DSLR vs mirrorless: which do you prefer?

rlawton

Staff member
Nov 13, 2019
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Hey, it's Rod Lawton here, Group Reviews editor at DCW, and I've got a question for all you folk out there. Who uses a DSLR in preference to a mirrorless camera and why? (OK, two questions.) Mirrorless cameras are the future, yada yada yada, and I own a few myself and I've tested dozens, but I also still like optical viewfinders, camera bodies big enough to get a proper grip on and batteries that will last all day (so that's DSLRs, then). What do you think?
 
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For me it still is down to the immediacy of an optical viewfinder. I haven't had a ton of experience using mirrorless and have yet to look at some of the latest, but I just prefer the view through the lens. Saying that I have also started using live view more as i can get amazing focus accuracy with Canon's dual pixel system.
 
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Nov 18, 2019
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Hey, it's Rod Lawton here, Group Reviews editor at DCW, and I've got a question for all you folk out there. Who uses a DSLR in preference to a mirrorless camera and why? (OK, two questions.) Mirrorless cameras are the future, yada yada yada, and I own a few myself and I've tested dozens, but I also still like optical viewfinders, camera bodies big enough to get a proper grip on and batteries that will last all day (so that's DSLRs, then). What do you think?
I prefer a DSLR but that is mostly familiarity and inertia. Years ago, in the 1970's, a mentor suggested I read the "Daybooks of Edward Weston" - its not the equipment, its the photographer.
 
Nov 19, 2019
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Hi guys... firstly, great to see Forum at DCW. From the hobbyist point of view, I would say the best one is the one you have in the hands. Learn it, work with it and squeeze out of it everything... and enjoy the ride. As all cameras are expensive peace of kits and if it is only on hobby side difficult to justify updating to "latest and greatest" every now and then (which I believe it must be much easier to justify on the professional side of the game). Definitely, if nowadays one goes for the first camera or moving from really "outdated" (not sure if this is the right term), I would suggest going with mirrorless.

I'm photographing on D7500 with "holy trinity" plus one super telephoto on lenses side (all for full-frame cameras but one). As mentioned I am a hobbyist and have no intention to look for another body for some number of years. If and when the opportunity comes, will go for full-frame DSLR (probably D850), just because of the set of lenses I have invested heavily in. Understand Nikon Z series has FTZ adapter, but all of my lenses are from third-party manufacturers (Sigma, Tamron), and still could not find if it works well on Z series with a mentioned adapter.
 
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Chris George

Staff member
Nov 13, 2019
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www.digitalcameraworld.com
I use lots of cameras... but still consider my Nikon D800 as my 'serious' camera. This is at least partly as I have lots of lenses for this, and I know the camera well (and it still shoots incredible image files). But I own two mirrorless cameras (a Fujifilm X-T1 and a Sony A7) that I will use when I am travelling light. I am not shamed to admit that my Apple iPhone 8 Plus gets used a lot too nowadays!
 
Nov 18, 2019
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both have their advantages and disadvantages. on dslrs i love the clear view of the optical viewfinder and the lack of shutter lag. using mirror lock up for long exposures can be a hassle, as can the added weight of the system. but once you use a mirrorless with all of the bells and whistles that go over the evf (like the moving horizon line to straighten your horizon, flashing blown areas and the evf showing the exact exposure of the scene as you change the exposures settings) it's hard to go back to an ovf without all of that.
currently my favorite camera is a mirrorless fuji. my backup cameras are canon dslrs and then there's a few more fuji mirrorless cameras floating around cause why not.
 
Nov 19, 2019
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someone will laugh but for me my D3400 is a serious camera and truthfully if it wasnt for the lack of autofocus points id be happy with it but im a hobbyist so my upgrade will be to a D7500 i will not go mirrorless only because of the prices here in canada are ridiculously expensive (for me) and saving the $1200 for a D7500 on my wages is interesting enough :) maybe in a few years ill switch
 
I love holding and shooting with a pro DSLR body. It just makes me smile holding it and I love how I can shoot all day on one battery and still carry on the next day. The battery lasts weeks not hours which makes life easier for me. I can drop it and bounce it and it still works.

