DSLR or mirrorless camera? Anyone who is embarking on a more serious path when it comes to photography will eventually ask themselves the question: which camera should I buy?
With the hundreds (possibly even thousands) of digital cameras available in the market today, choosing the perfect camera for your shooting needs can be quite the challenge. But, before you delve into the different brands and the features of individual cameras, you have to figure out what type of camera you’re getting first. When it comes to professional photographers or serious hobbyists, getting an interchangeable lens system is a must.
Now comes the difficult question: DSLR or mirrorless camera?
Although, DSLR cameras have long reigned supreme in the world of serious photographers, mirrorless cameras are recently gaining traction. With improved image quality and a wider range of lenses available, choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless has actually become a very hot topic for debate.
To help you decide which one is right for you, here’s how DSLRs and mirrorless cameras fare against each other across a number of categories.
There are plenty of DSLRs with APS-C or full-frame sensors, but these options are fewer among their mirrorless counterparts. Yes, Sony offers a full-frame mirrorless camera, but at such a high price point, they’re really only advisable for professionals who earn from their photography.
However, many photographers these days argue over the importance of sensor size. Yes, it’s a very important factor, but many micro-four thirds systems such as Olympus OM-D, Panasonic’s Lumix, or newcomer Yi’s mirrorless cameras can produce exceptional images despite the “disadvantage” of a smaller sensor.
If you feel that a bigger sensor is vital to your photography, then it’s probably better to get a really good DSLR for much less than a full-frame mirrorless camera.
Size and weight
Here’s where mirrorless cameras sway the minds of many decision makers. The sizes and weights of mirrorless cameras are significantly lower than DSLRs, so for travel photography or in scenarios when you’ll be carrying your equipment around a lot, mirrorless cameras get the points. It’s not just the camera bodies that are smaller and lighter, mirrorless lenses and accessories are usually more portable too.
The size and weight of your gear doesn’t seem like such a major deciding factor, but when you’re hiking across a mountain or walking for miles to get to your destination, the importance of lightweight gear will be more obvious.
Lens and accessory selection
When it comes to lenses and accessories, DSLRs still have the advantage. Since they have been around for a lot longer, it’s not really that surprising. Although mirrorless cameras now have a lot more lens options than before, it’s still not at par with the selection you have for DSLRs.
With a smaller selection also comes a higher price tag, so while you bought your mirrorless camera for a good price, you’ll probably have to spend more on good quality accessories. If you’re switching from a DSLR, you might be disappointed with the selection and the prices.
Both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras offer a wide selection for entry-level and professional photographers, all of which come at different price points. There are cheap DSLRs and cheap mirrorless cameras, but as a whole, DSLRs are still more affordable to own than their mirrorless counterparts that offer the same image quality and similar features.
Both mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have their own pros and cons. Neither is necessarily better than the other. In the end, what’s important is to know about their differences and to figure out which of these matter the most to you.