DSLR or Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
Michael • updated May 27, 2022 • 8 min read
Michael • updated May 27, 2022 • 8 min read
Are you a beginner photographer and unsure whether an DSLR or a mirrorless system camera is the best option for you? Then you’ve arrived at the right place.
We’ll go over the differences between the two camera types, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Before delving into the benefits and drawbacks, let’s first define the difference between an SLR and a system camera, as well as briefly discuss the different names of the cameras.
In your search for the best camera, you may have come across the abbreviations DSLR and system cameras. Therefore, we’d like to explain them briefly for you:
So DSLR is simply the abbreviation for a single-lens reflex camera and DSLM for a mirrorless system camera. For this tutorial we stick with the term “system camera.”
Often, mirrorless system cameras are also simply called system cameras, which is actually not quite correct. A system camera is simply a camera that consists of interchangeable components, for example, interchangeable lenses or attachable flashes. This is also true of a DSLR.
Nevertheless, mirrorless cameras, in particular, are simply referred to as system cameras, and we will do the same in this article.
What is the distinction between a reflex and a system camera? A DSLR camera, as the name implies, employs a mirror system. Light passes through the lens and reflects off several mirrors, allowing you to see an image in the viewfinder.
This mirror system is not present in a system camera. The image is delivered directly from the sensor.
A DSLR’s mirror system takes up a certain amount of space in the camera’s body. Unlike other technological developments, the mechanism cannot be shrunk further after a certain point because it requires a minimum size.
That is why an DSLR camera cannot be made any smaller. On the other hand, a system camera can be built smaller.
So the primary distinction between DSLR and system cameras is that a system camera lacks a mirror system.
The viewfinder is one of the most noticeable differences between a system camera and an DSLR. The viewfinder on an DSLR is optical (OVF), whereas the viewfinder on a system camera is electronic (EVF). But what exactly does that mean?
As previously stated, the image hits the sensor directly in a system camera. This immediately displays the image digitally on the display or in the viewfinder, which also has a small display.
This has its benefits. For example, the image in the viewfinder is displayed exactly as you set the camera and as you will see it later on the computer.
So, if the image is too bright or too dark, you can adjust it before pressing the shutter.
You can also use the electronic viewfinder to display aids such as a grid for applying the rule of thirds or camera settings such as exposure time or aperture.
An optical viewfinder is used with a DSLR camera. The mirror’s reflection allows you to see the subject through the lens just as you would with your naked eye.
When you press the shutter button and the finished image appears on the monitor, you can only tell if your photo is too bright or too dark. This is a significant disadvantage, especially in low-light situations.
Modern DSLR cameras frequently include a live view mode. The DSLR camera then functions similarly to a system camera. However, because the mirror inside the camera must be flipped up for this,
DSLR cameras are designed in such a way that live view mode is only used in exceptional circumstances.
This makes taking pictures and focusing in DSLR cameras’ live view mode much slower, and thus unsuitable as a permanent solution.
Many photographers who have used DSLRs for a long time prefer the optical viewfinder and find shooting with a system camera’s electronic viewfinder unnatural. It’s just a matter of getting used to it.
The image in the optical viewfinder, by the way, appears in real time. The image must first be transferred from the sensor to the monitor when using an electronic viewfinder. But it’s now so fast that you can’t tell the difference.
In addition, the absence of a mirror system ensures that a system camera can shoot completely silently because there is no need to flip the mirror.
This is ideal for not frightening wild animals or drawing unwanted attention in the pedestrian zone.
There are no differences in image quality between system cameras and SLR cameras. The mirror system’s presence or absence has no effect on image quality.
Image quality is determined by the camera settings and the lens. So you can’t tell whether a great photo was taken with a DSLR or a system camera.
The first mirrorless system cameras had extremely slow autofocus, making them far inferior to DSLR cameras.
However, things have changed since then. A good system camera can now focus as quickly as a good DSLR. In the end, the camera model is more important than the mirror
Some system cameras, such as Sony’s, have a focus system that recognizes the human eye and precisely sets and maintains the focus on it. This is a significant benefit for portrait photographers.
A system camera can be built more compactly than a DSLR camera due to the lack of a mirror mechanism. This has a minor impact on the width and height of the camera body.
But if you think that switching to a system camera will generally get you smaller and lighter camera gear, you might be disappointed.
The difference, for example, between gear for a Nikon or Canon DSLR and gear for a Sony system camera with similar lenses is barely there.
However, compactness is frequently at the expense of ergonomics and can thus be a disadvantage. Photographers with large hands may have difficulty handling a small system camera.
Because a system camera lacks a mirror system and operates entirely electronically, it consumes more power than a DSLR camera.
This is primarily because of the displays. Because they are usually on all the time, both the larger display on the back of the camera and the small display in the electronic viewfinder are absolute power hogs. As a result, DSLR cameras have much longer battery life.
This is a clear advantage over the system camera for longer photo tours, where you must always bring at least one spare battery.
Although the batteries in new models are getting better, a system camera will always require multiple batteries.
The continuous shooting rate of your camera determines how many photos it can take per second.
Entry-level cameras can take five photos per second, whereas professional cameras can take 12 or more. A high continuous shooting rate is useful in sports or wildlife photography, for example, when you want to freeze fast movements and then select the best photo afterward.
The mirror must be flipped up before taking a photograph with a DSLR camera. As a result, it’s usually a little slower than a system camera at the same price point.
Of course, professional DSLR cameras can still capture images at breakneck speed. They are, however, usually more expensive than a system camera that is equally fast.
Videos have become a popular topic in recent years. System cameras typically have the upper hand in this category.
An DSLR camera’s mirror must always be tilted upwards when recording video. As a result, a different, slower focusing technique is used.
The focusing technology in system cameras is designed so that light always hits the sensor. As a result, even in video mode, the system camera focuses faster and more accurately.
Furthermore, system cameras frequently provide more video setting options than DSLR cameras.
Lenses on both SLR and system cameras can be changed. This enables you to obtain lenses that precisely match your photographic motifs and requirements.
System cameras have only been around for a few years, whereas DSLR cameras have been around for a long time. As a result, the selection of lenses and accessories for system cameras remains somewhat limited in comparison to DSLRs.
There is the option of using lenses from other manufacturers in conjunction with an adapter on the new system camera. The price is also affected by the selection and overall high quality of DSLR lenses.
There are currently some system cameras available that are less expensive than SLR cameras with comparable functionality.
On average, entry-level system cameras are $50 to $100 less expensive than corresponding DSLR cameras. When purchasing a camera, however, you should consider more than just the price.
The future viability of the systems is an important point that is frequently overlooked. DSLR s have already vanished from some suppliers’ product lines. Olympus and Fujifilm have ceased all production. Sony, too, has few models with mirrors in its lineup.
Of course, this means that no new lenses for these cameras are being developed. As a result, it is debatable whether purchasing an DSLR camera today is still worthwhile.
If you’re just starting out in photography, we recommend investing in a mirrorlesssystem camera, as these models are unquestionably the future.
Beginner Photography Sections
DSLR camera pros:
Mirrorless system camera pros:
Finally, the most important question of all. Which camera should I buy?
Today’s DSLR cameras are extremely advanced. The lens and accessory selection is extensive and of high quality.
System cameras are without a doubt the way of the future. Nonetheless, a few more years of development are required.
Don’t forget to share this article!
Related Beginner Articles
Your thoughts and questions