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DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras

12 Key differences you need to know

Do you love clicking photos or are you the new model in the town?

Photoholics, or the ones dreaming of their future as a photographer, this article is for you.

To begin with, let’s just clear it out that there are mainly two types of cameras, mirrorless and one with mirror. 

This article is specially made as a comparison article between DSLR vs mirrorless cameras. 

Are you getting excited to look for stunning information about DSLR vs mirrorless Cameras? Let’s begin then.

Bifurcation of Mirrorless vs DSLR

mirrorless vs dslr

There are many features on which you will need to choose whether you need a mirrorless camera or DSLR camera.     

In this article, we will discuss almost all important bifurcations on the basis of which we choose the best digital camera.

In the description of every feature, you will find suggestions about which camera will be the best for that feature. Hence, without any confusion, and worries, let’s switch to bifurcations one-by-one. 

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Price

Rupees of DSLR vs Mirrorless

If you are a photographer, you might already know that buying a camera requires a huge investment. 

However, when the concern is the price in the DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras debate, the competition doesn’t have any winner. The result is: Draw.

Both will cost you almost the same cost when you want to purchase them. But if you consider the value of money as a factor, DSLRs win.

If you are a beginner, you can easily find an entry-level DSLR in an affordable range. Still, it will provide good features along with amazing photos. 

You will also get the same form of specs from the mirrorless camera. But a DSLR is worth spending. So, if you find a cost-effective, entry-level DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), grab it soon.

It might happen that entry-level cameras might lack good battery life, viewfinder, resolution, etc. But still, you can shoot amazing photos with that device too.

Ending the price feature, mirrorless and DSLR cameras are evenly sold at almost similar prices. So, whichever model you go for, you will get near to the same performance and power, in almost the same budget.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Size and Weight

size dslr vs mirrorless

DSLR cameras are comparatively bigger as they have a mirror fitting inside and also consist of an optical viewfinder mechanism. 

Simply, when size and weight are considered, mirrorless cameras will be the winner.

Let’s understand more about this specification by a simple yet effective example: 

If you are buying a Canon EOS 1500D 24.1 DSLR, the dimensions of this product are 22 x 16.5 x 14 cm. And, the weight is around 1.24 kg. 

In the same case, if you are going for a Panasonic LUMIX G7 4k video Mirrorless Camera, its dimensions are ‎8.7 x 13.9 x 9.8 cm. And, weight is only 645 grams.

So, based on these features, you can clearly see those mirrorless cameras are easy to handle and carry. DSLRs require more space to fit and can also prove to be bulky. 

Mirrorless cameras were made for smaller and lighter terms. 

Hence, in the end, you can easily carry a mirrorless camera than a DSLR. The DSLR camera body is comparatively bulky to carry everywhere.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Lenses and accessories

DSLR vs Mirrorless lenses

DSLR clearly has more lens options compared to mirrorless cameras. Hence, we can clearly suggest that DSLR wins in the matter of Lens. 

But the difference between available lenses of DSLR and Mirrorless is gradually decreasing. On one hand, Canon and Nikon have hundreds of interchangeable lenses for DSLR. 

At the same time, Canon has only 8+ lenses of M-series for its mirrorless cameras; And Nikon has 16 lenses for Z series mirrorless cameras. 

You might or might not be aware of the third-party lenses that Tamron and Sigma made for these models. But these SLRs might not be ideal for new DSLRs. For example, some might deprive the autofocus system. 

However, firms like Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, share Micro Four Thirds sensors. So, it gets easy to find mirrorless camera lenses for their model. 

Sony has around 50 E-mount lenses for Sony Mirrorless Cameras. Panasonic and Olympus have around 40 lenses. Additionally, Fujifilm is also a growing contestant. 

We get around 30 lenses for their X-System mirrorless cameras. Still, DSLRs have a huge range of DSLR lenses to choose from. 

So, if you are planning to buy a camera now, get a DSLR. Because it provides numerous lens varieties to choose from.

Lastly, the numeric gap of lenses available for mirrorless vs DSLR cameras is decreasing quickly. So, in the future, please look at the latest news regarding lenses available and then choose the camera.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Battery Life

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Battery Life

Even when the matter is battery life, DSLRs have longer battery life than mirrorless cameras. The reason behind this is:

They can give a live view on an LCD screen or EVF (Electronic Viewfinders), and they do not consume more power. 

Furthermore, like the number of lenses, the battery life of mirrorless cameras is also improving. For instance, the Sony a6000 that was launched in 2014 rates remain awake for 360 shots in one charge. But, its successor model a61000 rates 420 shots per charging.

Despite this improvisation, mirrorless cameras will almost lag behind DSLRs. The DSLR rate of Nikon D3500 is around 1550 shots in one charge.

Mirrorless falls short in long hours of continuous shooting. This can be a negative point for professional photographers who are shooting for long stretches.

Why is the battery in Mirrorless Cameras always draining? It’s because of the sensors that are active almost always. 

You can get extra batteries at a low cost, but it will only add up to the inconvenience of carrying them everywhere.

