If you want the most control and the best possible quality, you would obviously go for an SLR camera. Seems like an obvious choice. SLR camera will give you the ultimate control. However, sometimes SLR wouldn’t be the best option, i.e. when you travel it may be too big and too heavy. SLR accessories like lenses and flashes are big as well.
One of the challenges you’re going to have will be how to move around with the camera without being noticed. Everyone with an SLR camera around their neck will be easy to notice in the crowd. This is one of the situations when having a smaller camera would be better. Also, SLR cameras look expensive (and they often are) and in some locations around the world you wouldn’t want to have it with you. You wouldn’t want to be a target for thieves.
What camera should you buy then? SLRs are great, but let’s look at some alternatives. And when we’re done, I’ll share with you a camera I have recently purchased as an alternative to my SLR camera.
Here are some alternatives:
Compact System Camera (CSC)
Compact System Cameras are probably the best alternatives to SLR cameras. One of the great features on CSC cameras is the ability to change the lenses (like on an SLR). CSC cameras are smaller than SLRs because they don’t have a mirror, so they can be made smaller and lighter. Many of these cameras even use the same size sensor, CMOS or MOS, as SLR cameras (entry level and mid-range SLR cameras). These cameras typically have resolutions of 12 – 16 MP.
Typically, when someone thinks about cameras that are not SLR cameras, they think about digital compacts, or point and shoot cameras as they’re often called. However, CSC cameras are different from digital compacts – they offer full manual controls. You can take full control over the camera with aperture and shutter speed control. These cameras also allow you to shoot Raw. These cameras are great if you want to travel light or when you don’t want to be seen, i.e. shooting street photography.
What manufacturers make CSC cameras and what cameras are available?
Olympus PEN series
Find all the details on Olympus website:
Panasonic Lumix G System
Panasonic is the most popular maker of CSC cameras. All details on Panasonic website:
Sony NEX Series
Ultra slim cameras, probably the slimmest CSC cameras, with three cameras at the moment – NEX-F3, NEX-5N and NEX-7.
All details on Sony website:
Samsung NX Series
Samsung NX Series are the CSC cameras (Samsung makes SLR camera as well) available. Samsung has a number of cameras in NX Series and what’s pretty amazing is that all of their NX Series cameras now have 20MP sensors! (except NX100 and NX11).
More details on Samsung website:
These are just a few examples of cameras that appeared in CSC cameras market. Recently Nikon joined as well.