Opting for Mirrorless

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Today’s Question: Your answer about mirrorless versus SLR cameras made sense. But you didn’t indicate what you would choose if you were buying a new camera today. Do you might sharing where you stand on this decision?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I expect that my next camera will very likely be a mirrorless model. This expectation is based primarily on two considerations. First, I believe mirrorless cameras represent the future of photography. Second, for my specific photographic (and video) needs, mirrorless cameras offer some compelling advantages.

More Detail: One of the ways I often talk about mirrorless cameras is in the context of an imaginary world where mirrorless cameras already exist, but digital SLR cameras do not. In this context, where all cameras are mirrorless, my question is why you would suggest a mirror ought to be added to a mirrorless camera.

One of the key features of a mirrorless cameras is the absence of an optical viewfinder. To preview the photo you’re capturing, you either use a “live view” display on the camera’s LCD, or you make use of an electronic (rather than optical) viewfinder.

In the early days of mirrorless cameras, an electronic viewfinder represented a compromise. The resolution and quality of those electronic viewfinders didn’t provide anywhere near the quality of view you could achieve with an optical viewfinder, which in the context of an SLR camera provides you with an actual view through the lens at the scene you are photographing.

Many of today’s electronic viewfinders provide excellent resolution and image quality, while also providing a better preview of what your actual photo will look like compared to a simple view through an optical viewfinder.

In addition, the absence of a mirror mechanism provides a variety of other benefits, such as improvements to autofocus and previewing while capturing not only still photos but also video captures. The benefits related to video are of particular interest to me, since I capture a tremendous amount of video for the courses I produce for the GreyLearning library (https://www.greylearning.com).

So, if I were planning to buy a camera today, on balance I expect I would opt for a mirrorless camera. I do believe my next camera will be a mirrorless camera, and I’ll most certainly provide an update as soon as I make a decision about my future path related to photo gear.