What Is A Mirrorless Camera, And How Does It Compare To A DSLR?

mirrorless vs dslr comparison (1)
Abubakar Mohammed/Fossbytes

A few months ago, one of the famous camera makers, Nikon, shifted its focus from single-lens reflex cameras to mirrorless cameras because of the increase in popularity of the mirrorless segment. In this age of social media, computational photography is a more feasible option for most users than buying a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex). Most people appreciate the ease of shooting images with smartphones as smartphone cameras continue to improve exponentially with each generation.

However, some users still demand more granular control instead of point-and-shoot cameras, which led to the outbreak of a new camera type, one which is more flexible than point-and-shoot cameras, easier to carry around than regular DSLRs, and much better than smartphones in imaging. Enter Mirrorless Cameras.

What is a Mirrorless Camera?

Sony Alpha 6000

As its name suggests, a mirrorless camera lacks a mirror through which light usually bounces off to the OVF (Optical Viewfinder) in a typical DSLR. Instead, in a mirrorless camera, the light directly falls on the sensor through the lens, and the information is sent to the EVF (Electronic Viewfinder). The OVF shows you the actual, unaltered live view of the scene, whereas the EVF shows you the live preview after processing it from the sensor.

How DSLR works
Photography Life

“If there’s a mirror in front of the sensor in DSLRs, how is the image captured?” Good question! When you press the shutter button on a DSLR, the mirror and something called a focal-plane shutter to move up to let the light into the image sensor. The faster the parts move, the lesser the amount of light captured.

Mirrorless Cameras Vs DSLRs

Although both types have their advantages and disadvantages, Mirrorless Cameras are better than DSLRs by a mile. For starters, a DSLR is chunky and heavy to carry around, whereas mirrorless cameras are slimmer and more portable. Thanks to the absence of mirrors, the shutter mechanism on a mirrorless camera are quiet without what’s called a mirror slap. Furthermore, mirrorless cameras are easier to clean and shoot faster (Sony’s A6600 shoots up to 11 fps with continuous AF).

Fujifilm vs Sony
The Hybrid Shooter

Since mirrorless cameras lack an extra moving part, their maintenance cost is also relatively low. Sony’s A6000 lineup, Canon’s R lineup, Nikon’s Z lineup, and Fujifilm’s XT series consist of mirrorless cameras. Among all of them, Sony is the most popular choice.

Cons of owning a mirrorless camera:

  • Red dot patterns
  • Pricing
  • Battery life

Top guns like Sony and Nikon have stopped making DSLR cameras, but they still have a few advantages over mirrorless ones. The primary one is battery life. Thanks to the bigger body, the batteries made for DSLRs also have high capacity. Additionally, the OVF helps you get the exact idea of how the scene looks, unlike the EVF on a mirrorless camera, which first processes the information from the sensor.

Cons of owning a DSLR:

  • Bulky in size
  • Hard to maintain
  • Slower autofocus
  • Speed limitations when shooting with continuous AF.
  • The absence of Exposure Preview in OVF makes it hard to expose your subject under direct sunlight properly.
  • Shutter noise

Which Mirrorless Camera Should You Buy?

If you’re already familiar with the basics, can shoot in manual mode, and are low on budget, I recommend checking out the A6000 series. The A6000 itself is still a solid option for beginners and intermediate users and has aged well in the nine years since its launch. Sony recently discontinued the camera, and while new units are still available on most e-commerce websites, the best way to buy an A6000 for cheap is to buy one used, which should cost around Rs 28,600 ($350) with the kit lens.

That said, if you’re an expert, you already know which to pick. Full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras are deemed the best in their category, but Fujifilm and Canon are no slouch. What camera do you prefer—DSLR or Mirrorless? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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