DSLR or Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Michael • updated May 4, 2023 • 8 min read

DSLR or Mirrorless Camera for Beginner

As a beginnner photographer, choosing the right camera can be a daunting task. With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. In recent years, two types of cameras have been dominating the market: DSLR and mirrorless. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of cameras, their advantages and disadvantages, and help you decide which one is the right fit for your photography needs.


When it comes to photography, the camera you choose can make all the difference. The right camera can help you capture stunning images that will last a lifetime. On the other hand, choosing the wrong camera can lead to disappointment and frustration.

DSLR and mirrorless cameras are two of the most popular types of cameras available today, and they both have their pros and cons. In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of DSLR vs mirrorless camera and help you make an informed decision.

Differences between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

1. Key Differences between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

When choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, it’s important to understand the key differences between the two types of cameras. Here are the main differences to consider:

A. Size and Weight

One of the biggest differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras is their size and weight. DSLR cameras are typically larger and heavier than mirrorless cameras, as they use a mechanical mirror and optical viewfinder system. This means that DSLR cameras can be more cumbersome to carry around and use for extended periods of time.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, are more compact and lightweight, as they do not have a mechanical mirror or optical viewfinder. Instead, they use an electronic viewfinder or the camera’s LCD screen to display the image. This makes mirrorless cameras a great option for photographers who want a more portable and lightweight camera.

B. Viewfinder

The viewfinder is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. DSLR cameras use an optical viewfinder, which displays the image through the lens using a mirror and prism system. This allows you to see the image in real time and can provide a more natural and immersive shooting experience.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, use an electronic viewfinder or the camera’s LCD screen to display the image. Electronic viewfinders work by capturing the image from the camera’s sensor and displaying it on a small screen inside the viewfinder. This allows you to see the image in real time and can provide a more accurate representation of the final image.

C. Autofocus System

The autofocus system is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. DSLR cameras typically use a phase detection autofocus system, which works by splitting the light coming through the lens into two beams and comparing them to determine the correct focus.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, typically use a contrast detection autofocus system, which works by analyzing the contrast in the image to determine the correct focus. This can be slower than a phase detection system, but can also be more accurate and precise.

D. Battery Life

Battery life is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. DSLR cameras typically have longer battery life than mirrorless cameras, as they use less power for the electronic viewfinder or LCD screen. This means that DSLR cameras can typically last longer on a single battery charge than mirrorless cameras.

However, some mirrorless cameras now offer longer battery life by using larger batteries or more efficient power management systems. For example, the Sony Alpha a7 III has a battery life of up to 710 shots per charge, while the Canon EOS R5 has a battery life of up to 490 shots per charge.

E. Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Image stabilization works by compensating for camera shake to produce sharper images.

DSLR cameras typically use lens-based image stabilization, which means that the stabilization is built into the lens. This can make the lenses heavier and more expensive, but can also provide more effective stabilization.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, typically use in-body image stabilization, which means that the stabilization is built into the camera body. This can make the camera body larger and more expensive, but can also provide more flexibility and compatibility with a wider range of lenses.

F. Video Capability

Video capability is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. While both types of cameras are capable of shooting high-quality video, mirrorless cameras often have more advanced video features and capabilities.

Mirrorless cameras typically offer features such as in-body stabilization, advanced autofocus for video, and higher-quality video codecs. This can make them a great choice for videographers or photographers who want to shoot high-quality video.

For example, the Sony Alpha a7S III offers 4K video recording up to 120 frames per second and includes S-Log3 and HLG gamma profiles for better dynamic range.

DSLR cameras, on the other hand, typically offer fewer video features and may not have the same level of autofocus and stabilization capabilities as mirrorless cameras. However, they may still be a good option for photographers who also want to shoot occasional video.

G. Lens Availability

Lens availability is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. DSLR cameras typically have a wider selection of lenses available, as they have been around for much longer and have a more established lens system. This can provide more flexibility and options for photographers who want to use specific lenses for their photography.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, may have fewer lenses available, especially for newer lens mounts. However, many mirrorless cameras now offer adapters that allow you to use DSLR lenses with the camera, which can provide more flexibility and options for photographers.

H. Price

Price is another key difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Generally, entry-level DSLR cameras can be found for under $500, while high-end DSLR cameras can cost over $5,000. Similarly, entry-level mirrorless cameras can be found for under $500, while high-end mirrorless cameras can cost over $4,000.

It’s important to consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend on a camera before making a decision. However, it’s worth noting that some high-end mirrorless cameras may offer more advanced features and capabilities than high-end DSLR cameras, which can make them a better investment in the long run.

In summary, when choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider the key differences in size and weight, viewfinder, autofocus system, battery life, image stabilization, video capability, lens availability, and price. By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and choose a camera that meets your needs and allows you to capture stunning photos and videos.

