. Compact Cameras - For Casual Photographers

compact different types of cameras

Recommended models: Lecran, Kodak PIXPRO
Average price: $50

  • Intuitive
  • Lightweight and small-sized
  • Fully automatic
  • Low price
  • Isn’t customizable
  • Zooming range limits
  • Weaker resolution

Compact cameras, also referred to as point and shoot cameras, are small and have intuitive controls. They are common among amateur photographers and ordinary users who want to capture the events of their lives. That is why they cannot be deeply tuned, they are not heaped up with complex parameters that are incomprehensible to an ordinary person.

compact different types of cameras lifestyle

All these delicate processes are done automatically so that you can enjoy well-exposed shots at the end. They are very convenient to carry with you always because they are pocket-sized and very durable.

compact different types of cameras example

What’s more, they are inexpensive and last a very long time. However, unlike SLR cameras, it is impossible to put another lens here, and be prepared for the fact that the quality of their pictures will be inferior to different kinds of cameras of professional grade.

10. Rugged Cameras - Resistant to Environment

rugged different types of cameras

Recommended models: KODAK PIXPRO WPZ2, OLYMPUS Tough TG-6
Average price: $150

  • Compact and highly portable
  • Robust assembly
  • User-friendly
  • Weatherproof
  • Poorer image quality
  • Lenses can’t be replaced

These camera types are built with tough conditions and rough handling in mind. This is what you need if you are into extreme, sports, and outdoor photography so you don’t have to worry about your regular camera breaking after the next photo session. You can choose among waterproof cameras or pick up a model that can withstand dust or shock.

rugged different types of cameras lifestyle

Some of them come with GPS technology, making tracking possible even on the go. Therefore, when planning a tour to the mountains on bicycles or other places almost untouched by man, take a closer look at such a reliable device.

rugged different types of cameras example

11. Smartphone Cameras - Easy Access

smartphone different types of cameras

Recommended models: Apple iPhone 12, Google Pixel 6
Average price: $800

  • Ease of storing and backup
  • Additional lenses
  • Rich variety of accessories
  • Instant share
  • Smaller sensor
  • Setting limitations
  • Automatic controls

The camera phone can be safely called the most popular and widespread camera today. That’s because they’re built into the devices you use the most during the day, so they take up very little space and are always at your fingertips.

smartphone different types of cameras lifestyle

What’s more, using them is a breeze. Another benefit is that you can install a whole bunch of free photo editing apps that can handle high-quality shots. Also, the smartphone will always store your pictures directly on it, so you will always have access to them.

smartphone different types of cameras example

To diversify your shooting, you can play around with a variety of phone camera lenses. They can meet the expectations of passionate photographers seeking new, previously unseen angles.


  • • What is the most important feature of a camera?

The decisive factor affecting the quality of the output pictures is the size of the sensor built into the camera. Sometimes users think that this is the number of megapixels, since this parameter is most often mentioned in the description of the device, but this is not the case.

  • • How is camera quality measured?

The resolution of an image is the amount of detail it has. This parameter is usually measured in pixels. Its value gives us an idea of how detailed and large, but not blurry and grainy, our photos will be.

  • • How much is a nice camera?

The price range for a decent pro-grade camera starts at $4,499 and ends at $6,299. However, you can look for a good option among used cameras, prices of which start at $100. Also, keep in mind that this price does not include lenses, which you also have to buy separately.

  • • Do lenses make a camera better?

Of course, the lens plays a big role in the clarity of the photo. However, the quality of autofocus and the degree of ergonomics is still covered by the camera. While the lens retains more value, the camera is responsible for high resolution.

  • • How long do digital cameras last?

Under normal use, the camera is rated for 3-5 years. In some, this parameter can reach 5-10 years. Shutter speed is a wearable parameter that can affect the lifespan of a device. However, an amateur photographer, for example, will have to work hard to wear it out.