Photography - Knowledge

DSLR vs Mirrorless: Check the Camera that Suits Your Photographic Needs!

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Photography can be your passion and profession. It is one practice that lets you capture each and every moment. But photography requires your full dedication to offer you perfection. There are a lot of aspects of photography. Before taking up the passion, you must know about cameras properly. A detailed knowledge of different cameras would let you understand your own photographic needs. Once you become aware of the information about DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras, it will be easier for you to pick the suitable one.

What is a DSLR Camera

The full form of DSLR camera is a digital single-lens reflex camera. The very type of camera also gets called as SLR camera. The design of the camera resembles the design of the old 35 mm cameras. A mirror is inside the body of the camera on which the light comes through lens up to a prism and then into the viewfinder.

dslr vs mirrorless - which is better
Canon Entry Level DSLR camera (Source)

It is the viewfinder that lets you preview the snap you take. The mirror flips up once you press the shutter button. The camera shutter opens and light falls on the image sensor. This way, the final image gets captured.

Know all about What is DSLR?

What is a Mirrorless Camera

In simple words, a camera that allows any lens to be attached with it known as a Mirrorless camera. The Mirrorless cameras are also known as MILC or mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. Light goes into the image sensor. You can check the captured photo at the display in the rear part of the camera. Some of the mirrorless cameras come with electronic viewfinders too.

best mirrorless dslr
Fujifilm Mirrorless camera (Source)

Benefits of Mirrorless Cameras

There are a lot of reasons why people are switching to mirrorless cams. If you are aiming to buy a mirrorless camera then it is better you know the benefits of buying it.

1. Size

When you sit to judge DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras, first of all, you will be noticing their sizes. A mirrorless camera is noticeably smaller than an SLR camera. As the camera is smaller in size, it doesn’t carry the prism and the flip-up mirror.

This is why; carrying the very camera is easy, unlike DSLR cameras. It doesn’t consume much space in a bag and weighs less too.

2. Viewfinder Offers Perfect Image Preview

The Viewfinder of a mirrorless camera gives the exact preview of the final photograph. Even after changing the primary settings of the camera, the image in the Viewfinder doesn’t change. Because of the electronic Viewfinder, you can get a real-time knowledge of how your photos are going to look being shot with changed settings. The camera itself does the guesswork for you. Eventually, you end up taking great pictures.

best mirrorless dslr
Anatomy of Mirrorless camera

3. No Mirror Mechanism

As there is no mirror mechanism present in the mirrorless cameras, you wouldn’t be facing any noise issue. Your camera would not be challenged by unwanted shake. As the camera lacks the mirror mechanism, air doesn’t pass through. As a result, the inside of the camera gets protection from dust. The mirrorless cameras are easy to clean as well.

4. Price

There are many reputed companies around that manufacture mirrorless cameras. Producing the very camera costs less. That is why; the price of the camera is always lesser than DSLR cameras. It is the reason; you can easily aim to buy best mirrorless DSLR, to begin with.

5. Focus Peaking and Sound

Focus peaking is one of the major benefits that a mirrorless cam offers. It lets you check the exact number of pixels on the subject that you are focusing on. The flip-flop mirror goes missing and the lesser moving parts give a lasting theoretical lifespan.

Drawbacks of Mirrorless Cameras

It would be wrong if you know only the advantages of the very camera while judging DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras. Let us discuss the camera’s drawbacks as well.

1. Battery Life

Lesser battery life is one of the major drawbacks of the mirrorless cameras. They really don’t last long. As the camera itself is small, its batteries are smaller. The camera gets used in live view mode all the time. More than 100 photos can be taken by a single time battery charge.

2. Focusing System

The contrast detection system in the mirrorless cameras cannot match the phase detection system that the DSLR cameras offer. The contrast detection system has lower speed than the phase detection system. This is why; the mirrorless cameras are not suitable for sports and agile wildlife photography.

3. Other Drawbacks

When it comes to autofocus, the camera fails to offer up to the mark performance.

Photos taken on a sunny day using small aperture by a mirrorless can get your images with unwanted red dots.

DSLR Camera Limitations

In order to judge mirrorless vs DSLR properly, we need to discuss the drawbacks and features of the DSLR cameras too.

  • Size and Bulk

Because of the mechanism, the DSLR cameras have a wider body. The camera also has a stuck out top. Digital sensor, optical axis, and the viewfinder sit on the same line on every DSLR and that’s why they look similar. This makes the whole a space consuming device.

  • Weight

Though the main frame of the DSLR cameras gets made of plastic, the other components inside make the whole weighty. Once the standardly sized lenses which are weighty too, get attached to the body of the DSLR, the camera automatically becomes heavier.

  • Complex Mirror and Shutter Design

To get the light pass through the lens and to make it reach the sensor, the mirror of the camera requires moving up and down. However, because of this single reason, several unwanted issues appear.

1. Mirror Slap

Mirror slapping produces noise while clicking photos using DSLR cameras. Mirror slap is also due to the shaking of the camera. Because of the shake, you can find taking photos maintaining long focal length and slower shutter speed challenge.

