Different Film Camera Types

Do You Know the 12 Different Types of Film Cameras?

Over the last century, numerous different film camera types has been introduced to the market. Each has its own characteristics and designs that gives its unique appeal.

The camera has been one of man’s most powerful tools. The power to truly capture a moment is incredible. If you haven’t yet been bitten by the photography bug, we bet you will. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular film camera types from the last century.

SLR – Single Lens Reflex Cameras

SLR cameras are composed of a lens through which light enters, a mirror that reflects the image into the prism, and a prism that corrects the image so what you see is not reversed. This design type allows you to compose your image seeing exactly what the lens sees. As a result, SLR film cameras are extremely accurate.

SLRs were used as the industry standard by professionals well into the mid-1990’s and are still used by professional photographers today. This is the most modern type of film camera, and includes familiar brands such as  Nikon and Canon.

Range-Finder Cameras

This type of camera has a split image rangefinder. This camera uses a separate viewfinder to aim your camera. This unit has no mirror inside of its frame. If you remove the lens from a rangefinder camera, you will see the shutter. These are smaller than SLR cameras. The rangefinder is illuminated through a light window located on the front of the camera which is then projected along with your lens image onto your viewfinder. By lining the two images up you are able to get your pictures in focus.

TLR Cameras – Twin Lens Reflex

Twin Lens Reflex cameras use two twin lenses. The top lens is used to help you focus and the bottom lens goes straight to your film. This style of the camera allows you to configure your image very accurately. The main disadvantage of this type of film camera is the fact you are unable to change the lenses.

Point and Shoot Cameras

Point and Shoot cameras are very compact because they do not possess any internal mirrors and their viewfinder is not connected to the lens. Exposure and focus are done for you automatically. This type of camera was very popular in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the introduction of disposable cameras. The ease of use makes this camera very appealing and this type of camera is also much less expensive than SLR and Range-Finder cameras.

Stereo Cameras

This camera design uses two lenses shooting at a piece of film from a distance which gives an effect similar to 3D when viewed with stereo glasses. Interesting factoid: It was this type of camera that was used in World War II to discover hidden Nazi weapons and bases.

Instant Cameras

Polaroid is the most famous example of the instant camera, so much so that its name is virtually synonymous with instant cameras. An instant camera exposes your film the moment you take the picture which gives you almost instant access to your photography. This type of camera uses a special type of film that can be developed in minutes. Before the advent of digital technology, this was the only way to check your images without having to get your film developed. We’ve come a long way since then, but these are still really fun cameras.

Folding Cameras

Designed to be ultra-thin, this type of camera has a lens that can be retracted into the frame. Older press cameras also utilized this configuration. Eventually, light leaks became a huge design flaw in these units so you are not likely to see or use these very often.

Panoramic Cameras

Panoramic cameras come in two variants. The first version works by rotating the lens to capture a larger image. The other type of panoramic camera relies on a curved lens to capture the additional landscape.

Be creative with this type of camera and get some magnificent shots.

Large Format Cameras

This camera combines a fixed cone design with an interchangeable lens. This gives this type of camera a unique look and feel, which make it appropriate for certain applications.

Box Cameras

This is one of the original film cameras that were first introduced by Kodak. The design was very simplistic; a hole would capture the light and burn it onto a negative. The disadvantage of this type of camera was the fact you had to send the entire unit into Kodak to get your picture developed. Box cameras were popular in the early part of the 19th century and they contributed to Kodak’s success during this period.

Pinhole Cameras

Any camera can be converted into pinhole format simply by changing the lens. Many people use a special pinhole lens cap to convert their camera into a pinhole configuration. What makes pinhole cameras very unique is the fact that they do not use a lens.

Toy Cameras

This type of camera can be characterized by its very simple settings, usually just one exposure. These are inexpensive and great for children. Despite their cheap cost and lack of functionality, they can still capture fairly good images and can be a great way to teach your children about photography.

The Long History of Cameras

The art of photography has been essential to the development of man, with the original theories of photography being developed by ancient cultures. As far back as Ancient Greece, man has learned that he could capture the light by using the concept of camera obscura. The word photography actually comes from the Greek words: light and drawing.

After studying the different types of film cameras, it is easy to see how the progression to our modern day digital cameras came about. Film cameras will always provide photographers with a more authentic looking photograph. These traditional cameras seem to be regaining popularity within the niche photography market and because of this, we can expect to see continued use of film cameras for many years to come.

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: