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There are many occasions in life when using a Digital SLR (we stock a number of the leading models incidentally) is neither practical or cost effective. In turn, recent advances in smaller digital camera technology means that the performance differential between digitals and DSLRS has narrowed. In essence – a digital camera will be an effective photography option 99% of the time.
Digital Compact cameras are sometimes known as “point and shoot” cameras. In essence, the camera unit takes care of the technical side of photography such as focusing, exposure time, and more. Many such cameras come with a wide range of creative camera modes but unlike DSLRS there are no mirror mechanisms that can fail. Integrated zoom (usually powered and controlled on the camera body) means that close up and long distance pictures can be taken easily. Digital compacts also offer a significant price saving over their bigger brothers, and from a personal perspective there are many time when I would not even consider taking my DSLR ‘into battle’. Compacts are portable, they are flexible and many photographers choose to use both. To illustrate the power that these smaller cameras can pack, consider the Ricoh CX6 – it has 10 Megapixels, an equivalent 28-300mm zoom and lightning fast autofocus… pretty stunning! Even the cheapest modern digitals, like the Praktica Luxmedia 14-Z51, have an impressive spec (14MP in this case), and won’t leave anyone disappointed.
Shop our full range of: Digital Compacts here
Compact System Cameras
Compact System Cameras are a step up from compact cameras and have larger image sensors. They have superior performance in low light situations and typically provide a quicker response time than compacts. In comparison to DSLRs, they normally lack the wide range of functionality and are slower to start up but they don’t have a mirror mechanism which means they are packaged more slimly and are lighter than DSLRs. Having said that, they normally have a pretty decent range of manual functions enabling the photographer to experiment and adapt their approach as needed. In turn, many CSCs have interchangeable lenses which offer smart flexibility for nearly all situations. At camera-shop, we find that CSCs typically appeal to photographers who want to take the step up from compacts into a more customizable space but do not want to get bogged down in the learning curve of DSLRs. One of the bestselling CSCs is the Pentax Q10 that comes with a twin set of lenses. Performance is stunning, and the camera has a quick dial that enables the photographer to effortlessly create visual effects. At the lower end of the price spectrum, the Pentax Q with 8.5mm lens represents excellent value. Once the buyer is familiar and happy with such a camera, then they can consider purchasing additional lenses – although for many this proves unnecessary.
Buy from camera-shop’s complete range of Compact System Cameras here
As the name suggests, Bridge Cameras ‘bridge’ (or fill) the space between DSLRs and their point and shoot cousins. They often look like smaller DSLRs and the main difference is that they typically (although not always) lack any form of optical viewfinding (in other words, you look through an LCD viewfinder to see the image you are about to take). Why is this useful? On a bright day, looking at the screen on the back of a camera when composing your image can be a challenge! However, bridge cameras also typically come with a wide range of accessories (a wider range than for CSCs) including interchangeable lenses, hot shoes (for your external flash units) and shooting modes. One area where bridge cameras have established a well-deserved reputation is in the zoom department. They offer lenses that can go up to 30x magnification (well beyond what a CSC could offer) and which could only be attained by a DSLR with a telephoto lens. If you wanted to characterise the pecking order of cameras – Bridge cameras would sit just below DSLRs but above CSCs.
Bridge cameras are not as expensive as people might think, and at camera shop, we are very happy to recommend the Pentax X5 for under £200. It has a 26x zoom lens, a stabilised CMOS sensor to minimize shake (really important for zoomed images… small movements at the camera end get magnified at the lens end), electronic viewfinder and HD movie recording options. And being a Pentax, it comes from one of the best camera manufacturers in the world.
See our full range of Bridge Cameras here