Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
A mirrorless camera, as the name suggests, is a camera without a mirror unlike a DSLR whose key component is a mirror. In a DSLR, light enters through a single lens, hits a mirror and it is reflected onto its viewfinder.
Since a mirrorless camera does not have a mirror, there is no optical viewfinder either. A mirrorless camera has an imaging sensor that is always exposed to light, so you get a digital preview of the image on either the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Having different properties than a DSLR, it could be a better option for some people. Mirrorless cameras are also gaining popularity with time and since their technology is improving, several professional photographers are choosing it over other cameras.
This article dives into the advantages of a mirrorless camera to help you make a well-informed decision about which camera you should get.
Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras
1. Smaller in Size
Having to lug around a huge camera can sometimes be very uncomfortable, especially if you need to always have it hanging on your neck or in your hands. It can get quite exhausting. One of the biggest plus points of having a mirrorless camera is its comparatively smaller size. Since it does not have a mirror, it is usually smaller and lighter.
This can come in handy for someone who does not have a lot of space to store their equipment, either when they’re travelling or for any kind of storage purposes.
While it is possible to buy a smaller micro four-thirds camera that can fit in pockets, you can get a large full-frame mirrorless camera that is not that different from a DSLR.
2. High-Quality Electronic Viewfinders
Due to the lack of a mirror, mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders instead of the optical ones found in a DSLR. These viewfinders on some cameras have turned out to be remarkably useful.
They are able to give a live preview of how an image will be recorded. What this means is you can accurately see and even correct the white balance and exposure before you take a shot. This is especially helpful in night photography that is a long exposure.
Some mirrorless cameras have very remarkable OLED displays for their viewfinders that have the ability to deliver high-resolution pictures with a bright, detailed scene. These EVFs are also very useful to videographers because they have the ability to continue showing the scene as you record.
3. Better Autofocus Speed
Before mirrorless cameras had developed as much they have today, they used a technology called contrast detection that used the image sensor to detect the highest contrast, which coincided with focus.
This was a problem because contrast detection is slower, especially in low light than phase detection (Captain, 2020). Phase detection can quickly measure the convergence of two light beams and was only used by a DSLR.
However, this is not a problem anymore because almost all mirrorless cameras are now equipped with phase as well as contrast detection sensors built into the image sensor.
4. Image Stabilization
Shaky hands and, consequently, blurry pictures, are inevitable especially when you’re a beginner and not used to the feeling of a camera in your hands. DSLRs, as well as mirrorless cameras, use technology to counter this problem and that is through the sensors.
They can detect camera movement and can slightly shift either part of the lens or the image sensor but in the direction opposite to that of the shake. This shift happens along the vertical and horizontal axes only.
However, mirrorless cameras on the more expensive side such as the Sony a6500 and Sony a6600 have five-axis image stabilization. This is a feature unavailable on DSLRs at this time. It is a superior method to the two axes method and comes in handy especially when you’re in a moving car or boat and trying to film.
5. Better Video Quality
The main component that makes for better video quality is the autofocus on a camera. As noted previously, DSLRs use phase detection which is better than contrast detection. But the problem with that is when you’re recording a video using a DSLR, it can’t use phase detection since the mirror is up so it uses contrast detection which is less accurate and also slower.
What this can cause is a blurry look in the middle of a video since the camera is struggling to find the right focus.
Since mirrorless cameras do not face this problem, they are usually the best choice for filmmakers.
6. Better Shooting Speed
As discussed previously, the lack of a mirror in a mirrorless camera is what separates it from a DSLR. This lack of a mirror is proven to be useful especially when multiple images are required to be taken at one time.
These cameras do have a mechanical shutter that is lifted to expose the image and produce better results. You also have the option of using an electronic shutter which means quicker and more silent way of taking pictures.
Now that we have looked at the advantages of mirrorless cameras, it is important to note that some high-end DSLRs might also have these properties, but these mirrorless cameras are still providing all these features without asking for a lot of money.
While there are mirrorless cameras that cost as much as or even more than a DSLR, the advantages and the edge that it provides is still unmatched.