Thursday, 1 November 2012

Different Types Of Cameras

SLR - Single Reflex Camera

"SLR" stands for Single-lens reflex, the method by which most professional-grade cameras take photos. In an SLR camera, light enters the lens and is reflected upwards by a mirror into the viewfinder assembly. When the operator looks through the viewfinder, he or she adjusts the lens and the camera in preparation to take the shot. When the shutter button is pressed, the mirror swings up and the shutter opens, allowing the light from the lens to fall onto the film and capture the image. SLR cameras for professional photographers were introduced in the 1920's, and became popular with photographers of all levels in the 1960's. Film used in a standard SLR was 35mm
A Digital SLR operates on the same principle as a film SLR camera: light comes through the lens and is reflected into the viewfinder, allowing the user to adjust the camera and the lens before pressing the shutter button to raise the mirror and take the shot. But instead of projecting the light onto a strip of film, it's captured by a digital sensor and saved to a memory card as an image file. There are many advantages to Digital SLR photography beyond the files: batteries last longer, settings are easier to adjust with an LCD screen, and the cameras can be physically smaller.

Some examples of SLR Cameras

The 35 mm film-based Nikon F, 1959, the world's first single-lens reflex camera

A Digital SLR (DSLR)


The ability to change lenses.
Larger image sensors allow for better performance in low light situations.
Hot shoe to add external flash removing the threat of red eye.
Bigger images make bigger prints.


Bigger images meaning bigger files

TLR - Twin Lens Reflex
A twin-lens reflex camera (TLR) is a type of camera with two objective lenses of the same focal length. One of the lenses is the photographic objective or "taking lens" (the lens that takes the picture), while the other is used for the viewfinder system, which is usually viewed from above at waist level. In addition to the objective, the viewfinder consists of a 45-degree mirror (the reason for the word reflex in the name), a matte focusing screen at the top of the camera, and a pop-up hood surrounding it. The two objectives are connected, so that the focus shown on the focusing screen will be exactly the same as on the film. However, many inexpensive TLRs are fixed-focus models. Most TLRs use leaf shutters with shutter speeds up to 1/500th sec with a B setting.
The vast majority of TLRs take 120 film and expose 12 pictures in 6×6cm format. Some models did take 127 film,and expose 12 pictures in 4×4 format, and there are a few models using other formats. No general-purpose digital TLR cameras exist.


  • TLRs are typically very quiet.
  • Viewfinder image matches image size on film.
  • No viewfinder blackout during exposure.
  • TLRs use leaf shutters, which can sync with a flash at any speed.
  • TLRs are waist-level cameras. Subjects are usually more relaxed and less likely to pose for photographers using waist-level cameras. Although you can get adaptors for them


  • Parallax is a problem at close distances.
  • Reversed image (image is upright but reversed left to right).
  • Unlike an SLR, no impression of depth-of-field can be given in the viewfinder, as the viewing lens has no diaphragm.
  • Most don't have interchangeable lenses (exceptions: Mamiya C series and Koni-Omegaflex).
  • Can be relatively large and heavy (depending on brand and model).
Medium Format SLR

Medium Format refers to the film in the camera.

Medium format film is larger (often significantly so) than 35mm film, and is wound onto reusable spools. While 120 is the most common medium format, there are others available, including 620, which is the same size as 120 but uses smaller spools. Medium format film uses a paper backing to protect it from exposure to light, and should be loaded in subdued light conditions. Currently the two most popular formats are 120 and 220. 120 film is basically a spooled paper-backed film, that will take from 8 to 16 exposures (6x9 to 6x4.5). The paper back typically has rows of numbers that lines up with the (usually red) window on the back for the format of that particular camera. 220 film is the exact same film, except instead of a paper backing, it has a paper leader. The film itself has no paper backing and is twice the length of 120, so instead of 8 to 16 exposures you may get around 15 to 31 exposures. 116 or 616 type film was a 70mm wide paper backed film, which is no longer readily made.