Advantages and Disadvantages of DSLR Cameras

2. Advantages and Disadvantages of DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras have been around for decades and have become a popular choice for many photographers. While they do have some drawbacks, they also have several advantages that make them a great option for certain types of photography. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of DSLR cameras to consider:

A. Advantages

Optical Viewfinder

One of the biggest advantages of DSLR cameras is the optical viewfinder. The viewfinder displays the image through the lens using a mirror and prism system, providing a clear and natural view of the subject. This allows you to see the image in real time and can provide a more immersive shooting experience. Some DSLR cameras also have advanced viewfinder features such as overlays for exposure and focus.

Examples of DSLR cameras with advanced viewfinders include the Nikon D850 and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Longer Battery Life

Another advantage of DSLR cameras is longer battery life. DSLR cameras typically use less power than mirrorless cameras for the electronic viewfinder or LCD screen, allowing them to last longer on a single battery charge. This can be especially beneficial for photographers who need to shoot for long periods of time.

Examples of DSLR cameras with extended battery life include the Nikon D500 and Canon EOS 7D Mark II.

Faster Autofocus System

DSLR cameras also typically have faster autofocus systems than mirrorless cameras. DSLR cameras use a phase detection autofocus system, which works by splitting the light coming through the lens into two beams and comparing them to determine the correct focus. This can provide faster and more accurate autofocus performance, especially for moving subjects.

Examples of DSLR cameras with advanced autofocus include the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D6.

More Lens Options

DSLR cameras typically have a wider selection of lenses available, as they have been around for much longer and have a more established lens system. This can provide more flexibility and options for photographers who want to use specific lenses for their photography.

Examples of DSLR cameras with diverse lens options include the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D850.

More Established Technology

DSLR cameras have been around for much longer than mirrorless cameras, and as a result, they have a more established technology base. This means that the technology has been refined over time and the cameras have been tested and proven in a variety of shooting situations. This can provide a sense of reliability and trust in the camera’s performance.

Examples of DSLR cameras with proven performance include the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D6.

B. Disadvantages

Bulky and Heavy

One of the biggest drawbacks of DSLR cameras is their size and weight. DSLR cameras use a mechanical mirror and optical viewfinder system, which can make them larger and heavier than mirrorless cameras. This can make them more cumbersome to carry around and use for extended periods of time.

Examples of large DSLR cameras include the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D6.

Noisy Shutter Sound

Another drawback of DSLR cameras is their loud shutter sound. DSLR cameras use a mechanical shutter to capture the image, which can make a loud noise when taking a photo. This can be distracting or disruptive in certain shooting situations.

Examples of DSLR cameras with quieter shutter sound include the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon D850.

Limited Video Capability

DSLR cameras typically offer fewer video features and may not have the same level of autofocus and stabilization capabilities as mirrorless cameras. This can make them a less ideal choice for videographers or photographers who want to shoot high-quality video.

Examples of DSLR cameras with limited video capability include the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and Nikon D3500.

Fewer Features and Flexibility

DSLR cameras may offer fewer features and flexibility compared to mirrorless cameras. This is because the design of DSLR cameras is based on more traditional film cameras, whereas mirrorless cameras are designed specifically for digital photography. This can limit the amount of customization and advanced features available on the camera.

Examples of DSLR cameras with less customizable settings include the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and Nikon D3500.

Expensive

DSLR cameras can also be more expensive than mirrorless cameras, especially for high-end models with advanced features. This can make them less accessible for beginner photographers or those on a tighter budget.

Examples of expensive DSLR cameras include the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D6.

In summary, while DSLR cameras have some drawbacks such as their bulky and heavy design and limited video capability, they also have several advantages such as the optical viewfinder, longer battery life, faster autofocus system, and more established technology. It’s important to consider your individual photography needs and preferences when deciding between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mirrorless Cameras

3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are a relatively new type of camera that have gained popularity in recent years. They offer several advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a purchase.

A. Advantages

Electronic Viewfinder

One of the biggest advantages of mirrorless cameras is the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Instead of using a mirror and prism system like DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras use an electronic viewfinder that displays the image from the sensor in real time. This allows you to see the exposure and white balance in real time and can help you get a more accurate preview of the final image.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with advanced EVFs include the Sony Alpha a7R IV and Fujifilm X-T4.

Compact and Lightweight

Mirrorless cameras are typically much more compact and lightweight than DSLR cameras. This is because they do not have the mechanical mirror and prism system that DSLR cameras use. This can make them easier to carry around and use for extended periods of time.

Examples of compact mirrorless cameras include the Sony Alpha a6400 and Fujifilm X-T30.

Silent Shutter Sound

Another advantage of mirrorless cameras is their silent shutter sound. Mirrorless cameras use an electronic shutter to capture the image, which makes little to no noise. This can be especially beneficial for shooting in quiet environments or situations where you do not want to draw attention to yourself.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with silent shutter include the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and Sony Alpha a7 III.

