Human beings have found many ways to leave our mark upon the world, but art is arguably the most influential. Art is responsible for much of our knowledge of the classical era and even before that. Some would argue that the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians was an art of its own, melded with a language.
In discussing the compact camera, we will be discussing a form of art. While photography is relatively young compared to many other arts, it is no less valid than any of them. Photography had its roots in the mid 19th century, which is at least 2000 years later than many other art forms that man has practiced.
Cameras are the tools used by photographers to ply their trade, and they are equivalent to what the pencil would mean to the sketcher, and the piano to the pianist. The compact camera (and every other camera) is a way to create art. Every photo is a unique moment in time, perfectly captured by a digital sensor.
While cameras used to burn images onto film, we have reached an age where the process has become entirely digitized. Some might argue that a bit of the soul of photography has been lost in this transition to the digital world, but we would argue that so much more has been gained through it.
Before digital cameras, photography was a hobby that was intimidating to get into because of all the necessary equipment. Many would never try taking photography seriously due to the steep entry cost and the amount of knowledge needed to be a reasonably effective photographer.
With the rising popularity of digital cameras, people who never even knew that they would enjoy photography can indulge in the hobby. Compact cameras take this accessibility a step further. A camera that is smaller can be brought to many more places, and can capture so much more of your life.
Before moving on to more complicated matters, we figure that we will go over some of the basics so we can make sure that all of our readers are on the same page.
At any point, if you feel like we are going over something that you already know, feel free to skip ahead; we tried to make this guide as inclusive as possible. That being said, let’s get started!
What Is A Digital Camera?
A digital camera is a device that uses digital means to capture light and turn them into an image. There are many ways to do this, but the most common method is using an image sensor that is capable of turning the light that it is exposed to into raw data, which is then displayed as an image.
Why Have Digital Cameras Become So Popular Over The Past Few Decades?
So what is the reason for the popularity of these cameras and why was film inadequate? As we touched on earlier, film is simply too clunky and inconvenient to make for a good image medium. As more devices become incompatible, you will find that film simply becomes a hindrance.
Why should you have to scan a photograph to be able to share it with friends? A digital camera lets you upload your photos nearly instantly after taking them. In an interconnected world, there
is no reason to opt for something as archaic as a camera that operates using film.
What Kinds Of Digital Cameras Are There?
While we will take a look at digital camera types in further detail soon, it is important to understand that there are many subcategories of digital cameras. Some digital cameras are meant to be used by casual photographers and are thus inexpensive and much easier to use than high-end models meant for professionals.
Speaking of which, the most expensive cameras go for several thousand dollars, with the most expensive movie cameras costing up to 10 000, or even 100 000 dollars. Whether or not movie cameras shoot in film or in a digital format is up to the discretion of the film’s director as both options are available.
During the mid 19th century, the first type of practical photography was known as the Daguerreotype. Named after its inventor, this type of photography required an exceptionally long exposure period which made it inconvenient for photographing any subject that wasn’t static.
As time went on, more advanced techniques were developed using silver plates, chromatographs, and much more, but film eventually became the preferred medium for images. Film has the advantage of being lightweight, sensitive to light, and easy to fold into a camera for extended shooting sessions.
Film was the preferred method of taking images well into the 1980s and even the 1990s. Digital cameras did not become widespread until the 2000s, but when the public got their hands on them, they could never go back.
While there are still many high-quality film cameras available, they are typically only purchased by photography enthusiasts.
Since the digital camera is so much more convenient and accessible, it has become so popular that nearly everyone carries one around in their pocket in the form of their smartphone. Instant access to image taking and video recording has changed us as a society (some would argue for the better, others for worse).
How Do Digital Cameras Work?
While we briefly touched on their method of operation earlier, we did not go over how digital cameras work in detail. The main component of a digital camera is a sensor, and this replaces all of the film-related components in an analog camera.
When light hits the digital sensor, the light is split up into pixels, each of which is a base component of the image. Every pixel in an image has a number assigned to it based on its brightness and color, and this is the form in which the data is stored.
A digital photo, in its purest form, is a group of thousands to millions of numbers (depending on the size of the image). When a device interprets these numbers, it knows the exact placement, color, and brightness of each pixel, which allows a monitor to recreate your image.
Unlike film photography, digital photography has nothing to do with chemical reactions; everything is digitized. The growing popularity of digital photography has led to leaps and bounds in photography technology, each of which is welcomed by members of the photography community around the world.
