DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras: Which is better and what to Choose?

mirrorless vs dslr Camera

There are different types of cameras but the most confusion is around DSLR and Mirrorless. These cameras give better result than normal point to shoot camera. But DSLR and Mirrorless both have their own pros and cons. As Mirrorless cameras are now cheaper, people want to know what to choose from a DSLR and Mirrorless.

In this article, I will explain the primary differences in DSLR and Mirrorless along with their pros and cons. So, you can better understand what to choose.

DSLR Camera?

DSLR Camera has a mirror inside the camera body that reflects the light coming from lens up to a prism and into the viewfinder for you to preview. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up, shutter opens and light falls on to the image sensor for capturing the photo. DLSRs offer high performance, autofocus speed and battery life but they are bigger and heavier than mirrorless cameras.

Mirrorless Camera

Mirrorless camera is the one that doesn’t require a reflex mirror. In Mirrorless camera, light passes through the lens and falls on image sensor that captures the preview of the image. It lacks optical viewfinder and gives you digital preview of images either on LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF).

Now I will use segments to compare both cameras and tell you what does better.

DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras


DSLR cameras are comparatively larger because it needs to fit both prism and mirror. On the other hand, mirrorless camera body is smaller than DSLR. Not just the camera body, but the lenses are also smaller in Mirrorless camera as compared to in DSLR. So, carrying mirrorless camera is easier as you can fit more gear on the same space.


DSLR uses an optical viewfinder to preview the image but Mirrorless cameras use an electronic viewfinder (EVF) to preview images. EVF uses real-time electronic rendering to show you the preview of photo. On optical viewfinder you see the exact scene you want to capture. If you change the settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed, EVF shows exact changes on photos. On OVF, you cannot see changes until you actually capture the photograph. This can improve your photography as you will not have to guess how your photo will actually look with new camera settings.


DSLRs use fast and efficient ‘phase detection’ autofocus that works better but only if you are not using DSLR in live view mode or recording the video on the LCD display. In latest DSLRs cameras, we get Dual Pixel CMOS AF that uses phase-detection pixels built into the sensor. It offers faster focus.

Mirrorless cameras use sensor based autofocus all the time. More advanced mirrorless cameras use advanced ‘hybrid’ AF systems that combine contrast autofocus with phase-detection pixels on sensor.

At the end, DSLRs have clear advantage in focus.

Shooting Speed

Both cameras can shoot at fast Sutter speed and capture burst shots. With exception of high-end DSLRs, mirrorless cameras have an advantage. The simpler mechanics of mirrorless cameras allow it to shoot more photos per second and at higher shutter speeds.

Image Quality

Due to the larger sensor, DSLRs were better in terms of image quality. But new small Micro Four Thirds size sensors for mirrorless cameras have become good enough to offer good image qualities. Now, there is no image quality advantage in a DSLR given that same sensor sizes are also available in mirrorless cameras.


If I talk about video recording, mirrorless cameras offer better results die to fast focus and better object tracking. DSLRs can’t use phase detection while recording. While few high end DSLR comes with better focus. Now DSLRs are also capable of broadcasting 4K/Ultra HD videos. Still mirrorless cameras provide the best results for videos.

In DSLR, you need to use the LCD view hence battery advantage is not the there. But you can still use electronic viewfinder on a mirrorless camera while videos. Panasonic and Sony give video features equal importance on their mirrorless cameras.

Battery Life

In general, DSLRs offer better battery life as compared to mirrorless camera because mirrorless cameras use EVF that uses more power. But both offer similar battery life us you LCD screen of DSLRs and not the OVF. DSLR draws power more only when not in live view mode. But Mirrorless cameras draws power because it uses EVF all the time. Basic DSLRs can offer 600 shots per charge. Best DSLRs with bigger batteries can even offer over 4000 shots per charges. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras can offer just 350-400 shots per charge.

The verdict

The technical differences should not be the only thing you need to consider. You need to try both and see what is better for you. Most of the people would prefer the mirrorless for its compact size. Even if price of mirrorless cameras are usually higher than the price of DSLRs camera, prices of mirrorless have started coming down. DSLRs offer slightly better experience for technical reasons, but there are not much reasons to prefer DSLR. DSLRs still offer access to a wider range of lenses but gap is narrowing quickly. Prices of Mirrorless cameras are also coming down. Battery life is always an important factor in DSLRs but the debate of DSLR vs Mirrorless is pointless. You should always compare features of camera to find what is best suited to your style of shooting.

I’d love to know your opinion on the DSLR vs Mirrorless debate. Let us know your views in the comment.

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