Mirrorless vs DSLR – the endless “fight” between the upper class and the new compact technology. A few years ago it was quite easy to decide what to get. Did you want top quality images and interchangeable lens? Then the bulky DSLR was the only viable option. But now, with all recent development in photography devices, mirrorless cameras aren’t as low-level as you would expect. You can get perfect image quality and interchangeable lens to go with your mirrorless camera.
Arguments over which is better are firing up just as the other endless question – film photography or digital photography? Are mirrorless cameras the new “digital” and DSLRs just the “film”? If having to choose between DSLR or mirrorless, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind.
Mirrorless Vs DSLR – Pros and Cons
1. Size and Weight
DSLRs are visibly larger and heavier. Some are quite bulky and difficult to control. Add a lens to the body and it becomes even more hard to carry one around. If going for a DSLR, customers also need to invest in a good camera bag or a special backpack to fit all the photo gear.
Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than a DSLR. They feature a simple construction, similar to the usual point-and-shoot camera. But more expensive mirrorless cameras also come with interchangeable lens. This means that some photographers might end up carrying the same amount of gear as they would by choosing to go with a DSLR.
DSLRs win ground with a wide selection of lenses fit any need: macro, telephoto, portrait, and much more. Canon or Nikon DSLRs come with the best selection of lenses for the professional photographer who hopes to earn money off his talent.
Mirrorless cameras have yet to be provided with many choices in lenses, but they are catching up. Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and other major mirrorless manufacturers have widened the options in lenses.
DSLRs feature an optical viewfinder, as opposed to mirrorless cameras. The advantage of an optical viewfinder is that you are looking at the scene your camera will capture when you press the shutter button. Some DSLRs show a preview of the image on-screen through a function usually called Live View mode.
Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, offer a preview of the image on the display. But there are some cameras that provide an electronic viewfinder that simulates an optical one. This is efficient when shooting outside in good light. But in difficult situations, such as low-light conditions or fast-moving subjects, the preview provided by a mirrorless camera doesn’t even come close to that of a DSLR. Mirrorless vs DSLR – who won? We’d have to go with DSLRs.
4. Image Stabilization
The mirrorless vs DSLR game ends with a tie when it comes to image stabilization. Both technologies offer systems designed to stabilize the image in the case of camera shake. The way it does this is by shifting part of the lens or image sensor in the opposite direction to the shake. Image stabilization works on both DSLR and mirrorless cameras with pretty much the same efficiency.
DSLRs use phase detection, a technology which measures the convergence of two beams of light.
Mirrorless cameras used to provide contrast detection, through which the camera detects the highest contract. But this technology was slower than DSLRs’ phase detection.
Now, mirrorless cameras feature both contrast and phase detection. This closes the gap between the two technologies, both of them providing speedy autofocus.
6. Image Quality
DSLRs use the best APS-C or full frame sensor.
Mirrorless cameras use the same sensors, but at a smaller scale. But having smaller scale sensors don’t mean mirrorless cameras produce low-quality pictures. Manufacturers have worked on improving the sensors by producing more sensitive chips.
This being said, yet another mirrorless vs DSLR battle ending with a tie. Both types of camera will shoot high-quality images. You will notice similar resolutions and about the same amount of noise when testing the two in identical conditions.
7. Video Quality
DSLRs aren’t the go-to cameras when wanting to film a video. These cameras can’t use phase detection with the mirror up, such as mirrorless cameras. Instead, they use a less accurate contrast-detection focus method. However, some DSLR manufacturers have stepped up their game and added phase detection on their sensor.
Mirrorless cameras have on-chip focus sensors which makes them more suited to shoot videos. Users can capture 4K videos with four times the resolution of the usual HD footage. The technology is available on affordable mirrorless cameras, as opposed to DSLRs. Currently, only pricey DSLRs offer the option of shooting 4K videos. However, video professionals have the tendency to go for the DSLR nonetheless, because of the wide range of lenses they can make use of.
8. Continuous Shooting
DSLRs are slower than mirrorless cameras. Compact cameras’ design provides users with fast continuous shooting modes that work better than those on a DSLR. The reason is simple – mirrorless cameras are built out of fewer moving parts. Thus, it is easier to achieve high-speed shooting on a mirrorless than on a pricey DSLR.
9. Controls and Features
DSLRs, even cheap, or older models, have full manual controls. And let’s not forget about the unique optical viewfinder.
Mirrorless cameras manufacturers have copied most of the specifications on a DSLR, offering full manual control over features. You can also shoot raw files just as you do with a DSLR. The only notable difference is the lack of an optical viewfinder in a mirrorless camera. But if you can afford a more expensive mirrorless, they feature an electronic viewfinder that mimics an optical viewfinder to some degree.
10. Value for Money
DSLRs are not cheap. Even an entry level one can be a bit too pricey for some pockets. However, you get more for your money than with a mirrorless camera.
Mirrorless cameras are cheaper than a DSLR, and for an amateur photographer, it will get the job done. Mirrorless cameras equipped with an electronic viewfinder, however, cost a great deal more, and the money one would spend on them might be better directed towards a DSLR. DSLR or mirrorless? We’d have to go with DSLR on this one.
In this mirrorless vs DSLR comparison, we have gone to some of the key factors to be taken into account when deciding what to buy. Each type of technology has its pros and its cons. There is no real winner because it all depends on what kind of photographer you are.
Are you an amateur photographer short on money but with lots of talent to make up for it? Invest in a mirrorless camera to train your hand and learn plenty of techniques just as you would on a DSLR.
Heading towards professional photography? Then a DSLR would be a better choice. DSLRs are valuable cameras offering top image quality and unique features.