Digital Camera Types
Here are some of the most common types of digital camera on the market:
The compact camera is the most accessible type of camera because it can fit into almost any bag or article of clothing. If you want to have your camera at your side at all times, you will want to invest in a suitable compact camera.
There are many compact camera types, ranging from point-and-shoot models that are only meant for casual photography to models that rival the quality of professional DSLRs.
Keep in mind that compact cameras will be pricier than full-size models of equivalent capability due to the more advanced technology needed to downsize them.
These compact cameras are designed to be used during extreme sports and other similar activities where your camera has a high chance of being damaged or broken. These cameras tend to be waterproof, shock-resistant, and more durable than most other types of compact cameras.
Adventure cameras may sound similar to action cameras, and that is because they are. While action cameras focus on sheer durability, adventure cameras are meant to put up with ambient conditions more than direct damage.
While adventure cameras are still waterproof, you will find that they are sand-resistant, fog-resistant, and they often feature attachment points where they can fit into outdoor gear.
Digital Camera Lenses
Before we discuss the different types of camera lenses, it’s important to know what makes each of them different. Camera lenses are measured by their focal length, and their basic unit is represented in millimeters. Lenses are often shown within a range such as “50-100mm.”
When shopping, you need to know which camera is suitable for your project. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that new photographers get a standard and a wide angle lens, so they have the most versatility when conducting photoshoots.
Looking for your lens on the manufacturer’s website can be confusing for some new users. Luckily, you can ignore the complex parts of it, and concentrate on a few things. The table below displays the most popular camera lenses and what range they work the best in:
Wide Angle Lens
Close-medium shots only
50-200mm to 55-30 mm
To get direct shots on targets that are too far away
Close Range shots
10mm to 300mm
Used to make high quality shots with little illumination or light in the background
While there is a vast range of lenses to choose from, you only need about 2-3 of them if you’re just starting off. Here are the most common lenses that photographers tend to use for casual and professional photoshoots:
Wide Angle Lens
Wide lens gives your photo a “zoomed out” appearance. It captures more of the scene than the human eye due to its wide range. On average, wide angle lens have a focal length ranging from 24-35mm.
For photographers wanting to have a full landscape shot, ultra wide lenses are available. Ultra-wide lenses have short focal lengths that are about 24mm or lower.
Due to the wide viewing angle, straight lines that are on the edge of the photo will appear curved. To correct this, you can use rectilinear lenses. While they might create more straight lines, they give an interesting perspective shift. For instance, the objects that are placed on the edges of the photo will appear larger than objects placed further away.
Using a wide-angle lens results in photos that pay attention to the landscape of the picture. To make a good effect, make sure that you have an object in the foreground in order for the viewer to focus on.
Also, wide angle lenses make cool effects when taking photos of objects that are near you. For instance, photographing flowers closer to you will highlight the flowers and make them larger than the background. We recommend using a rectilinear lens to create smooth edges and less distortion.
When buying your first DSLR camera, chances are it came with a standard lens to help beginner photographers on their first photoshoots. Standard lenses have focal lengths ranging from 35 and 70mm and are known for their versatility.
As its name suggests, standard lens is easy to use and provides the same viewing angle as the human eye. If you’re trying to take portraits, landscapes, urban shoots, action photos, or anything that comes to mind, standard lens will help you make a good shot.
They are great for subjects that are within a close-to-medium range. If you don’t have to zoom in or zoom out completely from an object fully. They are designed to take a myriad of shots, that’s why they are included in most camera kits.
The best time to use a standard kit is when you’re outdoors or traveling. Since its a versatile lens, you can take it and another lens with you to get the best photo footage within a scene.
Superzoom And Telephoto Lenses
Superzoom lenses are like telephoto lenses, but they have variety of focal lengths. You can get one with a focal length of 55-200mm or 55-300mm. Understand that you’ll have to pay more for the increased range.
Telephoto lenses have one focal length of 70mm and are used to help photographers get closer shots at faraway subjects. Both superzoom and telephoto lenses are great for this purpose. For instance, you could be trying to take a photo of an animal you’re unable to get close to with a standard lens.
Remember, your subject doesn’t have to be far from you in order to use a superzoom/telephoto lens. If you’re trying to get an image that’s mostly covered by a subject, either a superzoom or a telephoto lens will help your subject appear close.
Shorter telephoto lenses can be used for portraits, as they help make your subject differentiate itself from the background as well. Get either a super zoom or telephoto lens to increase the number of shots you can take on your desired subject.
