DSLR vs Mirrorless Camera

Taking the next step in photography usually means getting a nicer camera than the one that’s on your smartphone. Today, I will help you to understand the difference between DSLRs & Mirrorless cameras.

What are DSLRs? 

DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex which means, there is a mirror that has to flip out of the way in order to expose the image sensor.

DSLR vs Mirrorless

What is a mirrorless camera?

Obviously, it doesn’t have a mirror. If you have a smartphone you already have a mirrorless camera built into that so which system is best for you?

DSLR vs Mirrorless

In order to figure that out, we need to take a look at the pros and cons of both systems so that you can better decide.

Size and Body

Let’s first take a look at body size. DSLR tends to be slightly larger because it has to account for the mirror mechanism which is built inside. On the mirrorless side, you don’t have that mechanism which means it can be on the smaller side. When the mirrorless technology first came out, the whole point of getting it was that, it was much smaller than the DSLRs. On the other hand DSLRs on the consumer end have started to shrink. They’re almost the same size as some of their mirrorless counterparts but I will cast my vote to mirrorless camera.


With DSLRs, you tend to have more buttons on the outside of the camera which makes it easier to make changes, especially with manual controls. On the mirrorless side generally, you have fewer buttons which means more things are menu-driven.

DSLR vs Mirrorless


The DSLR side you tend to have more lenses to choose from but they also tend to be slightly larger. On the mirrorless side, you tend to have fewer choices of lenses. Also, some of the camera’s lenses don’t even come off but being that the lenses tend to be smaller and lighter it makes it much easier for travel.

DSLR vs Mirrorless


DSLR because it’s generally larger is going to have a larger battery which means you’re going to get more shots out of it. On the mirrorless side, smaller body means smaller batteries plus the sensor is always on receiving power. Due to this, it’s going to chew through it much quicker. The result of that is fewer shots so make sure you have extra batteries just in case you run out of power. This is one of the major differences that set apart DSLRs from mirrorless cameras.

DSLR vs Mirrorless


On a DSLR side, it’s an optical viewfinder. In DSLR, light bounces off and goes through a prism and then what you see is what you get but on the mirrorless side, you don’t have an optical viewfinder. So how do you see the image that you’re about to take? Well some of them have electronic viewfinders. We will talk about that now.

I absolutely love the mirrorless camera because you get to see a preview of the image you’re about to take. You know is your exposure right or is it wrong or it is off. On the DSLR side, you just see the light that’s coming through. You don’t see if your exposure is going to be right or wrong

DSLR vs Mirrorless

Sensor Size

Now let’s look at sensor size. You would think, the DSLR is larger that would have a larger image sensor but that’s not really the case. You’re going to find pretty much the same sensor sizes in both mirrorless and DSLR.

Let’s take a look back at the old mirrorless technology. The whole point was to get a smaller camera which meant smaller sensor. I want you to remember that a larger sensor tends to be more expensive but it’s going to give you a better quality image.

DSLR vs Mirrorless

Auto Focus

When you’re deciding which camera is right for you, one of the most important features in any camera is how well does it autofocus. Now they both autofocus very well. I will say that DSLRs are better when it comes to tracking moving subjects as well as shooting in low-light situations. A mirrorless camera is going to track subjects pretty well but it is not going to be as good in low-light situations.

The mirrorless outshines the DSLR is when it comes to autofocus during video. You tend to get better-focused tracking and autofocus when it comes to the mirrorless camera. With the DSLR it’s not really designed to track the autofocus when it’s shooting video.

Silent Shooting Mode

One of the places a mirrorless camera outshines a DSLR is in silent shooting mode. The DSLR has much louder sound even in the so-called silent shutter modes it’s going to be pretty loud. On the other side, a mirrorless camera is going to be much quieter. Some of the cameras even offer you a silent mode altogether so consider these options if you need to take pictures in a quiet situation.

Image Stabilization

Another great feature is image stabilization. In DSLR, you’re only going to find image stabilization in the lenses. On the mirrorless side, you also have lenses that offer image stabilization but some of the camera bodies go even further than that to offer image stabilized sensors. It means any lens you put on that camera is going to become an image stabilized the lens.

Video Recording

Let’s talk about the video which is going to be better at DSLR or mirrorless. We have to look at a DSLR and remember when you hit the live view button the mirror flips out of the way exposing the image sensor thus turning it into a mirrorless camera. If you’re looking for better autofocus capability you’re going to get that on the mirrorless. Of course, there are some DSLRs that offer autofocus but it’s not as good as mirrorless so if you’re looking to just shoot video a mirrorless camera could be the best. Another thing you have to remember is that they all have time limits for shooting between 10 and 30 minutes if you’re one of those people


Who like to share pictures online as soon as you take them well Wi-Fi is going to be an important feature which one of these systems is going to do that better well mirrorless cameras tend to have a Wi-Fi option already built-in right off the bat now DSLRs they’re starting to catch up with that but most of them don’t give you the option for Wi-Fi built-in


I know that price plays a determining factor in deciding on what system to go with and you would think that a DSLR is going to be a lot more expensive. Well, that used to be the case but today the prices are basically the same whether it’s an entry-level camera or a professional camera. The prices are going to be very similar.

I’ve given you a basic overview of both systems you have to decide which is best for you. Is it a mirrorless system or is it a DSLR.

I want to remind you that, the technology is ever-changing. We are starting to see a lot of the technology in mirrorless cameras find its way into DSLRs. It means, at some point, they’re going to meet in the middle. You have to decide what checks the most boxes for you is it a mirrorless is it a DSLR. If you want something small that’s light and easy to carry around than go for Mirrorless. If you want something a little larger that gives you more battery life and more lens choices than go for DSLR. What whatever you pick, stick with it so that you can build onto it and into the future.

Also, see Types Of Camera | User Guide 2018



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