Recognizing the Different Types of Cameras

Now that we've narrowed down the type of camera you might wish to consider, let's look at what each class and category cameras has to offer, and what the tradeoffs are.

Table 2-1 provides an overview of typical cameras. Of course, exceptions are the rule. Following the table are more in-depth explanations and discussions of each category.

Table 2-1 Types of Cameras



Intermediate consumer

Advanced amateur


Questionnaire Attributes Score

Price Range

8-14 15-23


Semiprofessional 30-36*



Simple, easy to use, inexpensive, few features. $100—$300

Not complicated, but some user control over exposure $250—$400 and focus. White balance presets. Program modes.

Greater control over exposure, metering, focus, white $375—$700 balance, and so on.

Large, economically superior, with almost every $800—$1,000 feature and function.

Powerful system cameras with interchangeable $950—$2,200

lenses, fast performance, extensive controls and features.

System cameras with interchangeable lenses that are $3,200-5,000 heavy, more durable, more complex, with great control over every shooting aspect. Very high resolution or strikingly faster performance.

* While a prosumer and semipro shooter might have the same questionnaire score, other issues come into play in choosing between these two categories. Essentially, prosumer cameras are less expensive, while semipro models are systems with interchangeable lenses and other accessories.

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