Macro lenses are specialized for up-close photography and produce a 1:1 image. This means that your subject will be captured in a life-size image which also has extra details as well. For instance, photos of insects, flowers, and objects are shot through macro lenses.
While flowers are the most popular subjects for macro photos, any subject up close can make a interesting images. Wood, old mechanical parts, wood, and random objects such as glass or keys can make large landscapes with patterns and textures that you never noticed before.
As a result, only the foreground is the main focus. If you want to add emphasis to normal objects. You should use macro lenses to make an image with a narrow field depth of field.
A prime lens has only one focal length. You can find prime lenses for any focal length such as a telephoto to a standard lens. Here are some of the most common advantages of using prime lenses for your camera.
For instance, since they have less moving parts, they produce high-quality pictures without any distortion. Because of this, they are used for making portraits. Plus, they have faster apertures; which means that they can make high-quality images in low-bright situations. Since there are no moving parts, they are less expensive than zoom lenses.
When is the right time to use a prime lens? They should be used when you want to make a high-quality picture. Night photos, action shots, and portraits are traditional photos that work well with a prime lens.
But, you can find a prime lens for any shoot you’re trying to make (10mm up to 300mm and higher). 50mm lens is used for all around shots while 85mm lenses are good for portrait shots. Find the right prime lens before buying to make the best photo possible.
There is a myriad of manufacturers that create regular cameras. However, you need to invest in the ones who have a good reputation and long-standing history of well-performing cameras. Here are the top three camera manufacturers that you should consider when you start shopping.
Canon is the lead manufacturer in providing digital imaging solutions to consumers to businesses. Founded in 1937, they are responsible for inventing the Kwanon, the first known Japanese camera with a plane based shutter.
Now, the company creates cameras with modern technology and state of the art designs. You should invest in Canon if you want a fully functional camera that will operate in rough conditions and still produce a quality photo.
Like Canon, Sony is a Japanese manufacturer who produces high definition and DSLR cameras for their customers. However, Sony expanded their business to both music, games, and financial software.
Since their origins in 1946, Sony has sold cameras that have been made to assist users in making the best photos possible. If you want a camera that has a wide range of advanced features and a wide range of zooming options.
Panasonic is a large electronics manufacturing brand that develops cameras for industrial, businesses and customers. They are known for their long-lasting Li-ion batteries and versatile cameras that have a long life span.
f you want a camera that’s durable, then you should get one from Panasonic. Their cameras usually come with a weather resistant bag and can be used during winter seasons. Because of this, its a great choice for first-time photographers who want a reliable camera to have in your inventory.
How To Care For Your Camera
Even though you have purchased your first camera, you still have to take care of it. We’ll give you a few tips to help you take care of your camera and utilize it to get the most out of it.
Invest In A Camera Bag
Too many people tend to carry their cameras in the wrong cases. For instance, they’ll place their cameras in suitcases, backpacks, and even their purses! Some beginner photographers carry it around in their hands as if it was a smartphone.
You should get a camera bag to increase the lifespan of your camera and protect it from collisions and damage. Not only does it protect your camera from dust and scratches, it protects it from the rain and other forms of moisture.
There is a wide collection of camera bags to choose from. When shopping for your first camera, check to see if it comes with a camera bag for extra protection. Thus, you’ll be able to keep your camera running properly and ensure that it lasts past its average life expectancy.
Don’t Keep Your Batteries In Your Camera For Too Long
Traditional cameras were known for having batteries that leaked acid. This is rarely seen with newer batteries that have been produced. Nowadays, cameras have batteries with lithium and alkaline formats.
But, if you keep your cameras inside your battery for an extended period of time, it will start to have a corrosive reaction. If your camera batteries have been inside your camera for a few months, then you should remove them immediately.
If you spot corrosion on your camera, simply use a pencil eraser to remove it. Even if the batteries have no power, they can reduce the overall effectiveness of your camera. In order to be completely safe, remove your batteries once you’re done using them.
Moisture Can Destroy Your Camera
Cameras are delicate instruments. For instance, they have circuit boards, buttons, and connectors that are all sensitive to outside moisture. Because of this, you need to protect your camera!
Only use a waterproof bag when taking shots in the rain. You should also obtain a small towel to wipe off any excess moisture. If you want the ultimate protection, you should invest in a camera sleeve.
As a photographer, you need to know the right camera to take the best photos. But it can be confusing as to which cameras you need to buy at first. We invite you to check our buying guide to find the top 5 cameras that are in today’s market. Doing so will help you get a camera that will perform well and stay in good condition when used in harsh climates.