Pros -

  • Larger negative requires less blow-up (16X to 24X) to make 8X10s.
  • Available in a variety of types, & some systems that are as versatile as 35mm.
  • Good range of professional quality films available.
  • Most are still small enough to be convenient and hand holdable.
  • Automation available on some models.
Cons -

  • Many are *EXPENSIVE* compared to 35mm cameras with similar features due to lack of a mass market.
  • Local availability of film and processing is limited unless you are in a metropolitan area.

Large Format Camera

Large format means film that is generally at least 4x5 inches (or 9x12 cm). Film this size is generally used as individual sheets, rather than rolls as in smaller formats. (There are large rolls of film, though, used for such things as aerial photography.) Exposures on a large-format camera are made one at a time, using film loaded into film holders.

While there are many varied designs of large format cameras, there are two basic varieties: the monorail camera, and the field camera. A monorail camera uses a single round or square tube/rail as the base of the camera on which the front and rear sections slide back and forth to accommodate lenses of different focal length. A field camera design allows the camera to fold into itself to facilitate ease of storage and transport. The monorail camera design allows for greater versatility in camera movements, such as swing and tilt, but is typically large and heavy. The field design is usually smaller and lighter, sacrificing range of motion and rigidity.

Most, but not all, large-format cameras are view cameras, with fronts and backs called "standards" that allow the photographer to better control rendering of perspective and increase apparent depth of field. Architectural and close-up photographers in particular benefit greatly from this ability. These allow the front and back of the camera to be shifted up/down and left/right (useful for architectural images where the scene is higher than the camera, and product images where the scene is lower than the camera), and tilted out of parallel with each other left/right, up/down, or both; based on the Scheimpflug principle. The shift and tilt movements make it possible to solve otherwise impossible depth-of-field problems, and to change perspective rendering, and create special effects that would be impossible with a conventional fixed-plane fixed-lens camera.

The main advantage of large format, film or digital, is higher resolution. A 4×5 inch image has about 16 times the area, and thus 16× the total resolution, of a 35 mm frame. see example below:

Pros -
  • Makes high definition prints due to little or no blow-up required. 4X5 to 8X10 is only 4X.
  • Greatest degree of image control available. Most cameras have various movements to control depth of field and perspective.
  • Very high quality films available due professional usage.
  • Wide range of lenses available and any manufacturers lens can be adapted to any camera.
Cons -
  • Large size makes handholding impractical for most uses.
  • Requires more skill to manipulate (no automation).
  • Equipment is expensive if new.
  • Local film and processing availability limited or non-existent outside cities.
  • Equipment is bulky and inconvenient to transport.

Range Finder

A rangefinder camera is a camera fitted with a rangefinder: a range-finding focusing mechanism allowing the photographer to measure the subject distance and take photographs that are in sharp focus. Most varieties of rangefinder show two images of the same subject, one of which moves when a calibrated wheel is turned; when the two images coincide and fuse into one, the distance can be read off the wheel. Older, non-coupled rangefinder cameras display the focusing distance and require the photographer to transfer the value to the lens focus ring; cameras without built-in rangefinders could have an external rangefinder fitted into the accessory shoe. Earlier cameras of this type had separate viewfinder and rangefinder windows; later the rangefinder was incorporated into the viewfinder. More modern designs have rangefinders coupled to the focusing mechanism, so that the lens is focused correctly when the rangefinder images fuse; compare with the focusing screen in non-autofocus SLRs.

Range finder Cameras

  • Compact
  • Quiet and practically vibration-free
  • Very bright, aperture independent viewfinder
  • Superb wide-angle and normal lenses
  • Maximum optical quality at f/4-5.6, while excellent at maximum apertures
  • Short sutter lag
  • Telephoto lenses are limited to 135 mm or shorter (coincident rangefinder cameras)
  • Awkward macro-photography (if possible at all)
  • Possible parallax errors at close-up focusing
  • Rudimentary depth-of-field control
  • Focus control is indirect
  • polarizers cannot be used (without major obstacles)
  • potential mismatch between lens flare vs rangefinder

Bibliography - SALON, Wikipedia, camerapedia, Northnet, photozone

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