Most people associate digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras with advanced photography.
However, it’s not just DSLRs that are becoming increasingly popular among consumers. In fact, the ‘Mirrorless Camera Market – Forecasts from 2021 to 2026’ report found that the global mirrorless camera market is experiencing rapid growth and is expected to reach a market size of $2.54 billion in 2026. This is mainly due to consumer lifestyle changes and trends, more disposable income, and increasing urbanization.
Choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera can be confusing. They both use interchangeable lenses, and both can capture high-quality images. These cameras also give you a good degree of automated and manual control. This guide will cover the differences between the two and help you decide which one suits you best.
DLSRs vs Mirrorless Cameras
The main difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera is how light is captured using the sensor. While both have large sensors to allow more light and detail than standard digital cameras, image previews are displayed differently. DSLRs get their name from the reflex mirror inside the camera body, which bounces the light up into the viewfinder.
Mirrorless cameras don’t use mirrors, so the light goes directly to the image sensor. Mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders that allow users to view the image the same way it would be displayed on the LCD screen.
Mirrorless cameras were designed to create a smaller and lighter camera without compromising image quality. To do this, every component of the device is assessed for possible reduction. Since imaging sensors affected a camera’s size significantly, this was reduced along with the lens mount, lens size, and camera body overall.
Choosing the Right Camera
Size and weight
DSLRs are typically bigger than mirrorless types, and while some may consider this a disadvantage, having a big camera is useful in certain scenarios. For instance, you may be using a heavy telephoto lens that requires a sturdy camera body. Big cameras are also better for people with larger hands. With mirrorless cameras on the rise, the DSLR cameras featured on NBC News show how many designs have come down to more affordable prices. This is excellent news for photographers who don’t mind secondhand components. They still retain big advantages over their mirrorless counterparts, including battery life and handling.
Generally, mirrorless cameras are smaller than average DSLRs. This type of camera is ideal for those who prefer a lighter form, and they are handy for travelling. However, some professional mirrorless cameras are built similarly to DSLRs but with heavier lenses and more rugged terrain.
Since the viewfinder on a DSLR depends on a mirror, the optical view provided to the photographer is clear, natural-looking, and lag-free. This is particularly handy for sports and wildlife shooters who prefer to view their subjects as is, and it comes standard on DSLRs.
Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, favour electronic viewfinders. Earlier models had low-quality viewfinders, but technology has improved so much that it is now preferable to some DSLRs. This is evident in many of the mirrorless cameras on Adorama, which allow you to get a real-time view of the scene you’re shooting before you even click the shutter. Depending on the model you choose, you can focus on different strengths. The cameras in the Sony Alpha series, in particular, excel in full-frame sensors, while Fujifilm models are recommended for crisp and vivid image quality.
DSLRs have an extensive selection of lenses available, and brands like Canon and Nikon have telephoto lenses and other types to suit the job. Pentax is another brand that offers plenty of options, and some third-party manufacturers allow photographers to choose practically any configuration that is compatible with their camera body. If you require a wide selection of lenses, then DSLRs may be your best bet.
Mirrorless cameras may not have as many options for lenses; most of the bases are covered for older systems like Sony and Fujifilm. Newer models have fewer options, but the range is still expanding. If you need just the basics, then mirrorless cameras would still be well-suited for you.
Are mirrorless cameras better than DSLR?
Mirrorless cameras are usually smaller (more compact), lighter, and perform better at video shooting. But they have shorter battery life, and a live view depends on an electronic viewfinder and fewer lenses. In contrast, DSLRs have longer battery life, a larger selection of lenses, and image from the optical viewfinder is of better quality.
Do professional photographers use mirrorless cameras?
Many professional photographers have switched to a mirrorless system, particularly landscape and travel photographers who value small and light cameras.
Will DSLR be replaced by mirrorless?
Many top-tier photographers still prefer DSLRs over mirrorless cameras so that DSLRs won’t die out soon. However, if the trends continue, mirrorless cameras might soon become vastly more popular.
Is DSLR still worth buying?
The biggest motivation for a DSLR camera is a selection of lenses. Many mirrorless camera mounts are relatively new, so very few lenses have been developed for them. Additionally, there is only a small selection of 3rd party lenses, which are generally cheaper.
Either type of camera can just be as good as the other; your needs and preferences should be the main deciding factor. Now that you know the differences and similarities between DSLR and mirrorless cameras, all you need to do next is pick one up and start shooting.