I guess this debate echos the film to digital debate of previous years. I feel the tech is just not there for me yet. From what I have heard from reviews etc a lot of cons would affect me at the moment. Pretty much like early day digital cameras. Good but just not there yet IMO.
 
Nov 23, 2019
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I'm a beginner/enthusiast and I've had my Nikon D5600 nearly a year. I'm always on the look out for a new toy whether I need it/can justify it or not.

One thing puts me off mirrorless is that I've heard their sensors attract a lot of dust. Until that changes or the myth is busted I'm only looking at DSLRs.
 
Nov 20, 2019
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For me the advantage of mirrorless is the silent shutter. Other than that I am sticking with my D700's.
 
Nov 23, 2019
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I'm a beginner/enthusiast and I've had my Nikon D5600 nearly a year. I'm always on the look out for a new toy whether I need it/can justify it or not.

One thing puts me off mirrorless is that I've heard their sensors attract a lot of dust. Until that changes or the myth is busted I'm only looking at DSLRs.
I have an Olympus EM1 mk1 and never have an issue with dust; I get more with my nikon d800.
For the record, I carry my Olympus around a lot and probably take more pictures with it; but I use my Nikon when I need the utmost IQ. With the Nikon I have more room to crop and can use higher ISOs.

This is the fourth Nikon dslr i’ve owned and have the Nikon trinity f2.8 lenses in af-d guise, as well as Sigma 12-24, Nikon 24-85, Nikon 80-400, Nikon 50 f1.4, micronikkor 105, samyang 24 pc lens.
This is my second mft Olympus, but have used oly digital since 1999. Now have Olympus 12-40 pro 2.8, oly 9-18, oly 40-150, samyang fisheye.

In some ways Olympus is more fun and has more modern features such as silent shutter etc., but Nikon handles superbly, may be heavier but is easy to carry, and feels solid and reliable. I don’t need to change to mirrorless z7, and think it is overpriced.

Why should mirrorless be sold at a premium price when there is less engineering?

At the end of the day, features such as dual processor af, auto eye detection can/will be included in dslr s if there is the demand as well as retain the wonderful optical dslr viewfinders. I don’t believe an evf is entirely accurate as is claimed. I don’t chimp much and can visualise the image and shoot for long periods without needing to refer to histograms, etc.
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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Hi,
I much prefer mirrorless, and m4/3rds currently is my choice. But if I had the funds, then full frame could tempt me, but I'd have to test them out extensively before committing to a system.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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Hey, it's Rod Lawton here, Group Reviews editor at DCW, and I've got a question for all you folk out there. Who uses a DSLR in preference to a mirrorless camera and why? (OK, two questions.) Mirrorless cameras are the future, yada yada yada, and I own a few myself and I've tested dozens, but I also still like optical viewfinders, camera bodies big enough to get a proper grip on and batteries that will last all day (so that's DSLRs, then). What do you think?
It's me Marendradika, a hobbyist photography with more than 9000 post on my IG with its name, back then I had to choose Nikon-DSLR or Sony-Mirrorless since I love to nature/landscape/macro and some people/portrait, I had found the lenses and cost wise for Nikon DSLR were advantages; then I started myself with Nikon D5600, and I am happy since, the most why is because of its lenses collection, I can easily find on every mm range here both in new or used, and I have collected these since: (And these help me in every scenario I have in mind).
1​
lens 18-55mm
2​
lens 28-85mm
3​
lens 70-300mm
4​
lens Fix 10mm
5​
lens Fix 30mm
6​
lens Fix 50mm
7​
lens Fix 100mm
8​
lens Fix 105mm-Macro
 
Nov 18, 2019
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Why do you say the " batreries that will last all day?"
mirrorless cameras eat up batteries like crazy because of the evf. if you're shooting nonstop you can expect to go through a battery or two in a day. fuji mirrorless batteries last for about 400 shots. sony claims one of their mirrorless camera's has the longest lasting battery and can last up to 700 shots on one charge.
a dslr doesn't use as much power because it has an optical viewfinder. so the battery lasts much longer, around 1200 shots on my canon dslrs.
 