So, thumbs up for a DSLR camera when the feature of battery life is taken into account.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Shooting

DSLR vs Mirrorless Shooting

While performing professional photography in a field, it is really important to keep three features in mind. 

These features are:

Size (camera body) of the camera, auto focus, and ability to shoot while in a low-light environment. 

However, when we bet on the size, Mirrorless is always the winner because it gets easy to handle a mirrorless camera while shooting. 

But…

Nowadays, even entry-level DSLRs are small and handy. You can carry them anywhere easily just like a mirrorless camera. So, if you are a beginner in the field of photography, these DSLRs will work well.

Still, if you want to carry large stuff in a compact manner, you can go for professional mirrorless cameras. It fits easily and also shoots your task professionally.

Now, when low-light and autofocus are in concern, DSLRs are reigning over historically. But, there are mirrorless monsters from Sony that are ready to heed this specification as well.

You can notice that mirrorless autofocus is improving eventually. But still, DSLRs autofocus system and low-light capture are out of reach for them. 

So, here the decision is completely yours about which camera you need to buy for perfect shooting purposes. 

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Viewfinder

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- ViewFinder

The viewfinder is always a personal preference. It is present in DSLR as well as Mirrorless cameras as well. 

Optical Viewfinders in the DSLR camera shows the image that is actually coming from the lens of the camera. The mirror inside the DSLR reflects the photo to the viewfinder. 

Now you might be thinking about how an image is formed in the EVF of a mirrorless camera?

In the mirrorless camera, the image is formed electronically in an electronic viewfinder. This process is not as simple as it seems. 

Hence, you get a viewfinder in both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. So, here’s a draw between them when the viewfinder feature is in consideration.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Video Quality

DSLR vs Mirrorless Video Quality

The video capture feature is now performable in every modern camera these days. But the question is how good the quality of video capture is while shooting from DSLR and mirrorless cameras. 

It’s a hard task to maintain Ultra HD quality videos for the entry-level DSLRs. So, if you are required to produce Ultra HD or 4K videos, you will need high-end and expensive DSLRs.

Meanwhile, in the case of mirrorless cameras, the full-frame mirrorless cameras along with the normal ones can shoot high-quality videos easily. 

Also, you can expect good quality video shooting in the best mirrorless cameras at affordable rates. 

While shooting videos, autofocus makes the key difference. Mirrorless cameras have the advantage that they can use on-chip phase detection autofocus sensors.

Still, DSLRs cannot use phase detection imaging sensors while recording videos. So, the video results are less accurate and slow.

Hence, it leads to blurry looks while shooting a video and the camera is finding the right focus. Moreover, Canon started changing DSLRs a few years back and added on-sensor phase detection. 

Along with that, Nikon also started adding this sensor to high-end cameras. Hence, you can get good video quality through high-end DSLRs too.

But, you can get the same type of video quality in affordable entry-level mirrorless cameras. So, why not go for Mirrorless cameras and save some bucks?

With amazing autofocus, mirrorless cameras give the best results for filmmakers and make video shooting fun.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Image Quality

DSLR vs Mirrorless clear image

Both cameras are capable of taking high-quality pictures having similar graininess and resolutions. 

Earlier, mirrorless cameras got smaller image sensors, hence they couldn’t capture much light. But, now the tables have turned over. 

Mirrorless cameras also capture the same amount of images as a DSLR can. Camera makers have produced some sensitive chips to suppress better graininess.

Also, Sony and Canon are now making mirrorless cameras with the same APS C sensor in mirrorless cameras too. These sensors are generally used in DSLRs. 

There are numerous full-frame mirrorless cameras with the same size sensor that we get on premium DSLR cameras. Additionally, you also get full-frame mirrorless models from Canon & Nikon too. 

Fujifilm also makes the GFX series, which is bigger than a full frame medium format sensor. But the only limitation is, even the entry-level cameras are a bit costly.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Image and Video Playback

This feature too doesn’t have any clear winner of the DSLR vs Mirrorless debate. Both cameras have around 3-inch LCD display to show the Video and Image playback. 

And this size is sufficient for the users to watch the output. Also, both DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras allow users to show images via HDMI connection to TV or computer display.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Speed

Both cameras can shoot at a great pace with great shutter speeds. But, if we look closely, mirrorless cameras work smoother than DSLRs. 

Though it lacks a mirror, it becomes easier for us to take image after image. Most mirrorless systems use a mechanical shutter to expose the image. 

And hence, it produces better results. Mirrorless systems can also use an electronic shutters to shoot silently and quickly.

Hence, these specifications make it clear that when speed matters, Mirrorless cameras are horses that you can bet on.

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Stabilization

Image stabilization

Stabilization is necessary while shooting a video or clicking pictures. Shaky hands equal blurry pictures. Hence, a camera with good image stabilization is good. 

Both mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras provide image stabilization. These sensors measure the movements of the camera and move the image sensor slightly to the opposite direction of the camera shake.

