Full Comparing DSLRs vs Mirrorless Cameras

When you get serious about photography, you may face a choice: Which one should i buy from DSLR vs Mirrorless camera? You can get great photos with either, but each has its pros and cons. Here the article provide the full comparing between DSLR vs Mirrorless for you.

DSLRs vs Mirrorless

Like DSLRs, mirrorless cameras (also known as CSCs or compact system cameras) allow you to change lenses, but as the name might suggest, the don’t feature a complex mirror system like DSLRs do.

1.  Body Design – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Can be big and bulky, though this can be a help for big lenses (and big hands).
  • Mirrorless: They are smaller and lighter, but the lenses in some cases can be just as big as a DSLR’s.

dslr vs mirrorless

DSLR need to fit in both a mirror and a prism. So its body are comparatively larger. For example the body of the Nikon D3300, , is a rather bulky 3 inches deep before you put the lens on the front. With the 18-55mm kit lens, the camera weighs about 1.1 pounds.

A mirrorless camera body can be smaller than a DSLR, with simpler construction. For example the Sony a5100 has a body just 1.6 inches thick and weighs just over a pound with its 16-50mm kit lens.

Tip: DSLR vs Mirrorless ⇒ Mirrorless is better on this point

2. Camera features – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Even entry-level models have full manual controls, and DSLRs are powerful cameras.
  • Mirrorless: They match DSLRs feature for feature, often going a step or two further

Normally both DSLRs vs Mirrorless offer full manual control over exposure and focusing, can shoot raw files as well as JPEGs. In any one sector, such as entry-level cameras, enthusiast or pro models, the control layouts and capabilities are pretty similar.

One big different feature between them is  DSLRs have viewfinders, but often cheaper compact system cameras don’t.

3. Lens Compatibility – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Canon and Nikon have a massive lens range for every job, while Sony and Pentax are not far behind.
  • Mirrorless: Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji have good ranges, Sony is catching up, others are patchy.
  • dslr vs mirrorless

If you use Canon or Nikon DSLR, then you have the widest possible choice of lenses, it is possibly the best bet thanks to their huge range of optics – they both have many option lenses to suit a range of price points, as well as excellent third party support from the likes of Sigma and Tamron.

Mirrorless don’t have much len compatibility as DSLR but it’s gaining ground though. Because Olympus and Panasonic use the same lens mount and have been established the longest, the range of Micro Four Third lenses is the most comprehensive. And Fuji is growing now, with some lovely prime lenses and excellent fast zoom lenses, while Sony offers some really nice high-end optics, it could do with introducing more glass.

4. Built in Viewfinders – DSLRs vs Mirrorless.

  • DSLR: Having an ‘optical’ view for its clarity, natural look and lag-free viewing.
  • Mirrorless: Others prefer to see a digital rendition of the scene as the camera will capture it.

Even the cheapest DSLR, it’s alway come with an optical viewfinder because it’s an integral part of the DSLR design. However, quite a few Mirrorless cameras don’t have viewfinders at all, so you have to use the rear LCD to compose photos, which doesn’t always work so well in bright light.

Mirrorless cameras with viewfinders even cost more, but these are just electronic rather than optical viewfinders – which is mean the image display direct from the sensor readout and not via an optical mirror system.

The advantage of electronic viewfinders is that they can display  more information than an optical viewfinder, for example including live image histograms, and they can also simulate the digital image the camera will capture.

5. Auto Focusing  – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Still better, on the whole for tracking fast subjects, but weak in live view mode.
  • Mirrorless: Full time live view AF means faster shooting when using the LCD screen.

DSLRs use fast and efficient ‘phase detection’ autofocus modules. This modules mounted below the mirror in the body, but these only work while the mirror is down. So it have a disadvantage when you’re using a DSLR in live view mode, in this mode the mirror has to be flipped up and the regular AF module is no longer in the light path. Instead, DSLRs have to switch to a much slower contrast AF system using the image being captured by the sensor.

