Mirrorless vs DSLR
Quickly explores differences between two most dominant type of digital cameras
Zenit 3M - one of the symbols of photography in USSR era in all eastern countries under it's influence
It's a film SLR camera
Digital single lens reflex
This is lamost synonym for high quality camera, even though image quality is matched by Mirrorless cameras
Most people relate good quality with bulky size due to the domination of those bigger cameras in most of photography world.
This is "Mirrorfull" camera. Mirror is used to allow for an Optical viewfinder to be utilized, as well as an advanced focus system.
The mirror itself doesn't contribute in any way to the optimal image quality of the camera.
Realizing this allot of manifacturers decide to present system without this mirror - hence Mirorless.
So let's remove mirror and see what happens.
Size is smaller
Distance from lens back to the sensor is smaller - flange distance (red text)
No optical viewfinder and no advantages that could come from it's utilization
We have to use LCD to see what camera sees
and / or
We have to add an alternative of optical viewfinder called electronic viewfinder
We have to add alternative to advanced focus system of DSLR
Initial attempts at Mirrorless weren't extremely succesful and far behind top DSLR in performance, but that changed.
Mirroless - a camera without the mirror
Aren't all cameras except DSLR mirrorless ?
Yes and no - but more important Mirrorless is synonim of the cameras without mirrors that have interchageable lens
also known as ILCA - interchangeable lens camera.
Which is better ?
If you like small - Mirrorless.
If you want topmost performace and have higher budget DSLR.
IQ is almost identical. Why ?
Underlying technologies used in both are very much the same - sensors have same performance, optics are similar too
There are even cases like Nikon DSLR's that uses Sony sensors used in some of the mirrorless models.
Generally cheapest DSLR are behind most Mirrorless cameras.
Even the best Mirrorless is behind top DSLR models in AF speed and performance, but price difference is serious
If you are entering photography I higly recommend Mirrorless as they allow for a quicker introduciton
If you are already using a DSLR, I recommend you to check a few mirrorless models and see if it's for you
If you have large hand (too large to use small grip) and like your equipment heavy Mirrorless will offer very limited options
Advantage of DSLR due to a bigger body is better control layot
I am biased, I like mirrorless more, not just beacause they almost match bigger brothers and are small
They are the future (may be a little too far future), and I want to participate in future technologies establishment not to yesterday one.
Now, to beef up a little bit the DSLR majority, yes porbably 95 % of professionals use mainly DSLR, and most of the significant images that represent best in photography are done with the big boys in camera bussiness.
Something usefull, there is a site that can compare camera sizes ...
Sony NEX6 - very popular mirrorless camera, praised for it's EVF (Electronic viewfinder)
Olympus DSLR cut trough, mirror is in yellow
Optical viewfinder in blue
Focus sensor position is in red
Compare DSLR vs Mirrorless
AF sensor position vary between models
Guide to understanding in practice what are difference, is to present pros and cons list of both types of cameras
On the positive side Mirrorless are:
+ cheaper (comparing price / features)
+ easier to learn photography with
+ faster (for it's price category)
+ with better hybrid AF
+ better for video
+ with higher burst rates
+ more adaptive to diferent type of mounts and lenses
+ easier to use with manual lenses
- lenses are more expensive (often due to features)
- less battery life
- have inferior PDAF speed (excluding a few of the latest models)
- control layout is not always as good (due to the smaller size)
DSLR pros are :
+ with better PDAF
+ with better control layout
+ optical viewfinder - so scene is always seen as it is
+ more options for lenses
+ better battery life
- video recording is compromise
- low burst rates, except for high end models