Mirrorless vs DSLR: What Are the Actual Differences?

mirrorless vs DSLR

Mirrorless vs DSLR: What Are the Actual Differences?

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Five Must-Know Facts

  • Mirrorless cameras usually have an electronic viewfinder, while most DSLRs use an optical viewfinder instead.
  • The lenses used with DSLRs are larger and heavier than those used with mirrorless cameras.
  • DSLRs have much better image quality than mirrorless cameras.
  • Mirrorless cameras are typically significantly smaller than DSLRs, which means they’re easier to carry around with you all day long.
  • Mirrorless cameras enable the use of already existing lenses seamlessly by using simple mount adapters to expand the camera’s optical array. Mounting lenses from other lens systems, classic rangefinder lenses, and lenses from obsolete or obscure systems are all possibilities.

When it comes to capturing high-quality videos and images, most people tend to gravitate towards either a mirrorless or digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. DSLR cameras have been around for a long time, but mirrorless cameras have been taking the world by storm in recent years. While both cameras offer various unique features and benefits to all kinds of photographers, it is becoming harder to recommend one type over the other, as you will see below. If you are trying to choose between DSLR and mirrorless cameras, this guide will make your buying decision much easier.

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Side-by-Side Comparison

What is it:A type of digital camera that doesn’t use a mirror system to reflect the light from the lens and instead uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or, less commonly, an LCD screen on the back of the camera to display what you’re shooting.It’s a type of camera that uses the same image sensor found in many smartphones, but it has a mirror system and viewfinder, which allows you to see what’s going on through the lens while taking pictures.
Primary Use:Designed to be small and lightweight, making them popular among professional photographers who need to travel frequently.They are designed for professional photographers who want to take a variety of shots. The DSLR camera is also suitable for beginners who want to take pictures.
Cost:ExpensiveComparatively less expensive
Size and weight:Small with lighter body weightBigger and heavier
Manual Controls:Works best with automatic settingsIt offers many manual control options
Format of pictures:JPEGRAW, JPEG, or TIFF
Preview of shots  :      Exact view of what the camera will capture through-the-lens optical viewfinder.Digital preview of the image on-screen.
Lenses:Offers access to a small number of lenses.Provides a more extensive selection of lenses.

Understanding the Key Differences Between DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are often compared to DSLR cameras because they share many similar features and capabilities, but there are some key differences between them. Both cameras differ in their design and construction, but not in their image quality, sensors, and indeed many of their features. The main difference between the two camera systems lies in the way image previews are displayed:

  • DSLR cameras have an inbuilt reflex mirror system and an optical viewfinder, which allows you to see what’s going on through the lens while taking pictures.
  • On the other hand, a mirrorless camera doesn’t use a mirror system to reflect the light from the lens. Instead, it uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or an LCD screen on the back of the camera to display what you’re shooting. There are two main types of mirrorless cameras: compact models (with a small body and no viewfinder) and interchangeable-lens models (with a smaller body but a built-in viewfinder).

Pros and Cons of a Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras generally have an electronic viewfinder.


They’re less bulkyThey’re more expensive than DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras are still not as widely used, so they cost more because they have fewer buyers.
They’re fasterThey don’t have as many lenses available as DSLRs. Because of their popularity, DSLRs have hundreds of lenses available. Mirrorless cameras have fewer lenses, which can be a disadvantage if you’re looking for something specific.
They’re better for videoThey don’t offer as much customization as DSLRs do. The mirrorless cameras are often very simple, with a few options for customization rather than the dozens offered by most DSLR models. This can be frustrating if you want to be able to change settings quickly and easily without having to dig around in menus or read manuals first!
It can be easier to use for people who are less experienced with photography You don’t get as much battery life with a mirrorless camera compared to a DSLR camera.
Often have better image quality due to smaller sensors and more advanced technologyMirrorless cameras are generally less durable than DSLRs and don’t have weather-sealed bodies.
They don’t have a viewfinder, so you have to either use the screen or an external monitor.

Mirrorless cameras are often marketed as an alternative to DSLRs, but they actually have a lot of advantages over DSLRs. Here are some of the pros of mirrorless cameras.

They’re Less Bulky

Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs. They also have smaller lenses, so they’re easier to carry around. This makes them more convenient for travel, street photography, and other situations where you don’t want to be weighed down by a camera bag.

They’re Faster

Mirrorless cameras are typically much faster than DSLRs—they can focus and shoot images more quickly than DSLRs. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to capture fast-moving subjects like wildlife or sports; you’ll be able to get those shots with fewer missed opportunities.

