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Mirrorless cameras vs DSLRs

3rd of June 2013. When reading about mirrorless cameras and micro four thirds there is a crowd of famous internet people acting like cheerleaders. For example Trey Ratcliff that is famous for his HDR work has been claiming it will lead to the end of DSLRs. If you think DSLRs are too big and you mostly take photos of objects not moving rapidly, the mirrorless cameras are a great alternative.

When I first decided for which brand to go with for my DSLR, lenses was one of the key factors influencing my choice. I do not own the Canon Mp-E 65mm lens. However, the dream of perhaps taking great macro prictures in the future, or atleast having the opportunity, led me to opt for the Canon brand. The same applies to other lenses of course. For example, there is a great lack of prime lenses for mirrorless cameras. The ability to use prime lenses is one of my main reasons to shoot DSLR to begin with. The lens selection will of course improve, but until it does there is no point upgrading. One counter argument can be that if you trade in your Canon and Nikon bodies and lenses now, you probably get a descent amount for them.

Discussion about Mirrorless vs DSLRs (Basically a mirroless lovefest)

For most still photos it doesn't matter whether you use a DSLR or a mirrorless camera.
When taking pictures for the web the sensor size doesn't matter much either as the image size will be small.
Picture below is taken with a Rebel T2i (which has a cropped sensor)
Central Park taken with DSLR
Central Park in New York - may be freely reproduced if link is provided to mbergo.com

The fact that the sensor is smaller for these cameras tend to be passed over quickly. Naturally as most who discuss the mirrorless are people who love the camera. The sensor is the same size as entry level DSLRs like Canon Rebel. However, the best mirrorless cameras currently costs well over a thousand dollars, so you should assume that the picture quality is closer to a full frame than a lousy t2i. One area that is extremely important is high ISO. Generally a low level DSLR sucks at this whereas a new Canon 5d Mark III gets great pictures up to ISO 6400 and beyond.

This takes us to the size of the mirrorless cameras. For me the size doesn't matter much. If you are not carrying a lot of gear, even a DSLR might feel too small in ones hands. That being said, there are many situations it can be awkward carrying a huge camera around. Particularly in cities or in parties. Particularly if you are taking pictures with a tripod or during daylight, many of the advantages of a DSLR seem to disapear.

A better real quality check of cropped sensor DSLR and mirrorless camera.

This video gives a good overview of the main differences. Where the EOS M fails in comparison to a 7d is with auto-focus.


The Canon EOS above is not the best example for camera without mirrors. Still, it is not the only one which have been critizised for being slow with autofocus in comparison to more professional cameras. If you don't plan on shooting sport in the future, or shooting moving objects in low light - a mirrorless camera can be great option.

I haven't mentioned earlier about the viewfinder. When shooting outdoors I cannot manage without a viewfinder. So one should assume that DSLR is the clear winner. For outdoor shooting it is when comparing to the mirrorless cameras that do not have a viewfinder. Many do, however, have a viewfinder. An electronic viewfinder is rumored to be slower than an optical one. Advantage of the electronic is that it can include so much more information in comparison to an optical one. Future will tell which one eventually will be the best.

Keywords: mirrorless cameras, dslr, micro four thirds, nikon, canon, sony, nikon, 4/3