A Photographer’s Guide to the Different Types of Cameras

Photography is a hobby many Americans are interested in since it’s so accessible. This is especially true now that we have powerful smartphones that can be on par (or even better!) than some cameras.

Not only can you capture priceless memories with these devices, but you can also create works of art that you and others can enjoy. So if you’re interested in picking this hobby up, it’s important to pick a camera that’ll give you top-quality results.

Read on to find out what types of cameras are available so you can find the perfect one for you!

Film Cameras

Those who like old-school things will love taking photos with film cameras. This is where it all started, after all, and it allows you to experience a piece of history.

Even though there’s a wide variety of digital cameras, there’s nothing like using an analog one. Not only can you physically adjust the aperture and shutter speed, but you can develop your film and make prints in a lab too. It’s incredibly satisfying to do things on your own from start to finish!

Otherwise, you can have your film developed at specialty shops. Depending on where you live, these can be far and few, and the cost can be pricey as well. However, if you’re serious about the hobby, it’ll be worth it.

Instant Cameras

Instant cameras are another type of film camera, but as the name suggests, they give you instant prints! You might also know these as Polaroid cameras, but that’s the particular company that first produced these devices.

Instant cameras are handy for events, as you can get pictures immediately and share them with your guests. They’re also handy if you’re a spontaneous person and like to document your interactions. For instance, if you’re backpacking through Europe, you can take pictures of your dorm mates in hostels and hand out copies right away.

The compact prints are great for collecting too. They’re easy to put up on a corkboard so you can fondly remember your adventures.

Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Digital point-and-shoot cameras are also known as compact cameras. These are ideal for beginners in photography, as you only have to literally point and shoot to capture excellent photos. They’re cheap, small, and lightweight too, so it’s easier to bring around, especially if you travel often.

In the past, these digital cameras only had automatic settings and zoom capabilities. However, as time’s passed, technology’s gotten better, and you can now make lots of manual adjustments to boost your photography skills.

Smartphone Cameras

If you’ve got a smartphone, then you probably won’t need to buy a digital point-and-shoot camera. Today’s smartphones are essentially powerful mini-computers that double as fantastic cameras too, so most people have ditched compact cameras and opted to consolidate things by investing in the latest smartphones.

Many smartphones produce higher quality images than compact cameras do. In fact, lots of people use theirs as a professional camera, as you can’t even tell the difference in some cases. It’s much better than buying a camera and all its gear to lug around.

DSLR Cameras

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are what you need if you want to be serious about your hobby; they’re a must-have if you want to make it your profession. Shop photography art to see what we’re talking about.

The possibilities for manual adjustments are endless with DSLRs. Plus, you can swap the lenses, which makes this camera very versatile.

If you’re unsure about sinking a ton of money into photography equipment that you might lose interest in or damage, then the good news is, there are plenty of entry-level DSLRs you can buy without draining your bank account. Once you’re sure of DSLRs, you can then sell your first one to other new photographers, then purchase a higher-end camera.

Action Cameras

Do you often wish that you could capture your adventures, but don’t have enough arms or rigs to set a bulky camera to do it? Then you need an action camera.

This type of camera is small, compact, and durable, so you can use them while doing extreme sports if you wanted. The trade-off is that there often isn’t a viewfinder, you can’t change the lenses, and the modes are limited.

However, the fact that action cameras are easy to bring along makes all these drawbacks worth it. You can get tons of footage you otherwise wouldn’t get with more traditional cameras.


Drones are outstanding for both photos and videos. You can send these devices high up into the air to get breathtaking aerial views. In addition, you can maneuver them into tight spaces, which allows you to get footage from unique vantage points.

Drones can be expensive though, and in many areas, you’ll need a permit to fly one. You also risk annoying and irritating the locals, and some may come out to see what you’re doing.

Plus, these cameras aren’t ideal in extreme weather conditions and temperatures. If you wanted to capture footage during a thunderstorm, then think twice about using a drone.

Choose From These Types of Cameras

With so many types of cameras, there’s bound to be one that’s right for you.

And if you have enough money for it, why don’t you get more than one type? That way, you’ll have multiple cameras to choose from, which enables you to use the optimal one for every occasion.

Thinking about picking up other hobbies? Then check out the rest of our blog page for some inspiration!