In this post, we settle the DSLR vs mirrorless camera debate once and for all. Mirrorless cameras have taken the world by storm in recent years because it’s the next thing. But do they really put DSLR cameras to shame? Let’s explore the key features between the two cameras to help you decide which camera is right for you.
Weight and Size
One of the main selling points for mirrorless cameras is the fact they’re very small and lightweight compared to the chunkier and heavier DSLRs. Because of this, mirrorless cameras are the perfect size to fit in your coat pocket, making them extremely portable in public spaces.
Due to its small size, however, most of the buttons you would find on a DSLR, have been reduced to on-screen prompts. This makes things a little more fiddly and slower because you will have to navigate through menus which can take a long time depending on what you need to do. DSLR cameras will most likely do what you want them to do with a click of a button. DSLRs, in general, are a lot more comfortable to use because of its bigger frame as it naturally fits into your hands. People with big hands may struggle to come to grips with mirrorless cameras due to their small size.
While the mirrorless camera body is small itself, mirrorless lenses are not. Mirrorless lenses are often the same size as DSLR lenses. This makes the smaller camera body seem pointless, as with the lens attached, it’s not far off from the same size as a DSLR camera.
If you’re a traveler or a vlogger, then a mirrorless camera is perfect as it offers the best level of portability. If you want something more comfortable and simpler to use, however, DSLR cameras would be more ideal.
There are thousands upon thousands of lenses to choose from for DSLR cameras. DSLR cameras have been around for years so it’s only natural that there are so many. Mirrorless cameras, however, are still relatively new and therefore there aren’t nearly as many lenses available. That’s not to say there’s a lack of quality lenses though. Sony has a very competent range of mirrorless lenses to use that covers all areas – from zoom lenses, prime lenses, macro lenses, wide lenses, and telephoto lenses. Fujifilm also has a comprehensive range of lenses, offering a great variety of zoom and prime lenses. If you use a Canon DSLR camera and have bought plenty of lenses over the years, you can buy a lens adaptor that will allow standard DSLR lenses to work with mirrorless Canon cameras as well. As time goes on there will be far more lenses for mirrorless cameras in the near future.
The main difference between the two cameras is that a DSLR uses an optical viewfinder and a mirrorless one uses an electronic display. Neither affects image quality so it is down to preference.
The advantage of having an electronic viewfinder is what you see is what you get. The viewfinder simulates what your picture would look like before you’ve taken the shot. However, this does depend on your settings as well. If you’ve set your viewfinder brightness settings too high, then the actual image itself could be darker and vice versa.
Optical viewfinders do not have this issue as you’re pretty much looking through glass with no artificial effects added. While you can’t see what your picture will look like, some people find it easier to compose their photo this way and it works better in low-light conditions.
When it comes to continuous shooting, mirrorless cameras are hands down the best. Because mirrorless cameras have fewer moving parts than a DSLR camera, it is able to take continuous shots much quicker. Even cheaper mirrorless cameras have this feature and achieve amazing results. While it is possible to take continuous shots with a DSLR, it’s nowhere near as fast. Older, cheaper models may not even have this feature. Mirrorless cameras are the clear winners here.
These days, even entry-level DSLR cameras come with a plethora of features that can even satisfy the most seasoned of photographers. With that said, for its price bracket, entry-level mirrorless cameras often have more features that can easily rival professional DSLR cameras. In mirrorless cameras, you will often find that the autofocus is much faster than the ones found on DSLR cameras. This is because mirrorless cameras use newer sensors. Even entry-level mirrorless cameras boast in-built image stabilization features and will record 4K videos at 60fps, whereas you would only see these features on higher-end DSLR cameras.
DSLRs have come a long way in regards to video recording. Way back when, DSLRs didn’t have the ability to record videos, but in recent years it’s finally caught up. Most entry-level DSLR cameras can record up to 1080p at a max of 30fps or 60fps if you’re lucky. This is fine but as modern technology continues to thrive, DSLRs are still behind the times. In order to record true 4K resolution, you would need to spend big on a professional-grade camera. Mirrorless cameras however have quickly surpassed DSLRs in almost every way. Right off the bat, entry-level mirrorless cameras are able to record 4K videos in 60fps with image stabilization features to help steady your aim. Mirrorless cameras have only been around for a few years and are already light years ahead of DSLR cameras.
This is one area where mirrorless cameras fall behind. In most mirrorless cameras, you’d be lucky to get about 300-400 shots before the battery expires. With DSLR cameras, however, you can easily obtain 1000 shots before the battery runs out. This is because DSLR cameras use bigger batteries and are less demanding than mirrorless cameras. Regardless of what camera you go for, however, it’s always good practice to bring a couple of spare batteries when you’re out on the field.
As you can tell from our list above, mirrorless cameras do seem to be the way forward. With this in mind, however, you have to take into account the cost of mirrorless cameras. For a decent entry-level mirrorless camera, you would be looking between £600-£800, and that’s if these cameras even come with a viewfinder. You can easily buy a decent DSLR camera for around £300-£500. That’s a pretty big price gap between the two.
The Nikon D3500 is often regarded as the best entry-level camera on a budget as it includes all the bells and whistles you need to take amazing pictures. It also includes a nice tutorial feature where it shows you how to use your camera which makes it perfect for those just starting out. You can purchase this camera with a kit lens for just £449/$599.95.
The best mirrorless equivalent would be the Sony a6100. Sony is often regarded as the go-to brand for mirrorless cameras thanks to its reliability and ease of use. Despite being equivalent to the Nikon D3500, it will still set you back £679/$748 for just the body and no lens.
When you put things into perspective, mirrorless cameras are the way forward. They’re smaller, lighter, and more advanced than most mid-range DSLR cameras. In recent years, production of DSLR cameras has slowed down while mirrorless has increased. This does suggest that DSLR cameras will one day be a thing of the past. However, it’s hard to argue that DSLRs still have their uses. DSLRs are often simpler to use and are far more comfortable to hold and the price range is great for those just starting out.
It all boils down to you. If you are someone that’s new to photography then a DSLR is the perfect choice. If you plan on focusing primarily on taking pictures instead of videos then you cannot go wrong with a DSLR. DSLRs are easier to get started with simply because there are so many cameras and lenses to choose from. If you do plan on taking photography seriously, however, then we strongly recommend using mirrorless cameras. They offer more advanced features that you just can’t get with a basic DSLR camera. They’re also great for filmmaking as they can record up to 4K. Newer models can even reach 8K.
Check out our OnlyFans Buyer’s Guide: Photography Equipment blog for the best cameras and gear to help kickstart your career in photography.
Are you a photographer? What camera do you have? Let us know in the comments section below.