I can’t decide whether to go for a mirrorless system or a DSLR system. What would you say are the benefits and drawbacks of either one?

Ben (USA)

Harry says:- We are all DSLR users and although we have tried many mirrorless cameras from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, and Fuji, none of them come close to performing as well as our DSLRs. Some people seem to prefer the more compact bodies of mirrorless cameras, but personally I find all the dials and buttons far too fidgety to operate quickly and comfortably.

With mirrorless cameras, lots of the really basic and important functions are usually only accessible from the menu system, which makes them useless for professional use. Most mirrorless cameras have small sensors which really limits the user’s control over depth of field - another reason why we would never be able to use them professionally.

The ones which have larger sensors tend to use the same lenses (or at least same size lenses) as DSLR cameras, and since lenses are what makes up the lion’s share of the weight of a photographer’s bag, you don’t actually save any weight by going to a mirrorless system. Mirrorless fans will boast about many advantages to their cameras such as you don’t get light leak through the viewfinder, but in reality this isn’t an issue with a DSLR anyway, so it’s a pointless argument. Some mirrorless cameras have a viewfinder while others do not. If they do have one, then the image you look at is a digital one which has a slight delay and suffers from a limited dynamic range. Even though the delay is only a few milliseconds, it’s hideous to look at and is enough to miss the moment when timing is critical in a photograph. Mirrorless cameras eat power quite quickly, so you’ll need to have double the amount of batteries with you, which adds to the weight of your bag. DSLRs offer a much wider range of lenses, especially with fast primes and telephotos.

To conclude, there are no advantages of mirrorless cameras over top end DSLR cameras for stills photography, but it really depends what use and performance you want to get out of your camera? If you like small fidgety things where most of the controls are only accessed through the menu system, then go for a mirrorless camera. If you want a camera that’s going to ensure you get the shot nailed, then get a DSLR.