DSLR VS. MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

What is the big difference, really, in a regular DSLR camera and a mirrorless camera? So many people are confused as to what the difference is there an advantage of one over the other. We will get this clarified today.

First of all, a video is always a great way to learn, as it is both audio and visual to the senses. Please click on this link first:

So, let’s get you the list of the differences between a good DSLR and a mirrorless camera.

Many are wondering if they should just “ditch” their current dslr and go with the new mirrorless camera.

Should you ditch your DSLR?

Does this mean, as one recent mirrorless ad campaign provocatively put it, that you should “Ditch the DSLR?” Let’s just say that there are many good reasons not to, especially if you like the DSLR you now own and it’s performing very well for the kind of photography you do now and intend to pursue going forward. And if you have a bunch of lenses for it, it may make more sense to upgrade to the latest DSLR in the maker’s lineup than to invest in a whole new mirrorless system. Indeed, there are many reasons that pros using top-tier DSLRs fitted with premium lenses often prefer to stick with what works than to venture into uncharted waters. Having said all that it’s clear that an increasing number of pros and serious enthusiasts are now acquiring mirrorless cameras whether they retain their present DSLRs or not, and at this point, it’s fair to say that the upside potential of the mirrorless market is greater than that of traditional DSLRS. If you’re on the fence, or considering buying a new interchangeable lens camera here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each type that should help you make intelligent choices.

Mirrorless Camera Pros

Mirrorless cameras, regardless of format, are almost always smaller and lighter than comparable DSLRs because they don’t require a relatively bulky, heavy mirror box and the mechanisms needed to move a reflex mirror into and out of the light path. As a result, they have fewer moving parts, are quieter in operation than traditional DSLRs, and are inherently less prone to causing shake-inducing vibration.

Today’s top mirrorless cameras incorporate high resolution EVFs or OLED EVFs with incredibly rapid refresh rates (60 times per sec and up) that provide a brilliant, 100% coverage, high-magnification, eye level viewing image that rivals that of most optical viewfinders (OVFs), and provide continuous viewing without momentary finder blackout even as the shutter fires.

Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens and Accessories Kit
New Sony mirrorless camera with lens and accessories

The EVFs in mirrorless cameras have the advantage of allowing users to preview the captured (complete with exposure corrections and custom settings) in real time. This makes it easier, for example, to compose subjects in very dim light because the gain is automatically increased to make them more visible.

Mirrorless cameras typically include Hybrid AF systems that combine the advantages of fast, decisive on-sensor phase-detection AF (PDAF) and the precision of contrast-detect AF (CAF), taking their AF performance to a level surpassing that of all but top-tier DSLRs.

Further advantages of the hybrid CAF/PDAF systems in mirrorless cameras include the ability to provide continuous AF and focus tracking before and during the exposure, a crucial factor when shooting still images at high burst rates, or capturing clean HD video without visible or audible “hunting.”

Mirrorless cameras enable the layering of viewfinder information, such as camera settings, levels, histograms, focus peaking, etc., and can also provide an instant magnified image of the focusing area and allow playback of images and videos in the EVF.

Mirrorless cameras allow the seamless use of existing “open source” lenses by using simple mount adapters to expand the camera’s optical array. The possibilities include mounting lenses from other lens systems, classic rangefinder lenses, and lenses from obsolete or obscure systems.

The shorter flange back (mount to sensor) distance of mirrorless cameras makes it easier to design high-quality lenses, particularly wide-angles, that provide better edge and corner illumination and greater light transmission efficiency.

New Canon R5 mirrorless camera.

The Hybrid AF systems in mirrorless cameras cover a wider area of the sensor, providing AF capability closer to the edges and corners of the frame, and enhancing overall AF flexibility.

Mirrorless cameras provide continuous Live View via the LCD or EVF and provide previewing using either viewing system when shooting video, with no loss of AF capability.

At their best, mirrorless system cameras combine the advantages of both DSLRs and point-and-shoots, providing lens interchangeability, ultra-high image quality, and the entire high-end feature array of middle- and upper-tier DSLRs in smaller, lighter, handier form factors. Not surprisingly, as the popularity of MSC’s has dramatically increased over the past 2 years or so, camera makers and independent lens manufacturers have vastly expanded their lens offerings, vastly increasing the creative optical options available to consumers, and marketing opportunities for dealers.

The MSC market continues to be technologically driven, with many of the latest high-end models offering higher-res sensors, enhanced image-processing software for greater responsiveness, faster burst rates, 4K video capture, full Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS, multi-axis in-body image stabilization, and enhanced viewing options such as hi-res tilt/swing and touch screen LCDs, and OLED EVFs. However, entry-level and middle-tier MSCs have also benefitted from these technological advances. The result is an array of enticing new models offering features that have migrated down from higher-end models, often with simplified user interfaces, and at very competitive prices.

