Mirrorless versus DSLR


Today’s Question: There is a mass shift in photography equipment to mirrorless. Am I really sacrificing anything in continuing to shoot with my old Canon 5D III DSLR?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If your current digital SLR camera is meeting your needs, I don’t think there’s any need to switch to mirrorless, just as there wouldn’t be a need to upgrade to a newer digital SLR.

More Detail: There has indeed been a tremendous shift in photography from an emphasis on digital SLR cameras to mirrorless cameras. The future of photography is absolutely mirrorless, but that doesn’t mean you need to feel rushed to buy a mirrorless camera to replace a digital SLR you’re happy with.

There are advantages on both sides when it comes to mirrorless versus DSLR. To be sure, mirrorless does generally offer some advantages over DSLR cameras in general, such as often providing smaller and lighter cameras and lenses, some advanced autofocus technology, and features such as focus peaking and a live histogram right through the viewfinder, among others.

However, mirrorless cameras also generally perform worse in terms of battery performance, and still don’t offer as many options in lenses compared to digital SLRs. For photographers with existing DSLR cameras and lenses, there is also the obvious switching cost of potentially changing camera systems by virtue of switching to mirrorless.

For a photographer who is buying their very first camera, I would suggest that mirrorless is the better option in large part because it does represent the direction photography is clearly headed. For a photographer who currently has a digital SLR, my suggestion is to make a decision based on whether the advantages of a mirrorless camera system are meaningful to you, taking into account the cost involved in switching camera systems.

Photography is about the photographer first and foremost. Great pictures can be made even with a camera that isn’t trendy or doesn’t include all the latest and greatest features.