If you are just starting photography, one of the issues that you come across is the choice of using a DSLR or mirrorless camera. In this article, I want to go over the differences in the systems and which type of camera could be the right kind for you.

Let’s begin with a comparison of the systems.


DSLR or digital single lens reflex is the older of the two systems. The DSLR is the new version of the film SLR or single lens reflex. The basic idea of this system is the incorporation of a mirror. DLSRs or SLRs have interchangeable lenses. DSLRs have an optical viewfinder. The mirror reflects exactly what the lens sees. The optical viewfinder sees exactly what the lens sees. If you adjust things in camera, the only way to see the change is through live view on the screen.

This mirror system means that the camera will have more weight to it compared to mirrorless cameras. The mirror is also why DSLRs are bulkier than other types of totally electronic systems.

Mirrorless cameras

In this camera system, everything is done electronically. There are mirrorless cameras that have interchangeable lens and cameras which have fixed lenses. The idea with this system is that when the camera is turned on, the sensor is on. There is no mirror system. These types of cameras tend to have electronic viewfinders (EVF). This means that the image on the viewfinder is completely electronically generated, it is basically just a smaller screen.

The reality is that a lot of people around the world already own a mirrorless camera or have used one without realizing it.

A mirrorless camera just means that the camera doesn’t have a mirror. So a smartphone camera or a simple point and shoot is technically mirrorless.

Which one should you use? This is a choice that largely depends on what you are doing with your camera and what you want in a camera.

I would first say that you can get professional results with both systems. I am a big believer in the idea that the gear doesn’t make the photography.

The big advantages of a DSLR are lenses, an old system, and battery life. DSLRs have been around since the start of digital photography, and film SLRs have been around for decades. DSLRs systems have had time to be improved more and more. Mirrorless systems are rapidly improving, but are much newer than DSLRs. The system is still being perfected.

DSLRs being around for longer has also allowed for there to be a long list of professional level lenses available. Mirrorless systems do have lot’s of great lenses as well, with more coming out every year. Just keep in mind that your lens selection will be a little bit more limited on mirrorless.

DSLRs have the advantage of better battery life. This is a problem with mirrorless that is being addressed. The battery life is continuing to improve in each new mirrorless camera. DSLRs still win on battery life. For both systems, I would recommend getting an extra charger and some extra batteries.

The main advantage to mirrorless is the compactness of the cameras. There are lots of pro-level mirrorless cameras that take up less space than a DSLR. Mirrorless might be the right choice for traveling photographers.

The other part of mirrorless is that the system will improve with time.

Which camera system you want depends on your needs. I generally prefer mirrorless because it is a little more compact.

Thanks for reading.