Ever since the invention of the photography tool aka Camera, we’ve seen several innovations regarding its form factor and the tech that works inside of it.
Previously we used to have films that needed to be exposed so as to develop an image from its negative, later on, point and shoots arrived with SLR’s and DSLR’s.
The evolution of camera continued and in the year 2008 companies like Panasonic and Olympus launched their first line-up of Mirrorless cameras and changed everything.
Mirrorless cameras are very good in principle because of they are lighter, smaller, mechanically and technically simpler.
They seem like supersized compact cameras whereas DSLR’s are even massive as compared to compacts.
Pros and enthusiasts, however, says that the image quality (which is almost as similar as that of DSLR), usability, handling and portability on the mirrorless cameras in much more as compared to a DSLR.
Even the lenses that the mirrorless cameras will have will match with the lenses available for DSLRs. So will it be appropriate to say that the mirrorless cameras have taken the place of DSLRs or it’ll be too early to say that?
Let’s find out by discussing the differences.
1. Size and Weight
Mirrorless cameras have a smaller size and are lighter as compared to DSLRs as DSLRs needs to have some extra space for a prism and a mirror to fit in.
As far as the size of mirrorless cameras is concerned being smaller in size is a great advantage but the lenses as bulkier as in DSLRs.
Autofocussing capabilities used to be faster in DSLRs back when mirrorless were just introduced, but not anymore.
Previously mirrorless cameras used to have contrast detection sensors that detect the highest contrast while focussing which made it slower.
Whereas DSLRs uses phase detection autofocus technology where the convergence of two beams are measured, and that’s pretty much fast.
But now everything has been changed with the introduction of phase detection autofocus in mirrorless cameras also.
3. Image Stabilisation
Shaky hands lead to blurred images and alteration in the shutter speed will distort the effects. Image stabilization system is introduced to rectify such errors while shooting and has been built in both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Sensors measure the movement or the degree of shake of the camera and likewise adjust the output image by stabilizing the blur. In some mirrorless cameras both the lens element and sensor works in a synchronized way to minimize the distortion.
The differences regarding the image stabilization in DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are found to be minimal. Though there are certain mirrorless camera models that offer five-axis image stabilization technology which is not available for DSLRs and works pretty well.
But the only downside with those cameras is that they are hell expensive.
4. Previewing Images
The optical viewfinder of DSLR camera shows exactly what the camera will capture, but in mirrorless cameras, you’ll see a preview of the image on-screen.
This gets worse when you are shooting in certain challenging situations like, in low light conditions and while dealing with moving objects.
In these scenarios, the mirrorless camera’s viewfinder suffers as it has to slow down its speed to get the maximum details and the image preview will always be grainy and jerky.
On the other hand, DSLRs reflect the light onto your eye which is far better.
-Winner: DSLRs as its viewfinder is better in conditions like low light and while dealing with fast moving objects.
5. Image Quality
Both the camera types are capable of taking crisp, high-quality images with almost similar resolution and grains. Though the graininess or often known as the noise is handled well in both the camera types.
6. Video Quality
Due to the lack of phase detection autofocus in DSLRs while video recording with mirror up, it is hard to get less shaky or less blurry video whereas, because of the presence of on-chip focus sensors mirrorless cameras are better suited to video shooting.
Newer mirrorless cameras offer to shoot in 4K/Ultra HD video that is four times the resolution of HD video. Currently, only higher end DSLRs offers such high video resolution for shooting videos.
7. Shooting Speed
Both the cameras have the almost equal capabilities to shoot in burst mode and at very fast shutter speeds.
The mirrorless camera might have an extra edge here as the lack of mirror makes it easier to shoot image after image. There is an option of using an electronic shutter which helps them to shoot quickly and silently.
8. Battery Life
The only advantage that DSLRs have over mirrorless cameras in battery department is that image can be taken without using the LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder in DSLRs, therefore, they offer a better battery life.
It is to be noted that both the DSLRs and mirrorless cameras offer similar battery life if the LCD is screen is used while shooting to visualize the image.
9. Lenses and Accessories
DSLRs have the option to choose from a variety of lenses ranging from cheap and satisfactory to professional hell expensive ones.
On the other hand, mirrorless camera models are restricted and offer to a small number of lenses, but the lens market for mirrorless is growing.
Nowadays cameras are coming with a whole lot of protection. Both the DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras offer a significant amount of protection, meaning that they can be shock proof and rain resistant at the same time.
Some mirrorless cameras have a waterproof coating over them which protects them even at 49 feet deep under the water.
Final Verdict: Mirrorless cameras have some advantages over the DSLRs in the weight, size, and form factor department.
Also, the video shooting experience is way better in mirrorless that comes with a huge price tag with fewer options in the lenses and accessories department.
On the other hand, DSLRs are bulky and complex, and its optical viewfinder works best in even low light conditions. They have a huge variety of lenses and accessories to choose from and are comparatively cheaper.
Professionals prefer DSLRs over mirrorless cameras whereas if you are a semi-photographer who wants a lighter kit to carry around whole day mirrorless should be your choice.