DSLR Versus Mirrorless Cameras

Many people ask me to explain the differences and my personal preference of DSLR cameras or Mirrorless cameras. Both of these cameras will offer excellent, high-quality images so let’s take a look at the differences.

What is a DSLR Camera?

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera which means that internally there is a mirror which reflects the light captured through the lens. This then sends it through either a series of mirrors or a prism to the view finder.

Upon taking a picture, the mirror will flip up to capture the light and image. The result of these cameras is that the image is displayed and seen instantly which is where the R for reflex comes into play.

What is a Mirror less Camera?

As the name suggests a mirror less camera does not have any internal mirrors like the DSLR does. As a result of this they do not have an optical viewfinder which makes them much more compact in design and smaller. When I say they don’t have an optical viewfinder instead they use an electronic viewfinder. The only issue with this is there is a slight delay in seeing the picture you have taken.

Auto Focus Comparison

A key consideration is the speed at which your camera will focus. DSLRs used to be the faster of the two but with growing technology cameras such as the latest Sony models have unparalleled autofocus. If you are trying to photograph sports or fast moving things then a DSLR is still probably your best choice.

Image Preview

As the DSLR has mirrors you can view the image instantly after taking it. You can also do this with a mirrorless display although there will be a slight delay. In great lighting the mirror less cameras offer a good preview of the final image but in low lighting they become quite grainy. DSLRs with the optical view finder show great image previews everytime-even in low light.

Shooting Speed

The shutter speed of both cameras is fast, although this is where mirror less cameras are better. Without a mirror the camera can take significantly more images one after the other. If you are shooting something such as babies or weddings then this is definitely an advantage.

Battery Life

As DSLR cameras don’t have an LCD screen the batteries last a little bit longer than those of a mirrorless camera. Regardless of the camera, it’s always wise to have spare batteries.


DSLR cameras have been around a lot longer and because of this you have many more options for lenses. Mirror less models are more restricted and I feel because of this are more expensive. Although I image in the years to come mirror less cameras will take over and more lenses will become available.


I think these are the key differences between DSLR and mirror less cameras, if you are trying to decide on one or the other then I hope you found this helpful. I initially had a Canon DSLR camera and after some years changed all my gear to the Sony and absolutely love it. The compact size makes it so easy to travel with and the images are still extremely high quality. Also, if you are just getting started with photography make sure you read my Beginners GuideT o Manual Mode post!

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