What are the different types of film cameras?

SLR: Single-lens reflex camera
With this system, the camera has only one lens through which you can look, focus and then take a picture. This is possible due to a mirror and prism system that reflects the image through the lens into the viewfinder and then flips up when taking a picture. (A DSLR is exactly the same system as an SLR, just digital.)

One feature making SLRs so popular is that they have lenses that can be removed and swapped out.

TLR: Twin-lens reflex camera
In this system, the camera has two identical lenses. You can look through and focus through one lens thanks to a mirror system. The photo itself is then taken through the other lens. Due to these separate lenses you can continuously view the scene as the camera takes the shot, instead of the moment of black-out that occurs when using an SLR.

TLR cameras have the viewfinder on top of the camera. This requires you to hold the camera at waist level and look down to focus your shot, creating a different and interesting angle for photographs. They will also often have a pop-up magnifier to help you nail focus.

Rangefinder cameras are a bit different as the viewfinder does not go through the lens. These cameras therefore do not need a mirror system, which makes them lighter, more compact and quieter than SLR cameras. The trade off is that because you’re not looking directly through the lens the framing of your shot may be slightly less accurate.

These cameras are designed to be extremely easy to use. As the name suggests, all you need to do is point the camera at the object you’re photographing and shoot it. On this kind of camera, settings like focus and exposure are automatic, so there’s less for you to think about as a photographer. Though this of course means that you also have less control over your final images.

Point-and-shoot cameras are often recommended for beginner film photographers due to their ease of use and relatively cheap prices. However there are also plenty of more sophisticated and expensive point-and-shoot cameras on the market.

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