What are Compact System Cameras?

A compact system camera is a lighter and smaller alternative to DSLRs whenever an ideal combination of light, manual control and versatility is required. Compact system cameras are the smallest and simplest option for photographers who want to get creative with their photographic talent. These cameras also provide changeable lenses for photographers who do not want to use the same lens for all subjects.

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Just a few years ago, professionals considered variable lenses only as a part of DSLR cameras. These cameras were large due to a mirror box in them. This mirror box was intended to reflect the image and sent it to a prism through which an optical viewfinder could access the view. This setup took a lot of space along with large sensors incorporated in DSLRs.

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It wasn’t very long after the advancements of DSLRs that Olympus and Panasonic found a way to obsolete mirror box but still provide large image sensor. Those companies innovated and replaced the optical viewfinder by electronic viewfinder and many standard functions like zoom were also made automatic. That was the first introduction of advanced and compatible quality compact cameras.

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Compact Camera Definition:

Hence, a simple definition of compact system cameras is that they are the cameras with changeable lens, large sensor, electronic viewfinder but no mirror. However one must not expect them to have the sensor size same as a DSLR. Most compact cameras have LCD screens as the viewfinder. DSLR users will find compact cameras as small, convenient, light weight and simple without compromising on image quality.

compact camera figure


Ease and Adaptability:

Compact cameras have selected versatility and simplicity as their hallmarks. Photographers, who want to pull off remarkable image results with much less effort, must prefer compact cameras. These cameras have intelligent automatic features and simple controls which lead to high-quality images. Automatic features make them adaptable for all kind of surroundings during image composition.

Photographers do not have to waste their time in managing settings of their cameras while preparing for a shoot. Turning to auto mode and pressing the shutter button after image composition in LCD will do the trick for beginners as well as professionals.


Manual Controls:

Some compact cameras also provide manual control over different cameras, but all of them have electronic zoom. Amateur and serious photographers are the ones who use manual controls because they prefer to use their creativity for composing images. Those manual controls will keep you free from the worries of changing lens and big design like DSLRs.

Compact cameras provide manual control over aperture, ISO range and shutter speed which you can adjust according to the particular situation.

The combination of different effects, while a subject’s shooting, will let you achieve motion effects, exposure, and depth of a particular field. Auto modes of compact cameras also allow easy point and shoot photography. Some compact cameras also have a full range of artistic effects for different pictures. These effects include active color, monochrome, and miniature effect.

Manual controls of compact cameras also include a hot shoe adapter. These adapters allow you to mount different accessories like flash and optical viewfinder. This feature is limited to a few advanced compact cameras.


Lenses of Compact Cameras:

A few advanced compact system cameras offer interchangeable lens benefit. You are now allowed to use many different lenses for shooting different subjects. The multiple lenses automatic option is done to achieve high-quality results for each photograph you capture. A wide angle lens will make you subject to appear far away allowing you to incorporate more surroundings in your final image. With this wide angle lens, the photographer can capture grand architecture and far-reaching landscapes.

If you want to zoom in closer to your image while maintaining image quality, then a telephoto zoom lens is your thing. These lenses are ideal for sporting events and wildlife photography. Aa compact camera which has image stabilization feature can achieve an entirely accurate result at full zoom in any lens.

With prime lenses, people can produce soft focused and professional looking backgrounds. These artifacts are perfect for portraits because they have a fixed focal length, and also let in some extra light for producing excellent professional pictures.


Electronic View Finder:

One must not expect to have an electronic viewfinder with his compact camera if he has a budget less than $500. The high price of the electronic viewfinder is because most compact cameras do not have this feature at all. This electronic viewfinder has replaced the optical viewfinder of DSLRs. The optical viewfinder took so much space and also made the cameras bulky.

Electronic viewfinders of compact cameras allow you to compose your image without any dependence over the LCD screen. The viewer is a small glass where you can place your eye to see your resulting image. Some compact cameras do not offer an inbuilt viewfinder, but they have a hot shoe meant for this purpose. Hence, it is your choice to either mount an electronic viewfinder over your compact camera or just depend on LCD.

Electronic viewfinder allows the photographer to be more accurate and creative in his image composition.


Continuous Shooting:

Compact system cameras offer continuous shooting which means that you can get many different images in one second. The continuous shooting measure is in fps which means “photos per second.” Now you can get up to 8 fps in conventional compact cameras under $300. Continuous shooting allows you to capture great images of moving subjects by eliminating any motion blur that can arise.

Remember that a fast saving memory card is a must while shooting continuously because a memory card must not keep buffering while the camera captures all these images.


The screen of Compact Cameras:

No compact camera comes without an LCD. This screen is used to compose your images when you do not feel comfortable with electronic viewfinders. You can also check out the captured images on this screen or navigate menus.

Some compact system cameras come with an articulated screen which is perfect for selfies. To catch photos from the top of a crowd, the “aficionado” can use this screen. The articulated screens come from 2 inches to 3 inches in size. Users who are familiar with smartphones prefer this intuitive display.

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You can learn more about compact cameras here at Wikipedia