DSLR Pros

Middle- and upper-tier pro models with solid glass pentaprism optical viewfinders, provide a brilliant “real feel” viewing image that no mirrorless EVF can quite match. Whether this is important to you is, of course, subjective, but many photographers accustomed to optical viewfinders consider it a definite plus. Digital SLRs are generally larger than mirrorless cameras and this allows more room for the placement of dedicated controls for various camera functions such as ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, etc. The control ergonomics of the best DSLRs often have an edge over their current mirrorless counterparts in this respect. The use of larger batteries provides greater capacity than smaller batteries. With most pro-caliber DSLRs you can shoot all day without running out of battery power, and that’s not always true with comparable mirrorless cameras. Photographers with large hands often prefer DSLRs.DSLRs have evolved into a very ergonomic shape and some of them are more comfortably contoured than their mirrorless counterparts. Some shooters feel that a heavier camera, like the DSLR, also provides a more stable shooting platform than some of the smaller, lighter mirrorless cameras. Again this is subjective and the decision is personal. It’s hard to beat the record of durability, reliability, and consistent performance under adverse conditions of a DSLR. Additionally, DSLRS offer in-body or on-lens image stabilization systems to minimize the effects of mirror-induced camera shake. That’s why many pros are reluctant to make the switch. DSLRs offer very well developed lens systems that include numerous professional prime and zoom lenses that deliver spectacular imaging performance. While mirrorless systems have yet to match the phenomenal optical arrays available for the leading DSLR systems, this will happen sooner rather than later as both camera makers and independent lens makers are rapidly expanding and upgrading their optical offerings.

The newest professional DSLR camera from Pentax, is a winner.

Unquestionably both traditional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are the heart of supremely versatile, viable systems capable of the highest levels of imaging performance. While we hope it helps to enumerate the advantages of each, the choice is inherently subjective, and a lot depends on what equipment you have now and in what direction you want to take your creative photography. As they say, it’s up to you, but the current crop of cameras of each type deliver awesome performance, and whatever you decide you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Why Pentax is Making the Right Call in Sticking with DSLRs:

As the majority of camera manufacturers move away from the SLR type cameras and start producing mirrorless systems, one company continues to hold on to the past. Pentax has now in multiple statements confirmed that it will not be producing a mirrorless camera and will continue to develop SLR cameras.

My knee jerk reaction was to scoff at this stance. However, now that I’ve had some time to think on this properly, I think it makes complete sense for the company.

There’s No Advantage

If Pentax produces a mirrorless camera, what difference would it make for the company? Will it start to become a viable alternative to the major manufacturers, and could it increase its market share?

The answer to the second question, probably not. The likelihood of Pentax suddenly becoming a major alternative to the three big manufacturers is extremely unlikely — I don’t see vast swathes of Sony, Canon, and Nikon shooters suddenly jumping on board with Pentax.

Current Customers

Pentax as a company has quite the loyal fanbase, and to disrupt this in any way would be extremely foolish. I find it difficult to see how Pentax shooters would be happy to migrate to a whole new mount. One of the things Pentax shooters seem to love is the compatibility and lens selection available for the K mount.

This mount is compatible with lenses all the way from 1975, and new lenses are still being produced for it. There are literally hundreds of lenses available for this mount — there are so many that I doubt anyone has an exact number of lenses that are compatible.

This is one of the major benefits and reasons why people continue to shoot with Pentax cameras. There are lenses that have been handed down to photographers by their grandparents, which of course, instills a deep sense of loyalty. Moving to a mirrorless camera system would pretty much betray most Pentax customers.

For this reason, it’s essential that Pentax continue with the current mount.

Pentax has created the ultimate DSLR that will be hard to beat by any mirrorless cameras

The DLSR Niche

The benefit (or novelty) of being able to see through a DLSR viewfinder will become popular again. Once the majority of manufacturers move away from DSLR type cameras and mirrorless cameras become the norm, the quirks and benefits of a “proper” viewfinder will draw a large number of customers.

Arguments about how the DSLR viewfinder being natural or more realistic will probably be used, and at that point, Pentax might be able to say that they never left.

Even now, there are still many customers that dislike mirrorless cameras. It doesn’t really matter what the reasons are — what matters is the fact that these customers exist.

As most manufacturers move away and eventually stop supporting DLSR cameras, either by discontinuing them or stopping the production of new lenses, there’s a good chance that a strong base of customers will still want a DSLR instead. Pentax could comfortably be the company that takes that spot, and with its vast number of compatible lenses, it does have quite an advantage.

The only problem is that this is an incredibly long-term plan because current DSLR cameras won’t be discontinued anytime soon.

Pentax lenses have been known to be some of the best in the world. They have been making lenses longer than other manufactures.

Final Thoughts

In some sense, the fact that Pentax has resigned itself to the DSLR could be described as the company admitting defeat. I think there may be some element of truth to that, as Pentax may know that it simply cannot compete on the same level.

Despite this, I think this is a great idea by Pentax because not only is it looking more long term, it also shows a great deal of self-awareness and foresight.

The one major positive note we could take from this is the fact that, if Pentax (Ricoh) is planning long term, it probably doesn’t have any plans to exit the camera market.

A special thanks to the following contributors:

Usman Dawood from Petapixel for his insight into Pentax

Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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