MirrorLess Camera Vs DSLR: Beginner’s Guidebook

MirrorLess Camera Vs DSLR: Beginner’s Guidebook

A Mirrorless camera is basically a digital camera without an optical viewfinder. They are purely based on the LCD screen to preview and record the image. And it’s regarded as future digital photography.

When I first heard about this 4 years ago, I thought it only applies to compact system cameras (CSC). But later found out that there are several mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras(ILC) popping up recently. Like micro four-thirds mirrorless ILC from Olympus/Panasonic, fuji x100s ILC with fixed focal length, etc. All these have one thing in common: they don’t have a reflex mirror inside the body, which makes them much smaller than DSLRs.

the biggest advantage of using ILC (compared with DSLRs) is the size. Because they don’t have a large mirror inside, many ILC cameras are considerably smaller than their DSLR equivalents.

Mirrorless camera vs DSLR Camera

A: size. ILC is smaller than DSLR, especially if we compare it to full-frame DSLRs. And that’s the biggest advantage of using mirrorless cameras is they are lightweight and convenient for traveling.

There are some micro four-thirds lenses (full-frame equivalent) only 80mm in length. The smallest one can be even shorter than 50mm, it depends on your needs. If you need a fast prime lens with a maximum aperture larger than f/1.2.

Thus there won’t be any good options for you non-ILC cameras except Zeiss lens and Leica lens which are very expensive anyway. But as I said earlier, many mirrorless lenses have a max aperture smaller than f/1.4 so don’t have to worry about it.

B: focus speed and accuracy control. If you are shooting sports or wildlife, DSLR will be a better choice than ILC because of the high frame rate (6/9 fps for pro bodies), dedicated AF system, and more accurate focus capabilities with good glass.

No matter what your subjects are in motion,  Canon 6D is still way faster than Fujifilm X-Pro1 (with f/2 lens).  Avoid ILC if you’re into action photography. But if shoot portraits.

I highly recommend using mirrorless cameras because they offer a shallow depth of field very similar to using large-aperture lenses on DSLRs. This makes them ideal for portraiture work. And also if you have shaky hands, then it would be better to use ILC. Mirrorless cameras do process and preview the image without any light interference, so they are an ideal choice for macro photography too.

Important Consideration

C: low light capability and noise control. With a larger sensor sizes (compared to compact cameras), DSLRs usually can gather more light, which means they can shoot at higher ISO settings with more acceptable noise levels than mirrorless cameras.

But thanks to the new generation of CMOS sensors from Sony/Olympus/Fuji, many mirrorless cameras’ low light capabilities are very close or even better than DSLRs now in 2014.

And as we all know that newer generation of cameras has a less noisy uprearing algorithm, the images from ILC cameras are not as bad as they used to be. But most of them still can’t fight against full-frame DSLRs in the extremely low light situations because they don’t have fast aperture lenses or huge sensor sizes (fullframe).

D: features and control.  With bigger mirror inside, DSLR usually have larger range of controls on the body. And some even have built-in flash like nikon d7100 and canon 6d.

For those who need a lot of extra value add features, DSLRs will be a better choice(because there are so many options for you). But if you want to use your camera for mainly shooting portraits or capturing moments quietly with a smaller form factor, ILCs would be a better choice.

Some Cons Of Using ILC

+ Fewer focus points and slower focusing than the latest generation DSLRs. For example, Nikon d800 only has 51 cross-type focus points(phase detection), while fuji x100s is only 23 PDAF points(contrast).

If you’re shooting fast-moving subjects or sports, an ILC may not be able to track as well as a full frame DSLR. (for example canon 6d with 70D, 5d mark iii, in comparison to Fuji X-Pro1)

+ Some cameras have fixed lens like fuji x100s which means it can’t change focal length without buying another camera body.

+ If you want to shoot action sports, a mirrorless camera may not be way better than a DSLR because of much slower fps. (for example: fuji X-E1 has max 6 fps vs 70D with 9fps, 5d mark iii with 10fps)

+ Usually ILCs have smaller sensor sizes or resolutions compared to DSLRs. For example, canon 6d has a 20mp full frame sensor while fuji x100s only has a 16mp APS-C sized sensor. This means we can’t crop as much out of the image from ILC cameras if we need that option in post-production. Some people would say that it’s too small for print but he/she still needs to know all this info before starting a photography business.

+ lacks features like eye-control focusing, built-in flash(some do have hotshoe), the larger range of lens selection, better battery life, etc.

Is Mirrorless Camera Best For Professional Photography?

What i’ve said above is only basic information about the difference between DSLRs and ILCs. The answer to this question mainly depends on your needs and the type of photography you like.

For example, if you’re putting more importance on low light capability or video modes, then mirror less camera could be better option for you. But if you want to shoot fast action or sports, then a full frame dslr would be a much better choice. And for others who only need a smaller counterpart with extra value add features like wifi, touch screen etc., ILC will work just fine too.

My Personal Experience Of Photography

For me personally:  I use both DSLR and Mirrorless cameras because they have their own advantages as stated above. As a full time professional photographer, I need to capture important moments photographically.

And as far as I know, there are two kinds of photographers: photojournalists and commercial/advertising photographer. For me, I’m into both  because my main market is weddings and corporate events so they will require different kind of shots at different light condition.

But i’m not using a full frame DSLR for that because that would be too big and heavy for my clients in my opinion. Instead, I use smaller mirrorless cameras like Olympus em1 or Panasonic gh4 in the form factor that makes it easier to blend into the crowd.

Before you decide what camera system would be best for you, just look at your work objectively and think about how much time you’ll be spending with each camera. And more importantly, how comfortable you feel with the camera because if you are uncomfortable, your photos would reflect that too.

Conclusion For Mirrorless Camera Vs DSLR

Hence these are some of the basic information for Mirrorless Camera Vs DSLR. If you have more questions about the subject, do leave a comment below and i will try to reply your question to the best of my knowledge. And also if you like what i said above, please share with others who could benefit from this information as well. Thanks!

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