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DSLR vs Mirrorless Camera; Which One Should You Buy in 2019?

Camera Technology

DSLR vs Mirrorless Camera; Which One Should You Buy in 2019?


Both DSLR and mirrorless cameras have their own history, with one camera surpassing the other in a competition that lasts throughout decades, depending on the technologies that are attached to them. Within the last few years, a mirrorless camera seems to be gaining momentum to be the better piece in the competition. Here in this DSLR vs mirrorless camera comparison, we will see which one of the two cameras actually perform better and which one you should actually buy in 2019.

What Is a DSLR and Mirrorless Camera?

Before you jump into the DSLR vs mirrorless camera comparison, it is important that you understand what the two cameras are and how they differ from each other. Their superiority—as well as inferiority—is actually based on their unique structure, so understanding them should shed a light on all great features that each camera offers to you.

What is a DSLR camera? A DSLR camera is the digital counterpart of an SLR (single-lens-reflex) camera. A DSLR camera stores the captured images in a memory card whereas an SLR camera uses a plastic film. Both cameras use a mirror to reflect light that enters through their lens to a five-sided prism into the viewfinder, allowing users to see the image through the viewfinder. The mirror needs ample space in the camera’s body because it is hinged. Before the shutter button is pressed, the mirror is used to reflect the light. When the shutter button is pressed, a spring will automatically pull the mirror out of the way between the lens and the film.

A mirrorless camera doesn’t use this mechanism. It doesn’t use a mirror to reflect the light to the viewfinder. Instead, it uses a digital viewfinder that reproduces the image captured by the lens. In general, this is the only difference in the DSLR vs mirrorless camera comparison; however, you will be amazed by the great impacts that this difference causes.

Form Factor

Because a DSLR camera includes a hinged mirror and a mirrorless camera doesn’t, in terms of form factor, a DSLR camera is significantly bigger than a mirrorless camera. However, will this difference in size gives a significant advantage to a mirrorless camera in the DSLR vs mirrorless camera competition? Let’s see.

If you don’t plan to use an interchangeable-lens camera, using a mirrorless camera is definitely a good decision. Because a DSLR camera is larger and heavier, using a mirrorless camera that is lighter and more compact is certainly more convenient and comfortable. As long as you stick with one small lens that is attached to your camera, you will find a mirrorless camera an ergonomic camera to use.

However, enthusiastic photographers will least likely like a camera with a cropped sensor. A full-frame camera is definitely more preferable because of its ability to produce high-quality images with many alternative settings depending on the lens that you use. In other words, if you are a true photography enthusiast, you will inevitably have to use an interchangeable-lens camera.

Certain models of both DSLR and mirrorless cameras are full-frame cameras that support interchangeable lenses. When you attach a large lens to your camera, a DSLR camera seems to be more stable to handle than a mirrorless camera. The heavy weight of a DSLR camera effectively counterbalances the weight of the lens. On the other hand, the compact size of a mirrorless camera makes handling difficult due to the unbalanced weight when a large lens is attached to it. Therefore, in the DSLR vs mirrorless camera competition, the compact size of a mirrorless camera can be either an advantage or a disadvantage for the camera.


Another significant difference in the DSLR vs mirrorless camera comparison lies on the viewfinder. A DSLR camera uses a mirror-based viewfinder whereas a mirrorless camera uses a digital viewfinder. There are also pros and cons regarding this design.

The mirror-based viewfinder of a DSLR camera rarely reproduces the captured image accurately, even after you set the exposure level in a variety of ways. The captured image is often different from the one you get after you push the shutter button.

The digital viewfinder of a mirrorless camera, on the other hand, can reproduce the image that enters the lens very accurately. What you see in the viewfinder is what you get after you push the shutter button. There is, however, a drawback concerning this digital design. Because a mirrorless camera uses a digital viewfinder, that needs to be powered by the battery, the battery life of a mirrorless camera is generally shorter than that of a DSLR camera.

Generally speaking, there are pros and cons in the design of both cameras. Therefore, in the DSLR vs mirrorless camera competition, the best decision finally lies in your preferences.