If you’re a beginning filmmaker or someone just starting out on their photography journey, the number of different types of cameras available can be confusing. What are the different types of cameras used for photography and what is the benefit of each one? 

We have laid out the 7 main types of cameras and our recommendations for the best camera in each category below.

  • Point-and-shoot Cameras
  • DSLR
  • Mirrorless
  • Action Camera
  • Cinema Camera
  • Instant/Polaroid
  • 360-Degree Camera

Point-and-shoot cameras, also known as compact digital cameras, are cameras you can literally point at a scene and shoot. They are incredibly user-friendly and almost always lightweight and portable. They are great cameras for beginners because they automatically adjust your settings to deliver high-resolution and well-exposed photos. 

These cameras are known to be durable and can last decades. They are great for travelers, sporting events, hikes, and road trips. If you’d like some recommendations on the best point-and-shoot camera under $500, read our recommendations here. 

Pros

Cons

DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex. They are a natural step-up to smartphone or point-and-shoot photographers and will give your images a professional quality. They have bigger sensors, more lenses, and a huge range of manual settings you can use to tweak your photos. 

Most professionals use DSLRs for shoots, and they would typically be the camera you use if you’re a professional photographer – whether you’re shooting portraits, landscapes, weddings, or events. There are DSLRs for anybody – whether you’re an adventurer looking for a waterproof DSLR or an amateur looking for a beginner model. If you’d like some overall recommendations for best beginner cameras, read our guide on the 6 best beginner cameras here.

Pros

Cons

A mirrorless camera is kind of a mix between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR. It has interchangeable lenses like the DSLR but is more compact like the point-and-shoots. They are essentially DSLR cameras without the internal mirror which reflects light onto the sensor.  Mirrorless cameras are capable of shooting high quality videos and images that are on par or even better than most DSLR cameras. They have the added benefit of being much lighter than DSLRs but they don’t have as many lenses and accessories available. You can read more about the technology within a mirrorless camera if you are curious here

Pros

Cons

Action cameras can generally fit on your body or a helmet and are incredibly durable to weather conditions and wear and tear. Many of them are waterproof and can shoot in 4K resolution. 

Action cameras are integral if you want to capture adventure sports like snowboarding or surfing, or you are going somewhere like the beach where your camera will be exposed to water. Many action cameras can make cool time-lapse or slow motions videos, and some can be controlled by your smartphone remotely.

Pros

Cons

Cinema cameras shoot in resolutions of 4K or more, ensuring that you will capture video good enough for the big screen. They tend to be more expensive, but will almost always have a huge amount of customizations available in the settings. These are generally used by film professionals, commercial directors, and documentary filmmakers. We’ve compiled a guide on the best filmmaking cameras you can buy on any budget here. 

Pros

Cons

Instant cameras are sort of the opposite of film cameras. However, they’re the most fun camera on this list in a way. Most polaroids allow you to shoot your shot and it prints your photo immediately. They are a great way to connect with a moment and have a physical memory of what you were doing, forever. They are good cameras for gifts or for children.  

Pros

Cons

360-degree cameras capture the entire area around your camera and not just the scene you point it at. They generally do this with back-to-back lenses to give you truly immersive stunning panoramic views. 

They can be hard to work out if you’ve never used one before, but the result is worth the effort. They are a good purchase for anyone looking into virtual reality videography, or for any number of practical uses like real estate tours or capturing Google Street View. They also allow for live streaming.

Pros

Cons

Conclusion

We’ve laid out the 7 main types of cameras you should know about, and the bestselling camera in each category. If you have any questions or would like to know more, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to get back to you quickly.