To improve the autofocus in live view mode of DSLRs to close the gap on Mirrorless. Some Canon DSLRs, notably the EOS 80D and EOS 7D Mark II (Dual Pixel AF) and EOS 750D / T6i and 760D / T6s (Hybrid CMOS AF) have hybrid AF using phase-detection pixels built into the sensor. It’s give the faster result but this technology is currently the exception for DSLRs rather than the rule.

While Mirrorless have to use sensor-based autofocus all the time. Although most of Mirrorless are contrast AF based, but these are much faster than equivalent contrast AF modes on DSLRs, partly due to the fact the lenses have been designed around this system.

Especially Mirrorless have advanced ‘hybrid’ AF systems combining contrast autofocus with phase-detection pixels on the sensor, for example Fuji X-T2 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II really impressing with not only their speed, but with the accuracy at which they can lock on and follow a moving subject – the one area where DSLRs have, until now, had a clear advantage.

6. Continuous shooting speed – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Theoretically the best DSLRs can no longer match the speeds of the best Mirrorless.
  • Mirrorless: The mirrorless design makes it easier to add high-speed shooting.

The mirrorless system means there are fewer moving parts. So if you need a fast continuous shooting mode to capture action shots, mirrorless cameras are streaking ahead here. And another advantage is many models are now pushing ahead into 4K video – this demands serious processing power, which helps with continuous shooting too.

An example DSLRs vs Mirrorless conitnous shooting, Canon’s top professional DSLR, the EOS-1D X Mark II, can shoot at 14 frames per second, but the mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II can shoot at staggering 60fps.

7. Image Sensor – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Using the latest and best state of the art APS-C or full-frame sensors.
  • Mirrorless: Using the same sensors, but there are also smaller formats for even smaller cameras.

dslr vs mirrorless

It’s quite difficult to compare image quality between DSLRs vs Mirrorless. Currently, the highest resolution is in a DSLR, the 50MP chip nestled inside the Canon EOS 5Ds, but the 42.5MP Sony Alpha A7R II isn’t far behind.

The main factor in image quality is sensor size. Full-frame sensors are the biggest and offer the best quality, while cameras with APS-C sensors are almost as just good and much cheaper – and you can get either of these size sensors in both DSLRs and CSCs.

Actually the compact system camera market offers smaller formats, but so are the cameras and lenses. Overall, there’s no intrinsic image image quality advantage in a DSLR, given that the same sensor sizes are available in compact system cameras too.

8. Battery – DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: Battery life is average 600-800 shots, high class models can shoot over 1,000 shots on a charge.
  • Mirrorless: Much weaker, battery life around 300-400 shots. 

Generally, DSLRs offer longer battery life, as they can shoot without using the LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder, both of which consume a lot of power. However, both types will have similar battery lives if you use the LCD screens to preview and view captured images a lot, as this consumes a lot of power. However, all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras come with removable batteries, so you can carry a spare.

9. Price DSLRs vs Mirrorless

  • DSLR: You get more for your money with a cheap DSLR than a cheap Mirrorless.
  • Mirrorless: Cheap Mirrorless don’t have viewfinders; those that do cost a more.

You might hope that the simpler design of a compact system camera would make them cheaper to buy, but that’s not alway true.

If you want a fully-featured, ‘proper’ camera for the least money, then a DSLR is still the cheapest option…but it’s getting a lot closer between the two.

Bottom Line

Mirrorless cameras have the advantage of usually being lighter, more compact, faster and better for video; but that comes at the cost of access to fewer lenses and accessories. DSLRs advantages include a wider selection of lenses and better optical viewfinders.
For beginners, mirrorless cameras are often a better choice due to their more compact size and simpler controls. Mirrorless cameras are also more likely to have a touchscreens than a similarly priced DSLR as well. However, as you move up in price, the size difference between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs isn’t as extreme, although mirrorless cameras still have a small lead. That said, unless there’s a big need for 4K video, a serious or pro shooter who wants access to a wider range of lenses and other gear would be better off with a DSLR.


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