It’s funny how photographers, the very ones benefiting from technology advances, have been quite reluctant to progress if we take a look back to camera history. Not all of them of course, but a large majority have had this fixed mindset that makes them extremely tough towards change.
When large-format photography appeared, painters diminished it. When medium format cameras appeared, plate-based photography users opposed to it. When 35mm format appeared, medium format users were very rude to it, they even called it “a post stamp”. Could you imagine that? The very thing we all worship as true full-frame format nowadays was just a stamp for them… And when digital SLRs arrived, 35mm users said many awful things too. Now that mirrorless cameras have come to stay, there are many DSLR users complaining about it.
You do see the pattern, don’t you? Because we do. That’s why we wanted to share with you some 5 definitive reasons why you should pick up a mirrorless camera system, and just move on. If you are just about to start in this beautiful world of photography world then you shouldn’t strings attached towards S, C or N brands. Just go straightforward to mirrorless cameras, and you’ll have a blast. If you are almost married to a brand because you have invested a considerable amount of money on lenses, then you should develop a smart strategy to move on.
If you are still doubtful about mirrorless vs. DSLR cameras even after reading the second paragraph of this piece, then sit back and read the following information. Our main goal is to clear your head of some of the most common doubts about this not-so-new-by-now camera format.
They Aren’t Longer the Future, They Are the Present
Mirrorless camera systems had a bumpy start in 2004, and has had its ups and downs ever since. After fifteen years of their appearance we can firmly say that this format isn’t the future anymore, it is the present. Many people have been quite reluctant to changing from DSLR to Mirrorless cameras, just like some people said “no-no” to digital when it first appeared. Let’s face it, this is the new standard, and we should embrace it, despite its (decreasing) cons.
For some reason, DSLR cameras had the power to make anyone feel like a “real” photographer. And the reason might be traced back to marketing strategies. Those efforts aimed at casual users and made them feel like professional photographers for a while with that bulky system and wide camera straps. Entry-level cameras with 18-55mm sold quite well back in the day, but eventually, they got replaced by smartphones. Don’t get me wrong, smartphones didn’t replace photography for everyone, it simply fulfilled the image necessities of casual users.
These cameras had a lot of potentials to offer at first, but after a while, there were basically two options left. The first was the most common one, people eventually got bored of carrying that massive thing around and eventually stopped using it. Other people got quite serious about photography and eventually upgraded to more useful tools. But honestly, these last ones would have fallen in love with photography even if they were shooting with a potato.
I think only Canon and Nikon are the ones still developing DSLRs, and at some point, they will stop doing it too. There are plenty of brands out there like Sony, Leica, and Fujifilm, etc that have matured their mirrorless systems quite nicely by now, and they are all offering superb image capabilities and quality.
Lightweight and Inconspicuous
Do you actually need a bulky camera to shoot great photos? Of course not, but some people like the feeling of carrying around a massive camera around. As a street photographer myself, I love small and inconspicuous cameras, and when the mirrorless camera appeared, a whole array of options became available. Before this magnificent happening, only point and shoot cameras offered small size, and not all of them offer a nice ergonomic experience. Even if they were capable of shooting raw images in manual mode, there was something odd about looking through a screen all the time, or not being able to make exposure changes quickly.
Long gone are those days by now since the appearance of mirrorless camera systems; they offer even better ergonomics than some DSLR cameras, and they are usefully small. Trust me, it is way better to travel or to walk long hours on the streets with a lightweight camera than a massive DSLR. Manufacturers have cut down all that bulky mirror and pentaprism system in order to achieve a more efficient camera.
Nowadays mirrorless cameras even look more like film cameras than some roundy and plasticy DSLRs, so they look awesome too!
Better Image Quality
This will sound quite cold and even cruel, but it is the very truth; camera manufacturers don’t care about nostalgia. They are always investing in research and development in order to deliver better and faster image solutions, so they won’t be nurturing DSLR cravings for much longer anymore. So, if many camera manufacturers have moved forward and have left DSLR systems behind, where do you think you’ll find the most advanced image sensors now?
I really don’t understand this to a technical level, but I do understand one thing. Image quality has a very strong inverse relationship with the distance between the rear element of the lens and the image sensor. So, if the image between these two gets shorter, the image quality will increase. Mirrorless cameras reduce this distance quite massively by getting rid of the internal chamber needed for the mirror to flip in a proper way.
There is one thing that is true, nothing beats reality being seeing right through the lens, that is a fact, and might be the only price to pay in my very own and personal opinion. Electronic Viewfinders (EVF) have gotten quite powerful, and it almost feels like a non-digital through the lens experience due to minimum image lag, but it still feels funny. But there is a pro of EVFs, and that is focus peaking in manual focus mode. Focus peaking in simple words is a tool that allows you to know which things from the scene are in proper focus thanks to some digital sparkles that appear and disappear as the focus ring is being turned.
Sony was the first to focus on the alpha mirrorless series cameras and the quality they are delivering lately is outstanding to other brands, they even launched a new camera the Sony A7R MK 4 with 61 megapixels which is the largest megapixel in a full-frame mirrorless camera in the market. so speaking of better image quality vs the DSLR, you must check out this camera.
You Can Go Beyond Full-Frame
Alright alright, we are talking about one narrow portion of the market here, which is owned by Fujifilm. This deserves to be mentioned because they are the only ones offering not one, nor two, but three mirrorless medium format cameras, at least at “reasonable” prices. Hasselblad has a couple of options as well, but those prices are just insane so they aren’t really an option for the masses, and since we aren’t part of that exclusive market, we’ll skip it by now.
Fujifilm decided to avoid developing full-frame mirrorless cameras, and instead, they embrace the journey of developing medium format cameras. There are three options available now, and the least expensive one is even cheaper than a high-end DSLR from Canon or Nikon. Sounds quite tempting huh?
Beyond that, other manufacturers have been developing full-frame mirrorless camera systems for quite a while now. And just recently, Canon and Nikon joined the party; kudos! Better late than never. This also has opened access to full-frame cameras to even more users since prices are more accessible as technology evolves. The only downside with this happening is that lenses have been need to redesign, and some brands are still quite short in optical offer.
Adapters Make it Easier, And Fun!
And speaking of lenses, this opened a whole new market for adapters. The most famous ones are Metabones, but they are quite pricey though, but for someone with multiple expensive lenses, this should be a wise investment to make. These adapters make it possible to move from a previous DSLR set-up into the shiny world of mirrorless-cameras seamlessly, but it doesn’t stop there. Some adapters have even made it possible for film-era lenses to have a second breath, enabling a whole array of visual and creative possibilities. Oh, and many of these lenses are still easy to find in mint conditions and at cheap prices online and even some random swap meets.
Some other cons that have stopped people from moving forward into the present are battery life and device fragility. They both are true, although battery life has been enhanced with the years. But honestly, you can just simply shoot less and better photos, or you can carry around some spare batteries as many of us do. About that sensor being freely exposed, yeah, you folks (big brands) have access to high-quality translucent materials, can’t you just cover that thing in order to make it less easy to damage? Jeez!
We hope that you have cleared your mind of all that still thick confusion about DSLRs vs. Mirrorless Camera Systems. Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!