2. Air Movement

There are more than 10-key differences to analyze DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras. Because of the mirror movement, air can pass through the camera. Automatically, dust and debris also enter the camera. Eventually, the sensor becomes prone to dust each time the camera gets used.

Read: How to avoid dirty DSLR camera image sensor?

3. Frame Speed Limitation

It is true that the modern mirror and shutter mechanisms are better than the older ones. But their physical speed is limited during mirror movement. As an example, you can name Nikon D4. The camera can fire 11 frames in a second.

The mirror inside actually goes up and down 11 times while the shutter gets opened and closed during the whole course. It is very important for the shutter and the mirror to have a good synchronization to come up with good photos.

  • Expensive to Build and Support

Mirror mechanism can be divided into many parts and its mechanism is difficult too. This is why making the mirror is expensive. To resolve a small bit of difficulty of the same, professional technical support gets required. It is the reason, reassembling a DSLR camera is difficult as well as time-consuming.

Nikon’s Mirrorless Future

With three formats and two mounts, Nikon has come up with its mirrorless wonders. Firstly, it is CX – Nikon CX mirrorless mount, the cameras with 1″ sensor, DX – Nikon F mount, APS-C sensors, and FX – Nikon F mount, 35mm full-frame sensors.

dslr vs mirrorless - which is better
Nikon CX mount Mirrorless camera (Source)

Unlike other companies, Nikon came up with mirrorless mount, the CX with 1” sensor. The overall image quality of the new camera is good, but because of the tiny sensor, sometimes you can find taking desired snaps a bit challenging.

Canon’s Mirrorless Future

Apart from judging DSLR vs mirrorless - which is better, you can also compare the mirrorless cameras of Canon and Nikon. The mirrorless cameras of Canon are a bit better compared to Nikon’s. The implementation of APS-C size sensor is Canon’s major step in this regard. There is a possibility for the company to lean towards the M mount. According to the experts, Canon may stick to two mounts – EOS M and EF.

mirrorless vs dslr for beginners
Canon EOS-M3 Mirrorless camera (Source)

Autofocus Performance: Mirrorless vs DSLR

It is important to discuss the performance of both the cameras. These days, the mirrorless cameras are getting manufactured brilliantly. They can match up the focus standard of DSLR cameras. The in-built camera sensor can scan and analyze a photo before it is captured literally.

The mirrorless cameras already have face detection quality. Smile detection is also an added feature that the mirrorless cameras can boast about.

  • Image Stabilization

An unstable camera or a moving object often results in a blurry image. Image stabilization is the technique that counters this issue and gives a clearer and sharper image. Both DSLR and mirrorless cameras offer this feature, where a motion sensor detects the camera movement and tilts the image sensor or the lens away from the direction of motion. This helps in stabilizing the image. The advantage of sensor stabilization is that it is independent of the camera lens. On the other hand, lens stabilization works only with the lenses that have this feature built in. High-end Sony cameras can offer 5-axis image stabilization, which provides a smoother footage. The mirrorless Canon EOS M3 is one of the best to click static subjects.

  • Image Quality

With similar resolutions and noise, both DSLR and mirrorless cameras can click high-quality pictures. Some believe that since mirrorless cameras are smaller in size, they have smaller image sensors and hence provide lower quality images. But in truth, mirrorless cameras are smaller because unlike DSLR cameras they don’t have a mirror assembly that passes the light from the lens to the optical viewfinder (OVF); instead, the light passes from the lens directly to the sensor, which then passes it to the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Since both types of cameras use APS-C sensors, the image quality is almost the same. Sony Alpha a5000 is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market.

  • Video Quality

Since high-end mirrorless cameras use on-chip focus sensors, they can shoot better videos. On the other hand, DSLRs aren’t capable of using phase detection with the mirror up while recording video, and hence they use the slower, less accurate, contrast-detection focus method.

This blurs the video when the camera cannot find the right focus. Most of the mirrorless cameras have phase detection in their newer models.

  • Shooting Speed

High-end DSLR cameras have an edge over all other types when it comes to shutter speed. But at the entry level, mirrorless cameras have a better shutter speed. Because of the absence of mirror assembly, they can shoot in burst modes, making them faster than DSLR cameras. Mirrorless Sony camera A9 can shoot at an outrageous speed of 20fps

  • Image and Video Playback

Mostly, both mirrorless and DSLR cameras either have a 3-inch screen or an HDMI port or both on which images and video can be viewed. Some cameras also offer WiFi to share data over the internet.

Lack of Innovation

The DSLR cameras have come a long way with technical advancements. Hence, we don’t get to see noticeable upgraded features in the new DSLR cameras that much. But there is a lot of scope for the mirrorless cameras for improvisation. There are enough options such as resolution, AF modules, video features, fps and much more.

Choose the Best for You

A lot of people are still skeptical whether the mirrorless cameras would reach the level of DSLR cameras or not. But you must choose that is suitable for you. No matter which type of camera you pick, it must satisfy your needs. A camera that offers you photos that can suit your needs is certainly the right camera for you.

Always choose a camera that fits your desires. You can share your thoughts regarding cameras with us. You can also share your experiences if you have taken photos using mirrorless or DSLR cameras. We are always interested to hear from you. Your photographic experiences can enrich us and others as well.

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