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have limited lens-shift that allows them to restrain the shake on two axes: horizontal and vertical.
While some mirrorless systems move the lens and sensor up and down in a synchronized manner for more stabilization.

However, the difference these approaches create is minimal. The main advantage of this sensor is that it can work with almost all lenses. Also, the latest cameras deal with small camera shake on their own.

To compensate for large movements, high end mirrorless cameras like Olympus OM-D Mark iii and some Sony cameras are used.

They offer five-axis in-body image stabilization that is not yet found on DSLRs. These five axes are horizontal, vertical, pitch, yaw, and roll.

Five-axis image stabilization is greatest among other methods and really helpful when shooting motion. 

So, till we start getting 5-axis image stabilization in DSLRs, Mirrorless cameras win the show of image stabilization. 

DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras- Durability

DSLR durability

Cameras are generally carried on venturing paths or places where there are risks of your camera getting into worse conditions. Hence, camera makers provide an extra level of protection in all models. 

Beginner-level cameras like Nikon D3500 often have plastic bodies that can hold casual falls. But it will not hold if your camera is tossed high and falls. 

The next level of security is a camera with an alloy body. It can withstand bumps better than a plastic camera body. The model of Sony a6100 has a magnesium-alloy body, which gives it more durability. 

Almost all cameras have their own protection depending on the price and material used. Hence, you can get any camera, and also get protective bags to carry it.

Pros of Mirrorless Cameras

  • Mirrorless cameras are always smaller and lighter than DSLR. The reason behind it is that it doesn’t require a bulky mirror box. As a result, other mirror-moving parts are also not needed. So, it’s smaller than a DSLR and also easy to handle, and causes less shaking.

  • Top mirrorless cameras have high-resolution electronic viewfinders or an optical LED with a 60 times-per-second rapid refresh rate. It has 100 % high magnification and coverage. Also, the optical viewfinders provide viewing with shutter fires.

  • Electronic Viewfinders is the specialty of mirrorless cameras, it allows us to preview the image captured in real-time.

  • Mirrorless system has a layering of EVF such as levels, camera settings, focus peaking, histograms, etc. This helps in providing instant enlarged image, focus and allows playback also.

  • These cameras allow using open source lenses by simply mounting adapters to add an optical array of the camera.

  • The shorter flange back of the mirrorless camera makes it easy to design high-quality lenses. Also, it provides great light transmission efficiency.

  • Mirrorless camera provides Live View without any interruption using the LCD screen or EVF.

Pros of DSLRs

  • Upper and Middle tier models with solid mirror pentaprism OVFs (optical viewfinders) give brilliant real viewing images that we cannot find in mirrorless models.

  • Digital SLR is larger than mirrorless ones and hence it can have more controls than mirrorless models. Various functions like ISO, white balance, exposure, etc. controls are placed for ergonomic use of the product.

  • It uses larger batteries and provides greater running compared to smaller batteries. Also, it’s a fact that DSLRs run quite longer than mirrorless cameras, and hence you can rely on them for longer shoots.

  • Photographers whose hands are larger often choose DSLRs because of their ergonomic shape. Some of the DSLRs are also more comfortable to use than its mirrorless options.
    Also, if you are the type of photographer that believes in stable shooting through heavier cameras then DSLR is the perfect option for you.

  • It is next to impossible to break the record of reliability, durability, and consistent performance of the DSLR even in adverse conditions.

  • Moreover, you also get on-image lens stabilization to decrease the effect of mirror camera shake.

  • This camera provides a well-prepared lens that has numerous prime and professional zoom lenses to deliver stunning processes while clicking photos.

  • Mirrorless systems have not matched the optical array of DSLRs, So, you can easily choose DSLR over mirrorless if you find these pros attractive and worth spending.

Key Differences: DSLR and Mirrorless Camera

In the end, here are the main differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Differences

Description

Price

The main difference is noticeable in high-end devices of both types. However, there is not much difference in entry-level models. 

Size

Mirrorless is generally going to be smaller than DSLRs.

Mirror placing

As the name suggests Mirrorless cameras do not have mirrors and hence it’s smaller in size.

While in DSLRs, you find a mirror that forms the image on the prism and focuses on the viewfinder. This helps to preview the shot.

So, when you hit the shutter button, it opens the shutter and the mirror flips after light focuses on it and hits the sensor.

EVF

Some cameras offer an electronic viewfinder that works as a second screen that holds up images for better view. 

Final Verdict

I would like to end this article with an overview of the complete article in just one image. View the following time-saving image and decide your favorite camera.

DSLR vs Mirrorless table

Which camera will be favorable to you completely depends on your need, situation, and use. Let’s hope this article helps you to get the best camera that you need. 

Generally, an experienced professional photographer invests in both types of cameras. And use them according to the situation, need, and time. 

About your guide

Shreyal Shingala is a Content Writer and also a Product tester at BestCheck. Overseeing the content and products, she edits our preceding articles too. Along with that, she loves to spend time with her family when she got her leisure time.

Previously, she worked as a content writer and researcher for a digital marketing agency and has written in different niches like blogs, comparison guides, entertainment, and many more.