Digital cameras come in a wide range of sizes, prices and capabilities. In addition to general purpose digital cameras, specialized cameras including multispectral imaging equipment and astrographs are used for scientific, military, medical and other special purposes.
DSC-W170 is a subcompact camera with lens assembly retracted
Disassembled compact digital camera
Compact cameras are intended to be portable (pocketable) and are particularly suitable for casual “snapshots“.
Many incorporate a retractable lens assembly that provides optical zoom. In most models, an auto actuating lens cover protects the lens from elements. Most ruggedized or water-resistant models do not retract, and most with superzoom capability do not retract fully.
Compact cameras are usually designed to be easy to use. Almost all include an automatic mode, or “auto mode”, which automatically makes all camera settings for the user. Some also have manual controls. Compact digital cameras typically contain a small sensor which trades-off picture quality for compactness and simplicity; images can usually only be stored using lossy compression (JPEG). Most have a built-in flash usually of low power, sufficient for nearby subjects. A few high end compact digital cameras have a hotshoe for connecting to an external flash. Live preview is almost always used to frame the photo on an integrated LCD. In addition to being able to take still photographs almost all compact cameras have the ability to record video.
Compacts often have macro capability and zoom lenses, but the zoom range (up to 30x) is generally enough for candid photography but less than is available on bridge cameras (more than 60x), or the interchangeable lenses of DSLR cameras available at a much higher cost. Autofocus systems in compact digital cameras generally are based on a contrast-detection methodology using the image data from the live preview feed of the main imager. Some compact digital cameras use a hybrid autofocus system similar to what is commonly available on DSLRs.
For low cost and small size, these cameras typically use image sensor formats with a diagonal between 6 and 11 mm, corresponding to a crop factor between 7 and 4. This gives them weaker low-light performance, greater depth of field, generally closer focusing ability, and smaller components than cameras using larger sensors. Some cameras use a larger sensor including, at the high end, a pricey full-frame sensor compact camera, such as Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1, but have capability near that of a DSLR.
Rugged compact cameras typically include protection against submersion, hot and cold conditions, shock and pressure. Terms used to describe such properties include waterproof, freezeproof, heatproof, shockproof and crushproof, respectively. Nearly all major camera manufacturers have at least one product in this category. Some are waterproof to a considerable depth up to 82 feet (27 m); others only 10 feet (3 m), but only a few will float. Ruggeds often lack some of the features of ordinary compact camera, but they have video capability and the majority can record sound. Most have image stabilization and built-in flash. Touchscreen LCD and GPS do not work under water.
Further information: Action camera
GoPro and other brands offer action cameras which are rugged, small and can be easily attached to helmet, arm, bicycle, etc. Most have wide angle and fixed focus, and can take still pictures and video, typically with sound.
Main article: 360-degree camera
The 360-degree camera can take picture or video 360 degrees using two lenses back-to-back and shooting at the same time. Some of the cameras are Ricoh Theta S, Nikon Keymission 360 and Samsung Gear 360. Nico360 was launched in 2016 and claimed as the world’s smallest 360-degree camera with size 46 x 46 x 28 mm (1.8 x 1.8 x 1.1 in) and price less than $200. With virtual reality mode built-in stitching, Wifi, and Bluetooth, live streaming can be done. Due to it also being water resistant, the Nico360 can be used as action camera.
There are tend that action cameras have capabilities to shoot 360 degrees with at least 4K resolution.
Sony DSC-H2Main article: Bridge camera
Bridge cameras physically resemble DSLRs, and are sometimes called DSLR-shape or DSLR-like. They provide some similar features but, like compacts, they use a fixed lens and a small sensor. Some compact cameras have also PSAM mode. Most use live preview to frame the image. Their usual autofocus is by the same contrast-detect mechanism as compacts, but many bridge cameras have a manual focus mode and some have a separate focus ring for greater control.
Big physical size and small sensor allow superzoom and wide aperture. Bridge cameras generally include an image stabilization system to enable longer handheld exposures, sometimes better than DSLR for low light condition.
As of 2014, bridge cameras come in two principal classes in terms of sensor size, firstly the more traditional 1/2.3″ sensor (as measured by image sensor format) which gives more flexibility in lens design and allows for handholdable zoom from 20 to 24 mm (35 mm equivalent) wide angle all the way up to over 1000 mm supertele, and secondly a 1″ sensor that allows better image quality particularly in low light (higher ISO) but puts greater constraints on lens design, resulting in zoom lenses that stop at 200 mm (constant aperture, e.g. Sony RX10) or 400 mm (variable aperture, e.g. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000) equivalent, corresponding to an optical zoom factor of roughly 10 to 15.
