Thursday, January 25, 2007
Myths, Misinformation & Misunderstandings
Well-meaning reporters and marketing hype all contribute to problems in communicating digital information
Labels: Learning Center
Pro SLR In Bizarre Point-And-Shoot Murder Plot
The misinformation on camera types dwarfs megapixels in many ways. Part of this confusion is understandable due to the great diversity of camera types and sizes that manufacturers have created. Still, a lot of writers reporting on them should do better research. Let's look at a few common misconceptions:
•I've read that EVF (electronic viewfinder) cameras are the same as digital SLRs. They aren't. Both are specific and different designs that change how you interact with a camera. An EVF camera uses a viewfinder with a magnified LCD screen that shows exactly what the sensor sees, including exposure and white balance, although focus can be difficult to see because of the LCD screen's low resolution. An SLR is a single-lens-reflex that uses reflex viewing (with mirrors and other optical technology) to give an optical view of the scene through the actual taking lens of the camera. You can't see what the sensor sees because of the main mirror (that may change in the future with special semi-transparent mirrors).
•We've seen several sources stating that cameras can be put into three categories: point-and-shoot, pocket and high-end cameras. This is a noble attempt at simplification, but as NPR's "Car Talk" guys often put it, this may be a better effort at obfuscating real choices. Most pocket cameras are point-and-shoot cameras, although "pocket camera" is a worthy category. Many larger, so-called point-and-shoot cameras actually are quite advanced in their capabilities (and often are called advanced digital cameras or advanced digital zoom cameras because they have built-in zoom lenses), but can't be called high-end cameras. A digital SLR is a whole different beast with its interchangeable lenses, and a high-end pro digital SLR offers a whole host of features that a low-end digital SLR can't match.
Admittedly, classifying the diverse camera types is tough, but we'd try something like pocket cameras, low-end point-and-shoot cameras, high-end point-and-shoots, advanced compact digital cameras, EVF cameras, low-end digital SLRs and high-end digital SLRs.
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