Are you wondering, what is the hoopla surrounding a mirrorless camera?
First, let's look at the anatomy of a mirrorless camera versus a DSLR.
DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. Simply put, when light enters the camera through the lens it is reflected off of a mirror on the inside of the camera, it then ends up in the optical viewfinder so that we can view the image. Having a mirror in the camera makes the camera physically bigger. To make the camera smaller, a mirrorless camera gets rid of the mirror and instead you see the image on a Electronic View Finder, referred to as a EVF.
Can a mirrorless camera be a professional camera? That is a resounding Yes! Just like in a DSLR, most mirrorless cameras have high resolution sensors and are full featured. Just look at the features of the new Sony A7R III...42.2 MP camera that is full frame and does 4K video; that is just scratching the surface of all the features in this camera. When it comes to comparing cameras do not forget to compare the comparable lens sizes. When you purchase a faster aperture zoom lens, like a 24-70 mm F2.8 lens, the lens will still be big no matter what camera you put it on.
Yes, a mirrorless camera with a small pancake lens will be smaller, lighter and more discreet than an DSLR.
So we know that mirrorless cameras can be physically smaller, but what are the other benefits?
The electronic viewfinder on a mirrorless camera is great for when you are shooting in dim or bright conditions, where it would make it harder to see through an optical viewfinder. More information, like the histogram can be displayed on an EVF. Also, you get a live display of the rendering of the image, so that you can see the effects of the changes you make in exposure.
The mirrorless cameras may incorporate both a mechanical and electronic shutter. The electronic shutter is quieter than a mechanical shutter, this is a benefit to wildlife photographers, event and wedding photographers. No mechanical moving parts means that this is less vibration in the camera which is a benefit to those doing macro, closeup photography.
Some will say that the disadvantage to a mirrorless camera is lens selection, that they just do not offer as many lenses as the DSLR manufacturers do. While technically this is true, the mirrorless manufacturers introduce new lenses to their line up often. The other nice feature of the mirrorless camera line up is that they play well with others, meaning that with the use of third party adapters you can attach another manufacturers lens on to your mirrorless camera. In fact, Sigma makes an adapter, MC-11 that allows you to use your Canon EF lens mount on your Sony E mount cameras. We have tested the adapter and it works great, so much so that it is now in our rental department along side our Rental Sony cameras and Canon lenses.
Perhaps the only downside I can see to using a mirrorless camera is that to make them smaller, the camera's battery is smaller, giving you less images per charge.
No big deal, you should always have a spare camera battery no matter what and they do not take up much space.
So, should you go with a mirrorless camera or a DSLR? Only you can decide. You will get great images with both. Sometimes it just boils down to how the camera feels in your hand. Stop by our store and see for yourself how the camera handles.
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