Some bridge cameras have a lens thread to attach accessories such as wide-angle or telephoto converters as well as filters such as UV or Circular Polarizing filter and lens hoods. The scene is composed by viewing the display or the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Most have a slightly longer shutter lag than a DSLR. Many of these cameras can store images in a raw format in addition to supporting JPEG. The majority have a built-in flash, but only a few have a hotshoe.
In bright sun, the quality difference between a good compact camera and a digital SLR is minimal but bridge cameras are more portable, cost less and have a greater zoom ability. Thus a bridge camera may better suit outdoor daytime activities, except when seeking professional-quality photos.
Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camerasEdit
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II introduced 2016
Nikon Z7 introduced 2018Main article: Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera
In late 2008, a new type of camera emerged, called a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. It is technically a DSLR camera that doesn’t require a reflex mirror, a key component of the former. While a typical DSLR has a mirror that reflects light from the lens up to the optical viewfinder, in a mirrorless camera, there is no optical viewfinder. The image sensor is exposed to light at all times, gives the user a digital preview of the image either on the built-in rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
These are simpler and more compact than DSLRs due to not having a lens reflex system. MILCs, or mirrorless cameras for short, come with various sensor sizes depending on the brand and manufacturer, these include: a small 1/2.3 inch sensor, as is commonly used in bridge cameras such as the original Pentax Q (more recent Pentax Q versions have a slightly larger 1/1.7 inch sensor); a 1-inch sensor; a Micro Four Thirds sensor; an APS-C sensor found in Sony NEX series and α “DSLR-likes”, Fujifilm X series, Pentax K-01, and Canon EOS M; and some, such as the Sony α7, use a full frame (35 mm) sensor, with the Hasselblad X1D being the first medium format mirrorless camera. Some MILCs have a separate electronic viewfinder to compensate the lack of an optical one. In other cameras, the back display is used as the primary viewfinder in the same way as in compact cameras. One disadvantage of mirrorless cameras compared to a typical DSLR is its battery life due to the energy consumption of the electronic viewfinder, but this can be mitigated by a setting inside the camera in some models.
Olympus and Panasonic released many Micro Four Thirds cameras with interchangeable lenses that are fully compatible with each other without any adapter, while others have proprietary mounts. In 2014, Kodak released its first Micro Four Third system camera.
As of March 2014, mirrorless cameras are fast becoming appealing to both amateurs and professionals alike due to their simplicity, compatibility with some DSLR lenses, and features that match most DLSRs today.
Sony Alpha ILCE-QX1, an example of a modular, lens-style camera, introduced in 2014
While most digital cameras with interchangeable lenses feature a lens-mount of some kind, there are also a number of modular cameras, where the shutter and sensor are incorporated into the lens module.
The first such modular camera was the Minolta Dimâge V in 1996, followed by the Minolta Dimâge EX 1500 in 1998 and the Minolta MetaFlash 3D 1500 in 1999. In 2009, Ricoh released the Ricoh GXR modular camera.
At CES 2013, Sakar International announced the Polaroid iM1836, an 18 MP camera with 1″-sensor with interchangeable sensor-lens. An adapter for Micro Four Thirds, Nikon and K-mount lenses was planned to ship with the camera.
There are also a number of add-on camera modules for smartphones, they are called lens-style cameras (lens camera or smart lens). They contain all the essential components of a digital camera inside a DSLR lens-shaped module, hence the name, but lack any sort of viewfinder and most controls of a regular camera. Instead, they are connected wirelessly and/or mounted to a smartphone to be used as its display output and operate the camera’s various controls.
Lens-style cameras include:
- Sony Cyber-shot QX series “Smart Lens” or “SmartShot” cameras, announced and released in mid 2013 with the Cyber-shot DSC-QX10. In January 2014, a firmware update was announced for the DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100. In September 2014, Sony announced the Cyber-shot DSC-QX30 as well as the Alpha ILCE-QX1, the former an ultrazoom with a built-in 30x optical zoom lens, the latter opting for an interchangeable Sony E-mount instead of a built-in lens.
- Kodak PixPro smart lens camera series, announced in 2014. These include: the 5X optical zoom SL5, 10X optical zoom SL10, and the 25X optical zoom SL25; all featuring 16 MP sensors and 1080p video recording, except for the SL5 which caps at 720p.
- ViviCam IU680 smart lens camera from Sakar-owned brand, Vivitar, announced in 2014.
- Olympus Air A01 lens camera, announced in 2014 and released in 2015, the lens camera is an open platform with an Android operating system and can detach into 2 parts (sensor module and lens), just like the Sony QX1, and all compatible Micro Four Thirds lenses can then be attached to the built-in lens mount of the camera’s sensor module.
Digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR)Edit
Digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) use a reflex mirror that can reflect the light and also can swivel from one position to another position and back to initial position. By default, the reflex mirror is set 45 degree from horizontal, blocks the light to the sensor and reflects light from the lens to penta-mirror/prism at the DSLR camera and after some reflections arrives at the viewfinder. The reflex mirror is pulled out horizontally below the penta-mirror/prism when shutter release is fully pressed, so the viewfinder will be dark and the light/image can directly strike the sensor at the time of exposure (speed setting).
Autofocus is accomplished using sensors in the mirror box. Some DSLRs have a “live view” mode that allows framing using the screen with image from the sensor.
These cameras have much larger sensors than the other types, typically 18 mm to 36 mm on the diagonal (crop factor 2, 1.6, or 1). The larger sensor permits more light to be received by each pixel; this, combined with the relatively large lenses provides superior low-light performance. For the same field of view and the same aperture, a larger sensor gives shallower focus. They use interchangeable lenses for versatility. Usually some lenses are made for digital SLR use only, but recent trend the lenses can also be used in detachable lens video camera with or without adapter.
Digital Still Cameras (DSC)Edit
Digital Still Camera (DSC), such as the Sony DSC cameras, is a type of camera that doesn’t use a reflex mirror. DSCs are like point-and-shoot cameras and is, the most common type of cameras, due to its comfortable price and its quality.
Here are a list of DSCs: List of Sony Cyber-shot cameras
Fixed-mirror DSLT camerasEdit
Cameras with fixed semi-transparent mirrors, also known as DSLT cameras, such as the Sony SLT cameras, are single-lens without a moving reflex mirror as in a conventional DSLR. A semi-transparent mirror transmits some of the light to the image sensor and reflects some of the light along the path to a pentaprism/pentamirror which then goes to an optical view finder (OVF) as is done with a reflex mirror in DSLR cameras. The total amount of light is not changed, just some of the light travels one path and some of it travels the other. The consequences are that DSLT cameras should shoot a half stop differently from DSLR. One advantage of using a DSLT camera is the blind moments a DSLR user experiences while the reflecting mirror is moved to send the light to the sensor instead of the viewfinder do not exist for DSLT cameras. Because there is no time at which light is not traveling along both paths, DSLT cameras get the benefit of continuous auto-focus tracking. This is especially beneficial for burst-mode shooting in low-light conditions and also for tracking when taking video.
Main article: Rangefinder camera § Digital rangefinder
A rangefinder is a device to measure subject distance, with the intent to adjust the focus of a camera’s objective lens accordingly (open-loop controller). The rangefinder and lens focusing mechanism may or may not be coupled. In common parlance, the term “rangefinder camera” is interpreted very narrowly to denote manual-focus cameras with a visually-read out optical rangefinder based on parallax. Most digital cameras achieve focus through analysis of the image captured by the objective lens and distance estimation, if it is provided at all, is only a byproduct of the focusing process (closed-loop controller).
Line-scan camera systemsEdit
A San Francisco cable car, imaged using an Alkeria Necta N4K2-7C line scan camera with a shutter speed of 250 microseconds, or 4000 frames per second.
A line-scan camera traditionally has a single row of pixel sensors, instead of a matrix of them. The lines are continuously fed to a computer that joins them to each other and makes an image. This is most commonly done by connecting the camera output to a frame grabber which resides in a PCI slot of an industrial computer. The frame grabber acts to buffer the image and sometimes provide some processing before delivering to the computer software for processing. Industrial processes often require height and width measurements performed by digital line-scan systems.
Multiple rows of sensors may be used to make colored images, or to increase sensitivity by TDI (time delay and integration).
Many industrial applications require a wide field of view. Traditionally maintaining consistent light over large 2D areas is quite difficult. With a line scan camera all that is necessary is to provide even illumination across the “line” currently being viewed by the camera. This makes sharp pictures of objects that pass the camera at high speed.
Such cameras are also commonly used to make photo finishes, to determine the winner when multiple competitors cross the finishing line at nearly the same time. They can also be used as industrial instruments for analyzing fast processes.
Line-scan cameras are also extensively used in imaging from satellites (see push broom scanner). In this case the row of sensors is perpendicular to the direction of satellite motion. Line-scan cameras are widely used in scanners. In this case, the camera moves horizontally.Further information: Rotating line camera and Strip photography
Stand alone cameraEdit
Stand alone cameras can be used as remote camera. One kind weighs 2.31 ounces (65.5 g), with a periscope shape, IPx7 water-resistance and dust-resistance rating and can be enhanced to IPx8 by using a cap. They have no viewfinder or LCD. Lens is a 146 degree wide angle or standard lens, with fixed focus. It can have a microphone and speaker, And it can take photos and video. As a remote camera, a phone app using Android or iOS is needed to send live video, change settings, take photos, or use time lapse.
Digital superzoom cameras are digital cameras that can zoom in very far. These superzoom cameras are suitable for people who have nearsightedness.