Taking a next step in photography usually means a nicer camera than the one that’s in your smartphone or a pocket size point & shoot.
Back in the day if you are really serious, this meant getting a DSLR – The big fat camera that looks all professional, more features, larger image sensors and the ability to change out lenses to best match what you are doing.
Telephoto, Wide Angle, the ever awesome prime lenses for portraits or low light.
In the past few years Mirrorless cameras have really started to rival the DSLRs.
So let’s explain what’s the differences between the two really are and clear out some myths about Mirrorless cameras and why one might be a better match for your needs.
Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras
In an old school DSLR, after the light passes through the lens it hits a mirror inside the camera that bounces the light through a prism and into the viewfinder we use to frame the shot in focus.
Now in many modern cameras only part of that light goes through the optical viewfinder while part of it hits a separate auto focus sensor.
When you want to take a picture things get really interesting.
You hit the shutter button and the whole mirror assembly flips up and it makes that distinctive taking a picture sound that DSLR’s make.
Light hits the camera sensor are filmed directly at a viewfinder blacks until the exposure is finished.
Basically you’ll see approximately the exact same light level as you experience.
So, if it’s dark you’ll have a dark viewfinder and it can be difficult to set up a shot in dark situations.
Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras
In a Mirrorless camera there is no mirror and no optical view finder.
Instead the light passes straight through the lens to the sensor which handles auto focus and passes the digital image to the Electronic View Finder or to the big screen.
Since there is no mirror mechanism inside, the camera can be smaller, quieter and still deliver the same quality.
Got the differences between DSLR and Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras?
Let’s blast out some myths and miss information that’s out there.
DSLRs have larger sensors than mirrorless cameras
Not any more.
Sony’s awesome Alpha A7 line packs one of the best full frame sensors available into an interchangeable lens camera.
Mirrorless cameras deliver less battery life
When you reduce science you reduce the amount of space you have for batteries.
In the case of a Mirrorless, because the idea is to create a much smaller camera body with that beautiful full frame sensor, you’ll often find as much as 50% less battery time.
Top-end mirrorless cameras comes with two batteries.
Some Mirrorless camera manufacturers like Sony actually lets you use your smartphone charger to charge the batteries which again provides benefits for portability.
Mirrorless autofocus is inferior
This is another debated topic that’s been raging on the internet forums since Mirrorless cameras were first introduced.
The key difference is that DSLR auto focusing directs lights using a mirror to a dedicated autofocus sensor for quick focus locks.
In Mirrorless light passes directly to a sensor that process both imaging and auto focus.
In the past 5 years Mirrorless cameras have caught up with technology and in some cases have faster autofocus speeds and could focus in lower light than a DSLR.
Mirrorless cameras don’t have great lenses
Manufacturer are now making some great lenses for their Mirrorless cameras.
Also you can use adapters to mount third party lenses on a Mirrorless camera body.
A bigger camera is a better camera
If you got a great sensor in a camera that has a lots of lens options, there’s no benefit to having a larger camera.
That flange back distance or the distance from the lens mount to the sensor is larger for DSLR’s because they have to stuff mechanical mirrors assembly between the lens and the sensor.
Mirrorless cameras can be smaller, lighter and easier to carry because they don’t have to pack that moving mirror.
A top of the line interchangeable lens camera like Sony A7R 2 can deliver next generation quality images.
- World’s first Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor-42.4MP, 5-axis in-body image stabilization optimized for 42.4MP full-frame, 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning
- 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ ZEISS T* coating, Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi and NFC w/ camera apps, Fast focal plane phase-detection AF realized with A-mount lenses
- Shutter vibration suppression, first curtain shutter, and silent shutter, Resolution meets sensitivity 42.4MP up to ISO 102,400 / 4K up to 25,600, Durable, reliable and ergonomically enhanced for professional use
- Fast Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points