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Mirrorless or DSLR

February 13, 2017

Mirrorless vs. DSLR. What’s the difference anyway?


Buying a top end camera is one of the most intimidating things about first getting into photography. With so many options, it’s hard to know which would be the best choice for you. It used to be so easy at least knowing that if you wanted to be serious about photography, that you needed a DSLR, and then the mirrorless camera was introduced. Mirrorless cameras allow you to change lenses, just like DSLR cameras, but without having the complex mirror system, they can be smaller, lighter, and have a simpler build. There are many similarities between the two, such as having nearly identical features, maintain image quality, but what’s the difference really?

Mirrorless seem like all of the rage, who wouldn’t want a smaller and lighter camera that seems as good as a DSLR?! But they do have some drawbacks of their own. Though mirrorless cameras are thought to be better when it comes to size and weight, and are about the same as a DSLR when it comes to image quality, DSLR’s take the prize when it comes to some key factors. The viewfinder for example of the DSLR allows you to get a preview of the image before it is taken, while the viewfinder of a mirrorless will only have the ability of simulating this tool. The battery life of a DSLR also takes the cake, as it can be used without the back screen being illuminated at all which can consume a lot of power. Though besides this feature, the battery life is about the same.


The most important difference between the two types of cameras comes with the lens and accessories options. With mirrorless cameras being so new, and DSLR’s having been around for a little while, there are a lot more options currently available for these cameras. Mirrorless models are more restricted to the small number of lenses available from the camera manufacturer. For example, Sony offers 17 lenses for its mirrorless cameras, compared to the hundreds of different lenses that Nikon has available for its DSLR’s. It is important to note that mirrorless cameras are still new, and therefore lenses will have more of a variety as time goes on, and that there are typically adapters for your mirrorless cameras to use the DSLR lenses made by the same manufacturer, though they might not work quite as well.

 And now for something that you’ve all probably been wondering about: Price. You might expect that the simple design of a smaller camera would make them cheaper, but you would not be correct. If you’re simply looking for the cheapest option for a full featured, “fancy” camera, the DSLR is still the best bang for your buck, as you will still get more for your money with a cheap DSLR than for a cheap mirrorless option. But just like with lens and accessory options for the mirrorless, the gap is slowly closing between the two, and with further development and popularity of the mirrorless cameras, soon enough the cheaper price tag will come.

What it really breaks down to is what you are trying to use your camera for. A mirrorless camera is better for a casual photographer who is focused on the lightweight perks. While a more serious photographer may be more drawn to the wider range of lenses and accessories, and previewing abilities of the DSLR, even though mirrorless cameras are arguably the way moving forward.

| Voyaging Viking | Mirrorless or DSLR? Basics for travel photographers
Ashley Murphy

My name is Ash, I am a designer, photographer, writer, and above all an explorer. My addiction for traveling began back when I went abroad to New Zealand for six months spending every weekend venturing to a new place. Since then, the travel bug has hit, and the place I am tends to change as much as my hair color. Though the majority of my savings gets spent on experiencing new places (much to the demise of my frugal accountant mother), I would love nothing more than to travel to every corner of the world, experiencing all that it has to offer with the small amount of time that I have here.

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