The market segmentation is becoming more and more complex. That’s not an issue, it is great but for the newbie, it is not so easy to understand this segmentation:
- Medium size
Basically the small cameras for everyday shoot and for many kind of photographers. I would split them in three categories:
- Point and shoot,
- Enthusiasts and experts.
The bottom line: no possibility to re-use the lenses and the body will become outmoded within typically less than a couple of years. It does not prevent you from using them longer, as long as you are happy with them…
Phones’ camera are not only more and more popular: you have them with you all the time, the sensors are improving and sharing it so easy. Some say they will make basic point and shoot obsolete soon. I agree, actually I believe they almost already did (beginning 2012).
So somewhere the only kind which is going to stay popular would be small cameras for intermediates, enthusiasts and experts photographers. Whereas phones’ cameras will continue to improve, so will such cameras and I still believe the gap will stay significant between both, at least for the years to come.
- Favorite brands (high end compacts only): Canon, Panasonic, Samsung, Olympus
- Related stories: Apple iPhone 4s camera versus Canon Powershot 100 HS, Did smartphones kill the point and shoot?
There are nothing more than a compact with an EVF (Electronic View Finder), and an extremely versatile zoom. The versatility of their zoom prevent them from having larger sensors (the bigger the sensor, the bigger the lens). However, their size is significantly bigger and they are not pockable.
- Favorite brands: Panasonic, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm
From far the fastest growing segment… They can use interchangeable lenses, may have but not always EVF, have usually much bigger sensors, but not always. They try to be much smaller and lighter than DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), but to propose a very similar if not better sometimes quality image.
- Favorite brands: Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung
DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)
They are still the mainstream of the professional photographers and very much appreciated by many enthusiasts or experts amateurs. That’s said, exactly like the phone’s cameras may make basic point and shoot cameras obsolete soon, so may mirrorless cameras replace entry-level and intermediate DSLR. Their main qualities are indeed more and more challenged by mirrorless. Fast autofocus, manual controls and image quality have been the main advantages, but all of them are challenged but for the high end (full-frame DSLR). Further more, some mirrorless cameras are now specifically designed for experts.
- Favorite brands: Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax
Their sensors are bigger than DSLR, but cost much more and are heavier and bigger. Last high-end DSLR are now challenging them and may even threatened them more in the future unless Medium size cameras are unable to demonstrate a significantly better image quality.
- Favorite brands: Hasselblad, Pentax