I’m as old school as it gets! My first camera in 1968 was Minolta SR1, and it didn’t even have a light meter. It had focus, f-stop, and shutter speed controls; that’s it.
I sold cameras from 1970 to 2011, and today, I still help people pick out the camera model that’s best for them. There are 600+ that are available, so I regularly follow camera design and new models.
If you would have come into my camera shop in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s, we basically had two types of cameras, point and shoots and SLRs. The SLRs were better quality, more versatile, and more expensive, so we all identify with that look and feel. Now we have even more types to choose from. (See my past posts on camera types: Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
One of the common cameras remains the DSLR, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Read my blogs on EFVs (electronic viewfinders), OIS (optical image stabilizers), Live View, Mega Pixel, and Mirrorless Cameras. Some of the most popular brands (Canon and Nikon) have been slower to adapt to newer technologies, or have made some decisions that are odd in my view. For example, Canon and Nikon have only just released a mirrorless camera with optical stabilization in time for Christmas 2015, but those technologies have been around in other brands (like Sony), for two years. Then on some of the Canon cameras, they have removed the viewfinder forcing you to use only the LDC screen to compose your image. However, have you ever tried to look at your LCD screen in the sun? You probably won’t see much.
My pick for the ultimate serious semi-pro camera is the Sony Alpha A7 II, in the compact DMSLR I’d recommend the Olympus OM-d E-M10, in the travel bridge class I’d say the Panasonic DMC FZ 300, and in the compact super-zoom I’d choose the Panasonic ZS 50. Check them out before you buy and drop me an e-mail if you have questions!