What is a DSLR camera
When the photos from your phone or compact device no longer satisfy you, you start thinking about something more higher-level. The gear that can be great for beginners is a Digital Single-Lens Reflex or simply DSLR camera.
In DSLRs, when you take a photo, the light enters through the lens and then follows a crooked path from the mirror via reflection to the optical viewfinder. When you finally press the shutter, this mirror moves out of the way and lets the light go directly to the digital sensor.
As you can see the actual image only after you take a photo, you might need a specific set of knowledge about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to ensure the final picture will have the right exposure. Of course, post-shooting editing can fix the defects later, but with DSLR cameras it is still crucial to keep in mind how these settings affect each other before you press the shutter.
What is a mirrorless camera
A Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC) is another great option for better photos. They are becoming more and more popular these days.
As the name suggests, these devices do not have mirrors and thus the path of the light to the digital sensor is shorter and faster. The electronic viewfinders (EVF) allow you to see the final image before you actually take a photo, making a mirrorless device an almost WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) photography tool.
Mirrorless vs DSLR
Let’s try to sum up the pros and cons of the cameras and compare some of the most important characteristics.
Size & weight
Mirrorless systems seem to be a better option if you are looking for a smaller and lighter device. DSLRs might require a special backpack to fit all the accessories in.
MILC is potentially cheaper as it has fewer parts to produce. However, as it is kinda newer in the market, the DSLR equivalent can be more affordable in some cases.
Electronic viewfinders in mirrorless systems have several benefits over the good old optical ones in DSLRs. First, an EVF lets you see exactly what the sensor captures. You can also manipulate various settings and see live changes right on the viewfinder.
Nowadays, advanced MILCs have better autofocus and overall accuracy. They also employ specific face and eye-tracking technologies. Thus you don’t need to manually adjust focus points but rather let the gear do all this focus pocus stuff.
As the construction of a mirrorless camera is simpler, it works faster and allows shooting more photos per second.
Both systems have image stabilization sensors that help compensate the shake of the device. However, as there is no moving mirror in MILC, there is less vibration or camera movement when we take a photo. Moreover, some mirrorless systems have an advanced 5-axis image stabilization which results in less blurry shots at a slower shutter speed.
MILC can be a more comfortable option for shooting a video thanks to some features already described above, mainly, an electronic viewfinder that ensures a live preview, as well as more advanced autofocus and stabilization systems that can help shoot when moving.
DSLRs have lower battery consumption, as they do not need to constantly power the LCD screen and EVF. So you can have twice more photos per charge. With a mirrorless device, get ready to have spare batteries at hand.
Lenses & accessories
Both types of cameras have interchangeable lenses. However, DSLRs at the moment have a wider selection of lenses and various attachments in comparison with a MILC.
These are some basic characteristics to consider when you think about what camera type to buy. However, everything is changing fast, and mirrorless systems will perhaps replace the DSLRs at some point. We shall see how things turn out.