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DSLR VS Mirrorless Cameras - Which one is right for you?
Which is best for you? We take an in-depth look at DSLR v Mirrorless cameras
Choosing your first camera is a huge decision and there are many decisions to make which model is right for you. Do you purchase a DSLR camera or a mirrorless camera? Both cameras produce excellent quality photos but as with any purchase, there are pros and cons to both cameras. Below is some advice to assist you in making the right decision for your needs as a photographer.
Now we explain the difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera.
What is a DSLR Camera?
These cameras use the exact same design as the previous 35mm film cameras. A mirror in the body of the camera reflects light which is coming in through the lens up to a prism, and then into the viewfinder to enable you to preview your shot. When the shutter button is pressed the mirror flips up enabling the shutter to open and light falls onto the image sensor capturing the final image. An example DSLR, the Canon EOS 80D, can be purchased directly from our website via this link.
What is a mirrorless camera?
In a mirrorless camera the light passes through the lens and onto the image sensor. This captures a preview of the image to display on the screen at the rear of the camera body. Some models also feature a second screen inside an electric viewfinder that you can put your eye up to. An example mirrorless camera, the excellent choice Canon EOS M5, can be purchased via this link.
Weight and size
DSLR cameras are larger in size – this is due to their need to fit a mirror and prism inside. The mirrorless camera has a simpler construction making it overall smaller than a DSLR. We recommend a mirrorless camera purely based on the fact that they fit more easily into your camera bag leaving more room for your other camera gear.
Previously DLSRs have had the leading edge for autofocus and low-light shooting but times are changing with some mirrorless low-light cameras such as the Sony A7R III. Mirrorless autofocus systems have significantly improved and cameras such as the Canon M6 have impressive focus speeds. The one area DLSRs remain in the forefront is autofocusing on fast-moving objects such as wildlife or sports photography.
When using a DSLR you can see instantly what the camera will capture via the optical viewfinder. Some mirrorless cameras possess an electronic viewfinder simulating the optical viewfinder. When shooting outside in excellent light the mirrorless camera’s preview screen will be close to the final image. In situations like low light or wildlife moving quickly, the preview will become grainy therefore making the DSLR better for low light photography. Should you only ever shoot in good light both cameras will be a good option for you.
Quality of the video functionality
Higher end mirrorless cameras are the best choice for video shooting. DSLRs are unable to use phase detection with the mirror up whilst recording video, so they use the less accurate and slower contrast-detection focus method. This causes the ever so familiar blurry look halfway through a video as the camera is hunting for the right focus.
Speed of shooting
Both camera types are able to shoot at very fast shutter speeds, therefore, capturing lots of images quickly. Mirrorless cameras have the edge apart from when compared to high-end DSLRs. The lack of a mirror enables image after image to be captured easily. This is due to the simpler mechanics of the mirrorless camera, therefore, having the capability of more shots per second at higher shutter speeds.
Which has the best battery life?
The ever-important question photographers ask! As DLSRs have an ability to shoot without using the LCD screen or EVF they generally offer a longer battery life. Both types, however, will have a very similar battery life if the LCD screens are used often to preview images. A definite perk of both cameras is that they both come with removable batteries to enable you to switch to a spare battery if necessary.
Lenses and Accessories
A DSLR gives access to a greater number of lenses from various manufacturers – a definite bonus. Mirrorless cameras are more restricted, only offering access to a small number of lenses from the camera maker although the selection is growing rapidly making the gap between the two cameras narrowing.
More compact and lighter. Faster and better for video. A disadvantage is the limited lens choices.
Have the advantage with lens selection and a low light shooting capability with the optical viewfinder. A disadvantage is the bulkiness.
Both cameras are excellent choices and there are a variety of models and makes available according to your budget.