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What Is a Point and Shoot Camera?

by Heartland Box March 12, 2021

What Is a Point and Shoot Camera?

The first point-and-shoot camera was introduced by Kodak in 1888. It had a price tag of $25, which made it a gadget for the rich. The camera came preloaded with 100 pictures and after all the shots were taken, the entire camera was sent in for processing, reloaded, and returned to the customer. 

In 1901, Kodak brought photography to the masses with the $1 Brownie, which by today’s standards was extremely basic. Brownie cameras became so prevalent, they can still be found at thrift stores and estate sales. 

Point-and-shoot film cameras enjoyed the height of popularity in the 1980s. In 2000, 90% of people were still using film cameras. The same year, the advent of digital photography ushered in a convenient new way to take and share pictures. More than 90% of models sold were compact point and shoot digital cameras. Digital cameras eventually led to the decrease in demand for point-and-shoot film

While still used, peak popularity of stand-alone digital models declined about a decade ago when smartphones started coming equipped with HD cameras that took photos similar in quality to these point-and-shoot cameras and were already in pockets. 

Digital Camera Terminology Explained 

Understanding common digital photography terms is an important first step to improving your skills as a point-and-shoot photographer. Some of these terms are the same as film photography, however, a big difference is that digital cameras require batteries that need frequent charging and capture images on memory cards rather than film. 

Digital cameras have electronic sensors that determine the resolution of photos, therefore this terminology differs from film photography. Image resolution is noted in horizontal and vertical pixels such as 1600 x 1200 pixels and in megapixels (MP). 

How Does a Point and Shoot Camera Work? 

The primary element that sets apart point-and-shoot cameras from more sophisticated models is that focus and exposure are entirely automatic. You simply aim and press the button and the camera takes care of the rest. Point-and-shoot cameras have a built-in lens that includes different focal lengths rather than removable lenses that accommodate different focal length ranges. While high-end cameras also have a point-and-shoot option, you can always manually set the aperture, shutter speed, and focus, as well as change out lenses and use an ancillary flash. 

Point and Shoot Camera Pros and Cons 

Before smartphones came equipped with HD cameras, the point-and-shoot camera was a must-have essential accessory to take on vacations, sporting events, parties, etc. It was far easier to take a compact camera on excursions than a heavier camera with multiple lenses. Today, these beginner-friendly cameras offer the convenience of portability with some of the same features as DSLR cameras. Although older models couldn’t compete with smartphones, current cameras come with a long list of features and capabilities, including GPS, face and smile detection, and other new technologies. 

Disadvantages of Point and Shoot Cameras 

  • Image quality not as good as professional-grade cameras due to smaller size sensors
  • Large depth of field results in part of the image being out of focus
  • Can’t change lenses or mount external flashes (except some high-end models)
  • Limited control over aperture and shutter speed
  • Poor capabilities for night photography
  • Inability to capture wide-angle shots
  • Can’t capture images quickly (e.g. sports and action photography) 
While a smartphone is a great option for everyday situations and even vacations, having a point-and-shoot camera can provide some convenience and flexibility if you do a lot of photography. Either way, one of the most important things to consider after you choose what camera to use is organizing and storing digital images. Regardless of the camera you use, digital photography has opened the door to a wide range of wonderful possibilities.

Heartland Box
Heartland Box

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