They’re Better for Video

DSLRs aren’t great for video because they require so many manual adjustments that can take time—and if you miss your shot because you were fiddling with camera settings? That’s one expensive mistake! Mirrorless cameras reduce these manual adjustments because they use electronic viewfinders rather than optical ones (like DSLRs do), so there’s no need to adjust the lens manually before taking a photo or video.

It Can Be Easier to Use For People Who are Less Experienced With Photography

If you’re new to photography, the mirrorless camera may be a better choice. Mirrorless cameras are typically easier to use because they have fewer dials and buttons than DSLRs. This makes it easier to take pictures without worrying about adjusting every little setting.

Often Have Better Image Quality Due to Smaller Sensors and More Advanced Technology

Mirrorless cameras are often better for photography enthusiasts because they have better image quality. Their sensors are smaller than those on traditional DSLRs, and the technology is more advanced. This results in a higher level of detail and color accuracy, especially in low-light situations.

Pros and Cons of DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras generally have an optical viewfinder.


More control over your photos. The most obvious advantage is that you can adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings while taking pictures with a DSLR camera, which means you’ll get better clarity in your images and more flexibility in how they turn out!
DSLRs are more expensive than most other cameras because they have interchangeable lenses that allow you to change the focal length and aperture of your shots.
You can change lenses easily—which means even more possibilities! If you want to get some new lenses for your DSLR camera, it’s easy. There are even extra options like macro and telephoto lenses so that you can take close-ups or zoom out for a wide-angle shot.
DSLRs use memory cards instead of film rolls, so you’ll have to buy extra memory cards for each shoot.
You can use manual focus mode on your DSLR camera! Manual focus mode lets you manually adjust what part of an image will be sharpened by turning a dial or pushing buttons on your camera.They don’t offer the same kind of portability as other kinds of cameras do. They’re much heavier than point-and-shoot cameras or even cell phones and generally require a tripod or stand for stability when taking pictures or videos.

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Technical Specifications

Battery Life:Comparatively shorter battery lifeLonger battery life
Shutter Speed:The simpler mechanics of mirrorless cameras allow them to shoot more photos per second.Relatively fewer shots per second
Customization:Not many customizations are availableAllows many finely-tuned settings 
Image Quality:DrawDraw
Video Quality:Mirrorless cameras provide the best results for most filmmakers as most models offer superior autofocus for video.Most DSLRs use the slower, less accurate, contrast-detection focus method, which often leads to the familiar blurry look in the middle of a video.

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Which One is Better?

When it comes to DSLR vs mirrorless, there is no clear winner. Ultimately, your choice will likely come down to personal preference on various factors, including weight, video, price, and shooting environment.

Mirrorless cameras have the advantage of usually being smaller, lighter, faster, and better for video. They also offer unique features, such as focus peaking, silent shooting, and electronic viewfinders (instead of optical viewfinders). For DSLRs, advantages include longer battery life, robustness, better ergonomics, and a more comprehensive selection of lenses.

Up Next…

Mirrorless vs DSLR: What Are the Actual Differences? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Mirrorless Camera?

A mirrorless camera is a type of digital camera that doesn’t use a mirror system to reflect the light from the lens. Instead, it uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or an LCD screen on the back of the camera to display what you’re shooting. A mirrorless camera can be either an interchangeable-lens model or a non-interchangeable lens.

What is a DSLR Camera?

1DSLR stands for the digital single-lens reflex camera. It’s a type of camera that uses the same image sensor found in many smartphones, but it has a mirror system and viewfinder, which allows you to see what’s going on through the lens while taking pictures.

Is a mirrorless camera better than DSLR?

In general, mirrorless cameras outperform DSLRs. Because of the optical viewfinder, the DSLR has a more extensive selection of interchangeable lenses, a longer battery life, and better low-light shooting. On the other hand, Mirrorless cameras are lighter and more portable, provide better video quality even in lower-end models, and can shoot more images at faster shutter speeds.

Do DSLR lenses work on mirrorless cameras?

Yes, you can use your DSLR lenses on your mirrorless camera if you have an adapter. However, some automatic features, such as the focus, may not function as they should. Furthermore, you may only be able to use certain exposure modes and might not be able to use all of your camera’s features.

How long do mirrorless cameras last?

A mirrorless camera’s shutter can last from 100,000 to 400,000 actuations, depending on the model and make. Mirrorless cameras with a shutter rating of 100,000 can safely shoot 100 photos every day for three years straight before they reach the end of their shutter life.

In the wake of DSLRs becoming obsolete, Canon, Nikon, and Sony are concentrating their resources on developing mirrorless cameras and lenses.

Are DSLR cameras dying?

The DSLR camera has been a staple of professional photographers for decades, but it’s slowly given way to mirrorless cameras in recent years.

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