Dec 12, 2019
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I know many owners of both DSLRs and Mirror-less cameras. I see very little difference in images taken on either. I know some who have changed back to DSLRs after trying mirror-less and some who has remained mirror-less and love them. That being said I see more (ageing) photographers moving to smaller and lighter cameras since these are easier to take abroad and transport into the wild.

Personally I use a full frame DSLR (Nikon) and certainly having seen the latest Z series lens tests I am hugely impressed by the optical designs the new Z mount has afforded owners. I am awaiting eagerly what Nikon will produce in the Z8 (60mp) perhaps 2 card slots? Not sure I will leap in and buy one as I am very happy with my D850 but always nice to see what new gear is coming along.
 

Matt Greenwood

Staff member
Nov 19, 2019
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For me the focus system was the kick that pushed me out of DSLRs for good - 98% coverage of the sensor with mostly phase-detect, great continuous tracking and no front/back-focus issues. Eye-AF on the A7III has completely changed the way I shoot portraiture, and even the basic wide setting nails most subjects. I can't imagine going back to my relatively plodding focus/recompose single shot setup from my DSLRs. I do miss the comfort of a good grip though - the dreaded floating pinky finger and trapping my knuckles between the grip and the lens are all too real for me. Was tempted by the EOS R but the single card slot killed it for me - hopefully the R II comes along and solves my ergonomic problems and gives me access to those gorgeous RF lenses 👌
 
Dec 12, 2019
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It would be interesting to know of the mirrorless owners in here how many have cleaned their own sensor (as opposed to paying someone to clean it)?

Also has anyone had issues (with a mirrorless sensor) getting dirty quickly?

Like others in here it is the advanced optical design of the lenses afforded by a large lens mount/throat that is attractive.
 

Matt Greenwood

Staff member
Nov 19, 2019
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I clean my own every 6 months or so, same as when I used DSLRs but I have to do more maintenance (blowing dust out of the body and off the sensor) with the mirrorless.

The main reason mirrorless bodies attract more dust is because they generate a slight electrostatic charge when they're in use - and so attract dust if the lens is taken off while it still has a tiny bit of charge left. It's particularly bad if you change lenses with the camera on.
 
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Artaius

Staff member
Nov 13, 2019
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www.digitalcameraworld.com
Something that's often overlooked is that, for newcomers, mirrorless cameras (with an EVF) offer the best and easiest way for beginners to understand exposure, and how the different values will affect their images. Yes, you can chimp the LCD on a DSLR after you've taken each shot. But there is nothing more helpful to someone struggling to understand that nebulous bloomin' triangle than being able to see, live through the finder and in real time, exactly what happens to the picture when you adjust the shutter, aperture or ISO.

As someone who used to work for a professional trainer, and host workshops where a lot of beginners were still trying to wrap their heads around exposure, I think this is one of the single greatest virtues for mirrorless cameras.
 
Dec 14, 2019
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Mirrorless cameras have the advantage of usually being lighter, more compact, faster and better for video; but that comes at the cost of access to fewer lenses and accessories. DSLRs have the advantage in lens selection and an optical viewfinder that works better in low light, but they are more complex and bulkier. To know more info and updates watch on OGyoutube
 
Nov 19, 2019
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im really a newbie when it comes to photography HOWEVER i love my big clunky dslr vs the mirrorless .. i feel like im holding a phone with a mirrorless if that makes any sense ( I have 2 nikons a D7500 and a D3400)
 
Dec 12, 2019
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im really a newbie when it comes to photography HOWEVER i love my big clunky dslr vs the mirrorless .. i feel like im holding a phone with a mirrorless if that makes any sense ( I have 2 nikons a D7500 and a D3400)
Also you can always lock your mirror up (especially if on a tripod) and shoot avoiding mirror slap and get super sharp images. The extra weight of (some) DSLRs can also help stabilization. However the large lens throat of (say) the Nikon Z series is allowing lens designers to produce some stunning lenses ......... tempting
 

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