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Mirrorless Cameras Mark Technological Leap For Digital Cameras

Understanding The Key Differences Between Mirrorless Tech And DSLRs

Significant advances in mirrorless camera designs mean lighter weight models with advanced video capabilities and improved autofocus.

Whether you’re a novice photographer looking to improve your shooting skills, or a seasoned professional looking for a little more versatility in your choice of camera design, mirrorless cameras are an incredibly exciting prospect. But making the most of this new technology requires a clear understanding of how it works, how it differs from standard DSLR camera systems and of course, identifying the best mirrorless cameras on the market.

What Does ‘Mirrorless’ Mean?

The key difference between a DSLR camera and a mirrorless model is that the latter doesn’t use a reflex mirror. In a DSLR camera, the role of a mirror acts to reflect the light that enters through the lens, and sends it up through a prism and into the viewfinder for you to capture a glance of the shot. As you click the button, the mirror moves, the shutter opens and the image is captured as soon as the light hits the image sensor.

A mirrorless design opts instead to have an imaging sensor which is constantly exposed to the light. A preview of your image can be displayed on your electronic viewfinder or the LCD screen.

Size And Weight

One of the main benefits of a mirrorless design is size. The mirror and prism combination which is present in the DSLR can take up quite a bit of space inside the camera body, which means that mirrorless designs are much more compact than a digital alternative. This is welcome news for photographers who are looking to slip a mirrorless camera in their pocket as they travel, or attend sporting events in the hope of snapping some impressive and spontaneous pics.

Improved Autofocus

Mirrorless designs have lagged behind in terms of autofocus speed. DSLRs have typically used phase detection which is a technology used to measure two beams of light meeting together. Previously, mirrorless designs were reliant on contrast detection, which is a fair bit slower than phase detection, especially in sub-optimal lighting conditions. However, recent mirrorless innovations such as the Sony A6300 and the Nikon D3400 now have a combination of both phase and contrast detection built into the image sensor, which speeds up the autofocusing process, making it as quick as DSLR designs.

Shooting Quality Videos

Mirrorless cameras win the battle of the video shooting category, hands-down over DSLRs, particularly when it comes to designs at the luxury end of the market. The reason for this is because DSLRs can’t rely on the benefits of phase detection with the mirror up, when shooting video. Therefore, they need to use contrast detection instead which as explained above is much slower and can lead to blurring in a video. Mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II or the Fujifilm Finepix X-E3 can create UltraHD footage with a resolution of four times that of regular HD.

If you’re sold on the idea of mirrorless cameras, then this is a great time to be looking for a new purchase. Previously, Sony was the main name in mirrorless camera technology, but there are now plenty of models available from the likes of Nikon, Panasonic and Canon. As you might expect, the more money you’re willing to spend at the top end of the market, the better the quality. So, if you’re willing to sell camera equipment to offset the price, this can really help your investment.

Mirrorless camera technology has only recently advanced significantly this year – it’s an exciting time, so watch this space to find out what will be next in mirrorless design.