Better Video Capability

Mirrorless cameras typically offer better video capability than DSLR cameras. They often have advanced video features such as 4K resolution, high frame rates, and advanced autofocus for video. This can make them a great choice for videographers or photographers who want to shoot high-quality video.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with advanced video features include the Panasonic Lumix S1H and Sony Alpha a7S III.

More Features and Flexibility

Mirrorless cameras often offer more features and flexibility compared to DSLR cameras. This is because they are designed specifically for digital photography and can take advantage of the latest technology. They often have customizable settings, advanced autofocus, and in-body image stabilization.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with advanced features include the Sony Alpha a9 II and Fujifilm X-Pro3.

B. Disadvantages

Shorter Battery Life

One of the biggest disadvantages of mirrorless cameras is their shorter battery life. Because they use an electronic viewfinder and often have a smaller body size, they tend to use more power and require more frequent battery changes or charging.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with shorter battery life include the Sony Alpha a6600 and Fujifilm X-T3.

Limited Lens Options

Another disadvantage of mirrorless cameras is their limited lens options, especially for newer lens mounts. While many mirrorless cameras have adapters that allow you to use DSLR lenses with the camera, this can still limit your options and may not provide the same level of performance as native lenses.

Examples of mirrorless cameras with limited lens options include the Nikon Z50 and Canon EOS M50.

Newer Technology

Mirrorless cameras are a newer type of camera compared to DSLR cameras, and as a result, they may not have the same level of technology refinement or testing as DSLR cameras. This can make them a riskier investment for some photographers.

Examples of newer mirrorless cameras include the Panasonic Lumix S5 and Nikon Z7 II.

More Expensive

Mirrorless cameras can also be more expensive than DSLR cameras, especially for high-end models with advanced features. This can make them less accessible for beginner photographers or those on a tighter budget.

Examples of expensive mirrorless cameras include the Sony Alpha a1 and Leica SL2-S.

In summary, mirrorless cameras have several advantages such as the electronic viewfinder, compact and lightweight design, silent shutter sound, better video capability, and more features and flexibility. However, they also have some disadvantages such as shorter battery life, limited lens options, newer technology, and higher cost.

When choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences as well as your budget.

Factors to Consider when Choosing between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

4. Factors to Consider when Choosing between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

When deciding between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, there are several factors that you should consider.

A. Photography Style and Needs

Your photography style and needs should be one of the main factors that you consider when choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera. Different types of photography require different features and capabilities from a camera.

For example, if you primarily shoot sports or action, you may want a camera with a fast autofocus system and high frame rates. If you primarily shoot portraits or landscapes, you may want a camera with a high resolution sensor and extensive lens selection.

B. Budget

Your budget is another important factor to consider when choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera. While mirrorless cameras are often more expensive than DSLR cameras, there are also budget-friendly options available for both types of cameras. Consider how much you are willing to spend on a camera and what features are most important to you.

C. Future Proofing

Another factor to consider is future proofing. As technology advances, cameras become outdated and may not be able to take advantage of new features or technology. Mirrorless cameras are generally considered to be more future proof than DSLR cameras because they are designed specifically for digital photography and can take advantage of the latest technology. However, this may not be a concern if you plan to upgrade your camera frequently.

D. Learning Curve

The learning curve for a camera is another factor to consider. Mirrorless cameras often have more advanced features and customization options, which can make them more complex to use than DSLR cameras. However, they also often have more intuitive menus and touch screen interfaces. If you are new to photography or prefer a simpler camera, a DSLR may be a better choice.

E. Brand Loyalty

Finally, brand loyalty may be a factor to consider when choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera. If you already own lenses or accessories from a particular brand, it may be more convenient and cost-effective to stick with that brand when upgrading your camera. However, it’s also important to consider the features and capabilities of the camera itself rather than just the brand.

5. Conclusion

Both DSLR and mirrorless cameras have their advantages and disadvantages. DSLR cameras offer benefits such as an optical viewfinder, longer battery life, faster autofocus system, more lens options, and more established technology. However, they also have drawbacks such as being bulky and heavy, having a noisy shutter sound, limited video capability, fewer features and flexibility, and being expensive.

On the other hand, mirrorless cameras offer advantages such as an electronic viewfinder, compact and lightweight design, silent shutter sound, better video capability, more features and flexibility, and are generally considered more future proof. However, they also have disadvantages such as shorter battery life, limited lens options, newer technology, and being more expensive.

When choosing between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences as well as your budget. Factors such as your photography style, future proofing, learning curve, and brand loyalty should also be taken into account.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Ultimately, the choice between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera comes down to personal preference and individual needs. Both types of cameras can produce high-quality images and have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to do research, read reviews, and try out cameras in person before making a purchase. By taking the time to choose the right camera, you can ensure that you get the most out of your photography experience.

What is your take on DSLR or Mirrorless Camera for Beginners? Let us know in the comments!

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.

.

Related Beginner Articles

Your thoughts and questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *