A digital Camera is an electronic device that uses optical sensors to capture images and sometimes video into digital data. A digital camera is an input device since it captures physical object and converts it into digital data as input. It captures the image and saves them in pixels which determines the quality and clarity of the image. Most of today`s digital equipment comes with digital cameras that are incorporated or in-built e.g. laptops, smartphones, and many other digital devices.
Major types of digital cameras are professional Digital Single Len Reflex (DSLR), compact, mirrorless, semi-professional, webcam, and smartphone cameras among other categories. To get a digital camera some of the features to consider are resolution, sensor type, lens, battery life, and storage space among many others discussed below.
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Types of digital cameras
There are main different types of digital cameras from different vendors. We are going to discuss the categories where different types of these cameras lie from professional cameras to the camera embedded within your smartphone.
1. Professional or DSLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras
They are mostly used by professional photographers. Most of the settings are left for the user to set although they can have default settings. They allow even the addition of a lens or change from one to another depending on the occasion at hand.
They are expensive but their functionalities are worth it if you are a professional photographer. They give good quality professional images.
2. Point-and-shoot/ compact cameras
They are also known as compact digital cameras. These are the basic digital camera, they are mostly met for general use and non-professional work. As the word suggests you point the camera in the direction of the object you want to capture and you take the snap. Most of the settings are already made for you. The resolution for these cameras is low when compared with others. They are mostly used for taking personal images i.e. for a picnic, outing family photo, or any other image that doesn’t require so much detail.
3. Mirrorless digital camera
They are the compact types that are becoming alternatives to DSLRs. They are small in size compared to DSLRs and they can offer almost the same quality of an image. The name comes from the fact that they don’t have an internal mirror that reflects light to the sensor.
4. Semi-professional cameras
These are the next in line from professional cameras. They offer good-resolution images but not like professional ones. Have additional features that allow users to make changes to the setting to meet the need of the time. Less expensive than professional and good for professional starters or if your budget doesn’t allow you to get a professional camera.
5. Smartphone camera
Almost all smartphone today comes with an inbuilt digital camera. The cameras have different image quality and other features depending on the type, manufacture, and cost of the phone. They are simple to use and most are used for personal image or video capturing.
Webcams are compact digital cameras that can be inbuilt into devices such as laptops or can be brought as standalone that can be connected using a USB connector. They are mostly used for online meetings such as video conferencing, and online classes for online learning among other uses. They are cheap and simple to install for external webcams.
8. CCTV camera/IP cameras
Most of the latest CCTV cameras are IP cameras that capture video has digital images and can transmit them directly to any location within the network. They have better quality and are simple to monitor remotely.
Features of a good digital camera
When selecting a digital camera for any use you can consider features to ensure you get the best. Some of the features of the best digital camera to consider are as follows.
- Cost of the camera: The cost depends on the type of camera you want among the ones discussed early. Professionals are more expensive. Apart from that other factors that may affect cost include the manufacturer company, type of sensors used, and technologies used.
- Battery life: This is another feature to consider because it will limit the time that you can spend taking photos before you need power recharge. Major cameras use lithium-ion batteries which are rechargeable. When buying a camera check battery ratings. The longer it lasts the better.
- The sensor used: Digital cameras use two main sensors either CMOS (complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) or a CCD (Charge Coupled Device). CCD sensors offer high-quality images but, other factors make them less used. CCD technology is not simple to implement and manufacturing them is also costly which makes them not preferable. While CMOS sensors use a simpler technology and they allow the gadget to be more portable than when CCD is used. It also saves on battery power because its power consumption is low. These factors like low cost, less space, and low power consumption make CMOS sensor to be common among most digital cameras of today, both standalone and those in-built into other devices.
- Resolution: This determines the quality of the picture by specifying the number of pixels that can fit within a square inch. The more they per inch better the image quality. Resolution is determined by the sensor type and quality.
- Shooting mode: today’s cameras including smartphone cameras offer different mode settings depending on the current situation. Some of the modes are night, sport, landscape, portrait, and sunset among others.
- Optical zoom: this property is used to capture images that are far. They can also be used to capture more details of a close-up image. High zoom capacity means you can take images of far-distance items.
- Image format: the feature determines how the image is compressed and saved on the storage media. A digital camera uses a JPEG type of image compression and formatting. The format can also affect how many pictures can be saved on a given storage device.
- Camera lens: Lens allows light into the camera. The lens is the one that gives the viewing angle (the amount or area covered when you look through the lens). If one can change the angle of view we say that camera has a zoom. Another consideration of the lens is the opening that allows light which is called the aperture. The wider the aperture of a lens the better.
- Warranty: Get a camera that offers a warranty in case anything happens you can get a replacement or get it repaired. Always be on the safe side.
- Manufacturer/documentation: You may also consider buying from renowned companies but it doesn’t mean the other companies don’t offer good cameras. Make sure it comes with a manual on how to operate and simple troubleshooting methods. This will help you to learn how to use it if you are new to the device.
- Camera storage memories: Most digital cameras use a memory card for the storage of images. Most flash memories used are Secure Digital (SD) and CompactFlash (CS). The capacity of these cards can range from 256MB to 128 GB. The number of images that a memory card can hold varies depending on the quality of the image that is taken. Flash memories used are removable which means you can replace them with another or remove them to make a backup of images if you don’t have a USB cable connector to transfer directly to your personal computer.
- Video capability: depending on the purpose of the camera that you want to acquire it is important to consider video capabilities. Check on the quality of the video output generated.
Factors that determine image quality when taking a picture
- Lighting: The lighting of the place where your object of focus matters and it determines the image quality.
- Photographer experience: The image taken depend on how professional the user is hence the quality of the snap. It will also depend on how well the user knows how to set the camera for quality pictures.
- Type of sensor: As discussed earlier the sensors determine the quality of the image produced.
Advantages of digital camera
- Compact and smartphone cameras are convenient and portable.
- They offer a photo preview which allows for a retake in case of poor quality or errors.
- The most digital camera comes with large storage space.
- A digital camera makes sharing photos simple.
- They offer simple photo editing features.
Disadvantages of digital camera
- Professional cameras are expensive.
- Smartphones and webcam cameras have low-quality images.
- Professional cameras require knowledge of how to use and set up.
- Use of battery for power which gets spent faster.
List of digital cameras manufacturers
There are many manufacturers and brands of digital cameras. below we have a list of major manufacturers.