DSLR versus a Mirrorless Camera

Lets Answer the Obvious Question First

Standard DSLR

By definition a Digital Single-lens Reflex Camera is a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, as opposed to photographic film. To be blunt, this is the camera type that most people are familiar with using unless you’ve never really had any experience with various cameras. Technically DSLR’s are a digital camera, but it is the reflex design that distinguishes them from your basic digital camera type. The reflex design is a simple mechanism where light travels through the camera lens, then to a mirror that alternates to send the image to either a viewfinder or to the image sensor. Another one of the key abilities of a DSLR camera is the use interchangeable lenses. Interchangeable lens are lenses that can be attached to a camera and then swapped out for a different one. This is unlike the fixed lenses that are built into a camera and cannot be removed. The DSLR’s dethroned the film-based SLR cameras in the 20th century, and are currently still the more common type of camera to use.

Mirrorless Camera

My personal favorite are the Mirrorless Cameras. Also called a “mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera” (MILC), “hybrid camera” and “compact system camera” (CSC), the body is thinner than a normal DSLR because it does not use a mechanical mirror to switch the scene between the optical viewfinder and image sensor. This means the Mirrorless camera is also quite lighter than a DSLR.  Mirrorless cameras are also called “mirrorless DSLR’s” or “mirrorless SLR’s” (remember SLR are film based cameras) due to supporting multiple lenses and generally offer an optional viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras were first introduced around 2008 and became very popular in 2011.

Which One is Better?

Size and Weight

The winner for size and weight has to be the Mirrorless Camera. The Mirrorless camera is much lighter and smaller than a DSLR due to not needing a mechanical switch mirror.

DSLR Mirrorless
  • Bulkier Camera due to internal hardware
  • Heaver also due to this factor
  • Light and Compact
  • Easier to store and store more lenses
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Auto-focus Speed

There isn’t a winner for this category; both camera types have various technology for image focusing.

Previewing Images

Score one for DSLR’s because they win this round. DSLR’s will show you exactly what your image will look like when you capture it through the optical viewfinder.

DSLR Mirrorless
  •  Comes standard with an optical viewfinder
  • Shows what you’ll get
  •  On screen preview
  • Some offer an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
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More or less DSLR’s will be better for battery life due to existing models without using an LCD screen or EVF, however for the most part both camera types will have similar battery lives .

Image Quality

Yet again the competing camera types have a draw. Both cameras have excellent image quality, but the tie breaker happens to be in video quality.

Video Quality

Mirrorless cameras are hands down more superior for video shooting. DSLR’s don’t have phase detection with the mirror up while recording video, so they have to use the slower, less accurate, contrast-detection focus method. This leads to blurring in the middle of a video as the camera tries to refocus at times.

DSLR Mirrorless
  • Not as advanced in focusing technology currently
  • Offers 4K and Ultra HD recording quality
  • Integrates image capture from recorded video in same quality
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Shooting Speed

Both cameras have amazingly fast image capturing capabilities, but the more advanced cameras is where the DSLR falls behind. The Mirrorless camera happens to have faster shutter speed due to simpler mechanics.

DSLR Mirrorless
  • Has more components in shutter mechanism
  • Higher shutter speeds
  • More images captured per second
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Lenses and Accessories

DSLR’s win this category due to its maturity. This camera type has existed prior to the introduction of Mirrorless in 2008 so there is a bigger variety of camera lenses for DSLR’s rightfully so. However, since the Mirrorless camera type has began to pick up more popularity in the past years this won’t even be a discussion soon.

And the Winner is…

…Your Choice!

For me to pick a side would be bias on obvious levels. So the choice is yours! It’s all about personal preference and what kind of technology you like, especially when it comes to a hobby like Photography.


One comment on “DSLR versus a Mirrorless Camera”

  1. kelsyf says:


    Holy muffins, this was informative. I’d never even heard of Mirrorless cameras until you brought them up. Now I feel like a semi-pro. 😀
    Since they take higher quality videos, is there a length difference? For example, the DSLRs available at the center can record about twenty minutes, can Mirrorless record more? (I couldn’t think of a better way to word the question so I tried to clarify, oh man.)
    Also that ending gif made my night. xD

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