• Zach

The Difference Between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

Updated: Feb 4

What Does DSLR and Mirrorless Mean?


DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. This design makes use of a mirror that reflects an image into a prism, which displays your image through the viewfinder. A mirrorless camera does all this in software, displaying the light caught by the image sensor to the view finder, hence the term mirrorless.


DSLR Camera have been around for decides. Because of this, the range of available cameras is vast as are the available accessories. However, mirrorless is the way of the future and you should not expect the major camera companies to continue producing DSLR cameras.


In this guide I will attempt to break down the pros and cons of both types of cameras.


Weight


Mirrorless cameras have the clear advantage here. A DSLR will always need to be larger and heavier to fit the additional optics. If weight and size are important factors in your decision, Mirrorless is the clear winner.


Battery Life


A DSLR Camera will outlast a similar model Mirrorless Camera. This is due to the requirement of the Mirrorless Camera LCD screen to display the image.


A Mirrorless Camera draws power to display an image on its screen and its view finder. For this simple reason, it will requires more power than a DSLR to simply operate. A DSLR requires no screen to display an image and no power to reflect light into your eye, so the only draw on power is what it takes to move the aperture. DSLR is the winner here.


Cost


A few years ago, the clear winner here would be the DSLR. They have been around longer and are, in general, older decisions. However, with more companies producing mirrorless cameras and advances in technology, the prices have been driven down. Throughout the year you can find amazing deals on both DSLR and Mirrorless camera, so there is no clear winner here.


As you start looking at accessories however, the newest mirrorless lenses can be incredibly expensive.


Accessories


DSLR Cameras have a fair greater variety of accessories both from the maker and third parties. As a whole, you should have 150+ lenses to choose from for your DSLR and roughly 20-40 (depending on the maker) for your mirrorless. However, as time goes on, more lenses will be created for mirrorless cameras but I would not expect more to be created for mirrorless.


Decision Time


No one can tell you what would be best for you. There are so many variables, features, accessories, and costs to consider when purchasing a new camera (if you need help with your purchasing decision, check out my post here). At a high level, mirrorless cameras are the way of the future and if you are in it for the long haul they would be a good investment. If you are looking for something with lots of accessories and a long battery life, hands down go with the DSLR.






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