System camera

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A system camera is a camera with interchangeable components within a fully compatible camera system . The most important components of such a system are on the one hand the camera (the body ) and on the other hand the appropriate lenses (often also called lens ). Another expression for system cameras is therefore also interchangeable lens cameras, cameras with interchangeable lenses .

It is common for every camera manufacturer to have one or more of their own systems. However, there are companies such as Sigma and Tamron who produce lenses or other accessories for camera bodies from other manufacturers. The Micro-Four-Thirds-System, on the other hand, is the best-known example of a standard that several manufacturers have agreed on. Furthermore, you can possibly use third-party lenses thanks to an adapter on your camera, but functions such as autofocus are often lost. In most cases, changing systems for a photographer means buying both a new camera and new lenses.

Compact cameras and bridge cameras are not considered system cameras . Even if there may be specific accessories for these cameras that can only be used for the respective camera, they lack the decisive criterion for a system camera: you cannot change the lens.

Basic equipment of a system camera

Kine Exakta from 1936

The basic equipment of portable system cameras usually consists of a camera housing that is provided with an interchangeable lens . The photographic film or an image sensor is located on the rear wall of the camera housing in the image plane . Furthermore, the housing is provided with at least one viewfinder in the form of a ground glass , a see-through viewfinder , an electronic viewfinder or a display - in some systems it can be exchanged or used in combination. It also includes measuring equipment and aids for exposure and image sharpness .

First system camera

Nikon F chrome with exchangeable prism viewfinder (without exposure meter) and early NIKKOR-S Auto 1: 1.4 f = 5.8cm (1959) lens. It is considered the archetype of all subsequent professional cameras of this type.

After initial approaches in 1930, with the screwleica Ic, the first fully-fledged system camera was the Kine-Exakta 35mm camera, introduced in 1936 , which was further developed into the Exakta Varex. Although this is a SLR camera , system cameras were predominantly rangefinder cameras up to the end of the 1950s , only afterwards SLR cameras became popular. The professional SLR camera Nikon F is the model for all further developments ; it was built from 1959 to 1974.

Variety of accessories

Digital as well as analog system cameras can be equipped with various lenses and other system accessories, such as powerful flash units. The advantages of interchangeable lenses are the large range of focal lengths available . In addition, there is a choice of different lens types depending on the offer. Different image qualities , various processing standards such as splash protection and equipment features such as optical image stabilizers can make a range of lenses attractive to various consumer groups. The use of fixed focal lengths enables a high light intensity and image quality with the appropriate quality .

Digital system cameras

See also main article digital camera system .

Use of the term

The term system camera ( ILC Interchangeable Lens Camera ) is occasionally used explicitly only for compact, mirrorless system digital cameras ( DSLM Digital Single Lens Mirrorless ) as a distinction to digital single lens reflex cameras ( DSLR ) . This is wrong because SLR cameras are also part of the system cameras.

So far, the following terms have been used for mirrorless system cameras:

  • Compact system camera ( CSC Compact System Camer a)
  • Mirrorless system camera ( MSC Mirrorless System Camera )
  • Mirrorless interchangeable lens camera ( MILC Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera )
  • Camera with electronic viewfinder and interchangeable lens ( EVIL Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens Camera )

The latter term is irritating in that there are also mirrorless system cameras without a viewfinder, e.g. B. the Sony Alpha 5100 . The image composition then takes place via live view on the screen.

Sensor sizes

Digital system cameras use sensors of different sizes regardless of the functional principle of the viewfinder. The smallest sensors correspond to those of compact cameras, but the majority have sensors of the size of the four-thirds sensor and up. Larger sensors offer expanded image design options in the area of depth of field and better image quality at higher sensitivities, which means that image noise is also noticeably reduced. Here, however, it may be necessary to take into account that large image sensors must be operated with higher ISO sensitivity for images with the same depth of field, the same diffraction blur and thus the same aperture width of the lens in order to achieve an equally short exposure time .

Until the introduction of the first digital system camera without mirrors, sensors in four-thirds and APS-C sizes were reserved for digital single-lens reflex systems with a few exceptions.

System camera types

There are different types of system cameras in the digital sector:

  • Single lens reflex cameras
  • Rangefinder cameras
  • Digital backs were offered for individual SLR cameras, making them digital SLR cameras.
  • Cameras with an electronic viewfinder (English: Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens Camera , abbreviated EVIL ) and possibly an additional screen.
  • Cameras that use the monitor as a viewfinder
  • Module cameras in which the lens and sensor are changed together (currently only offered by Ricoh )

Examples of digital single-lens reflex systems

Digital SLR camera systems are mostly compatible with the corresponding older 35mm systems. For image sensors that are smaller than the 35mm film, lenses were usually developed that were calculated for the correspondingly smaller image circles, such as:

There are also camera systems for digital SLR cameras with larger image sensors (small format and larger):

Current mirrorless systems

Most digital camera manufacturers offer proprietary , fully digital camera systems. Examples of digital, mirrorless camera systems:

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento of the original from December 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Konrad Lischka: doll camera with interchangeable lenses. In: Spiegel Online. September 21, 2011, accessed December 7, 2014 .
  4. System camera database - all mirrorless cameras, lenses and accessories
  5. Peter Nonhoff: Photokina Fujifilm launches mirrorless medium format camera system , c't , from September 20, 2016, accessed on September 20, 2016
  6. Samsung is withdrawing from the German market , , December 10, 2015, accessed on March 28, 2016


  • The perfect family - system cameras , test, April 2018 edition, Stiftung Warentest. 14 system cameras from 6 camera systems are described (no full-format sensor).