If you’re currently searching for the best camera to create content, whether for live streaming or taking photos, chances are you’ve come across the terms” DSLR” and “mirrorless.” While it may seem like tech jargon that you shouldn’t worry about, the truth is that the critical differences between these two types of cameras may help better guide you in the right direction. We’ve got your back if you need some help understanding the fundamental differences between these two cameras. This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras without making it overly complicated.
What Is a DSLR Camera?
DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex, which essentially describes how this camera works. Light passes through the lens hitting a mirror at a 45-degree angle, and bounces onto an optical viewfinder (OVF) which shows you what the lens is seeing. The flipping of the mirror mechanism when you hit the shutter button is responsible for the relatively loud but oddly satisfying shutter sound that you may be familiar with.
What Is a Mirrorless Camera?
A mirrorless camera, which you may have guessed by now, does not include the mirror mechanism found in a DSLR camera. Instead, light passes straight through the sensor and sends the digital image to the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and/or monitor on the back of the camera. The lack of a mirror system allows the body of a mirrorless camera to be much smaller and compact.
DSLR vs. Mirrorless Camera (Specifications)
Below are a few specs to help you better understand the difference between these two popular cameras amongst content creators.
As far as size is concerned, mirrorless cameras are the clear winner. The absence of the mirror mechanism (present in DSLR cameras) makes them lighter weight and more portable. This is why mirrorless cameras are often preferred by content creators, such as vloggers who film on the go and may not be open to the idea of carrying a bulky camera to shoot content.
With mirrorless cameras, what you see is what you get, meaning the image you’re seeing on the EVF or the mini monitor is what you’ll capture. For example, you can see how saturated or exposed your image will be beforehand and make adjustments that you can see through either of the viewfinders.
On the flip side, a DSLR camera gives a “naked eye” depiction of what the lens sees—nothing is changed. This means you can take a photo on a DSLR camera, and everything can look fine until you check the picture afterwards and notice something is off. Also, when you take a photo on a DSLR camera, there is a blackout period where you see nothing but blackness through the optical viewfinder. However, this may not be a huge deal depending on the shutter speed and what you’re shooting.
Though mirrorless cameras are smaller, their DSLR counterparts pull less battery power, so you don’t have to worry as much about your battery dying while working on your latest project. No matter which option you choose, it’s wise to consider having spare batteries on hand, just in case.
Image & Video Quality
As far as quality is concerned, DSLR and mirrorless cameras are neck and neck simply because they both can use the most up-to-date full-frame sensors, which is a huge determining factor in image and video quality. However, since many brands prioritize updating and introducing more mirrorless cameras these days, these cameras tend to be more up-to-speed with ultra HD and 4K shooting quality.
While both DSLR and mirrorless cameras have plenty of lens options, DSLR cameras are the clear winner in this department. DSLR cameras have been around for much longer, meaning there has been a strong emphasis on creating quality lenses to fit the many needs of photographers and videographers. While lens options are available for mirrorless cameras, some will require an adapter which may affect the quality of features such as zoom and autofocus.
No matter which way you flip, cameras are an investment. While many people may assume that opting for a mirrorless camera instead of a DSLR is an easy way to save money, it’s not that simple. One thing to keep in mind is that mirrorless cameras are relatively new to the world, which means brands are putting a lot of money into research and development, which is generally reflected in the price.
While many new mirrorless cameras are hitting the market every year, developments in the DSLR world have been pretty stagnant. Not only are you more likely to find a DSLR decently priced with good features, but switching to a mirrorless camera is trendy, which means you’re likely to find refurbished DSLR cameras that can save you some money.
Though you may have thought there was a clear-cut answer for which camera is better than the other, the truth is it depends. Hopefully, what we laid out in this blog post will bring you a few steps closer to finding the right camera to suit your needs as a content creator!