Choose your equipment

All the vocabulary about the equipment

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Which camera to choose between Hybrid, DSLR, Mirrorless, Bridge and Compact?

These are different types of cameras but they are ALL digital cameras.

DSLR or Reflex

Its the same. It is an interchangeable lens camera that uses optical aiming with a mirror.

When you look through the viewfinder you see the same scene as the one in front of you, thanks to a mirror oriented inside the case, like a submarine periscope.

When you press the shutter button the mirror will tilt, the sensor will receive the light and the mirror will return to its initial position.

You can then go see the digital photo which will contain all the photo settings that you have applied to it.

Mirrorless or Hybrid

Its the same. It is an interchangeable lens camera that uses digital aiming (a screen).

Instead of using a mirror, the sensor is permanently exposed and will send the data it records to the screen of your viewfinder or the screen on the back of the camera, applying all the photo setttings you have selected.

So you see the photo as it will be before taking it.

DSLR / Mirrorless difference
Look at the path of the light beam between a DSLR and a Mirrorless camera.

Bridge

It is a mirrorless with a fixed lens. (it can be a zoom, not necessarily a prime)

That is to say that you cannot change the lens for a bigger or a smaller one.

Compact

It is a small Mirrorless, it fits in your pocket in general, nowadays your smartphone take that role.

Sensor, APS-C , Full Frame

The sensor is the element that allows you to take a photo. It replaces your film. It sends electrical signals to the device which stores them on your SD card.

The words APS-C, Full format or Micro 4/3 ” are only sensor formats, i.e. their size:

Different sensor sizes
The different sensor sizes

Bigger sensor means more light, more information for the same scene. More information allows you in the same condition to have a better photo.

For example the Lumix FZ300 has the black sensor on the image, the Sony RX10M3 a yellow sensor (4x larger), the X-T2 a purple sensor (13x larger) and a full frame DSLR the green sensor (31x larger ).

Stabilization

There are two types of stabilization.

Optical stabilization, that is to say that your lens is stabilized, it contains a mooving mirror which will move to follow your movements on 2 axes in general and try to compensate.

The stabilization of the camera, it is in general your sensor which is on “springs” and will compensate for your movements, on 5 axes in general.

In both cases this allows you in low light to have a slower shutter speed without impacting the sharpness.

Focal Length (in mm)

It is a physical parameter. It is the distance between the optical center of your lens and the sensor of your camera.

This defines your field of vision.

When we sometimes talk about a wide angle lens we are actually talking about very low focal length lenses. (<= 24mm Full Format equivalent)

Different focal lengths

We see that on a wide angle lens what will appear on your screen will be everything that goes in green, while on a Telephoto lens only what will be in purple. So what will be in purple will appear larger (it will cover the whole screen) than the same element taken at a wide angle.

This is the zoom effect.

So you understand that taking a landscape photo is better with a lens around 24 mm (Full Frame equivalent, so 24 / 1.5 = 16 mm on an APS-C) and that 500 mm is better to zoom in on a distant subject.

Crop factor

You sometimes hear about the Full Frame equivalent as mentioned above.

What does that mean ?

As you have seen, there are several sizes of sensor.

Same in full frame and APSC
The same scene with a full frame sensor and an APS-C sensor on the same lens

With this image, you understand that for the same lens if you do not have the same sensor size, then you will not have the same photo. The smallest sensor will cause a zoom effect.

To have the same image you need a different focal length. A 400 mm on an APS-C is equivalent to a 600 mm on a Full Frame. The ratio (600/400 = 1.5) is the crop factor.

It actually corresponds to the ratio of the lengths of the diagonals of the two sensors. The diagonal of the Full Frame is 1.5 times larger.

This allows a bridge like the Lumix FZ300 to sell / market a 600mm zoom. Of course the lens is not 600mm but rather 100mm.

As the diagonal of the Lumix is ​​about 6x smaller we get the same effect as a Reflex with a 600 mm zoom.

The difference comes in the capacities of the sensor of course which can capture much less light, nuances and therefore data with its much smaller surface.

So if the biggest focal length available for your APS-C is a 400 mm and you see that there is a 600 mm for a full frame DSLR, well it’s the same thing in terms of magnification.

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