antique photo camera Welta Compur with built-in lens

Antique photo camera Welta Compur with built-in lens

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
1/160 Sek.
Focal length:
70 mm

A fitting digital camera

Distinct types of cameras

True to the motto, not the camera, but the photographer takes the picture, you can often hear that the camera is not pivotal for a successful photo. My humble opinion is, that a good camera helps taking better photos and allows a bigger creative scope.

Let us take a look at the different camera types:

Compact Camera

They are smaller and because of their method of building also lighter. The objective cannot be changed. Furthermore, very simple compact cameras have a recognizable time duration between starting the camera and using it. Additionally, the delay between pressing the shutter and when the picture is taken is noticeable and takes timing. Snapshots become a matter of luck.

Some models of compact cameras do not have the possibility anymore to adjust the aperture or the exposure time. A full automatic camera may help the technical uninterested one to take pictures. There are different subject programs, which concentrate known photographic knowledge in a program, which the user can choose from, without him needing to know what happens. For example using the sports program makes the camera choose internally a very short exposure time, while portraiture program uses a big aperture value.

With compact cameras the focus lies on easily handling and low prices instead of a high picture quality.

On the other hand, there are already some technical sophisticated devices, which automatically save the GPS position and are able to take panorama pictures with 180° or even 360°.

Advantages Compact Camera:

  • low weight
  • a small compact build - suitable for most trouser-, shirt- or handbagpockets.
  • low price
  • silent (if you have not set it to barking, a clicking sounds or accidentally bought one directly from, for example, South Korea or Japan where the cameras and smartphones are obliged by law to make loud slightly annoying clicking sounds when taking pictures).

Disadvantages of compact cameras:

  • picture quality
  • objective not changeable

Bridge Camera

The bridge camera tries to be in between compact cameras and SLR cameras. The objective is in general qualitative high-grade and more light sensitive as of compact cameras - on the other hand the type of building makes the cameras bigger.

The objectives are zoom objectives with a very big focal length range - sometimes over 800 mm focal length.

Advantage Bridge Camera:

  • weight between a compact- and a SLR camera
  • moderate dimensions
  • moderate price
  • picture quality is much better than of a compact camera
  • silent

Disadvantages Bridge Camera:

  • objective not changeable (sometimes there are additions for it)
  • when you cannot do the objective zoom by hand the camera has a higher power consumption.

Single-lens Reflex Camera (SLR)

The top tier and king's class, but quality has its price and its disadvantages in comfort, because SLR cameras with an objective are much heavier. A SLR camera with an objective of high quality can weigh 3 to 5 kg (Walking around with those saves time in the gym).

Because of the interchangeable objective the photographer is not limited in his creative part, because there is a optimal objective for nearly every case.

Advantages SLR Cameras:

  • picture quality is very good
  • objectives are interchangeable
  • extremly fast image sequences are possible (important for sports photographer)
  • low power consumption, because the zoom objective is manual - up to 800 to 1000 pictures are possible with one battery charge.
  • Prestige

Disadvantages SLR Cameras:

  • Weight is higher (depending on camera and objective)
  • bigger dimensions
  • higher prices (high-grade objectives can cost, for example, sometimes up to 10 times more than a compact camera)

Criteria for image quality of digital cameras

Here a brief summary of headwords, which influence the image quality of digital cameras:

  • high resolution
  • high tonal range (best across 8 aperture stops)
  • low luminance and color noise
  • minimal colour shift

Criteria for the optics - i.e. objective

  • few distortions
  • few drop-offs in brightness at the edges/ in the periphery
  • few color fringes
  • big aperture opening ( f/2,8, better f/2,0 or rather f/1,4)

Equipment features of digital cameras

Image stabilizer

Very useful, especially when working a lot with zoom.

high light sensitivity

Advisable, especially for footage with a bad light situation, where a flash cannot be used.

Pivo-table displays

Can be useful, depending on the perspective from which you want to take the pictures. Many pictures are taken at ground level or above the head, there it is significant increase in comfort.

Connector for an external flash

The internal flash is often very weak - that is the reason why a connector for an external flash is useful. An upcoming trend is an integrated radio control in the camera for the external flash.

Tripod Socket

It is perfect, when the tripod socket is on the optical axis. This is very important for panorama pictures.


Automatic recording of the GPS position, which is saved in every picture additional data. That way it is later much easier to locate, where every picture was taken. This is very interesting for travel photographers. There are internal camera solutions (unfortunately not for all cameras) and also external GPS logger.

Sometimes there is also in addition to the GPS a compass integrated - thereby the direction is recorded. This is important for building experts.

Programs Tv, Av and M

Here the photographer can set with which values he wants to work. It is indispensable for ambitious photographers.

White Balance

A white balance should be viable, so that the colors match.

Spot metering

The size of the spot varies from camera to camera - a spot metering should be present, to measure the important picture elements in difficult light situations.

Live picture

A control feature for the visible section - it is in general bigger than the viewfinder, but also needs electricity.


To magnify the shot and with a live picture to monitor the sharpness.

Author: Axel Pratzner

Translator: Felix Pratzner